BIFL kitched knife that won't break a budget?

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Bankai
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BIFL kitched knife that won't break a budget?

Post by Bankai » Tue Apr 30, 2019 1:16 pm

We went through a couple of knives sets over the last 12 years. The last ones, bought only 3-4 years ago, were ceramic coated and seemed like a good idea at the time. Now the coating is falling off, but rather than buying another set of junk, I want to get this right and get a proper knife or two.

So my questions are:

1) how many knives do you really need? I think 2 might be the right number, 1 longer one (8-10 inch) and one about 1/2 that length. Does anyone have experience with only 1 or 2 knives? I remember from the blog that jacob used to have only one knife; as tempting as this is, is one size fit all really a good idea here? For example, using the same knife for a head of lettuce & cherry tomatoes?

2) what knives would you recommend? Ideally, I'd like a BIFT on a budget, so no fancy $100 a piece, but I would consider something for, say, $25-$50?

I found this link in one of the old topics but checking current prices, knives inflation seems quite dramatic (up to 100% in some cases). Another reason to but something good now.

http://www.cookingforengineers.com/arti ... conclusion

Jean
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Re: BIFL kitched knife that won't break a budget?

Post by Jean » Tue Apr 30, 2019 3:16 pm

I use a victorinox straight paring knife, about 6 inch and 4$ here. I had it for several year, I just resharpen it when it's too dull for me. If it's sharp, tomatoes aren't a problem, but it's big enough for everything I eat.

Gilberto de Piento
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Re: BIFL kitched knife that won't break a budget?

Post by Gilberto de Piento » Tue Apr 30, 2019 4:12 pm

I use the victorinox fibrox 8" chefs knife and their paring knife. They seem to do everything. The chefs knife has seemed dull maybe once or twice in five years and I use it a few times a week. Easy to sharpen. The supply house I bought it from said it is common in pro kitchens but who knows if that is true. About $40, was less when I bought it.

Laura Ingalls
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Re: BIFL kitched knife that won't break a budget?

Post by Laura Ingalls » Tue Apr 30, 2019 7:56 pm

I have four knives and I believe one to be redundant. One 7 inch santoku style chef knife, two paring knives, and one boning knife. I occasionally wish I had cheap bread knife. I only have two paring knives because one was found after our fire and my late dad made a new rosewood handle for it

I lied we also have an oyster knife which I am not sure is a true knife since you lever with it not cut.

I think everyone one need a paring knife and a chef knife. Omnivores that buy, hunt or raise primal cuts meat and cook it should have a boning knife. Vegans and people that only buy ground beef could skip that. A bread knife is handy if you make bread or buy a lot of unsliced breads. A cheap $10 should do since they really can’t be sharpened and therefore are not BIfL compliant.

I would buy a good chef knife. It is a tool that I enjoy every time I touch it. My are all Wustoff’s and not cheap. A good chef knife does have to cost a ton but a good one is not going to be cheap

You also need either a whetstone set or a knife sharpener I have a chefs choice edgeselect 120. They run about $150 bucks and are much easier to learn how to use.

Our pioneer ancestors would think the average modern Americans knives are dull POS. Can you tell I am passionate about this subject and happy to have spent most of my life living with someone that enjoys sharpening knives?

Seppia
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Re: BIFL kitched knife that won't break a budget?

Post by Seppia » Tue Apr 30, 2019 9:48 pm

I think I wrote a post about knives in the recipes thread.
The entry price for a good chef knife, made in Germany, is around $100.
There is no getting around that.
As most great quality tools they are a great investment, because they last a long time and retain their value.
This is a great option, it’s the modern version of the one I have and often shows up in pictures in the above mentioned thread.
https://www.amazon.com/Zwilling-J-Henck ... B00004RFLI

It’s basically the only knife I use for cooking, I don’t think you will need anything else.
I bought mine in 2009, only because the same one I had bought 8 years earlier or so got lost in the moving to the USA.
For most people it will probably be a Once in a lifetime kind of purchase.
In that context, $100 is a very small amount of money.

I would avoid Japanese as they tend to be sharper, but harder to maintain and more susceptible to rusting because of the type of steel they use.

jacob
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Re: BIFL kitched knife that won't break a budget?

Post by jacob » Wed May 01, 2019 8:17 am

This will make @Seppia cringe :mrgreen:

I prefer a $10 (tops) short (3-3.5" steel blade) pairing knife, preferably committing the sin of choosing a fully serrated blade. This is because that way I can be lazy and basically never maintain it even as I use a dinner plate instead of a cutting board (I cut in a way that only destroys the tip). This is certainly good enough to deal with tomatoes and head lettuce, but because it is short and dull, it sucks for cutting "solid" meat ... which doesn't really bother me as I tend not to eat much meat anyway.

