112 of 116 people found the following review helpful
Almost like my old ones...,
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This review is from: Ontario Knife Co. 5-Piece Old Hickory Knife Set 705 (Sports)
Overall, these really are great knives. Before I go on, I do want to get a word of caution out right now to prospective buyers.
These knives are NOT your typical, lazy-daisy stainless steel easy-to-take-care-of knives. You can't just throw them into the dishwasher to clean. The blades on these knives are made out of high carbon, 1095 steel, which is NOT stainless steel. It is much harder, can get MUCH sharper, and retains its cutting edge for much longer. Once sharpened to taste, they are easily touched up to retain their edge when needed. If you DON'T HAND wash and then HAND DRY these knives, they will start to rust fairly quickly. If you throw them into a dishwasher, you'll only do so a couple of times before you see the handle become damaged from the machine...and you'll see that rust I'm talking about. These knives need to be taken care of; if you have the patience to do so, you'll love them, like I do.
Now, on to my review. As I said, these are great knives. Yes, they come in a really cheap package. So what? I bought these for nice knives, not nice packaging. Once sharpened by hand, these knives have the razor edge that I'm used to Old Hickory knives having. I'm not a fan of machine sharpening, or this Accu-sharp tungsten carbide garbage some people swear by. I'll pit my hand-sharpened razor edges against their dull quicky-sharpened knives any day...and I'll win every time. These knives are no different. The boning knife, carver (slicer), and butcher knives are full-tang blades, which is also very nice.
Now, a few drawbacks. I can live with them, but I'm not completely happy because of them, thus the four-star rating. If these had been like my last set of Old Hickory knives, then this would have been a five-star rating, for sure.
What's wrong with them? They are not QUITE as thick as my last set of knives I had bought some 15 years ago or so. I'm a fairly stout fellow, but I was barely able to flex the paring knife blade in the old set. I can flex the paring knife blades without much effort, and can flex the boning knife, carver, and butcher's knife without much more effort than the paring knives. Yes, I COULD flex the old blades, but it was actually a bit difficult to do so.
The two paring knives are half-tang. Really, this isn't too much of a problem, as they are not meant for the heavy, heavy duty kind of work requiring a full-tang knife. In my old set, however, even the 3" and 4" paring knives were full-tang. Guess I'm just used to the little extra bit of quality, there.
Ontario's out-of-the-factory edges on these knives are abysmal. Now, I didn't expect them to be nearly as sharp as I want them right out of the packaging, but there's no edge on these knives at all. Even a machine sharpener as highly rated as the expensive Chef's Choice M130 Professional Knife-Sharpening Station, Platinum would have issues with putting an edge on these. High carbon steel like this is HARD to cut down to a good, sharp edge...when you start with NO edge at all...well, it WILL take you a while to get these sharpened up. You will have to have patience in plenty to get these sharpened to your taste. It took me a few hours to get these blades sharpened into the razor edges they have now...and I've hand-sharpened knives for over 25 years, have good stones, and even polish my edges using a leather belt and jeweler's rouge...
Despite these few cons, these ARE great knives, considering the type of steel they are made from, and the lovely low price that you pay for them. If you have patience enough to take good care of your kitchen tools and to have kitchen knives that can be SUPER sharp, then you'll love these knives.
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Showing 1-10 of 12 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 4, 2012 6:23:42 AM PST
And...two+ years later, still using these great knives. Still rust-free, still scary-sharp, still willing to take a minute to properly care for them. My carver knife just LOOKED at our turkey this year, and the bird fell apart.
In reply to an earlier post on Feb 11, 2013 2:19:31 AM PST
John Robinson says:
Clearly sir you know your blades. I respect that, and i too also know good knives.If i can't find what i want i will buy a set of these. I'll shape and form my edges happily...at least they will be done well.
In reply to an earlier post on Feb 14, 2013 5:36:22 AM PST
I've never had a real complaint with these knives, John, other than griping when other people in my house use them and then don't clean them...lol...which doesn't happen too often any more. If you don't purchase these, and go for a stainless steel option and don't mind paying extra for higher-grade stainless, then Shun knives are a good option. They cost much more than these, but they perform very well. Other than Shun, Hattori makes perhaps the absolute best in stainless kitchen cutlery, but you WILL pay for them. Many of his knives are made from the VG series of stainless steels, which are arguably among the best stainless steels you can get. I had to purchase mine from places other than Amazon, however, so you'd have to dig a little to find a place that sells them for reasonable prices.
