Category Archives for "Knives"

May 3, 2016

Best Knife Sharpening System 2017 Revealed

Best Steel Knife Reviews

A good set of knives can last you for decades, but only if you get a good knife sharpening system to go with it. And you don’t even have to spend a lot on your knife sharpening system—many excellent knife sharpening systems cost less than $10 and the most expensive are only around $150, a small price to pay to prolong the life of your knives.

Best Knife Sharpening System 2016

Check out these awesome knife sharpening systems:

  1. Kitchen IQ 50009 Edge Grip 2 Stage Knife Sharpener

This nifty yet affordable device is small enough to fit just about anywhere. It uses carbide blades to sharpen your knives within a few minutes. People also really appreciate its modern, stylish look which can go with any kitchen décor.

  1. Wrenwane Knife Sharpener

Unlike most of the other sharpeners on this list the Wrenwane Knife Sharpener is designed to be held in your hand while you sharpen knives. It features two settings, one for knives that need a significant amount of sharpening and another for blades that only need a light touch up.

  1. Harcas Knife Sharpener

This is another handheld sharpener with an ergonomic handle that makes it perfect for professionals who need to sharpen their knives regularly. It is designed specifically to sharpen steel blades and will not work on blades with serrated edges.

  1. Spyderco Tri-Angle Sharpmaker Knife Sharpener 204M

If you want a fully manual knife sharpening system that allows you to enjoy the feeling of slowly and carefully sharpening your blades, this is it. The Spyderco Tri-Angle Sharpmaker Knife Sharpener comes with everything you’ll need to sharpen a variety of knives as well as an instructional DVD and guidebook to help you do it properly.

  1. DMT WM8EF-WB 8-Inch Duosharp Plus Bench Stone

Want something even simpler than the Spyderco kit? A sharpening stone is the oldest and most well known method of sharpening your knives. The DMT WM8EF-WB can do multiple types of sharpening depending on which side you use and even has a diamond section in the center for extremely fine blades. It also comes with a variety of accessories including a diamond mesh designed to polish your knives and refine the edges.

  1. Presto 08810 Professional Electric Knife Sharpener

If you want something fully automated that will sharpen your knives properly for you, the Presto 08810 Professional is one of your best options. The Presto 08810 comes with multiple sets of blades and thorough instructions on when to use each set of blades. Stage one gives extremely dull blades an edge while stages two and three refine and fully sharpen the edges of your knives.

  1. Chef’s Choice 130 Professional Knife Sharpening System

This is pretty much the ultimate knife sharpening system, ideal for professionals or anyone else who’s already spent a fortune on a good set of knives. It has three different stages, with stage one being 100% diamond. The final stage is a flexible stropping disk which polishes. It’s also tough enough to sharpen blades with serrated edges.

The truth is most people can get away with using any of these knife sharpening systems and what you use is really about personal preference. Only professionals and people who regularly cook for large families actually need highly portable or electric knife sharpening systems, but they’re fun gadgets for anyone to have.

July 22, 2015

Best Japanese Kitchen Knives Review

Best Japanese Kitchen Knives Reviewed

In this compilation of best Japanese kitchen knives reviews, you’ll learn about five of the best such knives currently available. These knives aren’t necessarily considered top end or professional. Yet they should satisfy most chefs for casual or light usage and please home cooks in everyday handling.

Ginsu 04817 International Traditions 14-piece Knife Set

Ginsu 04817 International Traditions 14-piece Knife Set

These stainless steel Ginsu knives have symmetrical, serrated edges. The tangs are riveted in three places and extend all through the length of the handle for sturdiness. Furthermore, the blades come with a limited lifetime warranty. For a 14-piece set it only costs about $30.

Pros:

  • Extremely sharp – they also retain that sharpness very well
  • Cheap
  • Suitable for both right- and left-handed users

Cons:

  • Need care to prevent them from rusting

Conclusion:

Ginsu makes some very nice bargain knives and this set is no exception. For around $30, you will get an 8in slicer, an 8in chef’s knife, a 7in Santoku knife, a 3.5in paring knife, a 5.5in boning knife, a 5in utility knife, six 4.5in steak knives, shears and a wooden storage block. These knives are very sharp due to Ginsu’s symmetrical serrated design, which ensures they stay sharp for a long time to come. But like most knives, they aren’t exempt from rust: you need to always hand-wash and hand-dry them if you’re to avoid stains and corrosion over time.

Ginsu 7108 Chikara 8-piece Knife Set

Ginsu 7108 Chikara 8-piece Knife Set

The knives in this 8-piece set sport full tangs set in traditionally-shaped Japanese handles: cylindrical and smooth, crafted out of resin that is heat-resistant and water-resistant. All are fully-forged and come with a storage block. The set includes a 3.5in paring knife, a 5in serrated knife, a 5in utility knife, a 7in Santoku knife, an 8in chef’s knife, a honing rod and kitchen shears.