Solvent
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Re: BIFL kitched knife that won't break a budget?

Post by Solvent » Wed May 01, 2019 8:24 am

I have several knives but it's more a result of blending households, inheriting, and that the things seem not to wear out than anything mindful.

I use a big chef's knife for pretty much everything. I don't see the issue for using it vs cherry tomatoes or fruit for example. DW definitely prefers a paring knife for smaller tasks. But then, I've met chinese guys who use a cleaver for absolutely every cutting task. For home chefs, I'd say go with what you're comfortable with.

bigato
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Re: BIFL kitched knife that won't break a budget?

Post by bigato » Wed May 01, 2019 8:57 am

I have a small knife thats handy to peel small vegetables off, and a bigger one made of steel that easily gets rusty. I sharpen it on a cheap double face water stone and because the steel is not some fancy and hard inox stuff, it is very easy to get very sharp. I had another one of these same knives years ago and my marriage lasted less than the knife and wife kept it. This one i have now is likely to last me well into the next decade at least. I can do whatever at kitchen with it. Used to even cut sashimi with it back when I was not vegan. This is all the cheapest stuff you’ll only find at the cheapest supermarkets. This sharpening stone in particular is likely to last multi decades if I don’t drop it on the ground by accident. The wooden knife handle is the likeliest to break several years from now, but by then I hope to have the skills to build a new better one myself.

Campitor
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Re: BIFL kitched knife that won't break a budget?

Post by Campitor » Wed May 01, 2019 9:37 am

I exclusively use an inexpensive 8” chefs knife and rarely use a fillet knife. Forget knives and invest in sharpening stones. So unless you’re a professional chef, stones will let you buy cheap and turn the cheapest knives into sushi quality blades. Videos below for reference.

https://youtu.be/7dFFEBnY0Bo
https://youtu.be/3XW-XdDe6j0

Gilberto de Piento
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Re: BIFL kitched knife that won't break a budget?

Post by Gilberto de Piento » Wed May 01, 2019 10:31 am

I'm surprised there are so many expensive knife enthusiasts here. All my friends have $100+ chef's knives and they feel nice (heavy) and look great but they don't do anything my $40 knife doesn't do.
Forget knives and invest in sharpening stones.
The $3 one from Harbor Freight works fine for me as long as I am careful. I've heard the $20+ sharpening tools are better but I haven't tried one.

Campitor
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Re: BIFL kitched knife that won't break a budget?

Post by Campitor » Wed May 01, 2019 12:37 pm

Expensive knives are only worth it when you’re butchering meat all day. Buying an expensive knife for normal non-professional use is like buying a a navy seal quality dive watch to tell time when swimming in your backyard pool.

A cheap knife with plenty of stiffness and metal should endure hundreds of sharpenings before needing replacement. I’ve worked in professional kitchens helping chefs prep which involved hours of cutting meats and veggies. The only difference I found between expensive and cheap knives is how long expensive knives hold their edge. Cheap knives require more frequent sharpening but that’s in a professional kitchen setting.

My cheap chef knife needs sharpening perhaps every 2 to 3 months depending if I’m deboning meat. Using a cutting board vs a kitchen plate helps. Hard surfaces accelerate dulling.

llorona
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Re: BIFL kitched knife that won't break a budget?

Post by llorona » Wed May 01, 2019 9:02 pm

About 15 years ago, I bought a seven-piece set of Wusthof classic knives. I only use three -- chef's knife, paring knife, and utility knife. These are sturdy knives that come with a lifetime guarantee. I've actually tested this; a piece of a knife handle broke, and the company replaced it without question.

At $90, something like this (chef's knife + paring knife) should last you a lifetime: https://bit.ly/2J82RVT

If you want to go cheaper, I used Pioneer Woman knives at an Airbnb and found them to be pretty good. Here's an example, not that you need the whole set: https://www.walmart.com/ip/The-Pioneer- ... e/53967703

Seppia
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Re: BIFL kitched knife that won't break a budget?

Post by Seppia » Wed May 01, 2019 11:13 pm

jacob wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 8:17 am
This will make @Seppia cringe :mrgreen:
No, yours and other responses just made me think a bit more and finally, your chapter/part of the book called "adequate response" or something came to mind.
I did put a mental note "if you ever visit Jacob, remember to bring your knife" though (well this didn't sound good at all :lol: but in fact I've started to bring my knife to friends' apartments when I cook, because I would get mad at the shittiness of their tools)

In my prior post I was answering through the lenses of my personal experience and use.
I cook every day, I like to cook relatively complex things very often ("complex" vs the average person's definition of it), I also often cook for multiple people (we like to host friends at home), and I have worked in a restaurant for almost a decade.

