The Truth About The Chef Knife Market - Choppn' Knives

the truth about the chef knife industry

it's time we shed some light on the chef knife industry...

...and some people won't like it!

IT'S TIME SOMEONE DISRUPTED THE CHEF KNIFE MARKET

To a chef, there is nothing more important than his knife. It is not only an extension of his hands, but also an extension of his personality. The knife is a chef’s paintbrush.


So why are most kitchen knives so bad?


The knives found in most commercial and home kitchens are designed for the lowest common denominator. The manufacturers of these knives make a series of compromises calculated to keep the largest number of people happily using their knives for the longest period of time. Like supermarket tomatoes bred for sturdiness and uniformity rather than flavor, these compromises seriously degrade the performance of your knives.

The first compromise begins with the steel

Steel is the heart of the knife. Most manufacturers (Henckels, Wusthof, Forschner, et al.) have proprietary steel blends and are very close-mouthed about the actual formulation of their steels. According to industry insiders, these steel blends are closely related to or equivalent to a steel known as 440a. By and large 440a steel is formulated for stain and wear resistance rather than holding a high performance edge.


In the kitchen, that’s not a bad tradeoff.

But this compromise in edge performance is compounded by a heat treatment that leaves the steel much softer than it could be. In general, the harder the steel, the keener the edge it will take. However, a hard steel makes it more difficult to get that edge in the first place. So manufacturers leave the steel a little soft, theoretically making sharpening at home easier. If you’ve ever spent an hour or two trying to get a super fine edge on a cheap kitchen knife, you’ll know that there is a big gap between theory and practice.


Upper-end kitchen knives like Henckels, Sabatier, Wusthof, et al., are a little better, but are still softer than they need to be at 52 to 56 on the Rockwell C scale (the Rockwell scale is a scale used to measure the relative hardness of different solids). By contrast, Japanese knives tend to be around 61-62 on the Rockwell scale. Custom knife maker Phil Wilson hardens his S90V (a stainless supersteel) chef’s and filet knives to 62-63 Rockwell.

The next compromise is in the factory edge angles

Most kitchen knives come with an edge that is at least 25 degrees per side, frequently even greater. If you add the two sides together you get a 50 degree included angle. And that’s the best case scenario. 


Take a look at a protractor if you happen to have one lying around. Fifty degrees is extremely thick. An angle that obtuse is more appropriate for an axe than a chef’s knife. 


Again, the theory is that the thick angles will allow the edge to resist damage from impaction, rolling and wear better than a thin edge. But, as the song says, it ain’t necessarily so.

The next compromise is in the factory edge angles

Most kitchen knives come with an edge that is at least 25 degrees per side, frequently even greater. If you add the two sides together you get a 50 degree included angle. And that’s the best case scenario. 


Take a look at a protractor if you happen to have one lying around. Fifty degrees is extremely thick. An angle that obtuse is more appropriate for an axe than a chef’s knife. 


Again, the theory is that the thick angles will allow the edge to resist damage from impaction, rolling and wear better than a thin edge. But, as the song says, it ain’t necessarily so.

THE NEXT PROBLEM IS THE UNNECESSARY& HIGH MARKUPS

As with any product, vendors will set up a mark-up based on the frequency of your purchases.

With Premium Chef Knives a user can go on for tens of years with just one knife, and that serves as a factor for hundreds of dollars to be included in the price.

And if you go to a store, like Sur La Table or Williams-Sonoma, you’re probably paying a large retail markup on top everything else!

THE NEXT PROBLEM IS THE UNNECESSARY& HIGH MARKUPS

As with any product, vendors will set up a mark-up based on the frequency of your purchases.

With Premium Chef Knives a user can go on for tens of years with just one knife, and that serves as a factor for hundreds of dollars to be included in the price.

And if you go to a store, like Sur La Table or Williams-Sonoma, you’re probably paying a large retail markup on top everything else!

THE ALL-IN-ONE KNIFE BLOCK SCAM

Whether you’re setting up a new kitchen or considering upgrading the tools you currently have, a knife set can seem like a good idea. The advantages are that you get a lot of knives (and, often, kitchen shears and a honing steel) at a reasonable price and you don’t have to think too much about it.


But are you really better off purchasing a block set? The experts agree: probably not, and here’s why!

When It Comes to Chef Knives, More Is Not More!

Knife sets feel like a bargain. A block with 18 knives may retail for $400 - $500, when, if you bought all those knives separately, it would cost twice as much — or more. 


But here's the thing, you probably don’t need (and won’t use) all those knives! “You’re paying a lot of extra money for knives that aren’t getting used and that are inferior in quality". 

