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Offline Formo  
#1 Posted : Tuesday, January 8, 2013 8:03:54 PM(UTC)

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Ok, so I'm looking at getting a decent set of cutlery for my wifey's Christmas present (haven't done my side's Christmas gathering yet) and my initial thought was to get a 5 peice set.. until I saw the price ($260). I know they probably are a great set, but not without steak knives or a storage block. That said, I ran across this set and wanted to get some cooks' opinions:

Also, is Chicago Cutlery any good?
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Offline macbob  
#2 Posted : Tuesday, January 8, 2013 9:21:02 PM(UTC)

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My wife has a set of Chicago Cutlery. Ours is way older--they have wooden handles--we've had them for years. I like them and they've held up well.

I asked my wife and she says the Chicago Cutlery knives are not the ones she uses the most, though. She has replaced some of the Chicago Cutlery knives in her block with Victorinox, which she tried because they were highly rated by Cook's Magazine. She says Cooks rated them as high or higher than much more expensive knives. They have black fibrox handles (don't look as nice/fancy) but they are her favorite to cook/prepare food with.

Here's a couple of links with similar sets/knives:

Don't know if this helps.
Online Dulak  
#3 Posted : Wednesday, January 9, 2013 4:08:35 AM(UTC)

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Wow - funny enough I looked to see if they sold my wife's knives in the states (they make em here in the UK) - and they do err least they have a office here and in a suberb of racine none the less.

btw these are top quality knives - Im not a cook but my wife loves cooking and using good stuff to do it with. Ive used em and they work well - sharp sturdy strong etc ... not cheap sh*t.

She's got 4 of the knives pictured below -

any more questions ask away

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Offline Wade  
#4 Posted : Wednesday, January 9, 2013 7:11:33 AM(UTC)

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My first question would be "How into cooking is your wife?" If she's seriously into it, you might consider just buying one high-end knife.I've only bought one $50 knife in my life (one of my two Cutcos), though I dream of getting some of them, especially some of the really high end Japanese chef knives. But even in the $25-40 range I'm operating in, I generally only buy one at a time.

Amateur cooks tend to be an idiosyncratic lot. Some will use one kind of knife a lot, others won't use it hardly at all. Many like the classic French chef's knife; I've never had one. Some never use a Santoku, or use it only "as directed" for vegetables. I use mine as a utility knife for just about everything. So you might consider, even if she's not a cooking nut like zombieslayer or me, just getting her a block and one knife (best bets, in no particular order: slicer, carver, utility, Santoku, chef's, bread knife) plus a good paring knife and a set of steak knives. It'll look weird when you give her a block and only knives for a couple of its holes, but she knows which knives in her current collection she'll keep using even if she's got a brand new one that is "better".

One of the knives in my block must be between 50-75 years old by now (it may have been my late maternal grandmother's, who died before I was born.. Looks like crap, has been sharpened enough that its original shape is lost -- looks like something you'd pick up for a dime at a garage sale; yet just like my antique sand wedge (which *is* older than I am), for some tasks, its still the knife of choice.

A slicer (perhaps with a good "granny fork") if you eat lots of pork/beef roasts/hams. A chef's knife if she does a lot of prep; a Santoku (sp? Its a kind of knife, not a brand) if the prep involves lots of veggie cutting. High end = Wusthof, Henckels, some Japanese brand I can't remember (whatever the Japanese guy on Iron Chef uses). I don't own a single knife of any of these, so I'm going on reputation only. High end Victorionox probably, too.

Good bread slicers are amazing, and usually not as expensive as the other knives, whatever the price range.

Pay a lot of attention to handles and how they feel in the hand. Unibodies like those in the picture are fine. Don't buy any multi-piece handles unless they have a tang running entire length of the handle, preferably with three rivets, especially for the larger knives. Not only will the handles not hold up as well, but a company that stints on the handle probably is stinting on the blade as well.

Assuming you stay with the set idea...

1. I have a set of low end Victorionox steak knives. Ugly black handles, but very good knives. They are scary sharp. Based on them, I would expect other Victorionox knives to be very good. IMO, Victorionox makes good stuff. Easily the best "swiss army" knives (like the one I used to carry in pre-Patriot Act days). They also make fantastic luggage. High quality construction in everything they do. I don't think you'd go wrong here.

2. Chicago Cutlery is fine. IMO they used to be overrated, but they've improved quite a bit in recent years. Two of my everyday prep knives are Chicago Cutlery fact, I got them pretty cheap at WalMart. And they have handles that are very similar to the ones in your picture, may be the same model. I don't think you'd go wrong here either. As with any maker, including or perhaps especially the Wusthofs and Henckeles, I'd avoid their cheapest line; but don't feel you have to go with their highest line either. The one looks

3. My carving and slicing knives are Cutco. (One of my former students, and a bit of a salesman, did a demo and I felt I had to buy a couple.) I like them a lot -- great (i.e. comfortable, full tang, three rivets) handles. Serrated, which if it hadn't been a student, would have been a no no for me.

Speaking of which, "serrated or not?" is a lively item of disagreement among we pretentious cooks. I'd never buy anything else for cutting bread, and I'd never buy one for anything else other than maybe slicing or carving. And, had it not been a student, I wouldn't buy one for a slicer either. But I love my serrated carving knife. But that's me. Others differ. Mostly IMO serrated/non-serrated is a matter of personal preference (discretely try to figure out where the wife is) and how much you're willing to pay to send your knives out for sharpening from time to time.

Because one thing is clear about good knives. There is no such thing as one that never needs sharpening. Merely ones that can be sharpened when they become dull and ones that cannot. Serrated knives are much harder to sharpen -- I wouldn't attempt to sharpen a cooking knife of any kind myself (other than the "touch up" sort of thing), but that's primarily because I'm lazy. Sharpening serrated knives, however, need a real expert.

Hope that helps.
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Romans 12:2 (NKJV)
Offline Formo  
#5 Posted : Wednesday, January 9, 2013 9:53:43 AM(UTC)

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Thanks guys.

Wade, truth be told if I didn't get her a nice knife set this year, she wouldn't be mad, and she'd continue using our cheap Chicago Cutlery set we have now. EVERY blade in that set is serrated, and I hate it. Like you said, for bread slicing, it's fine. But carving the ham I made this past season for my co-workers sucked with the butcher knife because of the serrated edge. I wanted a full metal tang, but without the clunky look of wood/plastic handles w/ rivets. I tried looking for the set we currently have.. but it looks like on their website they don't even carry that low end stuff anymore. Because of my disdain for the current set we have, I wanted to avoid Chicago Cutlery, but in doing more research I found that I just simply bought their low end garbage.

Really, we both do the cooking.. She does most of the daily stuff (dinners/baking) and I do more of the complex or the hard cutting/slicing stuff (turkey/ham/etc). So, I'm buying not only for her but for me as well.. =D

While it may be cheaper long-run to just buy one or two knives at a time, I really, really want to bite the bullet and get a whole set. I'm that tired of these current ones.
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Offline Wade  
#6 Posted : Wednesday, January 9, 2013 10:07:59 AM(UTC)

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Then my first recco would be to check out the Victorionox (I haven't checked out what they have; I do know some of their luggage is really pricy, so the same may be true of their knives.). I'd trust their lowest tier, though. That's what my steak knives are, with el-cheapo plastic handles.

And if they're all serrated, look to Chi Cutlery again.

Wusthof, those others -- even "second cheapest" will probably hit you for 300-400 a blocked set...on sale.
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Romans 12:2 (NKJV)
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