There are knife sets from every big knife brand in the world that claim their set is the last you’ll ever own- but is this true? Is it better to buy a separate knife from individual knife makers to create the ultimate set of knives?
Here is the best advice you’ll ever want to slice away at the raw truth.
Why buy a preassembled knife set?
Like everything in this world, we’re compelled to look at something complete. Buying a knife set from one single knife manufacturer is not a luxury anymore. There are some very pricy knife brands including WÜSTHOF and Zwilling, but these are two reputable German knife companies that now carry economically-priced knives. Heck, even Dalstrong has come down in price over the years!
So what is the deal with buying a complete set and why would it be considered a bad idea to buy individual knives to make a new set of kitchen knives? But just like a good wood craftsman or artist, the tools and supplies they use don’t all come from the same place. Here are some of the top reasons:
Knifes handles won’t match
This is true to a point but isn’t because the handles don’t match. What matters most is how a knife fits in your hand. It also matters how you are intending to hold a knife. Since knifes all have different balance points, this determines the style of cutting that is comfortable for the owner. Handles don’t always give you a better grip so essentially how you grip the knife will make slicing, chopping, or cutting completely different.
There are three positions on a knife blade where you put your fingers for using any particular knife. These are as followed-
- Pinch Grip
This can take place at either the blade, handle or bolster area. You pinch the knife using your thumb and forefinger to grip the knife at any selected balancing point. This can be at the front of the knife handle that sits behind the finger guard. It can also be from the side of the knife pinching just in front of the bolster. Then there is another position where you pinch just behind the bolster.
Where you pinch the knife will change the balance of the knife in each position. So, you’ll have a knife that is either tip-heavy, handle-heavy or balanced right in the middle. Each of these knife angles will make different types of cutting duties that are easier for the owner of a knife.
- The Thumb Grip
This style is resting your thumb on the top of the blade with your forefinger behind the bolster at all times. Your thumb acts as the control of the blade while the rest of your fingers are wrapped around the blade. This can be adjusted anywhere from behind the bolster back to where the handle starts. You can adjust the balance point by lifting your thumb up and using your curved index finger on the bottom- to see where the knife is balanced.
- Fingertip Grip
This is a classic restaurant-style grip for lengthy periods of chopping and dicing. This is where you place your index finger on the top of the blade and use your thumb and middle finger to grip the knife. Your thumb should be able to touch the mid-knuckle of your middle finger or fingertip for gripping. The last two fingers are usually tucked-in. This style can be placed anywhere on a knife for better balance control and preference for using that knife.
There’s no warranty for individual knives
Absolutely false! Any brand-name knife that you buy comes with a warranty by itself regardless of being sold in a set or not. If that knife fails to perform as it should (and wasn’t your fault), the manufacturer will replace the knife. The real trick to this is to read the warranty info on the knife you want to buy beforehand. Just going to a knife manufacturer’s website will show this information under the warranty info page.
Each knife has a different sharpening requirement
Knives come in different metal compositions that are all specific to a knife-making company. It’s true, they all may have different sharpening angles and iron content! But- any knife, regardless of being stainless steel or carbon steel, will all keep its sharpness with regular honing and expert knife care. If you haven’t learned to hone a knife before, it’s just as simple as using a knife sharpener.
You often see a chef sharpening their knife on a honing rod just before using it. This is not meant to sharpen it at all and is merely realigning the micro-particles on the edge of the blade. Eventually, every knife that has a sharpened edge will begin to dull after 30-40 slices. Honing a knife blade returns the edge to that razor-sharpness that it was before you used it.
Which knives to buy?
Look at brands that appeal to your sense of style. Some knives simply look more elegant while others look impressive. The best knife set you can ask for is a set that includes the knife that you’ll be using the most. For anyone in the kitchen, this is either a Chef knife or a Utility knife. After this, it’s a combination of including a paring knife, fillet knife, carving knife, and bread knife. This is generally considered the Big Six for a general set.
Most knife blocks hold 5 of 6 knives, but depending on how many you want to collect, it can be up to 10 or 12 knives. Choose wisely with the length of blades too, since you don1t want to have a knife too long or too short for the foods you like to cut. A rule of thumb is that a knife blade should be no longer than the length of the tip of your middle finger to the base of your wrist. That is if you prefer longer blades for specific types of food.
Best brands to recommend
You don’t have to take our word for it, but some brands simply have a reputation for being excellent for all the right reasons. The best reasoning is that all three of these brands have models that appear similar in appearance and handles that you might mistake for each other. We’ve seen them ranked as some of the top kitchen knives in side-by-side testing with other top selling knives. If you want to buy them cheaper, get the stamped knives that are made in presses. When considering a knife set, get the best quality for your most-used knife.
The quality is so good now, that they even add the iron bolster onto the knife for better grip. If you buy a forged knife, expect to pay a higher price. Each of these three is generally a good price if you search around for sales. Don’t bother buying a knock-off from Amazon if you can’t verify that your warranty is directly from this manufacturer. They sell these knives in any decent knife store so you can build up a collection in less than a few months.
- WÜSTHOF (Best choice- Made in Germany)
- Zwilling, J. A. Henckels (2nd Best made in Germany and overseas)
- Dalstong (Chefs Choice- Made in China, but excellent quality regardless)