Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Knives!!

So i was asked recently to talk about knives in an email.

"I've always wanted to ask a chef, maybe you could put this on your blog: how do you find a good deal on knives? Like there are knives out there that are like $400 and then there are $25 knives. How can you tell which knives are good? How can you tell when you're getting a good deal?"

There are many different styles of knife available to chefs these days with varying price ranges from $20 to thousands. The different style of knife you choose should depend on what you are doing with it, how it feels in your hand (comfort factor) and durability.

There are three main types of knife construction on the market today. Stamped, forged and folded steel.

STAMPED

Stamped knives are made from template cutters that cut the shape of the knives into flat metal. Stamped knives are lighter but don't have the same quality and balance as the forged knives do. Due to the lack of density, the stamped knives don't hold edges as well as the forged knives. Stamped knives are usually less expensive.

FORGED

Forged knives undergo a treatment process to enhance the flexibility, density, and hardness of the knife. Forged knives tend to be heavier than stamped knives but are much better balanced. Forged knives are hand made through a process of extreme heat and hand moulding. Each knife is carefully and hand crafted with extreme detail. The tang of the knife merges into the handle and is typically secured by three rivets.

FOLDED

Folded steel knives are the top of the line in both construction, aesthetic and materials used. Most folded knives are Japanese in construction which use a different composite alloy. Unlike stamped and forged knives folded knives start out as a block of steel that is pounded flat and folded in on it self and pounded flat again. This process gradually forms the shape of the knife creating a superior edge and sharpness. Most Japanese knife companies make knives in both traditional Japanese style and western style knives.

Japanese Style

Western Style Japanese Knives

The choice is up to you. expect to pay any where between $20 and $75 for stamped knives, $80 - $200 for forged knives and $80 - $3000 for folded steel Japanese knives. If you are interested in a nicer knife i recommend getting something on the lower end and taking some classes in knife sharpening or looking it up on the Internet. A personal favorite brand of mine though is the Shun, which can be found here: http://www.kershawknives.com/searchresults.php?brand=shun&search_by=searchform&searchvalue=shun&x=0&y=0. Both versatile and affordable it's a great knife for beginners and professionals alike (because of the price point i don't mind destroying them in my kitchen)

Shun