Author Topic: How do you decide on the line of quality and too much damn money?  (Read 11744 times)

apfroggy0408

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I think this can be an all encompassing question about when do you draw the line on buying something of quality and damn that's just a lot of money but it will be worth it?

For my specific purchase I'm looking into buying a quality chef's knife. My current knife that I use for all my cutting is just too small blade length wise and is becoming cumbersome on my weekly preps. It's a good hunter's cutco knife but it's only about a 4-5" blade that's intended for you guessed it hunting and the outdoors.

I want to buy a knife that will last me a lifetime and can be passed down the generations and as knife lovers know this stuff ranges widely in price range. I'm a big knife geek so I like pretty knives and have some custom handmade knives for my outdoor needs but nothing for my kitchen needs.

Victorinox makes great kitchen knives for the money but they're ugly as shit. But the really pretty japanese stuff I'm in love with are easily in the upper $100 range for 1 knife. They're probably worth it in the long run but I just want to make sure I'm not being too dumb here. =D

Left Bank

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Re: How do you decide on the line of quality and too much damn money?
« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2014, 05:59:33 AM »
(Cost x Functionality x Enjoyment) / Quality (sometimes known as length of use) = Perceived Value for each item considered.
Choose highest perceived value item*

* As long as you can "afford" it.

Seriously though, how do you decide any purchase?

mak1277

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Re: How do you decide on the line of quality and too much damn money?
« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2014, 06:46:55 AM »

Victorinox makes great kitchen knives for the money but they're ugly as shit. But the really pretty japanese stuff I'm in love with are easily in the upper $100 range for 1 knife. They're probably worth it in the long run but I just want to make sure I'm not being too dumb here. =D

So you asked about "quality" vs. "too much money", but then you seem to indicate your main issue with the Victorinox is that it's not pretty.  To me "pretty" has nothing to do with quality, and therefore (for me) it's not something I would pay for in this scenario. 

Scandium

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Re: How do you decide on the line of quality and too much damn money?
« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2014, 07:25:41 AM »

Victorinox makes great kitchen knives for the money but they're ugly as shit. But the really pretty japanese stuff I'm in love with are easily in the upper $100 range for 1 knife. They're probably worth it in the long run but I just want to make sure I'm not being too dumb here. =D

So you asked about "quality" vs. "too much money", but then you seem to indicate your main issue with the Victorinox is that it's not pretty.  To me "pretty" has nothing to do with quality, and therefore (for me) it's not something I would pay for in this scenario. 

This. Function is all that matters. Does the job better/lasts longer = consider paying more for it. Attractive? pah, who cares!
(if there was a miniwan that got 90 mpg and had Hello kitty stickers all over; sure I'll drive that!)

http://www.cookingforengineers.com/article/129/Chefs-Knives-Rated
I bought the Mac as a gift for my wife. $100, but is an amazing knife and at least 5 years later still works great. Worth it? I don't know.

2ndTimer

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Re: How do you decide on the line of quality and too much damn money?
« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2014, 08:43:49 AM »
I am going to disagree with the a couple of the previous posters and say it is not all about functionality it is all about joy.  If the ratio of joy/expenditure you would get from a pretty knife exceeds the same ratio for other ways you would use the same amount of money than get the pretty knife.  Always remembering that one of the ways you could use that money is FIRE. 

It is a bit like pets and children.  Those things give some people so much joy that they are willing to delay FIRE to have them be part of their lives.  Some folks will disagree with my putting living things in the same category with nonliving things but I figure joy is joy and if you get yours from cooking with a pretty knife embrace who you are and buy it.  If you don't, embrace who you are and don't buy it.


Tetsuya Hondo

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Re: How do you decide on the line of quality and too much damn money?
« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2014, 09:00:21 AM »
If you're really obsessive about knives and that's something you really value and something that brings you pleasure in life, then get what you want.

However, I've read a few articles where chefs argue that a few good mid-range knives will suffice and that's what they have in their home kitchens. I know one James Beard award winner with a mishmash of beat up knives in her block that would be shamed by the average foodie's knife set.

In our pre-MMM days, my wife and I went nuts with kitchen items, buying expensive knife sets, those damned fragile Riedel wine glasses, etc. In retrospect, I wish that we had bought the mid-grade stuff and had saved the extra money.

greaper007

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Re: How do you decide on the line of quality and too much damn money?
« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2014, 09:17:51 AM »
You really only need two knives IMHO.    A chefs knife (size depends on what's comfortable for you) and a paring knife.     I have Wusthof classic knives for each that I bought with wedding gift certificates 7 years ago, they both look and work as well as the day I bought them.    I think I have about $150 into them and I use them everyday.    I fully expect to get a lifetime of use out of each.

