Buying kitchen knives and I’m clueless?


So I’m buying knives for a christmas present and I don’t know where to start. I went to the mall today and grabbed some 40 dollar wusthof knife just to check it out. So yeah…it seems sharp idk. So here are the specific questions:
Oh and before I start I’m probably going to buy whatever set I get at the mall which limits me to shun, wusthof, and J.A. Henckels.
1. does it matter for a lefty?
2. will the harder steel of a shun mean less maintenance/sharpening?
3. What knives of the 4 billion to choose from should I get if I’m thinking of just getting maybe four or so to start?

I was atm leaning towards the wusthof classic: a pairing knife, a santoku or something (it just looked cool), some serrated bread knife, and a cook’s knife. Let me know your thoughts. The person I’m buying them for doesn’t know anything about knives either- so maintenance and comfort win out since many of the strengths of each choice will probably just go undetected.


  1. We’ve had a Henckels set for many years now and they are great knives. Whatever brand you get, be sure the metal of the blade goes all the way up into the handle and isn’t riveted in-it provides longer life and more stability. My recommendations for which types to get are: a paring knife, an 8 in. chef’s knife, a serrated bread knife and a boning knife (very versatile). The santoku might look cool, but talk to the salesperson about the sharpening ability of it-also, I would invest in a block and a file type sharpener (it’s like a rod with a sharpening surface on it and usually stores in the block.

  2. Henckels probably have the widest reputation.
    1) Ask if they come in left-handed, idk.
    2) The quality of steel will determine price.
    3) Small paring knife, boning knife, serrated bread knife, large chopper.

  3. the standard good knife has a 22 degree angle on the blade. Shun has a 16 degree angle which makes them scary sharp. When you buy a knife buy a steel and have them show you how to use it properly. and do so regularly. Dull knives cut more people than sharp ones. Unless you are using a roofing hatchet or something sharpened only on one side all knives are ambidextrous. I dont favor stainless. It’s a personal choice. I keep migh carbon blades clean with a piece of emery cloth. I also have a set of Arkansas oilstones and I know how to use them. Even if you use a steel every time you pick up your knife it will need to be resharpened yearly. If you arent good at it you’ll be money ahead to have it done professionally. You might include in your arsenal a reasonable sized meat cleaver for doing bones and such. I also have a choy doh. A chinese knife. broad blade, flat nose and sharper than a straight razor. Mine is a 3 rams brand, Size 3. You can cut and scoop and all kinds of things but if you get one dont use it as a cleaver. It isnt that kind of blade. The most important thing is to try them in your hand. Dont buy for looks. A knife that only looks good but you cant handle is a waste of money and potentially dangerous. A knife you like the feel of will be a thing of joy to use. Good luck.And dont buy cheap. These are an investment that can last you a lifetime. I have a quality knife that my Chef uncle gave my mother 50 years ago. Its a lot narrower now but it still holds an edge. One last thing. Never ever ever put a good knife in a dishwasher. It ruins the handles and may de-temper them.

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