Pros:

  • Fully forged (as opposed to being stamped)
  • Very good looking
  • Excellent performance for the price

Cons:

  • The storage block is advertised as bamboo, but actually just has a bamboo veneer with wood underneath

Conclusion:

The second Ginsu set to make this list, this is actually a little pricier than the earlier 14-piece set. That said, it’s also of much better quality. It looks like a set that could cost up to $500, is fantastically sharp, comes with a great honing rod, and also handles beautifully. Considering they’re available for just a little over $60, these knives are a definite steal.

Pure Komachi 2 Series 8” Chef’s Knife

Pure Komachi 2 Series 8inch Chef’s Knife

Available in a variety of colors that extend all the way to the blade, the Pure Komachi knives also offer workmanlike edges on their steel. They are easy to clean and corrosion-resistant due to their color coatings and boast ergonomically designed handles. They are also lightweight for dexterous handling. One chef’s knife costs about $10.

Pros:

  • Beautiful, bright colors
  • Feels great in the hand
  • Very sharp

Cons:

  • Can’t be used to chop anything frozen or through bone

Conclusion:

Distributed by Kai, the Pure Komachi knife series was originally all made in Japan. Production has since moved to China, though, but these are still largely the same knives with bright colors that have fooled many into thinking them ceramic. And they still have wickedly sharp edges. They won’t be good for those who need to cut up bones and frozen meat often, though—you still need a cleaver for that—but in most other matters, they’re fantastic. The coating is great, besides being good-looking, and you can buy different colors to remind you which ones to use for particular foods (to avoid cross-contamination). The coating also makes them highly corrosion-resistant. Add to that a very low price and you have a great knife for the average consumer on your hands.

Japanese Kitchen Cooking Chef Knife – Santoku SR100

Japanese Kitchen Cooking Chef Knife Santoku SR100

This Santoku knife has a 6.5in blade of stainless steel. The steel has been honed to a razor edge and is set in a raw wooden handle. This particular knife costs about $11.

Pros:

  • Cheap
  • Sharp
  • Light in the hand

Cons:

  • Wood on the handle could be better

Conclusion:

This Santoku knife is a great value if you’re in the market for a chef’s knife and can only afford to pay something around $10. Well-honed, balanced, and not bad-looking, this knife could easily become your go-to around the kitchen. It might feel a little too light for some people, but for a Santoku, it actually weighs fine—these knives are more focused on being sharp than heavy. The only issue is the wood: it could be better or at least be treated and finished, but if you don’t mind oiling it up yourself, it should be all right.

Shun DM0718 7in Santoku Hollow-ground Knife

Shun DM0718 7in Santoku Hollow-ground Knife

This Shun knife sports a precision-forged stainless steel blade with a razor-sharp, scalloped edge. The knife is layered multiple times with stainless steel to give it a damascened look, as well as to reduce the possibility of rust. It is set in a sturdy Pakkawood handle. This knife comes with a lifetime warranty and costs about $100.

Pros:

  • Lifetime warranty
  • High-quality steel
  • Excellent build

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Has a little more curve to the blade’s shape than traditional Santoku knives

Conclusion:

The priciest item on the list, it’s also undoubtedly the one with the most quality. With a high carbon VG-10 steel core and 16 added layers of Damascus-pattern stainless steel on top, this is not a knife you can accuse of having been made cheaply, and it shows just from looking at it. Performance-wise, it’s impeccable as well, with exquisite balance and a very comfy handle. It’s also still made in Seki, Japan, so there’s no doubting its authenticity as a Japanese blade.

Summary

The best buy here is based on your needs. Do you want a knife set? Get the 8-piece from Ginsu—it’s actually better quality for just a little more than the other knife set on this list. Then again, if you absolutely can’t pay $60 for the set, you can go with the cheaper option. On the other hand, if a single chef’s knife is what you really want, the best option is easily the Shun with its exceptional craftsmanship. Buyers on a budget will have to settle for either of the other two knives, which are actually excellent knives too if just slightly less well-made than the Shun.

July 22, 2015

Best Steel Knife Reviews – 5 of the Top Reviewed

Best Steel Knife Reviews

The type of steel used to make a knife blade is critical in determining its quality, which is why reviews for the best steel for knives are useful. But it should be mentioned that “type of steel” is not a solitary factor. A knife made with a great steel can still turn out poorly if the process used to shape it is bad.  Similarly, a lower-grade steel can perform quite well if a lot of thought goes into its creation.

That having been said, different steels do have different attributes that make some more or less suitable for blade-making. Here we review several of those most suited for this sort of production.

