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Knife question(s)

noboundaries

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A ton of great information here, but knife buying is only half the issue. They will need sharpening at some point.

I'm not a professional chef, not even close, but I do the vast amount of kitchen food prep and indoor/outdoor cooking/smoking/grilling/baking here at home. A sharp knife is a joy to use. When one push or pull slices effortlessly through a hard veggie or hunk of meat, it gives amazing feedback and sense of control.

The vast majority of our knives have a Rockwell hardness rating between 54 and 58. Steel source is Germany, Spain, and Japan. $50 is our most expensive knife. 54-58 is considered softer steel by knife pros. BUT, with a good sharpening, those babies hold an edge for months to a year or more with normal kitchen use and a quick hone on a steel.

I recently stopped using an electric sharpener because it was starting to damage my knives. Back when I was working, I didn't have the time or desire to stone sharpen knives. Now that I have the time, I've returned to stone sharpening.

I bought a cheap set of stones to bring back the muscle memory and see it if was something I wanted to do again. The skills returned quickly, especially by examining the worked edge with an $8 lighted coin 60x microscope (Amazon) instead of just feel and paper slicing. It's incredible to see the edge, flaws, and shavings with that tiny device. The joy of stone sharpening returned. It's like meditating with feedback. And friggin' addicting!

Now, it you think shopping for knives is confusing, stone shopping can drive you to madness. I'll be buying better stones soon.

The lighted 60x coin microscope is shown below. It rides along the edge and reveals incredible detail.
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noboundaries

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They do require hand washing and will rust if not dried promptly.
I recently received my first carbon steel knife. Use, clean, dry, and a light coating of food grade mineral oil keeps it like new. Wipe when ready to use again.
 

smokininidaho

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For a very good, cost effective knife to start out with - just to see what you like, try Old Hickory. The arrive sharp, hold an edge well, and are relatively inexpensive. They do require hand washing and will rust if not dried promptly.

www.amazon.com/s?k=old+hickory+knives&crid=1V7I9CHU5X3B2&sprefix=old+hickory%2Caps%2C188&ref=nb_sb_ss_ts-doa-p_1_11
The Old Hickory knives are a good value, they have been around a long time. I use the old Chicago Cutlery knives circa '70's-'80's. These are great old knives and can be found relatively cheap. I just keep the walnut handles nourished with food grade mineral oil and beeswax and the blades sharpened on a 1000 then 3000 whetstone, then leather strop and I could shave with them. Your best bet would be to learn how to sharpen on a whetstone. You can make even a cheap knife razor sharp. You could probably save yourself some money by just sharpening the knives you have using this method.
 
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noboundaries

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Ryky Tran s knife sharpening videos (the guy in the one above) are awesome. I use a different sharpening stroke but like his honing countdown. I never got the hang of the push/pull.
 

rohfan2112

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Get a Mercer. They make great knives. For the price there is none better. I got this one for $12 and it's my favorite knife:

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FoxmanNC

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Ordered, received, and used my first westone on my old Henkles. I have a lot to learn about sharpening, but these are sharper than they have been on well over 20 years. $22.99 on Amazon


IMG_4572.jpg.f27a07e1c82d3fa22a7c1c603eee1488.jpg
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smokininidaho

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Glad to hear it. Take your time, go slow, keeping the same angle is the most important part. I just use the pressure of my fingers on the blade both push and pull strokes. You will gain muscle memory after doing it for a while.
 

callmez

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All of that advice on care and sharpening is good. Some can never seem to manage a stone, but there are a number of gadgets out there that do a fine job for those who can't hold the angle on a stone. It's up to you, how good you are with your hands, and if it's a pastime for you or just a chore.

I used to use diamond benchstones, which are great. But anymore when I break out the sharpening stuff I tend to do a lot of knives at once (maybe the neighbor's too) so I have gone to a WorkSharp sharpener with completely adjustable bevels for the back bevel and finishing on a Spyderco Sharpmaker. I can fly through a big pile of knives and get them more than sharp enough for our needs in no time at all.

As for carbon steel, we have a handful that see use in the kitchen but it's almost always me using them. You have to accept them tarnishing to a darker color over time, and I guess she'd rather use the shiny ones. That's OK, it means that they are usually sharp when I reach for the carbon steel blades!
 

smokinmikey

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C callmez Excellent! Thank you for your input. I value that wisdom.
I am a newbie to smoking and bbq and have been following this knife thread. As a woodworker I use a hand grinder to shape and waterstones or diamond plates to sharpen. For Knives I am goinf to buy a few Old Hickory form these guys:
https://www.knivesplus.com/OLD-HICKORY-KNIVES.HTML Old Hickory has always used 1095 carbon steel and the price is dirt cheap.
 

1MoreFord

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I have an old phenolic handled blocked set of Chicago Cutlery that meets my needs. Chefs, slicer, utility, boning, and paring along with a decent honing steel.

Another brand I've heard good things about is Kiwi. Import knives that are quite cheap but I've never heard a bad thing about them. Available on Amazon and Ebay.
 

Steve H

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I have a bit of a habit of collecting knives, one of my weird habits, nothing really fancy or anything. But I tend to buy things that appear to have a good price and look like they are of decent quality.
I bought this set awhile back. And really like them.
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The specs aren't too shabby. Though, at this hardness some say you'll need to sharpen them often. Which hasn't been my case. And if they do. That's no biggie. And when I got them. They were selling for 13.00 shipped via Amazon.
They just went on sale again. Only for 24.00 this time.
 

mike243

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I like that case for traveling Steve , I have a Stanley set that I use in my camper, nothing fancy but works well and easy to sharpen.
 

Steve H

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I like that case for traveling Steve , I have a Stanley set that I use in my camper, nothing fancy but works well and easy to sharpen.
Here is my traveling kit. These knives are also pretty decent

PA240005.JPG
 

boykjo

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Dexter Russel makes very good knives at reasonable prices. I have a couple with high carbon steel blades. These blades hold an edge well but will rust easily. I have a couple of Tojiro knives with VG-10 blades that are rust resistant and hold an edge very well.
I agree with whislepig. Dexter Russel makes great knives at reasonable prices and they have a large selection too. Their knives are usually used in the restaurant
business.

Boykjo
 

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