I find that with most things, upper mid level is more than good enough.    Past that, you start to get more into aesthetics than functions.    It's like the difference between a Mercedes and a Honda.    Both are reliable cars that will get you safely from point A to B for more than 200,000 miles.    The only difference is that one is more quiet, faster, has a leather interior and 25 speakers with crushed diamond tweeters.     And of course a purchase price of about $20,000-$30,000 more.

You have to figure out the point at which you're paying more for pretty, and that's generally lower than you think.

apfroggy0408

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Re: How do you decide on the line of quality and too much damn money?
« Reply #7 on: August 19, 2014, 10:18:19 AM »
(Cost x Functionality x Enjoyment) / Quality (sometimes known as length of use) = Perceived Value for each item considered.
Choose highest perceived value item*

* As long as you can "afford" it.

Seriously though, how do you decide any purchase?

Typically if I want it I buy it, the good thing is I don't want many things.


Victorinox makes great kitchen knives for the money but they're ugly as shit. But the really pretty japanese stuff I'm in love with are easily in the upper $100 range for 1 knife. They're probably worth it in the long run but I just want to make sure I'm not being too dumb here. =D

So you asked about "quality" vs. "too much money", but then you seem to indicate your main issue with the Victorinox is that it's not pretty.  To me "pretty" has nothing to do with quality, and therefore (for me) it's not something I would pay for in this scenario.


My only issue with Victorinox is that it isn't a knife that seems to meet the criteria of a knife I want to pass down. I definitely agree that pretty shouldn't be the main reason to buy a knife though.


Victorinox makes great kitchen knives for the money but they're ugly as shit. But the really pretty japanese stuff I'm in love with are easily in the upper $100 range for 1 knife. They're probably worth it in the long run but I just want to make sure I'm not being too dumb here. =D

So you asked about "quality" vs. "too much money", but then you seem to indicate your main issue with the Victorinox is that it's not pretty.  To me "pretty" has nothing to do with quality, and therefore (for me) it's not something I would pay for in this scenario. 

This. Function is all that matters. Does the job better/lasts longer = consider paying more for it. Attractive? pah, who cares!
(if there was a miniwan that got 90 mpg and had Hello kitty stickers all over; sure I'll drive that!)

http://www.cookingforengineers.com/article/129/Chefs-Knives-Rated
I bought the Mac as a gift for my wife. $100, but is an amazing knife and at least 5 years later still works great. Worth it? I don't know.

I've been given MAC as a good company to look into from a friend that's a professional chef.

Specifically for the knife, go look at Cooks Illustrated ratings. They do exactly what you are asking. ETA:  they say the Victorinox. I have Japanese knives I bought in Japan. But they are not chef's knives they are vegetable knives, usuba hocho, single bevel, different shape altogether, and if you are left-handed like me you need a special left-hand one for single bevel. They are carbon steel and take extra work to maintain.  Not worth it if you aren't a knife freak, like me. I didn't pay the prices here, bought in Japan, they aren't "pretty" like the tarted up ones they sell to Americans, and need constant care. That said, they will outlast me.

In general, depends on the item and lifespan. There yare some threads here called stuff like "Buy it for life" which are helpful.

Edited again:  I am not recommending this, but showing you what my knife looks like and that they can be had for $50ish new an maybe less used. http://global.rakuten.com/en/store/honmamon-r/item/4582243650533/?s-id=borderless_recommend_item_en

Back again. You probably know this, but you must have the knife in your hand before buying. Also, if you are super keen on a Japanese knife, you might ask a Japanese chef at your local Japanese restaurant whay would be best. But if you are just looking for a basic chef's knife don't get lured by pretty...

The hard part is being able to go somewhere to feel the knife, can't find many stores around me. Thanks for the info, I'm interested in a good all around knife to start with... eventually buying more as the need for more specific styles come, if they ever do...

I am going to disagree with the a couple of the previous posters and say it is not all about functionality it is all about joy.  If the ratio of joy/expenditure you would get from a pretty knife exceeds the same ratio for other ways you would use the same amount of money than get the pretty knife.  Always remembering that one of the ways you could use that money is FIRE. 

It is a bit like pets and children.  Those things give some people so much joy that they are willing to delay FIRE to have them be part of their lives.  Some folks will disagree with my putting living things in the same category with nonliving things but I figure joy is joy and if you get yours from cooking with a pretty knife embrace who you are and buy it.  If you don't, embrace who you are and don't buy it.

