Throw away society-knives

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by cudgee, Sep 7, 2019.

  1. TRfromMT


    Jan 4, 2016
    I recently just went the opposite direction. Tired of a couple decades of crap (grocery store) DULL knives, I bought a DMT diamond stone and sharpened every knife in the drawer.

    Then 2 weeks ago purchased my first high end kitchen knife, a custom 4" paring knife in 1095 steel, at 63 HRc. That was a game changer.

    This weekend I put an ironwood handle on a thinly ground bushcraft style knife, making it a dedicated kitchen knife, in CPM-20CV.

    Looking at doing a 7"+ chef knife next.

    No going back for me. I'll keep 'em sharp, and a high quality knife in the kitchen within reach, without exception.
  2. eveled

    eveled Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 11, 2016
    Actually you can have the best of both worlds. Great steel, practical shapes, dishwasher safe, inexpensive. Dexter Russel SaniSafe knives.
  3. herisson

    herisson Apple slicing rocking chair dweller Platinum Member

    Mar 11, 2013
    Or Victorinox for that matter... Or many others, because frankly, the budget kitchen knife has jumped massively in quality over the past 10 / 20 years. And, if correctly cared for and sharpened once in a while, they perform beautifully. In the kitchen, of course. They are not, and don't pretend to be, hunting, camping or survival knives.
    So, NO, there are no throw-away-knives. If it's steel, it can be sharpened, cared for and kept working for generations. Even the glitzy inox crap from nowhereistan... Period, it's steel, you can make it work.
    DocJD, chiral.grolim and Ruzster like this.
  4. drail


    Feb 23, 2008
    About 10 years ago I started a small sharpening business on the side and talked to every restaurant in town trying to get work. I was amazed at how many acted as if they never heard of sharpening a knife. They all just threw them away when dull and bought cheap new ones. Some places said they used to have their knives sharpened but the cost was getting to be higher than just tossing the dull ones. The only exceptions were the upper end Euro and Asian places. They understand knives. I am doing all of the knives for a local restaurant where I live now. The woman who runs it is thrilled when I return her personal knife with a nice edge. She just looks at me and grins and gives me free food. (REALLY good free food) But all of the other knives just get trashed by the hired help. She has recently discovered carbon steel knives like Old Hickory. She said "My Grandma always used these knives when I was growing up and I like the way they cut". Yup. Grandma was smart. All of my kitchen knives are now old carbon steel knives.
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2019
    cudgee likes this.
  5. Lesknife

    Lesknife Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Mar 31, 2018
    I have a few kitchen knives that my parents had back in the late 1940s. That’s 70+ years ago. I don’t use them anymore because I have knives with better handle ergonomics and they’re cracked and warped. They are rough but still functional and will take an edge. One is a stainless pairing and two are carbon steel that were used for butchering hogs and beef. I could probably re-handle them, sharpen and use them till I pass them on to my kids.
    My folks were also the type to get good quality not necessarily expensive stuff and keep care of them. I think in these later generations they haven’t been trained or educated about proper care and use. I know there is real cheap junk that is inferior but there’s also some well made quality knives that are affordable and will last a lifetime if they are well maintained.
    afishhunter, James Y and cudgee like this.
  6. BenchCo Spydermade

    BenchCo Spydermade

    Feb 10, 2014
    This. Most people don't know how to keep a knife sharp, so they see no value in a knife with the potential to stay sharp. Thus, to most people a knife is just a 5-10$ chunk of steel that smashes through stuff like a narrow wedge.

    Even other people who like knives who i meet have knives so dull they have no edge. Just yesterday I spotted a guys pocket clup who i know. He showed me his knife and i let him know I sharpen if he ever needs. He said he would definitely let me know when it gets to that point. Of course, i politely neglected to tell him it was far past that point. But he may as well have been carrying a pointy spoon.