Hattori makes some of his blades from AUS-8 stainless, which is a good steel and a little lower in price...but if you can afford them and want a stainless blade, the VG series would probably make you very happy. AND they are beautiful blades...especially his Damascus-designed VG-10 knives.
Whichever way you go...Ontario Old Hickory, Shun, Hattori...you should be pretty well satisfied.
Posted on Mar 12, 2013 3:27:31 PM PDT
Mark A. Henry says:
Nice write-up. I'm a knife expert by no means but I like good knives and helping butcher hogs using them last year made me research them a bit. I knew they were likely not razor sharp but thanks for the clarification, now I'll have to learn to sharpen knives properly since my sharpening will turn them into railroad spikes. :lol:
In reply to an earlier post on Mar 12, 2013 8:20:10 PM PDT
Glad my reviews/comments could be of help, Mr. Henry. I did a review on this product: AccuSharp 001 Knife Sharpener , where there is a long string of comments where people were asking me questions and my opinions on various products and sharpening methods. You can find that review here: http://www.amazon.com/review/R1J7O1U19YPWE4/ref=cm_aya_cmt?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B00004VWKQ#wasThisHelpful . You may find helpful information on various sharpening methods/tools in that string of comments.
Posted on Oct 9, 2013 5:11:39 AM PDT
Your review was one of the most useful reviews I've read on a product, not only for the description of the pros and cons, but also for helpful tips on technique. And I saw your comment on more tips for knife sharpening skills from your other review, which I'm following up. It is a joy to work in the kitchen with a sharp knife, and I'm always looking to improve my skills. Thank you for the wonderful review!
In reply to an earlier post on Oct 27, 2013 9:42:51 AM PDT
You are most welcome, S.H. I certainly don't mind one bit sharing anything that I know; if there is something not already covered by the posts/comments I've left answering others' questions, the simply post your question under one of my reviews. I'll answer as soon as I can.
In reply to an earlier post on Apr 17, 2014 5:04:53 PM PDT
J. Brown says:
Hi J. Williams! I'd like to buy several new Old Hickory US-made knives (the company now makes an International line which are made in China.) to use in the kitchen. Will you please post a tutorial to sharpen carbon steel knives as you do, somewhere online that is convenient for you - a YouTube video? Also, if you use a sharpening steel to maintain the blade for these Old Hickory knives, that video would also be most helpful. Thanks! Juli ;)
In reply to an earlier post on Aug 21, 2014 11:41:30 AM PDT
I've had several requests for video tutorials. I plan on making some when I get the time and updating my reviews with a link to them.
I USUALLY don't use a rod to maintain my OH knives...it just depends on how lazy I'm feeling that day. I don't have a "steel" rod, however. I use a 7" rod of glass from an expended halogen lamp (a bigger bulb). That particular material is harder/smoother than ceramic. I do have some rods/steels, but that glass rod is just dandy. removes less steel, achieves a better edge. Usually, though, I maintain those OH knives with a couple of strokes on my Very Fine stone (if needed) and a few strops on my rouge-infused leather.
Posted on Feb 23, 2015 7:55:40 AM PST
Dora L Peters says:
Carbon Steel knife blades are typically 50-55 Rockwell which means they can be bent, dented, damaged etc but they can also be sharpened easily. I've had my chefs knife for about 30 years and it still has it's original shape although it has been repaired a few times using a bench grinder. I can grind a blade to a reasonable fine edge without using stones and then finish it with a 'Steel'. This doesn't put a razor edge on it but it will slice anything I want as well as I want which I can't say for the stainless blades I have and those are impossible to sharpen with anything other than a knife sharpener and a steel is useless with them. Chrome (a principle component of stainless steel) is very hard and also gummy so it resists all efforts to remove material with stones. I take very good care of my Old Hickory knife and, now that it's seasoned, I have no trouble with rust. That's right, you can season them just like a cast iron pan. Enjoy :-)