Good point here! Kind of like how I spend more money on food than many around here because it's a necessity for my passion of powerlifting.

I am going to disagree with the a couple of the previous posters and say it is not all about functionality it is all about joy.  If the ratio of joy/expenditure you would get from a pretty knife exceeds the same ratio for other ways you would use the same amount of money than get the pretty knife.  Always remembering that one of the ways you could use that money is FIRE. 

It is a bit like pets and children.  Those things give some people so much joy that they are willing to delay FIRE to have them be part of their lives.  Some folks will disagree with my putting living things in the same category with nonliving things but I figure joy is joy and if you get yours from cooking with a pretty knife embrace who you are and buy it.  If you don't, embrace who you are and don't buy it.

+1 with the caveat that research and really knowing what you are buying from materials, to use, to all the geeky ins and outs increases value and joy. I don't care about cars, so whatever, thing with wheels. But I LOVE to cook and a great knife, well made, feeling perfect in my hand AND purchased for the best price = joy

Exactly!

If you're really obsessive about knives and that's something you really value and something that brings you pleasure in life, then get what you want.

However, I've read a few articles where chefs argue that a few good mid-range knives will suffice and that's what they have in their home kitchens. I know one James Beard award winner with a mishmash of beat up knives in her block that would be shamed by the average foodie's knife set.

In our pre-MMM days, my wife and I went nuts with kitchen items, buying expensive knife sets, those damned fragile Riedel wine glasses, etc. In retrospect, I wish that we had bought the mid-grade stuff and had saved the extra money.

good points

You really only need two knives IMHO.    A chefs knife (size depends on what's comfortable for you) and a paring knife.     I have Wusthof classic knives for each that I bought with wedding gift certificates 7 years ago, they both look and work as well as the day I bought them.    I think I have about $150 into them and I use them everyday.    I fully expect to get a lifetime of use out of each.

I find that with most things, upper mid level is more than good enough.    Past that, you start to get more into aesthetics than functions.    It's like the difference between a Mercedes and a Honda.    Both are reliable cars that will get you safely from point A to B for more than 200,000 miles.    The only difference is that one is more quiet, faster, has a leather interior and 25 speakers with crushed diamond tweeters.     And of course a purchase price of about $20,000-$30,000 more.

You have to figure out the point at which you're paying more for pretty, and that's generally lower than you think.

good points.

Thanks for chiming in everyone, still have a lot more research to do.

This is a knife that I'm absolutely in love with as an example of what I mean about what I want.

http://www.amazon.com/Shun-Premier-Chefs-Knife-8-Inch/dp/B003B66YKA/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=undefined&sr=8-2&keywords=shun+chef

But gotten some other recommendations for cheaper Japanese stuff as well that I like.

yddeyma

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Re: How do you decide on the line of quality and too much damn money?
« Reply #8 on: August 19, 2014, 11:21:31 AM »
I've got a Shun 7" Santoku.  http://shun.kaiusaltd.com/knives/knife/classic-hollow-ground-santoku

I got it because I kept buying crappy knives that would not hold an edge.  As a result, I never wanted to chop my vegetables.  As a result of that, I never wanted to cook at home.  We eat in most nights (now) but most of the chopping I do is for veggies.

Also a big deal for me is that Shun sharpening is free.  I am really bad at sharpening knives, just could never get the hang of it.  I've had my knife 5 years now and its just as good as ever.  I send it off to be sharpened occasionally and it comes back good as new.  I think it will last forever.  I got some on-sale Wusthof knives to finish out my block (steak knives, paring, bread, etc.) and probably spent $150 on the whole set including block.  Because I seldom use those, they have also lasted 5+ years and I would expect to last for ever.

The one you've linked from Amazon is the one with the fancy pounded metal blade (not sure of THAT purpose) and the pretty looking handle (no extra functionality).  If you need the chef's knife, fine, just get the classic.  Don't pay extra for the prettiness.  I prefer the Santoku, but I've got small hands.

mak1277

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Re: How do you decide on the line of quality and too much damn money?
« Reply #9 on: August 19, 2014, 02:38:35 PM »
I am going to disagree with the a couple of the previous posters and say it is not all about functionality it is all about joy.  If the ratio of joy/expenditure you would get from a pretty knife exceeds the same ratio for other ways you would use the same amount of money than get the pretty knife.  Always remembering that one of the ways you could use that money is FIRE. 

It is a bit like pets and children.  Those things give some people so much joy that they are willing to delay FIRE to have them be part of their lives.  Some folks will disagree with my putting living things in the same category with nonliving things but I figure joy is joy and if you get yours from cooking with a pretty knife embrace who you are and buy it.  If you don't, embrace who you are and don't buy it.

