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gailcalled's avatar

What would you suggest for a high-quality 4" utility knife? (The last one I ever plan to purchase).

Asked by gailcalled (54577points) October 14th, 2011

This model, from Global, looks good. But I wonder about the handle. Additionally, do you sharpen your knives? Is it easy to learn?

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18 Answers

XOIIO's avatar

The last knife?

The last knife?

There is no such thing, one can never have too many knives. It’s very easy to sharpen knives by hand. The handle doesn’t look that knice <—see? it’s a funny, but it depends on what purpost it is for.

JilltheTooth's avatar

I’m a carbon steel knife junkie, I’ve got one that I’ve had for 40 years that I can still hone with nothing more that a steel. Given the option, I’ll go with a good carbon steel.

gailcalled's avatar

@JilltheTooth: I agree. But try to find me one.

I have three chef’s knives, 12,” 10” and 7” that are also over forty years old.

@XOIIO: A jack-of-all-trades knife. I use that size for everything that doesn’t require the chef’s knives or a serrated bread knife.

JilltheTooth's avatar

OK, then the best advice I can give is Cutco. I use my paring knives for everything, I’m seriously abusive and after 4 years they haven’t lost their edge. I bought them to help out a friend of my daughter’s who was having a lean time, and I’ve been rather surprised and pleased. I don’t know what it will be like when I have to sharpen them, I may have to have it professionally done, but for now they’re great, and they pass the A) soft tomato with skin test and the B) I can’t find my clippers so I’ll saw off a flowering branch with the paring knife test.

Nullo's avatar

Knife-sharpening is mechanically simple, but if you do it wrong, you’ll actually dull the blade. There are guides on the Interwebs on how to do it properly.

Blade and metal quality aside, you want a knife with a proper tang – ideally, one that runs the entire length of the handle at the same width as the blade.

Check out your favorite outdoors outfitter for their offerings.

gailcalled's avatar

@Nullo : Feel like doing the research for me? I am seriously Googled out tonight. And I live in an area that has more cows and sheep than outdoors outfitter stores.

@JilltheTooth My kind of recommendation. (My carbon steel chef’s knives all have bent or chipped tips from the days when the kids used them to open bottles or pry off gunk from their climbing hardware.)

JilltheTooth's avatar

And as an added bonus, their scissors really will cut a penny in half. And no, I don’t know why anyone would want to do that.

gailcalled's avatar

@JilltheTooth: The Cutco line does look appealing except for the fact that I have to sign up and wait for a salesman.

JilltheTooth's avatar

Oh, I didn’t actually read the link, sorry.

CWOTUS's avatar

Maybe this can help. I don’t actually have these knives, but they’re the style I prefer. My favorite knives resemble them.

As @Nullo said, you want one with a full tang (your selection isn’t bad, if the blade and handle are a single piece of steel, but that’s unlikely) and good balance: a decently heavy weight blade balanced by a hefty and equally massy handle. The handle is also a good size to grip, and squarish-shaped, rather than rounded as the one you pictured. But that’s me; if you like the one you picked, then it might work for you.

Lightlyseared's avatar

I’ve have some Global knives and the handles are surprising comfortable. To keep it sharp I’d recomend using one of these Sharpening a knife with a whetstone isn’t that hard once you know what you’re doing but it takes time to learn and time to do. The only thing I sharpen by hand now is my razor.

thorninmud's avatar

You might want to consider a ceramic-bladed knife. Great carbon steel blades require a certain devotion to edge maintenance. If you’re not the kind of person who actually enjoys the challenge of coaxing a perfect edge out of the steel, it can become a joy-sapping chore. Then there’s the whole discoloration problem, as you know. Stainless blades get around this problem, but never quite seem to attain razor-sharpness.

Ceramic blades are virtually maintenance-free. They don’t corrode. The material is far harder than cutlery steel, and chances are you’ll never lose the razor-sharp edge it comes with. The downsides are that they’re expensive, and all that hardness comes at the cost of some fragility. The word “ceramic” evokes images of broken teacups, but the blades are not at all that kind of ceramic, and are much, much tougher. It is possible, though, to break a ceramic blade by dropping it from some height onto a hard surface, or by using it for prying.

Kyocera has a good reputation for ceramic blades. Here’s their 4” utility knife. It has an additional coating (HIP) that increases the toughness of the blade. If you ever decide it could use sharpening, you can mail it to Kyocera and they will resharpen it for free.

njnyjobs's avatar

My knives are either german or japanese steel.

look at these: Wusthof or Henckels

I’m not too crazy about the handle of that knife you cited.

I sharpen my knives with a dual grit sharpening stone and keep them in wooden blocks with the blade edge upright than being down. I also use a ceramic mug’s bottom to finish the sharpening.

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gailcalled's avatar

Why are there too many choices in today’s westernized world? You’d think it would be easy to find a decent knife. When I bought my carbon steel knives decades ago, it was simple.

@njnyjobs: How do you manipulate the bottom of a ceramic mug? I have a large collection of chipped ones; I would love to find a use for them.

And do I really want to cut a penny in half? One never knows.

At present, I have a cheap knife sharpener attached to a wall with two screws, like the manual pencil sharpener. It works beautifully on carbon steel (and I have no objections to the discoloration) but not on the new ones with some stainless steel in the alloy.

njnyjobs's avatar

@gailcalled “why too many choices?” . .. driven by free-enterprise, manufacturers need to innovate/make changes to a perfectly good design, in order to attract buyers.

as far as finishing a knife with the bottom of a ceramic mug, after honing a knife to the desired edge, run the edge on the unglazed bottom of a ceramic cup… check this youtube video for a demo

Nullo's avatar

@njnyjobs They do sell carbide/ceramic sharpening tools.
The system works a lot like natural selection. Via trial and error, we arrive at the most suitable design – a better one, typically, than could have been reached by locking a think-tank in a room for a week with the prototype.

njnyjobs's avatar

@Nullo yeah, i know, i was a chef for a long time. I had gone through my share of professional kitchen tools. however, the ceramic mug is one handy way of quickly honing the edge of a knife

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