Finding old vintage knives, or go with the new?

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tooth
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Finding old vintage knives, or go with the new?

Post by tooth » Tue Feb 18, 2014 05:48

I'm into old stuff, especially buying tools. It seems like most things made long ago are still functioning, whereas everything made today is made to break and throw away quickly.

Do you guys prefer old butcher knives over new due to quality and price, or do you spend a lot of money for the new fancy ones? If you're into the old ones, where should I look for more info on quality vintage knives?
ssorllih
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Post by ssorllih » Tue Feb 18, 2014 06:00

Some of my knives are old case brand and some are Chicago cutlery and some are Imports from far away places with strange sounding names. If they will take and hold an edge I keep them if not I dump them.
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unclebuck
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Post by unclebuck » Tue Feb 18, 2014 13:11

I have a set of Henckels knives, including an 8" chef, 6" chef, 10" slicer, 6" boning knife, 4" paring knife, bread knife, & a serrated tomato knife and a steel that have been handed down to me from my father. My grandmother got them a a wedding present in the early 1900's. They came to Canada with her in 1928 and now I get to treasure them. I believe the quality is as good or better than what one can get in a Henckels product today, or for that matter any other.
"What can't be smoked can't be eaten."
tooth
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Post by tooth » Tue Feb 18, 2014 13:45

I have a set of new Henkels that I got a few years ago as a wedding gift. I like them a lot, but I think I'm going to look at getting some older ones to see how the steel compares.
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Shuswap
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Post by Shuswap » Tue Feb 18, 2014 15:53

Canada has the world famous Grohmann Knives still being hand made in Pictou NS. They have a long history of excellence. We've had our steak knives, paring knife and bread knife for 35 years.
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Post by jscarbo » Wed Feb 26, 2014 19:48

Unclebuck, you're indeed fortunate to have an heirloom set of vintage Henckels. I'm envious of you.

I'm something of a knife freak and own a number of very high quality custom made knives (Randalls and others). However, high end knives aren't my choice for general kitchen duty because they are subject to so much use and abuse, particularly if friends and family also use them. Older, non-stainless, high carbon steel knives can occasionally be found used at a good price but unless you're both knowledgeable and lucky, you probably won't find them to be any less expensive than buying quality new stainless alloy knives.

My favorite general purpose kitchen knives are my Wusthof Grand Prix original series knives. The steel alloy in these knives is an excellent compromise of sharpening and edge-holding abilities. Their balance and weight are also very good. Although they certainly aren't cheap, they are affordable for most and are a good investment for anyone who wants quality kitchen knives, particularly if you avoid buying sets and limit yourself to only the essentials such as an 8 or 10-inch chef's knife, a boning knife and perhaps a 6-inch utility knife. I like the weight and feel of forged knives although there are high quality stamped knives which are much less expensive and many people prefer lighter weight knives such as the Victorinox Fibrox line. In general, my advice would be to stay away from bargain-priced knives such as Chicago Cutlery and Hampton Forge. Instead of a seven-piece set of cheap knives, buy one or two high quality knives and add to them as your budget allows.

There is one line of less-expensive (but not cheap) forged knives that I'm familiar with and can recommend if you're on a tight budget. That is the Mercer Genesis line. You can find them on Amazon and they're the knives that many culinary students use. They're attractive. The weight and balance are good and they hold up well to heavy use and re-sharpening.

As for sharpening, learning to sharpen knives with a stone isn't easy and for most home use, I don't think it's worth the effort. If you only have a few knives to maintain, I recommend the Lansky 4-rod turn box ceramic sharpener, available on Amazon for about $15. It's very easy to use and does an excellent job. You should also have a sharpening steel and use it every time you use your knife. A steel doesn't really sharpen a knife. It keeps the edge aligned so that the knife seems sharper, cuts better, and extends the life of your edge so you have to re-sharpen it less frequently.
ssorllih
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Post by ssorllih » Thu Feb 27, 2014 04:23

These are mine . some have served me for more than fifty years. Image
Ross- tightwad home cook
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Post by TSMODIE » Fri Feb 28, 2014 23:02

I prefer the Henkels, I have a few older ones and few newer ones, I like the older ones better, but the newer ones are also very good, but be aware, there are different grades of the Henkels now, and the cheaper ones are to be avoided, as for sausage making, I mostly use a 6 inch boner from butcher and packers, they are reasonably priced and hold an edge very well, I prefer the 6 inch boner over the 8 inch boner, but my wife says she likes the 8 inch boner better, go figure,Tim
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redzed
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Post by redzed » Sat Mar 01, 2014 03:25

:oops: :oops: Tim, this is a family forum. :roll: :lol: :lol:
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Bob K
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Post by Bob K » Sat Mar 01, 2014 15:12

Chris, you bad!! :mrgreen: I reread that and had a good chuckle.
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sawhorseray
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Post by sawhorseray » Sun Mar 02, 2014 07:36

Me too! RAY
“Good judgment comes from experience, and a lotta that comes from bad judgment.”
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sawhorseray
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Post by sawhorseray » Sun Mar 02, 2014 08:32

OK, if Ross is in then I'm in too! By the way Ross, I need a pie crust recipe. The two on the left have been boning my meat for over forty years, the fillet blade was on my boats for almost that long. The 10" chefs knife is from FoodNetwork, I use it daily and feel it's a great all around blade. The Buck folding hunter and skinner blades have processed right about 70 wild hogs and a dozen buck deer, Buck has replaced the folding hunter blade twice, and for free! The pretty one with the gut-hook was given to me as a present a few years back, used it a half dozen times and it works well, it doesn't seem to have much of a future right now.

Image

As a union carpenter for a bit over 32 years I had a set of chisels from Sweden given to me by my Papa at Xmas that were so fancy I never really used them. I also had a set of Stanley's that I used every day and are still in great working condition, I hone them on two stones to a nice 22° angle to where they've always shaved the hair off my arm. I got this system a couple years back for the kitchen blades and it works well, takes no time, doesn't wreck the blade at all, keeps things REAL sharp, the way I like. RAY

http://www.cabelas.com/product/Work-Sha ... l+Products
“Good judgment comes from experience, and a lotta that comes from bad judgment.”
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