I think you're right...that's why I threw "for me" into my original post.

I will say, however, that the OP did ask about quality vs. price.  If OP wants a pretty knife and is will to pay for it, mazel tov...but that's still nothing to do with quality.

$_gone_amok

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Re: How do you decide on the line of quality and too much damn money?
« Reply #10 on: August 19, 2014, 03:17:13 PM »
I feel like the face punches are not thrown hard enough on this post. 

The $100+ Japanese/German knifes are like the Porsches and Ferraris of knives. While the cheaper Victorinox is like a Toyota/Honda.  Yes any knives over $50 is too much damn money. Yes, they may look better, have better steel, fulfills your consumptionism needs better. But the bottom line is that the food that ends up on your table won't taste any different if it was made with a $100 knife or a $10 knife.

A good knife is a sharp knife that fits in your hand. Anything beyond that is excess.

My advise is to buy a reasonable priced knife from a industrial kitchen supply store, a sharpening rod and a piece of water stone. Never buy a knife that you cannot sharpen yourself. You'll just throw money away having it sharpened by someone else.

lizzzi

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Re: How do you decide on the line of quality and too much damn money?
« Reply #11 on: August 19, 2014, 05:56:28 PM »
I'm not a knife freak, but whatever the item I'm buying, I go for a blend of beauty and function. I don't care how well the item works; if it's ugly and hideous it will offend my sensibilities, mess up the feng shui in my house, and lower the quality of my life. We minimalists have little enough as it is, without purchasing ugly stuff.  I need some new knives, so am reading this thread with interest. I'll probably go for something mid-range to slightly upper-mid that feels good in my hand, that I can sharpen myself, and that has a certain simple elegance. (Yes, "pretty" if you will.) And can chop the bejesus out of vegetables.  : D

apfroggy0408

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Re: How do you decide on the line of quality and too much damn money?
« Reply #12 on: August 19, 2014, 06:51:24 PM »
Do not buy a chef's knife with a molded handle without having actually tried it out actually chopping stuff. The standard handle shape doesn't fit everyone's hand comfortably. The Shun is an example of a tarted up knife, IMHO.

This is a very good piece of advice and I will not be buying a knife with a molded handle without holding it and using it.

I've got a Shun 7" Santoku.  http://shun.kaiusaltd.com/knives/knife/classic-hollow-ground-santoku

I got it because I kept buying crappy knives that would not hold an edge.  As a result, I never wanted to chop my vegetables.  As a result of that, I never wanted to cook at home.  We eat in most nights (now) but most of the chopping I do is for veggies.

Also a big deal for me is that Shun sharpening is free.  I am really bad at sharpening knives, just could never get the hang of it.  I've had my knife 5 years now and its just as good as ever.  I send it off to be sharpened occasionally and it comes back good as new.  I think it will last forever.  I got some on-sale Wusthof knives to finish out my block (steak knives, paring, bread, etc.) and probably spent $150 on the whole set including block.  Because I seldom use those, they have also lasted 5+ years and I would expect to last for ever.

The one you've linked from Amazon is the one with the fancy pounded metal blade (not sure of THAT purpose) and the pretty looking handle (no extra functionality).  If you need the chef's knife, fine, just get the classic.  Don't pay extra for the prettiness.  I prefer the Santoku, but I've got small hands.

Yeah the classic is much more reasonable you're right.

I am going to disagree with the a couple of the previous posters and say it is not all about functionality it is all about joy.  If the ratio of joy/expenditure you would get from a pretty knife exceeds the same ratio for other ways you would use the same amount of money than get the pretty knife.  Always remembering that one of the ways you could use that money is FIRE. 

It is a bit like pets and children.  Those things give some people so much joy that they are willing to delay FIRE to have them be part of their lives.  Some folks will disagree with my putting living things in the same category with nonliving things but I figure joy is joy and if you get yours from cooking with a pretty knife embrace who you are and buy it.  If you don't, embrace who you are and don't buy it.

I think you're right...that's why I threw "for me" into my original post.

I will say, however, that the OP did ask about quality vs. price.  If OP wants a pretty knife and is will to pay for it, mazel tov...but that's still nothing to do with quality.

That's fair.

I feel like the face punches are not thrown hard enough on this post. 

The $100+ Japanese/German knifes are like the Porsches and Ferraris of knives. While the cheaper Victorinox is like a Toyota/Honda.  Yes any knives over $50 is too much damn money. Yes, they may look better, have better steel, fulfills your consumptionism needs better. But the bottom line is that the food that ends up on your table won't taste any different if it was made with a $100 knife or a $10 knife.

