• We invite you to join UKWorkshop.
    Members can turn off viewing Ads!

Kitchen Knife Set - Recommendations Please?

UKworkshop.co.uk

Help Support UKworkshop.co.uk:

Sawdust=manglitter

Established Member
Joined
14 Feb 2016
Messages
805
Reaction score
218
Location
Nr Cross Hands, South Wales
As the title suggests, I am looking to get myself a nice kitchen knife set, but don’t really know where to start.

Ideally I don’t want to spend more than £200 for a set of around 5 kitchen knives, but would stretch that slightly for the right set.

I do a lot of cooking with fresh ingredients, but I won’t need a bone knife or a cleaver as I (unfortunately for me) live in a meat free house.

As well as being practical knives with decent steel (stays sharp) I would ideally like the knives to also be attractive as I’ll be making a magnetic wooden stand so the knives would be on display. I love the look of Damascus steel knives, but don’t know whether you compromise on edge retention as it’s a mix of layers of different steels.

£200 for a set may sound a lot to some, but based on what i’ve seen it’s also a drop in the ocean compared to some individual knives.

Any recommendations/advice would be greatly appreciated.
 

AJB Temple

Finely figured
Joined
13 Oct 2015
Messages
3,585
Reaction score
812
Location
Tunbridge Wells
The ones most people use are a chefs knife (or Gyuto) 8" or 10" a small paring knife (or Petty in Japanese knives) and a good quality and long serrated bread knife. Either go Japanese or German but make the general purpose chef's knife a good one.

Add other things later if you need them. My next would be a flexible boning knife, and a long slicing life (but I like making Japanese food). A heavy chopper is useful too.

I still have Henckels and Gustav Emil Ern knives I bought when I was 20. These days I mainly use Japanese knives bought in Japan, but these are beyond sensible budgets.
 

Attachments

AJB Temple

Finely figured
Joined
13 Oct 2015
Messages
3,585
Reaction score
812
Location
Tunbridge Wells
The chopper is an old Sabatier. The bread knife is a Gude (German - outside your budget unless you buy used. These are very good). The parer and boner are Gustav and the chefs knife is a Zwilling JA Henckels. These have all had a great deal of use.
 

novocaine

Established Member
Joined
21 Jul 2014
Messages
2,719
Reaction score
455
Location
Warrington
Ignore sets. Buy a good 10" chefs knife and a paring knife. Or of personnally i like japanese style blades like santuko shape but with a western handle. I do almost everything with one. But I'm unusual. Dont bother with Damascus,it looks good ish, till it gets polished away. A posers knife rather than a good knife.
Buy a decent steel. This is way more important and will help keep your knifes sharp. Theres 2 types, one sharpens to an extent the other hones.
Ill type more when im on a computer.
 

AJB Temple

Finely figured
Joined
13 Oct 2015
Messages
3,585
Reaction score
812
Location
Tunbridge Wells
Re Damascus steel. Almost all of the cheap stuff is factory made and awful. I would buy one decent Damascus piece. PM me and I will make some suggestions if you want.

Nothing stays sharp if you use it a lot! Hone it on a ceramic steel, and sharpen when necessary using your preferred method. Almost all of my day to day knives now are Japanese carbon steel. They are super easy to get razor sharp. But they need care as rust film forms easily and they are reactive to acidic foods.
 

AJB Temple

Finely figured
Joined
13 Oct 2015
Messages
3,585
Reaction score
812
Location
Tunbridge Wells
This is a fairly decent Damascus vegetable knife. It is 10 years old, has been sharpened hundreds of times and as you can see the Damascus pattern is "as new". It is good quality, but not a "named maker" and is partly machine made. It would consume a fairly large chunk of your budget unfortunately. If you wanted to, you could peel the skin off a tomato with this.
 

Attachments

Alpha-Dave

Established Member
Joined
18 May 2015
Messages
365
Reaction score
133
Location
Durham
Invest in a good sharpening set up. I use a Spyderco Sharpmaker with the additional ultra-fine rods. That £100 gone quickly, but mine has worked for over 8 years now and will last another decade at least. You can sharpen with some sandpaper on a scrap glass pane, but that’s more effort than I’m inclined to put in.

I have friends who bought expensive knives, but can’t sharpen them, and put them through the dishwasher, also not helping with being sharp.

The ‘pro’ range from Procook or knives&tools are ok for general use (I’m not making sushi), with decent steel but not being expensive. VG10 is a great steel.

Price is not related to performance. I have a 2” french made knife that was a couple of quid in a hardware store in Framlingham that I bought for an impromptu picnic and considered it disposable. Since then it has become a favourite; I can easily put an edge on that which when combined with it <1mm thickness means it slices better than anything else.

The only part of the knife you touch (generally) is the handle. I have enjoyed taking some knives with good blade geometry but poor handles and making new ones. That is very satisfying.
 

Sawdust=manglitter

Established Member
Joined
14 Feb 2016
Messages
805
Reaction score
218
Location
Nr Cross Hands, South Wales
Thank you all for the advice.

So as per ABJ Temple’s first comment the general consensus is to avoid buying a set and get a couple of better knives for the money.

In reality I could probably make do with just a decent pairing knife and bread knife. SWMBO would no doubt ask me where the other knives were if I only bought two, but atleast if they were ‘matching’ with a scope to get a couple more in future to create a matching set then maybe I could stay in her good books 😄

Japanese knives do seem to have a cult following online, and they are attractive looking things too. The sharpening doesn’t bother me, but I saw something about oiling them after washing to prevent corrosion but cant find what kind of oil should be used?
 

