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 Post subject: Which Knives to choose: Wusthof, Henkel, MAC
PostPosted: Fri Feb 28, 2014 2:28 pm 

Joined: Fri Feb 28, 2014 1:57 pm
Posts: 11
Hi, i am new to this forum and new to the world of knives. currently i have a set of Rada knives - 8" chef, tomato knife http://www.radacutlery.com/kitchen-knives/rada/tomato-knife-slicer, 6 steak (non serrated), butcher and a long one, not sure what its called. the problem is they dont hold and edge. 90% of the time i use the steak knife to do my cutting and i have to sharpen it every time i use it which is daily. probably not the thing to do but i want to get on the right path. My wife hates them and complains every time she has to use them. thus i am now in the market for new knives. this weekend i went to the home and garden show and came across Cutco. seemed like good knives cut good but the price was very high and most of the knives were serrated which i dont want. i decided not to buy and do some research. there are three that seem to be in my price range getting better reviews than cutco but i am still unsure. the three are Wusthof Grand Prix or Classic, Henkel Four Star II, and the MAC professional. my wife and i are doing the paleo diet so we mainly eat a lot of meat, beef (ribs and brisket), chicken, pork (pulled), fish and a lot of fresh vegetables. plus i make a lot of brushetta so i use a straight edge knife to cross cut a tomato then slice to get a diced tomato. i dont use the tomato slicer because it doesnt do good job cross cutting and then slicing.

I really like the MAC Pro knives but they say they are not dishwasher safe and must be hand washed. why is that? i dont see that with the wusthof or henkel.

currently i am looking to get an 8" chef, either 5 or 6" utility, maybe Santoku or boning knife and a set of 6 steak knives. do these sound reasonable for what cutting meat and vegetables? plus the way i cut a tomato is big to me and serrated knives dont seem to do a good job of this. confused on the chef or Santoku. would someone need both or just one?

what is a hollow edge knife? i see those offered in the chef knives. would you suggest that over a straight edge knife?

now the big question. which brand would you suggest? i have done a lot of reading and wusthof and henkel seem to be pretty close together in the opinion poll. MAC seems to get the nod over both of them when it comes to holding an edge. the non dishwasher safe bothers me but maybe it shouldnt. i have pots and pans i cant put in the dishwasher. i am so confused

your help and suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


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 Post subject: Re: Which Knives to choose: Wusthof, Henkel, MAC
PostPosted: Fri Feb 28, 2014 2:45 pm 
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Dishwashers are harsh environments.....hard on the handles especially. It won't destroy a knife to go in the dishwasher once...well, at least any of the one's you mentioned...but banging around will dull the edges faster, and the soap ruins the handle and can discolor/dull/etc. the blade.

Always best to handwash nice knives.

The knife styles you're looking at are okay. I wouldn't get both an 8" chef and a santoku though.....the santoku is less useful than the 8" chef knife. If you want a santoku, get a 9 or 10" chef's knife and only then I'd get both if someone wanted the smaller size of the santoku.

Avoid hollow edge knives like the plague. Enough said?

Between the three you listed, I'd get the Mac every time.

However, I would suggest other knives over the Mac.

A Mac Pro like this one:

http://www.chefknivestogo.com/macprmichkn8.html

Is $160 and will not outperform:

http://www.chefknivestogo.com/fufkmgy21.html

Now, that said, there is a difference in profile. The Mac has a more traditional Western profile.....more belly. The Fujiwara has a flatter profile. That could be a deal killer for you. Also, the Mac would have better fit & finish....but if you're after pure performance, I wouldn't get the Mac over the Fujiwara.



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 Post subject: Re: Which Knives to choose: Wusthof, Henkel, MAC
PostPosted: Fri Feb 28, 2014 3:08 pm 
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Joined: Sun Feb 02, 2014 6:19 am
Posts: 313
+1 to everything Adam said

I find Henkel and Wusthof knives are generally not a go to recommendation on the site (not that they're bad knives) IMO most people including myself prefer the harder steel that Japanese knives offer, as well as the lighter weight and thinner Grinds. The Tojiro DP series, Fujiwara and Richmond Artifex Will all offer A step up in performance over the Henkel and Wusthof knives. And be a good introduction into Japanese knives.

Most all knives will not be dishwasher safe, like Adam said it's hard on the handles and blades, and any of your quality knifes should be hand washed dried and put away.