    I always live talking about how adter ingot my dad a shun chef knife he cut a steak in a cast iron pan with it. When i had a heart attack he assured me he wasnt pressing that hard on the pan. I have since taught him how to keep it sharp and after prepping lots of veggies right after i sharpened it he appreciates it. Now it gets put in a plastic case before getting thown in the crowded knife drawer.

    But the whole throw away mentality is terrible, and ill admit I have my places where i could improve. Hopefully society will get better about this in all ways.
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2019
  7. sharp_edge

    sharp_edge Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 30, 2015
    People who do not or do not want to buy expensive knives usually don't have the skills of sharpening. It makes more financial sense for them to throw away their dull knives than have them sharpened by others. A pair of 8" chefs knives can be had for $10 in some big club stores. Doesn't make sense to spend $10 (or even more) on sharpening each, frequently (as they get dull quickly).
  8. Hale Storm

    Hale Storm Kydex Whisperer Gold Member

    Sep 18, 2013
    Despite my passion for knives, my wife will not buy quality knives for the kitchen, even though she loves to cook. She buys what's comfortable and sometimes even what's "cute" or matches the kitchen. She has probably 50 or more. Like most women, most are in "the knife drawer" which I shudder every time I think about.
    When family dinners roll around or the holidays and big meals are being prepared, I'm the dedicated cutter since I'm the knife guy in the family. My favorite kitchen knife is an Old Hickory Cabbage knife. I modded the blade to shorten it and replaced the handles with customs to make it comfortable for me. That 1095 gets scary sharp, and is super easy to touch up. I used to use a Shun chef's knife but like the Old Hickory so much I gave the Shun away to someone who needed a good kitchen knife. I keep "my" knife separate from all the other knives the kitchen and I'm the only one who uses it.
    Danke42 likes this.
  9. mushka


    Jun 27, 2018
    I have a 7 knife set of the Dexter Russel Sani Safe variety. Given to me about 15 years or so ago for some work I helped with. Excellent set, stay consistently sharp as I only use them on a wood cutting board. They sharpen well when needed. For table use I have a set of 4 Wusthof mid cost steak knives and a Wusthof paring knife. I'm the only one that uses them but for occasional company which makes them easy to care for. I like my knives, all of them.
    eveled likes this.
  10. microbe


    Apr 6, 2016
    My dad used to say "Goedkoop is duurkoop". It means when you buy cheap stuff, you may actually end up paying more then when you buy more expensive and better stuff, as the cheap stuff will not last verry long, and you still end up buying the more expensive and better stuff later on.
    Related to knives, my Chef is a 25 year old Bargoin Sabatier.
    I sharpen it only every few months, maybe 5 times a year, and I try to take the least amount of steel I can, while I strop it in between to keep it laser sharp. One of the reasons I like knives is because they last forever, and throwaway knives make no sense to me. I am more environmentally aware now as I was 10 years ago, and I avoid buying throw away items if I can, even if it costs a bit more. I despise the way manufacturers these days use built in obsolescence, planning things to break a few years in, and force you to buy new products, while creating more garbage on the way. At least knives still can last a lifetime or longer.
    AntDog and cudgee like this.
  11. Professor

    Professor Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 6, 1999
    You guys and gals are going to laugh at this...

    In many years of trying different kitchen knife brands (mostly German-made), I've found that the absolute best kitchen knives for me are the Finnish-made, J. Martinni burch-handled fish filet knives. They're a relatively soft (probably 420) but super-stainless steel, and come with the rinky-dink plastic pass-through ceramic rod sharpener.

    Well, I'm here to tell you, they work wonders, and have the leather sheath with reinforced inner plastic liner if you want to take them to your camp kitchen. The included sharpener brings them back to a tomato-killing edge with just a few passes (careful not to drag the tip all the way through or you'll dull it).

    I keep all three sizes (4", 6", and 9") hanging in my kitchen, and absolutely love them for their versatility and ease of re-sharpening. You can buy all three for under $20 each if you shop around.

    Just my. 02, but I would NEVER trash them if they went dull! I'd simply break out the rinky-dink sharpener or a diamond stone if need be.

