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Whether you are currently without a knife block set or looking to upgrade from an existing cheap set, there are a few things you should consider to ensure you make the ideal purchase for a gourmet knife set. Your decision to purchase a gourmet set is a smart one. Knives tend to be more affordable if purchased in a set rather than individually, and by going with a high quality set, even though there may be some expense initially, the purchase will last you a lifetime.
First, you want to go with a trusted manufacturer or brand. Look for a company that has been around awhile and is known for producing quality products in this industry. Also most good manufacturers back their products with lifetime warranties. The top manufacturers for knife sets are Ginsu, Wusthof, J.A Henckels, Shun and Global.
Secondly, you need to determine how many pieces you want in the knife block set. You must weigh this decision with your budget and with how much cooking you think you will do. Sets can range in pieces from 5 to 26, and among the types of knives usually included are a chef's knife, utility knife, Santoku, shears and paring knives. For high end sets some extra types might be added like a carving knife, fillet knife, boning knife, and bread knife. Sometimes the sets will include six to eight steak knives, and besides the block to house the knives, the set will usually include a sharpening rod. You can always purchase knives separately, but it is nice to have them match and including them in the set will save you money.
The most important factor that affects the quality of the knives are how and with what the knives are constructed. High quality knives have blades that are forged with high carbon stainless steel. This material ensures the knives hold there edge, resist rust and remain durable for a long time to come. Ideally, the knives will have tangs that extend throughout the entire length of the handle. This gives the knives better weight, balance and feel.
Knives can be constructed differently which yields varying levels of quality. The two most common ways of producing knives are forging and stamping. Forged knives are ground from a single heated block of metal and formed into the shape of a blade, similar to the way a samurai sword is made. These knives are heavier and of better quality than knives stamped from sheet metal. Some knives are laser cut from sheet metal instead of stamped, creating more precision.
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