Here's a few knives that should be a considerable upgrade and are not that expensive.
http://www.chefknivestogo.com/kohetsublue1.html
http://www.chefknivestogo.com/fufkmgy21.html
http://www.chefknivestogo.com/riar21.html
A really nice three-piece set to get started http://www.chefknivestogo.com/tojiro3pcset.html


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 Post subject: Re: Which Knives to choose: Wusthof, Henkel, MAC
PostPosted: Fri Feb 28, 2014 3:23 pm 

Joined: Thu Mar 21, 2013 7:06 pm
Posts: 221
Strongly agree with Adam. Fujiwara will wow you. It is less money than the others because most people haven't heard of it and they don't spend money in advertising and branding. They are sturdy, handles are very nice, are an attractive looking blade, and will shock you when you first cut with it. The one Adam linked is a little over 8 inches and should be exactly what you are looking for. Agree with Adam that a santoku is redundant, but if you are looking for a second knife so you can both use them at the same time Fujiwara makes one http://www.chefknivestogo.com/fufkmsa18.html. I would say stay in the line and get the 150 petty knife as well, as it is right about six inches, but unfortunately currently out of stock.

The tojiro is also a very nice knife for the price and is in stock. http://www.chefknivestogo.com/topakn12.html. You can use this knife as a boning knife, just around bones through connective tissue, never through bones (true of any boning knife). For steak knives, I'd save money and get Victorinox http://www.chefknivestogo.com/forschner ... nives.html, or cheaper yet try to find Victorinox fibrox somewhere. Or even cheaper. These will be knives used on glass/ceramic plates more than likely so trying to have something with a fine edge is near impossible to maintain.

Going this route should save you money over the bigger brands while getting you knives that will outperform them, barring maybe Mac. With the money you save, I would start thinking about how you will keep them sharp, which is another conversation that can be addressed if you ask. The best knives on the planet dull eventually.

And yes, any of those knives, whether they say so in their descriptions or not, would be damaged by frequent trips to the dishwasher. Bad for handles, bad for edges, and generally not good to bang around sharp things and then reach your hand in to retrieve them. Takes a few seconds to hand wash, and will help keep your knives tip top.

As for hollow edge stuff, they just don't seem to add anything to the knife and substantially reduce the usable life span. Their stated purpose of reducing sticking never seems to amount to anything real, and when you sharpen the knife enough to get into the grantons/hollows, it becomes almost impossible to create a good edge.

Hope this helps, and good luck. Just looking here means you're likely to be upping your game big time.


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 Post subject: Re: Which Knives to choose: Wusthof, Henkel, MAC
PostPosted: Fri Feb 28, 2014 5:14 pm 

Joined: Wed Feb 20, 2013 2:22 am
Posts: 733
Although it's not sexy, we should go back to basics. Do you know how to sharpen? How do you sharpen your current knives? A good (human) sharpener can get any knife screaming sharp. Whether it retains that edge is another story. You should develop some baseline sharpening skills no matter which knife you choose. Pick out a modest sharpening kit and practice on that Rada chef knife. You might surprise yourself. I am a big fan of the Edge Pro for sharpening, but you will find a large contingent on any knife forum that espouses freehanding.

The dishwasher arguement has got to go. I have good (and not so good) knives, Calphalon pans, antique split cane fly rods, collectable firearms... None of the above has ever seen a dishwasher. Capiche? 30 seconds with a sponge and windex is all it takes.

Many on here are likely champing at the bit to get you into a feather light and laser sharp Japanese knife. I know I am. But be aware that these knives are seen as inherently fragile due to the combination of hardness and thinness so may not be a good choice unless care is used. But once you use one even the best European style knives seem unneccesarily clumsy and heavy.

My plan of attack would be to acquire your sharpening kit and a single Japanese Gyuto. I would listen to and accept the dire warnings but would still go for one that is somewhat thin. You can learn the pecadillos of the Japanese knife on soft foods while using your newly sharpened Rada on the heavier tasks. By the time you have worked your sharpening mistakes out on the Radas your new Japanese knife *might* need to be touched up. FWIW, this is the exact course of action that I took.

My recommendations for low, medium, and high end would be:
http://www.chefknivestogo.com/goko.html
http://www.chefknivestogo.com/rikoaosu24gy.html
http://www.chefknivestogo.com/rilaaosu24gy.html

Finally, do your knives a favor and get a nice big thick wooden cutting board. End grain maple is the best, and simple functional examples can be found quite cheaply on the internet. I like those made by Michigan Maple. You can get nicer boards here and elsewhere, but you will pay for a premium for the obvious craftsmanship. Restaurant style poly boards are OK and glass boards are a certain path to an instantly dull knife.