A good knife is a sharp knife that fits in your hand. Anything beyond that is excess.

My advise is to buy a reasonable priced knife from a industrial kitchen supply store, a sharpening rod and a piece of water stone. Never buy a knife that you cannot sharpen yourself. You'll just throw money away having it sharpened by someone else.

Where does one find one of these stores, I'll take a look into 'em.

I'm not a knife freak, but whatever the item I'm buying, I go for a blend of beauty and function. I don't care how well the item works; if it's ugly and hideous it will offend my sensibilities, mess up the feng shui in my house, and lower the quality of my life. We minimalists have little enough as it is, without purchasing ugly stuff.  I need some new knives, so am reading this thread with interest. I'll probably go for something mid-range to slightly upper-mid that feels good in my hand, that I can sharpen myself, and that has a certain simple elegance. (Yes, "pretty" if you will.) And can chop the bejesus out of vegetables.  : D

This is something I can relate to, as a working on it minimalist I still like the stuff I do have to be nice.

Here are a couple more reasonably priced knives that I've been recommended by some chef's.

http://www.cutleryandmore.com/mac-original/chefs-knife-p18076

http://www.cutleryandmore.com/shun-classic/asian-chefs-knife-p125191

justplucky

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Re: How do you decide on the line of quality and too much damn money?
« Reply #13 on: August 19, 2014, 07:24:11 PM »
A couple of Christmases ago I had both of the following items on my Amazon Wish List in the hopes that someone would buy a decent knife for me as a gift:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0000CF99O/
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00005MEGX/

I put the Victronix on there because of the high Cooks Illustrated ratings and the concern that people would blanch at spending $100 on one knife for a gift. I ended up getting both as gifts that year.

I actually reach for the Victronix large knife way more often than the Wusthof. I prefer the feel of that knife in my hand (it's lighter) and I actually felt it was easier to control.

G-dog

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Re: How do you decide on the line of quality and too much damn money?
« Reply #14 on: August 19, 2014, 07:43:52 PM »
Specifically for the knife, go look at Cooks Illustrated ratings. They do exactly what you are asking. ETA:  they say the Victorinox. I have Japanese knives I bought in Japan. But they are not chef's knives they are vegetable knives, usuba hocho, single bevel, different shape altogether, and if you are left-handed like me you need a special left-hand one for single bevel. They are carbon steel and take extra work to maintain.  Not worth it if you aren't a knife freak, like me. I didn't pay the prices here, bought in Japan, they aren't "pretty" like the tarted up ones they sell to Americans, and need constant care. That said, they will outlast me.

In general, depends on the item and lifespan. There yare some threads here called stuff like "Buy it for life" which are helpful.

Edited again:  I am not recommending this, but showing you what my knife looks like and that they can be had for $50ish new an maybe less used. http://global.rakuten.com/en/store/honmamon-r/item/4582243650533/?s-id=borderless_recommend_item_en

Back again. You probably know this, but you must have the knife in your hand before buying. Also, if you are super keen on a Japanese knife, you might ask a Japanese chef at your local Japanese restaurant whay would be best. But if you are just looking for a basic chef's knife don't get lured by pretty...

+ 1 or more re: cooks illustrate Americas test kitchen
They do lots of tests (heft, balance, weight, form, functional tests) and rank the knives, they always have a winner and a best value (unless none of the lower cost options meet the standards). I know they've identified reasonably priced knives.

greaper007

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Re: How do you decide on the line of quality and too much damn money?
« Reply #15 on: August 19, 2014, 11:54:35 PM »
I don't get the Santoku style knives.   I have one that I got as a gift and it sits unused on my rack.    Am I the only one that prefers the action of European style chef knife?    I feel like it's much easier to quickly chop things like big onions with a rocking motion than it is to pick up the Santoku everytime I need to make a slice.  I see where Japanese style knives are great for say, sushi, but how often do you make sushi?   

I also don't get the comment about a chefs knife feeling lighter.    A chefs knife is like an axe and a razor blade combined.   It needs some heft to do things like chopping up an onion, sectioning a chicken or smashing cloves of garlic.

Scandium

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Re: How do you decide on the line of quality and too much damn money?
« Reply #16 on: August 20, 2014, 07:19:55 AM »
I feel like the face punches are not thrown hard enough on this post. 