Pete Maddex

Established Member
Joined
22 Apr 2005
Messages
9,172
Reaction score
125
Location
Nottingham
Tkmaxx you might have to make a couple of visits but they have some nice knives at very good prices.

I use a smooth steel ( Two cherrys) for touch ups and my waterstones for sharping.

You can also make your own knives and harden them in the bbq

Pete
 

Duncan A

Established Member
Joined
8 Nov 2007
Messages
628
Reaction score
65
Location
Northants
I'm no chef and not interested in super knives but I found the above discussion interesting so I had a look at the knivesandtools website. Some nice knives there, at reasonable prices.
BUT....the sharpening section!!!! Makes the woodworking sharpening options look positively stone age (pun intended). £999 for a Wicked Edge sharpener is a particularly extreme example but it was the price of the Ballistol oil that really got my goat. £8 for the same 50ml that I can get from fine-tools.com for €3.30, or €12.50 for 500ml.
As always, there's a degree of "buyer beware" alongside the "you get what you pay for" experience.
Sorry for the rant guys, it really has been an interesting way to spend half an hour, thanks for the input.
Duncan
 

AJB Temple

Finely figured
Joined
13 Oct 2015
Messages
3,585
Reaction score
812
Location
Tunbridge Wells
Oil: Camellia traditionally. Anything will do. Only applies to carbon steel. Important wipe off and dry after use on reactive foods. Unless you are super keen I would go for a good stainless steel as they tolerate more abuse (but take a lesser edge).
 

craigs

Established Member
Joined
5 Oct 2016
Messages
624
Reaction score
114
Thank you all for the advice.

So as per ABJ Temple’s first comment the general consensus is to avoid buying a set and get a couple of better knives for the money.

In reality I could probably make do with just a decent pairing knife and bread knife. SWMBO would no doubt ask me where the other knives were if I only bought two, but atleast if they were ‘matching’ with a scope to get a couple more in future to create a matching set then maybe I could stay in her good books 😄

Japanese knives do seem to have a cult following online, and they are attractive looking things too. The sharpening doesn’t bother me, but I saw something about oiling them after washing to prevent corrosion but cant find what kind of oil should be used?
thats for carbon steel to help inhibit rusting, Personally I use damascus, but as others have said, decent stuff costs money. I also have a small obsession with Japanese knives, but it can be stupid money, I think i gave over £1500 for these 3 (my sharpening is improving....slowly
)

Shun make decent knives, or Global and you dont have to pay the earth for them.

IMG_20200909_204627.jpg
IMG_20200909_204759.jpg
 

Coyote

Established Member
Joined
26 Dec 2019
Messages
72
Reaction score
38
Location
Gloucester
I inherited a set of Globals with my wife. Whilst I lust after some nice hand made ones, these do a perfectly good job, sharpen well and stay sharp and in all probability could be handed down to our kids in 20 years.

We have a 5 piece version of this:

but the 3 piece is under you budget giving you some spare for a bread knife or a small chef's knife.
 

AJB Temple

Finely figured
Joined
13 Oct 2015
Messages
3,585
Reaction score
812
Location
Tunbridge Wells
Essential to try Global before buying. Metal handle. Love or hate. Both Shun and Global are factory made, stamped (not forged). People who like exotic knives often start with Shun or (better) Kasumi. I have set of Damascus Kasumi (half of which I never use - they were my first foray into Japanese style many years ago) and (like Shun) they arrive razor sharp but are difficult to get back to that condition afterwards. Stainless blades. Damascus has an etched rather than folded look.

Lots of commis chefs start out with Global. Perfectly OK workhorse if you like metal handles.
 

Phil Pascoe

Established Member
UKW Supporter
Joined
29 Jan 2012
Messages
21,527
Reaction score
1,771
Location
Shaft City, Mid Cornish Desert
I worked with scores of chefs over the years and the majority (certainly of the younger ones) used Globals. Most of the rest used Wusthofs or Henckels, which I much prefer as I find the Global handles too small.

My son has decided he likes cooking and has just spent £100s on Dalstrong knives. I've not been allowed to touch them, but although beautiful I wonder if they are style over substance.
 

Sawdust=manglitter

Established Member
Joined
14 Feb 2016
Messages
805
Reaction score
218
Location
Nr Cross Hands, South Wales
Thanks for great suggestions here.

The more I look the more skint I can see me becoming!

I’m loving the sound/looks of the Damascus Kasumi knives, but for a 25cm bread knife, 14cm utility knife and an 8cm parting knife it’s £330 😲... not much more than that and I can upgrade my sander to a Mirka Deros RO sander 😳 (I hope i’m not the only one that always compares the monetary value of random purchases to new tools from the wish list)

There are so many brands and styles of knives in the mid to upper range of knives that it’s pretty confusing/baffling o_O. The thinking cap may be on for quite some time before taking the plunge!
 

Sawdust=manglitter

Established Member
Joined
14 Feb 2016
Messages
805
Reaction score
218
Location
Nr Cross Hands, South Wales
Interesting, Would you put them through a dishwasher to clean them?
I would never put the new decent knives i’d like to get in the dishwasher, i’d want to look after them properly. A bit like having a cheap Faithful block plane and a Veritas/Lie Nielsen block plane, rightly or wrongly I would take a lot more care handling the Veritas/Lie Nielsen blockplane than the Faithful one.
 
Top