Top positive review
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A great way to try Victorinox/Forschner.
on June 5, 2014
***About Victorinox Knives in General***
For those who are completely new to the Victorinox (formerly Forschner) brand of knives, it's like this: These knives are NOT super high-end knives intended to impress cutlery snobs. They're workhorses that perform nearly as well as - and, depending on the knife - as well or better than high-end forged instruments costing three times as much. No joke.
Q: Will they look as good as my super expensive Japanese or German knives?
A: No. They will not. They're really simple-looking. Some might even say that they look crappy. Your high-end Japanese or German cutlery will absolutely shame Victorinox Forschner knives in terms of appearance.
Q: Will they perform as well as my super expensive Japanese or German knives?
A: Maybe. If not, it will be a very close race. Think 80%-100% of the performance at 30% of the cost. Additionally, the Victorinox knives - because they're not forged - are very light. (My mom has arthritis and I got her a bunch of Victorinox knives after trying them myself. She LOVES them, and experiences much less fatigue than she did with her previous knives, which were 15 year-old Henckels.)
Q: Will they perform better than my KitchenAid, Cuisinart, or other knives that came in a set costing $30-$100?
A: Those knives will run in terror from Victorinox Forschner knives. You will find yourself using far less muscle when slicing things with Victorinox Forschner knives, if you're used to a crappy $50 box set.
Q: What's the deal with the handle? Fibrox? What's that?
A: Fibrox is Victorinox' name for a specially-textured handle material, which I'm pretty sure is just a proprietary plastic compound. This is going to sound weird, but Fibrox kind of has the texture of a cat's tongue... meaning it's a little rough. The weird thing about Fibrox - and the one reason - aside from durability and cutting performance - that so many line cooks rely on these, is the fact that they do NOT become slippery when the knife or your hands are damp. (Again, my aging mom loves that about these knives. She routinely cuts with wet hands, so she feels that these are safer than her Henckels.)
Q: So... what's the difference between the Victorinox Fibrox knives and the Victorinox Swiss Classic knives?
A: The only difference is the handle; the blades are identical, from what I've seen. (I have Fibrox-handled knives, and we bought my mother-in-law Swiss Classics.) I recommend Fibrox, to be honest. The Swiss Classic handles are good, but they are not quite as grippy-when-wet as the Fibrox knives, so I like the Fibrox ones for the extra margin of safety. That said, you'll find that the Swiss Classic knives are more likely to come as a set, which can save you a little money over buying individually.
Q: What about durability? Some people are saying they don't hold an edge.
A: In my own experience, they hold an edge commendably well. Put it this way: My wife and I cook dinner 4-5 times per week, and on top of that, these knives also get the brunt of our general, daily use (cutting bread, etc.). We mainly spread this workload across just *three* Victorinox Fibrox knives, and we've had these knives for just under a year. During that time, I've had to run them over a honing steel (also a Victorinox item) just twice, and after honing, they are good as new. I'm sure that eventually, they'll need professional sharpening, but it's been almost a year, and I can imagine going another year before they really need professional work... and even then, they might be okay with just a honing steel.
***About THIS Knife***
Okay, so *this* knife is a bit odd. It has a full-sized handle (pretty much the same as the rest of the Fibrox line), but the blade is a chef's knife blade that looks like it got hit with a shrink ray. To be perfectly honest, I find that this knife gets WAY more use than our chef's knife; it seems like for 70% of kitchen tasks, this is *just enough* knife.
Actually, I really like it's middle-of-the-road size, and I HIGHLY recommend it as a first Victorinox knife, for someone who just wants to "see what's so great about" them. In a sense, it's a "gateway" knife. You can get a feel for the brand, their handles, and their blades, and then make your future buying decisions with your experience in mind... and if you hate it... then it's not like you're out a ton of money.