CPM S90V

CPM S90V

One of Crucible Industries’ bestsellers, this steel is 9% vanadium, 14% chromium, 2.3% carbon and 1% molybdenum. The combination results in a steel perfect for cutting implements as it boasts near-unparalleled edge-holding and resistance to wear. This steel blade will cost you about $250.

Pros:

  • Excellent edge-retention
  • Excellent wear-resistance
  • Very good hardness

Cons:

  • Very difficult to machine

Conclusion:

It should come as very little surprise that the CPM steels make their way to this list. CPM steels are exclusively manufactured by Crucible Industries and boast generally superior traits compared to their non-CPM counterparts.

S90V is no exception: a high-carbon and high-vanadium steel, it has exceptional wear-resistance and edge retention. In fact, in most roundups of favored steels for blade-making, it will be at the top of the list for both those traits. It has great hardness too and above-average resistance to corrosion.

The only problem is that there’s so much vanadium in it that it can be a pain to machine and grind. This significantly raises the cost of blades produced with it, which is why it’s not a common steel for mass-produced knives.

D2

D2

Also known as the semi-stainless steel, D2 gets this moniker from the fact that it just misses the required amount of chromium to qualify as a “stainless steel”. A high-carbon steel, it can hold an edge nicely because of its hardness. This steel will run around $60.

Pros:

  • Very hard and good at holding an edge
  • Common among knife makers
  • Decent rust resistance (nearly at the stainless steel level) for its group

Cons:

  • Very difficult to grind to an edge or sharpen

Conclusion:

D2 is commonly used in producing industrial tools for cutting, but it can actually serve as a good knife steel as well. It’s fairly easy to get hold of and also has a lot of good traits such as above-average edge-retention, superb hardness (you will usually find it among the top 5 for roundups), and nice rust-resistance because of its high levels of chromium. It’s not an easy steel to sharpen, though, and it takes a lot of practice for a knife maker to learn how to impart a fine edge to a D2 blade. It does look pretty good when highly polished, though, since it can have such a nice shine.

CPM M4

CPM M4

M4 gets its name from the high amount of molybdenum in it: it has 5.25% molybdenum, 4% chromium, 4% vanadium, 5.5% tungsten, 1.4% carbon, and small amounts of manganese, silicon and sulfur. This exotic chemistry yields a high-performance steel with excellently balanced characteristics and will be around $150.

Pros:

  • Superb for cutting
  • Great toughness
  • Very wear-resistant

Cons:

  • Rather low resistance to corrosion

Conclusion:

CPM M4 is one of the “big steels” when it comes to crafting cutting implements. It takes an edge beautifully if you know how to handle it and is significantly easier to sharpen than its higher-vanadium-content sibling (the CPM S90V). It can also hold an edge fantastically owing to its toughness.  The only problem is that as far as premium knife steels go, it won’t win any awards in a corrosion-resistance contest. That’s because it doesn’t have enough chromium to make it stainless. It’s not like it’s all that prone to rusting, though: with proper care it shouldn’t ever show a stain.

CPM S30V

CPM S30V

The third CPM steel on the list, S30V is a martensitic steel with a lot of chromium (14%). It also has 4% vanadium for wear resistance, as well as 2% molybdenum and 1.45% carbon for grinding. This one can be purchased for just under $100.

Pros:

  • Good toughness makes it suitable for lower edge angles on blades
  • Excellent balance of attributes
  • Widely used, so a lot of premium cutlery can be bought that uses it

Cons:

  • Being a CPM steel, it can still be expensive

Conclusion:

S30V is one of the most popular knife steels—that’s to be expected when it was engineered specifically for knife creation. It has great toughness, wear-resistance, edge-retention, and very good corrosion-resistance. It won’t win the top award for any of those criteria, but it does stay high enough in the ranks to make it an exceptional all-rounder. In fact, it’s usually ranked above-average in all the criteria for knife steel evaluation. So while it’s not a stellar performer in the sense of blowing away all of the competition, it is a nice steel to choose if you’re unsure about which characteristics to choose for your knife.

Summary

The steel you want should be decided by the use you expect to get out of your knife. People who work in more acidic or saltwater environments should aim for the higher-chromium stainless steels like CPM S90V or CPM S30V, for example, while those who want to focus more on having an unbeatable edge should go for ones like the M4. At the end of the day, the steel you pick needs to be the one that serves you best. So even if someone claims one steel is better than another, you need to contextualize their assertion by asking for details.

July 22, 2015

Wusthof Steak Knives Review – The 8-piece Stainless Steel Set

Wusthof is a brand most will recognize as being among the foremost manufacturers of quality cutlery. This 8-piece steak set is no exception to the brand’s legacy of quality, being made of high-carbon 18/10 stainless steel and presented in a wooden box for gift-giving. It also comes with a lifetime warranty. This set will cost you $80.