THE ALL-IN-ONE KNIFE BLOCK SCAM

Whether you’re setting up a new kitchen or considering upgrading the tools you currently have, a knife set can seem like a good idea. The advantages are that you get a lot of knives (and, often, kitchen shears and a honing steel) at a reasonable price and you don’t have to think too much about it.


But are you really better off purchasing a block set? The experts agree: probably not, and here’s why!

When It Comes to Chef Knives, More Is Not More!

Knife sets feel like a bargain. A block with 18 knives may retail for $400 - $500, when, if you bought all those knives separately, it would cost twice as much — or more. 


But here's the thing, you probably don’t need (and won’t use) all those knives! “You’re paying a lot of extra money for knives that aren’t getting used and that are inferior in quality". 

THE TRUTH ABOUT DAMASCUS STEEL

Over a thousand years ago, in the city of Damascus, the local blacksmiths were regarded as the finest in the world for their unique technique of steel fabrication. They say this method produced the most beautiful swords in all the world. Their process involved heating and folding the steel many times over in order to make the blade stronger and more ductile. 


The original techniques and recipes have all been lost to the ages and have, for all intents and purposes, become the stuff of legend.


Many steel-purists may point out that we’re not using the term Damascus accurately. They are correct - we should be calling it “pattern welded” steel, but we use the term “Damascus” because the blacksmiths we work with use that term to describe knives with a layered look.  

The knife world is plagued with fakes and frauds.

People on eBay are trying to pass off 12 piece Damascus Steel knife sets at $400 as real and sellers on Amazon are unknowingly selling fake SHUNs and WUSTHOFs to unsuspecting customers.

Because of all the tricksterism plaguing the knife community, we often get asked whether our knives are real or fake. Damascus knives are becoming more popular and more prevalent. What makes people even more confused about the legitimacy of Damascus steel is the vast price differences. How could a $50 knife with Damascus steel be real when you see other Damascus blades topping the $500 mark?


Some people still insist that any Damascus steel made through the pattern-welded method and etching is not real Damascus. Those people are simply wrong. If you have a Damascus blade that was made with pattern-welded steel and some acid etching, then you do indeed have a real Damascus blade. 

Lastly, in some rare cases, people will try to pass off regular stainless steel with no layering as Damascus by printing a design on the blade. These are pretty easy to spot because they either don’t look like Damascus or the pattern could just rub off!

CHOPPN' KNIVES vs THE OTHERS

After countless design revisions, material analysis, and durability tests, we developed a truly well balanced blade.


Crafted using Japanese Imported VG10 and 66 layers of Damascus steel we have managed to balance sharpness, edge retention and cost resulting in a blade structure unlike any other.


VG-10 Steel is considered a Japanese Super Steel, it is one of the most popular steels used in top-of-the-line Japanese kitchen knives. VG-10 is associated with sharp edges, durability, and edge retention.

Made with 1% carbon, 15% chromium, 1.5% cobalt, 1% molybdenum, 0.5% manganese, and 0.2% vanadium, its fine steel structure makes it easy to sharpen, yet capable of holding that edge longer than most.

CHOPPN' KNIVES vs THE OTHERS

After countless design revisions, material analysis, and durability tests, we developed a truly well balanced blade.


Crafted using Japanese Imported VG10 and 66 layers of Damascus steel we have managed to balance sharpness, edge retention and cost resulting in a blade structure unlike any other.

VG-10 Steel is considered a Japanese Super Steel, it is one of the most popular steels used in top-of-the-line Japanese kitchen knives. VG-10 is associated with sharp edges, durability, and edge retention. 


Made with 1% carbon, 15% chromium, 1.5% cobalt, 1% molybdenum, 0.5% manganese, and 0.2% vanadium, its fine steel structure makes it easy to sharpen, yet capable of holding that edge longer than most.

ARE YOU LOOKING FOR A NEW CHEF KNIFE?

Choppn' Knives have been built with longevity in mind. Using premium materials such as Japanese VG10 for our core metal, Damasacus Steel, and a stabilized wood handle, we have perfected the anatomy of a truly perfect Chef Knife. To provide the best cutting experience, we finish all knives by hand using the a traditional Japanese method - The Honbazuke Method. This method ensures edge retention and a sharp cutting edge that stays sharp!


Find out why over 4.000+ professional chefs and home cooks have switched to Choppn' Knives

SHARING OUR KNOWLEDGE

We are committed! 

not only to bringing you the most Unique Chef Knives, but also the best available information about their use and maintenance

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