Cheers,

Rick


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 Post subject: Re: Which Knives to choose: Wusthof, Henkel, MAC
PostPosted: Fri Feb 28, 2014 5:58 pm 

Joined: Fri Feb 28, 2014 1:57 pm
Posts: 11
Thank you all very much for the great comments and suggestions. I am definitely going to go with either MAC or one of the ones you suggested. I will need to look at them when I get home tonight. For some reason the links are blocked at work. Having to respond on iphone.

Are all the Japanese knives consider thin? I would like a nice sturdy knife.

Thanks for the tip on cutting board. I will make sure to get one. I would like some assistance on a good sharpening kit. Again, since I have rada knives I have a rada sharpener which is basically two washers, overlapped mounted on a stand.


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 Post subject: Re: Which Knives to choose: Wusthof, Henkel, MAC
PostPosted: Fri Feb 28, 2014 7:10 pm 

Joined: Thu Mar 21, 2013 7:06 pm
Posts: 221
There are exceptions but generally japanese knives are thin. When people talk about thicker, heavier duty japanese knives, they usually are still thinner and lighter than western knives. None of these knives will be able to hack through bones or pry through frozen food. You keep your Rada on hand for that kind of work.

Some of the knives recommended have been carbon; I would recommend sticking to stainless for now for you. I feel the Fujiwara is a good recommendation for you because it is a bit of a softer steel (less prone to chipping, more forgiving, but won't take as steep an edge as long. Still will outlast what you've been using many times over if treated well). Mac would also be like this, not super hard steel. Mac is a great knife, don't get us wrong here, just not necessarily the best value.

The knife will still feel sturdy. Will feel sturdy crushing garlic, plenty stiff for chopping power. It just will feel lighter and sharper out of the box than anything you've likely experienced. There are some japanese knives that are very thin, even relative to other japanese knives (often referred to as lasers). These would likely feel less sturdy to you and require a little more care. Probably not your best bet at this point, but you could definitely adjust.

As for sharpening, pull through sharpeners, diamond rods, electric sharpeners...all generally frowned upon for Japanese knives. There are clamp and jig systems like edge pros that are said by many to work great, but are pricy. I learned just free handing on stones. Practice on your Rada and you'll pick it up quickly. Exact angles aren't important, just that you build muscle memory and hold whatever angle you start with stiff wristed. You can do it. In a couple months your edges will be better than factory. Less time with lots of practice.

Generally the idea is a coarse (320-500 grit), medium (800-1500) and fine (4000-6000). You can start with just the medium stone really, and add the others later. Most factory edges are in this range. There are many sets assembled in this store http://www.chefknivestogo.com/shstse.html. Or you can one at a time it. There are videos on YouTube to help you with technique.

Sorry for the long post, just wasn't that long ago that I was in your shoes. Can all be overwhelming, but really it's pretty easy once you get to it. And makes cooking way more enjoyable, most importantly.


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 Post subject: Re: Which Knives to choose: Wusthof, Henkel, MAC
PostPosted: Fri Feb 28, 2014 7:35 pm 
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Umm, can't really do much but +1 Luca!! :)



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 Post subject: Re: Which Knives to choose: Wusthof, Henkel, MAC
PostPosted: Fri Feb 28, 2014 8:08 pm 

Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 6:20 am
Posts: 1841
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
What they said!

No dishwasher.

Get stones, learn to use 'em.

Highly recommend Fujiwara FKM in this application.

Alternatively, less expensive still yet is a Victorinox. It is not a sexy choice but it is inexpensive and every bit the performer a Wusthof or Henckels would be.


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 Post subject: Re: Which Knives to choose: Wusthof, Henkel, MAC
PostPosted: Fri Feb 28, 2014 9:22 pm 
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Joined: Sun Oct 21, 2012 1:34 pm
Posts: 343
I own 2 MAC original series knives. The 9 inch and 5 inch.
If you want a sturdy knife, MAC is not for you. At least not in the original series, they are pretty thin.
They work very well for slicing, and in a pinch the 9 inch can do some chef knife duties.
Several of the people above have given you great recommendations as to alternatives.

I have Japanese, German, and American knives here. The majority of the Japan knives have harder steel, and the blades are generally thinner. That means they cut food more easily.
You should always have a "beater" knife, like the Voctorinox described above for heavy duty tasks like prepping root vegetables, watermelon, pineapples.


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