The $100+ Japanese/German knifes are like the Porsches and Ferraris of knives. While the cheaper Victorinox is like a Toyota/Honda.  Yes any knives over $50 is too much damn money. Yes, they may look better, have better steel, fulfills your consumptionism needs better. But the bottom line is that the food that ends up on your table won't taste any different if it was made with a $100 knife or a $10 knife.

A good knife is a sharp knife that fits in your hand. Anything beyond that is excess.

My advise is to buy a reasonable priced knife from a industrial kitchen supply store, a sharpening rod and a piece of water stone. Never buy a knife that you cannot sharpen yourself. You'll just throw money away having it sharpened by someone else.
Yeah, did this forum go soft recently? Seems like half the threads end up as some life-affirming, "do what feels good to you"/ "spend money if it makes you happy" stuff. Now, I haven't read every MMM blog post, but I feel this isn't exactly the message.  Material things are not happiness! This might be more appropriate for another tread.

To OP.  Don't be dumb like me. A $100 knife will not make you happy. Buy a cheap, ugly one and make good food and you'll be much happier!
there.

starbuck

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Re: How do you decide on the line of quality and too much damn money?
« Reply #17 on: August 20, 2014, 08:22:10 AM »
A good knife is a sharp knife that fits in your hand. Anything beyond that is excess.

Amen. We have a 6 inch chef's knife that was a hand me down from my in-laws. Wooden handle, unknown origin, +15 years old. The handle is comfortably worn, I keep the edge honed as needed, and it's honestly the only knife I use besides the bread knife. (They also gave us the 8 in version, but I always reach for the 6 in because my hands are smaller.) I have even brought it with me on trips when we rent vacation houses, because they always have super shitty knives and I don't want to lose a finger trying to chop up broccoli.

The bread knife we have (also a hand me down from the in-laws) has a plastic handle that was chewed by a beloved family dog who liked to chew things when she was a puppy +15 years ago. It still slices bread as well as the day it was bought. Those bagels have no hope of escaping intact. My father in law can't believe that we are still using the bread knife. But why wouldn't we??

apfroggy0408

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Re: How do you decide on the line of quality and too much damn money?
« Reply #18 on: August 20, 2014, 08:35:09 AM »
Good discussion going on here.

Here's another likely candidate.

http://www.chefknivestogo.com/toitkshwa21.html

ZiziPB

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Re: How do you decide on the line of quality and too much damn money?
« Reply #19 on: August 20, 2014, 09:21:19 AM »
I don't get the Santoku style knives.   I have one that I got as a gift and it sits unused on my rack.    Am I the only one that prefers the action of European style chef knife?    I feel like it's much easier to quickly chop things like big onions with a rocking motion than it is to pick up the Santoku everytime I need to make a slice.  I see where Japanese style knives are great for say, sushi, but how often do you make sushi?   

I also don't get the comment about a chefs knife feeling lighter.    A chefs knife is like an axe and a razor blade combined.   It needs some heft to do things like chopping up an onion, sectioning a chicken or smashing cloves of garlic.

+1  I also prefer a traditional chef's knife.  I used to have a Santoku style knife and I used it on occassion but much preferred my regular chef's knife which I felt could be used for a lot more tasks than a Santoku.

ariapluscat

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Re: How do you decide on the line of quality and too much damn money?
« Reply #20 on: August 20, 2014, 09:31:31 AM »
I'm not a knife freak, but whatever the item I'm buying, I go for a blend of beauty and function. I don't care how well the item works; if it's ugly and hideous it will offend my sensibilities, mess up the feng shui in my house, and lower the quality of my life. We minimalists have little enough as it is, without purchasing ugly stuff.  I need some new knives, so am reading this thread with interest. I'll probably go for something mid-range to slightly upper-mid that feels good in my hand, that I can sharpen myself, and that has a certain simple elegance. (Yes, "pretty" if you will.) And can chop the bejesus out of vegetables.  : D

++
If you are looking at buy once in a life time, I'd take this to heart. If you're in the kitchen enough to want these high quality knives, then you'll be looking at this purchase daily. Better to buy well once than poorly multiple times. Didn't MMM write about investing in hobbies, with a case study of exercise? If you've already found that you're committed, invest in something you'll keep using.

But it does sound like it's tough to actually try a knife out before buying it...

G-dog

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Re: How do you decide on the line of quality and too much damn money?
« Reply #21 on: August 20, 2014, 05:17:07 PM »
Timely- cook's illustrated updated knife guide:
https://www.cooksillustrated.com/buying_guides/26-how-to-build-the-best-knife-set?atc=16July2014&extcode=LE14H3CAA

A good knife, taken care of properly, will last a lifetime. $100 for something you will use daily for that long seems like a good investment - you just need to try to figure out the inflection point where price no longer relates to quality -- but to 'marketing' or other measures.