    Best to all.

    chiral.grolim likes this.
  12. JJ_Colt45

    JJ_Colt45 Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 11, 2014
    I have a handful of nicer kitchen knives that I keep in a separate drawer ... and I have a knife block of basic kitchen knives ...

    I keep the nicer knives sharp ... but learned to not sharpen the others to real fine edge ... just keep them sharp enough to do the job ...

    I do this after sharpening kitchen knives for a few people and each one told me to not make them "that sharp" next time ... they had all cut themselves ...

    but trying to get them to use them properly and not cut things in their hand or pull a knife through a veggie to your thumb ... but they are set in their ways so when they ask I will usually just take a coarse stone to repair if needed and a ceramic hone ... they are happy with that.
  13. chiral.grolim

    chiral.grolim Universal Kydex Sheath Extension Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 2, 2008
    If it works for you, :thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:

    Heck, we have people on this forum who use Opinels regularly, for pity's sake! ;)
  14. Mitchell Knives

    Mitchell Knives Knifemaker Moderator

    May 21, 2000
    The chef may have made that suggestion assuming that the average person would be unable or unwilling to sharpen their own knives.

    Sharpening is simple for knife guys, but the average person would probably need quite a bit of practice.

    Decent kitchen knives don't have to be costly or of poor quality. $100 would get you 3 or 4 excellent Victorinox kitchen knives. $1,000 or less and you could go custom.
  15. kylemiller


    May 18, 2016
    He's not entirely wrong. It would be hard as a knife collector to tell people who actually use their knives that they are doing it wrong, since I'm guilty of going easy with a few of mine.
  16. sabre cat

    sabre cat Basic Member Basic Member

    Jul 4, 2014
    My wife complains when I sharpen the kitchen knives. So, I compromise. I leave one or two knives dull and work on everything else. At least, that's the plan. What really happens is that I sharpen the two or three knives I use and ignore the rest.

    I have learned the hard way that most people don't care how sharp their knives are. Why spend a fortune when they will not be able to tell the difference after 30 days?
    Pomsbz and WValtakis like this.
  17. arrowhd

    arrowhd Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 19, 2011

    Just a sign of the times. It's to bad though. A decent quality knife is more than capable of lasting a lifetime.
  18. marcinek

    marcinek Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 9, 2007
    For you maybe. Not for everyone.

    For some convenience and cost effectiveness wins.

    Moras are essentially throwaways for the folks they were designed for originally.

    Vic Forschners and F Dick serrated offset knives are widely used in the restaurant industry.

    More expensive to get sharpening equipment and teach someone to sharpen and spend that time sharpening then to just buy a new one.

    Same with many non-knife folks with their kitchen knives.

    It's like deriding people for not changing their own oil or making their own pickles.
  19. bobobama


    Jan 15, 2017
    I posted this a while back on another thread on the same topic, and think it applies here as well:

    There's an older book, "The Complete Guide to Hunting Knives" by writer and hunter Durwood Hollis. It's kind of dated but a great read nonetheless. In it he talks with a professional taxidermist about what knives he uses to cape trophy animals with. Apparently, all he uses are inexpensive German-made paring knives with stainless steels blades and thermoplastic handles. He goes on to say "And another thing about knives for trophy work, is that they don't have to be fancy. I go through a lot of knives, so I buy them by the box... If I had a bunch of showy knives around, they would either disappear, or get torn up real fast".
  20. sabre cat

    sabre cat Basic Member Basic Member

    Jul 4, 2014
    I remember talking years ago with my landlord when I was single and still renting an apartment. He was a plumber by trade and I noticed that he used the cheapest tools he could find. I was surprised and made a comment about it.

    He responded by saying that he factored the cost of tools into every job. That way he was OK if the tool broke and money ahead if the tool still worked at the end of the job.

    I also remember helping a friend on a house remodel and having the plumber tell us that using better quality tools made the job faster and easier.
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2019

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