Buying a chef’s knife is like buying any other type of cutlery. There are certain qualities you want to be aware of before making a purchase. For example:
What type of blade is it? There are many different types of metal used for making knife blades. Here are a few with advantages and disadvantages.
Carbon Steel – This is a very tough type of material and can take a great edge but they tend to discolor when they come in contact with anything acidic such as tomatoes or citrus fruit. They also tend to rust if not in use for a while so they must be taken care of to avoid discoloration by being sure to clean and dry them after use.
Stainless steel – Boats use stainless steel fittings for obvious reason, they don’t rust and require less maintenance. However, what you gain in usability, you lose in the most important part, the edge. They are very difficult to keep a good sharp edge.
High carbon Stainless Steel – The best of both worlds, Tough and olds an edge and they won’t discolor. A very good choice when choosing a knife blade. The carbon adds strength to teh stainless steel but costs more.
Titanium – Much lighter than steel, holds its edge, and more wear resistant. Flexible, so it is better choice for boning and filleting knives.
Things to Consider
Does it have a full tang or partial tang?
Is the blade stamped or forged?
How heavy is the knife?
How is the knife’s balance?
What kind of edge does it have?
How long is it?
A chef’s knife usually come’s in lengths from 6 inches to 12 inches and are about an inch wide. How long it should be depends on what you are going to do with it and how comfortable it feels in your hand. I personally like a 10 inch blade but do own several different sizes.
What Chef’s Knife Would you Buy?
A typical chef’s knife on the market are 6 to 10 inches long with the most popular being 8 inches. I recommend every home cook start with an 8 inch chef’s knife and get used to it before moving on to anyting bigger. When starting an 8 inch chef’s knife will feel heavy and awkward althoguh as you practice and get used to it it will begin feeling natural.
Another choice you have is what type of knife you want, whether its a French or German style. The French style have a longer and thinner blade which allow for better slicing and dicing. The German style is shorter and wider and better for chopping. Just another factor when deciding which to choose. Make sure the knife has a secure grip and has a good feeling to your hand. Remember your looking for balance and a good feel for you. The handle should be riveted to the blade as well.