Goldielocks

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Re: How do you decide on the line of quality and too much damn money?
« Reply #22 on: August 20, 2014, 05:36:32 PM »
great thread!

I too am needing a new knife and have been completing a lot of research lately.

Vitronox -- recommended highly by my high quality / monied aunt, and I tried out their 25 yr old knives.  Very good, but lightweight (which is good for lots of extended chopping, btw).   holds sharp.

Mac - the knife I want to try out, based on all the reviews.

Henckels -- the TWO knives, that after 20 years (i was given them as a wedding gift from a group), I broke BOTH tips off, in less than 4 weeks.  How?  Cutting frozen brownies and then cutting frozen butter.   I have since found out that they are fragile, tend to shatter when dropped or misused this way.  (but cutting frozen brownies should not be mis use in my mind...)

What I don't like are the prices of the "good" knives, so I bought a $5 "looked good" knife from second hand store, and it seems to be doing very well!  My kids love it, anyway.

Now I am seeing if I will still want a fancy knife in a few  months, especially as I am saving money for it.

That's how I decide -- put it off for a long time, and if the cheap substitute doesn't cut it (Pun! i made a pun!) then buy with cash.

greaper007

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Re: How do you decide on the line of quality and too much damn money?
« Reply #23 on: August 21, 2014, 07:58:45 PM »
I feel like the face punches are not thrown hard enough on this post. 

The $100+ Japanese/German knifes are like the Porsches and Ferraris of knives. While the cheaper Victorinox is like a Toyota/Honda.  Yes any knives over $50 is too much damn money. Yes, they may look better, have better steel, fulfills your consumptionism needs better. But the bottom line is that the food that ends up on your table won't taste any different if it was made with a $100 knife or a $10 knife.

A good knife is a sharp knife that fits in your hand. Anything beyond that is excess.

My advise is to buy a reasonable priced knife from a industrial kitchen supply store, a sharpening rod and a piece of water stone. Never buy a knife that you cannot sharpen yourself. You'll just throw money away having it sharpened by someone else.
Yeah, did this forum go soft recently? Seems like half the threads end up as some life-affirming, "do what feels good to you"/ "spend money if it makes you happy" stuff. Now, I haven't read every MMM blog post, but I feel this isn't exactly the message.  Material things are not happiness! This might be more appropriate for another tread.

To OP.  Don't be dumb like me. A $100 knife will not make you happy. Buy a cheap, ugly one and make good food and you'll be much happier!
there.

There's a happy medium between expensive for expensive sake and cheap.    We're not talking about a cherry pitter or one of the other gadgets that Crate and Barrel likes to keep in their bins.   We're talking about one of your kitchen workhorses.    It's not about buying something because it makes you happy here, it's about buying something you can use multiples times a day for the rest of your life and keep out of the landfill (and hopefully stop the cycle of excessive consumerism).

I've yet to see anyone on the board recommend that someone buy a 20 year old Huffy for a daily commute, and I wouldn't recommend that they buy a knife that isn't made of decent (not exotic, decent) steel with a comfortable, efficient design.    Yes, you can buy something from an industrial kitchen supplier, or you can buy a German or Japanese knife.   The difference is about $50, which amortized over 20-30 years isn't a big deal if it allows you to cook meals at home without frustration.

lizzzi

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Re: How do you decide on the line of quality and too much damn money?
« Reply #24 on: August 21, 2014, 08:20:06 PM »
Well, however you slice it (Pun! Hahahahaha) this thread has been helpful in sorting out whether or not we should buy new knives and how much we should spend. I just checked the ones I have had for years--the wooden handle one that is a nine-inch chef's knife has not been taken care of well--the handle has been messed up by the dishwasher over the past forty years, but I am going to fix the handle, not put it in the dishwasher anymore, and keep it sharpened with my steel. It is a Wellington knife. My six-inch Sabatier (word is almost rubbed off) is in good shape, and I use it a lot. Have had it at least 20 years. The eight-inch Wusthof from Sollingen, Germany is also at least 20 years old, and in good shape. I use the Sabatier and Wusthof daily. So based on what others have said, I will just keep them out of the dishwasher and keep them sharp. I truthfully don't think I need any new knives--these do everything I need them to do. I guess they are lifetime purchases, except maybe for the wooden-handled one. I may just wrap the handle up with duct tape and keep it for a spare.

lizzzi

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Re: How do you decide on the line of quality and too much damn money?
« Reply #25 on: August 21, 2014, 08:34:57 PM »
The Wellington Sword knife dates back to the 1970's, and the Sabatier is a French knife. Who knew? I am definitely taking my knives more seriously after following this thread for a while.

