BIFL kitched knife that won't break a budget?

What skills to learn, what tools to get
SavingWithBabies
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Joined: Mon Aug 31, 2015 2:50 pm
Location: Midwest, USA

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

Post by SavingWithBabies » Sat May 04, 2019 11:24 pm

Because the other knives chipped on you, I wouldn't recommend an expensive knife or at least not an expensive brittle knife (which seems to include ceramic and Japanese steel). So that means you want something a little softer or at least cheap.

I have the Victorinox chef knife too. I like it. We've been using it for a couple of years now and I really should sharpen it but it still cuts well. We also have a Chicago Cutlery chef knife -- I think a duplicate to the other chef knife due to a move. It works well too. Both are cheaper knives -- maybe $20-40? I've read I should also have a decent paring knife but I've been lazy and instead used serrated steak knives from Dollar Tree. I'm in love with their 4 for $1 steak knives. But it has to be the cheap ones not the more expensive ones with the wood handles. These ones:

https://www.dollartree.com/royal-norfol ... cks/143574

Maybe there are similar in your market. I have managed to break one by abusing it -- trying to cut a huge hunk of cold cheese with too much force snapped the handle. But otherwise, they have been rock solid and my hoarding instinct is to go stock up a couple spare packages (but this would anger my spouse and not be particularly wise but they do SPARK JOY).

Getting back to the original question, I think the way to go is an inexpensive chef knife that you learn to sharpen. I don't think the brand matters much (until you know it does). You're probably best off going to a local restaurant supply and buying one that feels good in your hand. And pick up a paring knife too (or go with the alternate serrated knife approach). I do have a ~$100 USD Japanese knife that was a gift from a former employer but it's too sharp for our kid-friendly household, someone chipped it (not me, swear) and a non-immediate family member who has professionally worked in a kitchen for multiple years managed to cut themselves with it. I can't recall where I put it in a safe place or how bad the chip is but I'm hoping one day I can grind it enough to get rid of the chip and learn to use it properly. But that will include keeping it in a special place and not allowing anyone else to use it. So it'll be a hassle and might not end up getting used. It's worth thinking about whether such a situation would apply in your household as it might be more reason to go down the affordable knife route.

oldtom01
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Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2016 3:10 pm

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

Post by oldtom01 » Mon May 13, 2019 11:02 am

I own 3 chef's knifes and gave a 4th this year as a gift.

1. A generic wusthof knockoff. Decent knife, but I've never loved it. I've never been able to get it wicked sharp. The steel is "gummy" a common criticism of lower quality stainless knife steels, if you've ever sharpened high carbon and then sharpened these you'll be able to tell immediately. It doesn't mean the steel is soft or bad, just different. My understanding is that that the grain structure of the hardened steel is larger than nicer steels and causes it to feel weird as you sharpen.

So that was my baseline for the next 3 knives:

I bought these two Japanese stainless knives that are advertised as super-hard:

Nexus:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B079S ... UTF8&psc=1

Global:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06XX ... UTF8&psc=1

Both of these knives are indeed very hard and very very very sharp and retain their sharpness for a long time. I love both these knives. I gave the Nexus to my mom because it was a little too small for my hands, and I kept the Global. It is the nicest knife I've personally ever used and I love it.

Then finally is my Old Hickory:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000F ... UTF8&psc=1

This knife's build quality is absolute shit. But for > $20 you get a nice simple high carbon steel blade. I personally like using this knife. I can get it very very sharp. The downside is that although the steel is nice, Old Hickory doesn't heat treat it as hard it should be so edge retention isn't much better than my Wusthoff knockoff. However it can quickly and easily be sharpened and I personally get good results on a shitty 2 sided oil-stone I keep in the kitchen drawer.

All of these knifes can be found well under $100 and will last you a lifetime.

I like decent tools for the things I do every day, and we definitely cook every day. These knives are all a joy to use, even the Old Hickory in spite of its fit and finish.

Cheers,
Pat

anesde
Posts: 92
Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2019 8:32 am

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

Post by anesde » Tue May 14, 2019 1:12 pm

I think the construction of the knife matters more than brand (for non enthusiasts/serious chefs). I bought a ~7” chefs knife from IKEA that is a single piece of stainless steel a few years back (can’t rememeber price but definitely <£20). It’s gotten dull but easily resharpened. Compared to my SO’s knife set it’s held up much better. Her’s look nice but have wooden handles which have caused 2 of the 4 knives to break over time. That can be dangerous when it happens as the knife just gives out and collapses.

Another key is care - don’t wash in dishwasher, only by hand. Stainless won’t rust but still better off to dry Immediately. Also best to use a cutting board - they’re cheap, effective and versatile.

I’ve had the IKEA knife for 3 years, use it daily, and with a bit of sharpening every 2 months or so it’s the same as when I bought it. I enjoy cooking but I’m definitely not a master chef, and I don’t use it to butcher any meat. About the most for meat would be cutting fillets raw or carving roasts post cooking. Works fine for that + veggies but if you’re looking for serious work on meat it’s probably better to invest in a better option.

bristoldude
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Joined: Tue May 27, 2014 1:01 pm

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

Post by bristoldude » Fri May 17, 2019 12:35 pm

I used to have a bunch of kitchen knives but ended up using a Chinese light cleaver for everything, it was pretty cheap too.

I do take an opinel whenever traveling to make up for shoddy self catering knives.

mferson
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Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2018 9:05 pm

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

Post by mferson » Tue Jun 18, 2019 2:48 am

The Opinel classic line of kitchen knives is fantastic and affordable.

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Bankai
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Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2014 5:28 am

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

Post by Bankai » Thu Jun 20, 2019 12:16 pm

Thanks everyone for the advice. I settled for a pair of Victorinox knives - a chef and a paring one as several people recommended them. So far so good, they appear good quality - definitely better than any knife we had before, and the cost was under £30 for both.

Sclass
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Joined: Tue Jul 10, 2012 5:15 pm
Location: Orange County, CA

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

Post by Sclass » Wed Jun 26, 2019 9:33 pm

It’s amazing what victorinox produces using sheet metal stamping. The pocket knives and plastic handled kitchen knives are very high quality while being mass produced. I had one of the paring knives people mention in this thread. I accidentally melted the handle after using it for ten years.

I’m a big fan of the Swiss Army knives. Great quality at a great price. I had no idea that they were just stampings till I saw the manufacturing videos on YouTube.

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