Looking for advice on possibly upgrading my knives.

MamFish7 | Apr 16, 201511:52 AM     9

I have been enlightened by folks on this forum (and a few others). Now I’m here to ask you all for some advice. I have gotten some money that I’d like to use to buy some knives I’ve been wanting. I knew what I wanted, until I looked for a discount code for the company and came across these wonderfully informative forums. I’ve been thrilled with my knives for 13 years, but now I find out there’s something better; and maybe for the same price.

I’m at the age and place in life that I want to buy the best for my needs and I want to buy things that are going to last. As I’ve replaced items and added items to my kitchen I’ve researched my purchases extensively. When I bought my knives, I was not as wise, and didn’t even think of researching. The young man sat in my kitchen telling me all about them and I said “Wait. I want to USE the knives.” I pulled out all kinds of fruits and veggies from my frig and was amazed at how easy it was to cut with these (expensive) knives. I had always used serrated knives because I’d never met a straight edge knife in anyone’s kitchen that could cut. I had a few 6” fine serrated knives, one serrated paring knife, a bread knife, and a serrated butcher knife that was really difficult to use. I’d been using knives like these for 16 years. It was all I knew. I replaced them all that day with those expensive knives the young man was selling. I don’t regret my purchase, though I now know I could’ve done better. I didn’t know that then.

Now I’m debating whether to just stick to the brand I have and get the few other knives that I want or begin replacing them with something else. I like having my knives match, but I think I could get over that. That sounds silly just typing it out... if I know there’s something better for the same price, why wouldn’t I try it?

So, here’s my situation: I cook for a family of seven. My three oldest are often helping in the kitchen. They are all adept at using our current knives. Since I also homeschool, we’re making three meals a day for everyone. We use our knives a lot. We eat a lot of fruits and veggies and make almost everything from scratch. We cut almost no raw meat. I read somewhere that the Japanese knives are better at veggies than German knives, so that’s what I was considering. I also read that the Japanese knives hold an edge longer. That’s a plus to me. I don’t have any incredible knife skills, but I’m cutting a lot of stuff every day. I’ve stuck with using 6” serrated knives because they’ve worked. I’ve read all the posts that say you should do almost everything with a chef’s knife, but I never used one except for melons and such. Even with my supposedly great, expensive chef’s knife, I can’t slice an onion very straight. I guess if I had a knife that worked, I might enjoy re-learning how to cut, rather than using a smaller knife for everything.

After all my reading on the forums (for two days now), I’m thinking a lower priced Japanese knife might be what I want to try. MAC Pro, Tojiro, Fujiwara (only big knives?). I don’t know about Shun prices. Some folks have said they’re not worth the extra price.

I know I need to hold the knives before I decide. I was just wondering if you think these brands might be a good fit for my needs or if there are any others. Do you all think it’s better to try a Japanese knife? As far as sharpening, my husband’s face lit up at the thought of learning a new skill (he’s a tinkering kind of handy man). Actually, I probably wouldn’t notice them getting dull for a while since it’s been 13 years and I’ve never sent my knives in for free sharpening (gasp). I have noticed a difference lately, though, so I’m going to send them in soon.

If I were to buy just one knife, to see what I’ve been missing/whether I would like something better than the knives I have; would you recommend getting a larger (chef/gyuto) knife or a utility/petty knife, since that’s the size I’m used to working with? I think I might like the santoku style.

Some other questions:

Do you recommend NOT storing knives in a block? What about cutting on plastic mats? Those have been so handy because we can just put them in the dishwasher and don’t have to wash off a cutting board (what seems like) ten times a day.

I would also like to get a decent cleaver for my husband. He smokes pork and would like to have a cleaver to chop it after it’s off the bone. Should I just try to find one at a local Chinese grocery, as some have suggested? It doesn’t need to be the best thing, but it’d be nice if it held up for years to come.

And I just remembered... My husband uses a Rapala filet knife. If there’s something nicer/better out there, that would make a nice Father’s Day gift. Any ideas on that?

I hope all this has made sense. I’m looking forward to your input. I have been amazed at the wealth of information I’ve found on these forums! It’s a world (of knives and metals) I never knew existed. My husband’s a mechanic and he knows the value of a quality tool.

Thanks for any advice.

Want to stay up to date with this post? Sign Up Now ›

More from Chowhound

You'll Have Zero Beef with These Delicious Veggie Burgers
Recipe Round-Ups

You'll Have Zero Beef with These Delicious Veggie Burgers

by Caitlin M. O'Shaughnessy | Interest in veggie burgers has been rising for a while now (along with the general surge in plant...

5 Guacamole Mistakes You’re Making

5 Guacamole Mistakes You’re Making

by Dan Koday | Guac seems simple, but there are many ways it can go wrong—hence, these tips on how to make the best...

Upgrade Your Taco Tuesday with These Fresh Fruit Salsas
Recipe Round-Ups

Upgrade Your Taco Tuesday with These Fresh Fruit Salsas

by Jen Wheeler | Looking for a way to liven up your Taco Tuesday—or any summer dinner? Want something more than a sauce...

The Crispiest Fish Tacos Depend on a Surprising Secret Ingredient You'll Never Guess
Food News

The Crispiest Fish Tacos Depend on a Surprising Secret Ingredient You'll Never Guess

by Amy Schulman | Esteban Castillo was raised in Santa Ana, California, surrounded by palm trees and a population that...

Get fresh food news delivered to your inbox

Sign up for our newsletter to receive the latest tips, tricks, recipes and more, sent twice a week.