So my "buy a $100 or so German chefs knife" is akin to the guy/gal who routinely hikes 3000m mountains answering "it's very hard to find a good wind proof /waterproof shell jacket for less than $300".
It is certainly true for him/her, but if I have a 10 min walk commute to work every day then maybe a second hand PVC jacket would be just as fine (or an umbrella for some, but I hate umbrellas).

So I guess the correct answer to the OP is, as often, "it depends", but that's not a fun answer at all, so I'll stick with my "grumpy old chef" stance :lol:

FBeyer
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Re: BIFL kitched knife that won't break a budget?

Post by FBeyer » Thu May 02, 2019 7:42 am

A knife doesn't JUST cut stuff up. It's also a part of the cooking experience. If you enjoy cooking more because your tools enable that, you're not only getting a practical ROI, but also an emotional ROI.

I bought a cheap AF kiwi brand nakiri because we cut a shit ton of vegetables, and that lame knife has seriously upped my enjoyment of mincing a head of cabbage. I can slice quick as fuck with that nakiri; it might not actually cut down the amount of time I spend in the kitched, but the time I DO spend working on the cutting board is much more enjoyable. Hence: great ROI. There is nothing I could have bought for 10$ that would have given both me and my GF the same increased amount of cooking enjoyment, as that nakiri did.


Also @ Seppia: Knives like the one you linked above annoy me slightly. I find that ridge along the back edge of the blade annoying when I'm sharpening them.

Seppia
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Re: BIFL kitched knife that won't break a budget?

Post by Seppia » Thu May 02, 2019 8:41 am

FBeyer wrote:
Thu May 02, 2019 7:42 am
Also @ Seppia: Knives like the one you linked above annoy me slightly. I find that ridge along the back edge of the blade annoying when I'm sharpening them.
I find said ridge to be absolutely necessary for me.
It is there for two main reasons:
one is to prevent bad cuts to your fingers in case your hand slips forward along the handle.
the other one is to have a more centered weight.

it comes down to a matter of preference, most serious knives come in two versions, with and without
here is the model with:
https://www.amazon.com/Zwilling-J-Henck ... B00004RFLI
here is the without:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B007I1PLO4/re ... B00004RFLI

Laura Ingalls
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Re: BIFL kitched knife that won't break a budget?

Post by Laura Ingalls » Thu May 02, 2019 9:24 am

Well if we very have a Top Chef ERE version I want Seppia, FBeyer and Llorona on my team.

Jacob, Gilberto, and Campitor they can be another as long as I am out of earshot of people cutting on plates.

prognastat
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Re: BIFL kitched knife that won't break a budget?

Post by prognastat » Thu May 02, 2019 11:47 am

I have a Victorinox Chef's knife, I've really liked it so far. Can't say how well it will hold up though as I've only had it for less than a year or so and thus can't speak to it's durability.

FBeyer
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Re: BIFL kitched knife that won't break a budget?

Post by FBeyer » Thu May 02, 2019 12:15 pm

Laura Ingalls wrote:
Thu May 02, 2019 9:24 am
Well if we very have a Top Chef ERE version I want Seppia, FBeyer and Llorona on my team.

Jacob, Gilberto, and Campitor they can be another as long as I am out of earshot of people cutting on plates.
I honestly have NO idea how I just got inducted into some faux Allstar Cooking Team, but I'll take it! :lol:

Solvent
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Re: BIFL kitched knife that won't break a budget?

Post by Solvent » Thu May 02, 2019 1:08 pm

FBeyer wrote:
Thu May 02, 2019 7:42 am
I bought a cheap AF kiwi brand nakiri...
I was going to mention kiwi brand but wasn't sure how widespread they are throughout the world. Seriously, I doubt they're BIFL, but I've lost kiwi brand knives before wearing them out so I can't say for sure. I find them remarkably sharp and they're easy to hone with a steel in seconds. And they're <$10.

Cheepnis
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Re: BIFL kitched knife that won't break a budget?

Post by Cheepnis » Sat May 04, 2019 9:03 pm

I received a 7" Wusthof santoku knife as a gift years ago and don't think I really need another knife. I did buy myself a Wusthof paring knife and kitchen shears shortly after getting it and find I don't use the paring knife that much.

It's a $100 knife, but it holds its edge well and cuts anything I need it to cut. If I ever lose it I'll be going down a very similar road because I really like.

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