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R. H. Forschner Chef's Knife

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In the kitchen
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It was my first good knife. I can almost picture the the out-of-the-way tool store I bought it at, there being no fancy kitchen shops where lived. I certainly remember the kitchen job where I used it. The place was a madhouse.

Digging my thumbnail into my fingertip just the right way, I can get a damaged nerve to twinge, legacy of a bit of personal tomfoolery that taught me to show proper respect for knives.

Knife collecting is so much fun. Such a rabbit hole.

  • Japanese knives that drip thousand-year craftsmanship where tradition demands that the person who purchases the knife put on the final edge. I'd love to add a Nakiri veggie chopper to my collection.
  • French blades with a direct link to the culinary poetry of the western world. (The Thiers knife I picked up during a summer stage in a French kitchen has unbounded sentimental value. It's also an indisputably fine tool.)
  • Multi-layer sandwich and Damascus constructions with super-hard steel wrapped in softer metal.
  • Forged Solingen knives with the kind of heft for big jobs.

It makes going to the knife drawer a treat.

The one thing I don't get is when pocket knife people start talking about using folding knives for food prep. Ughh!

But lately, I've been coming home to that first knife, a R.H. Forschner 430-8, made in Switzerland by Victorinox to complement the New York company's butcher scale business.

Does anybody even remember Forschner scales?

 The knife does so many things well:

  • light weight - just under 7 oz (190 g) - so using it isn't a chore
  • broad / tall blade that cuts with confidence
  • 8 in - big enough for all kinds of jobs
  • thin stiff blade - laser-like before lasers were cool
  • large diameter handle of real wood
  • easy to keep good and sharp
Still there at just the right angle.

The team at America's Test Kitchen keeps picking the modern (plastic-handled) version of this knife in their kitchen knife shootouts. For me, my old wood handled modle fits the bill. Super versatile, light and comfortable, it makes prep one of the best parts of cooking.

Any old favorites hanging out in your knife drawer?

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Created at: 2017/11/22, updated at 2017/11/23.

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About the Author

Cooking has always been a part of my life.

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