GuitarStv

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Re: How do you decide on the line of quality and too much damn money?
« Reply #26 on: August 22, 2014, 06:08:10 AM »
You really only need two knives IMHO.    A chefs knife (size depends on what's comfortable for you) and a paring knife.

Actually, my wife's dad is a pretty awesome Chinese chef and he only uses a single knife.  A big ass cleaver . . .    :P

greaper007

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Re: How do you decide on the line of quality and too much damn money?
« Reply #27 on: August 22, 2014, 08:49:35 AM »
You really only need two knives IMHO.    A chefs knife (size depends on what's comfortable for you) and a paring knife.

Actually, my wife's dad is a pretty awesome Chinese chef and he only uses a single knife.  A big ass cleaver . . .    :P

Hey, YMMV.    I used to just use a chefs knife, but I often found situations where it was just too damn big.    A nice $35 paring knife took care of that.

$_gone_amok

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Re: How do you decide on the line of quality and too much damn money?
« Reply #28 on: August 22, 2014, 03:02:50 PM »
I feel like the face punches are not thrown hard enough on this post. 

The $100+ Japanese/German knifes are like the Porsches and Ferraris of knives. While the cheaper Victorinox is like a Toyota/Honda.  Yes any knives over $50 is too much damn money. Yes, they may look better, have better steel, fulfills your consumptionism needs better. But the bottom line is that the food that ends up on your table won't taste any different if it was made with a $100 knife or a $10 knife.

A good knife is a sharp knife that fits in your hand. Anything beyond that is excess.

My advise is to buy a reasonable priced knife from a industrial kitchen supply store, a sharpening rod and a piece of water stone. Never buy a knife that you cannot sharpen yourself. You'll just throw money away having it sharpened by someone else.
Yeah, did this forum go soft recently? Seems like half the threads end up as some life-affirming, "do what feels good to you"/ "spend money if it makes you happy" stuff. Now, I haven't read every MMM blog post, but I feel this isn't exactly the message.  Material things are not happiness! This might be more appropriate for another tread.

To OP.  Don't be dumb like me. A $100 knife will not make you happy. Buy a cheap, ugly one and make good food and you'll be much happier!
there.

There's a happy medium between expensive for expensive sake and cheap.    We're not talking about a cherry pitter or one of the other gadgets that Crate and Barrel likes to keep in their bins.   We're talking about one of your kitchen workhorses.    It's not about buying something because it makes you happy here, it's about buying something you can use multiples times a day for the rest of your life and keep out of the landfill (and hopefully stop the cycle of excessive consumerism).

I've yet to see anyone on the board recommend that someone buy a 20 year old Huffy for a daily commute, and I wouldn't recommend that they buy a knife that isn't made of decent (not exotic, decent) steel with a comfortable, efficient design.    Yes, you can buy something from an industrial kitchen supplier, or you can buy a German or Japanese knife.   The difference is about $50, which amortized over 20-30 years isn't a big deal if it allows you to cook meals at home without frustration.


I want to point out that the quality of unbranded industrial knifes vs branded Japanese/German knifes are marginal for the average users. The line cooks in the back of restaurant kitchens uses their "cheap" knifes daily and they last well over many years. If you must have a fancy branded German/Japanese knife then so be it. But my point stands that by overspending 100% to 200% on a knife you are not getting one that is 2 to 3 times better.

ambimammular

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Re: How do you decide on the line of quality and too much damn money?
« Reply #29 on: August 22, 2014, 06:00:01 PM »

I want to buy a knife that will last me a lifetime and can be passed down the generations

Knife purchase aside, I find any argument that something will be passed down as an heirloom to be pretty weak. Your heirs won't be chopping cantaloupes with paring knives up until the day you kick the bucket.

If you've taught them to respect money they'll have enough to buy their own knives before you're 100. If they don't learn to respect money, then they'll buy knives on credit instead of putting it into a retirement account. Either way, no one is waiting on your heirlooms.

apfroggy0408

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Re: How do you decide on the line of quality and too much damn money?
« Reply #30 on: August 22, 2014, 06:06:16 PM »
I'm still here everyone, good conversation going on for sure. I've been digging into this even more and I've fallen for japanese style knives. I joined another forum and got some great help there for an entry level all around japanese knife. I think this is the one I'm going to go for, $100 not crazy, has a sleek look to it that I like and I think I will enjoy learning on that steel.

http://www.chefknivestogo.com/fufkm24wa.html