Wusthof 8pcsteak 8-Piece Stainless-Steel Steak Knife Set with Wooden Gift Box

Features

  • Made entirely of 18/10 stainless steel
  • 4.5in blades
  • Precision-forged
  • Satin finish
  • Fully tanged and bolstered
  • Mahogany-stained presentation box with wooden construction
  • Ultra-sharp, long-lasting serrated edges
  • Covered by a lifetime warranty

Wusthof Steak Knives

The Wusthof stainless steel steak knives are made of 18/10 stainless steel. That means little to some people, so it may be worthwhile to explain for a moment. 18/10 is a type of steel that has 18% chromium and 10% nickel, hence the name. This is one of the two types of stainless steel most commonly found in good flatware: the other type is 18/08, which has slightly less nickel.

Does that make a difference? Yes. Both chromium and nickel protect iron from rusting. Nickel in particular also adds to its strength and shine. An 18/08 knife will therefore be slightly less sturdy and shiny than an 18/10 one—which tells you that if the price difference is negligible, the latter is the better buy.

Wusthof’s stainless steel knives are in fact as sturdy and shiny as one may expect of their composition and manufacturer. They are well-crafted too. These are precision-forged instruments, which is generally better than the usual stamped type for several reasons.

The entirely stainless-steel construction and forging ensure that these are not light knives. You may not like them if you prefer light steak knives at your table. Most people will like the way they handle, though, as they stay true to the Wusthof brand’s reputation. These are very well-balanced despite their heft, and after using them, you may well appreciate how the weight improves the ease of steak-cutting.

Like all forged knives, these are bolstered. This means less likelihood of your fingers slipping down to the blade while handling it. That matters, given how efficient these knives’ edges are at tearing through meat. They have a single-sided serration that gives them smoother cutting action than double-sided serrated blades, yet also gives them the benefit of edge retention long after most straight blades have lost theirs. Since they are forged, they are also likely to retain their edge for a very long time, meaning you will not need to worry about sharpening them after only a few years.

Appearance-wise, they are very attractive. The clean lines lend themselves well to the distinctively-Wusthof elegance of the high-gloss finish, and they should match your other flatware beautifully. The presentation box itself is not ugly either, but one does feel it could have been made with a little more care. It does not feel half as durable as the knives it holds.

The only real issue with these knives is the slimness of their handles. Some might say the price could be another sticking point, but considering the quality that goes into them and the warranty backing their purchase, this is more than arguable. The handles, on the other hand, are admittedly on the slim side. Average hands will find them perfect, but people with larger hands may wish they had more thickness as well as length.

Nevertheless, these are still rather nice steak knives from a very good manufacturer. They may not be “bargain buys”, but they can certainly make a statement at a formal or special dinner—and they would not lead to your embarrassment were you to send them as a gift to someone either. With a 4.4 star rating, this is a nice set of knives.

Comparison

It might profit us to compare the Wusthof stainless steel knives to some others at this point, specifically the JA Henckels International Stainless Steel 8-piece Steak Knife Set and the Rada Cutlery S6S 6-Piece Serrated Steak Knife Set. The Wusthof and Henckels are both European brand sets, so that may account for the difference in styling when compared to the US-made Rada set.

All three are all-metal knife sets, although the Rada knives are equipped with aluminum handles instead of stainless steel ones. This makes them less attractive (especially over time, as the aluminum finish dulls) than the European sets, but they are also cheaper costing around $25. In fact, the Rada knives cost the least, although that may also be because there are fewer of them in the package.

The middle-priced Henckels set (which is less than half the cost of the Wusthof at about $40) is advertised as being made of 18/10 stainless steel too. However, there have been reports of them rusting nonetheless, which may indicate poorer quality manufacturing than the Wusthof set. In the hand they feel fairly similar—perhaps a touch slender for big-handed people, like the Wusthof knives—but the Wusthofs do end up being preferable after some use. The Wusthofs have slightly more weight to them as well as longer blades.

The Rada knives, on the other hand, have even shorter blades at 3.5 inches. Most people will likely prefer the half-inch of length added to the blade on the Wusthof knives. There is also the fact that the Rada ones are quite short and may be best for people with hands on the smaller side: the handle is just another 3.5 inches, approximately, and that can make them uncomfortable to use for some.

On the whole, the Wusthofs present and handle the best of all sets. However, they are also the priciest, so that needs to be weighed against their good points. Buyers on a budget may opt for the Henckels steak knives if they want something for “fancy dinners”; those who want to save as much money as possible and do not care about dull-looking handles later should try the Rada ones.