Customer Reviews: Chicago Cutlery Insignia2 18-Piece Knife Block Set with In-Block Knife Sharpener
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on December 13, 2006
I just got these knives and I love them. Regarding the rust problem, all quality knives are made of high carbon steel. They will all rust if left in water. This includes henckles, shun, wustof ect.

Regarding the spaces that others have been complaining about, high quality knives are forged out of a single piece of metal. It is impossible to get a uniform shape for every knife this way. Chicago Cutlery uses a poly handle that has uniform in shape (unlike wood handles), hence the spaces.

These knives are very sharp. You can see how sharp a knife is by holding it loosely by the handle and pulling it over a tomato without applying pressure. I have done this with the sontoku from this et and it slices through like butter.

Handles are a matter of taste. these are thick handles, I like them this way. If you like thinner handles go with Shun. Of coarse one chef's knife will cost you twice as much as this whole set.

The only minor complaint is the steak knives. Steak knives should be serrated; the steak knives in this set are basically long paring knives.

These are great knives and %99 of users will be just as happy with these as with a $500 set from henckles.
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on November 24, 2007
I bought these to replace a set of Mundial 5100's that was lost. I wasn't expecting such high quality from this set, but Consumers Digest selected these above many sets costing hundreds of dollars more (including the Mundial set that they reviewd) and I have to say this set is more than I expected for the price. I am not claiming they are better than the Mundial 5100 block set, but so far they're pretty close.

Unlike some of the other reviewers, I haven't found anything to complain about. The handles and blades are perfectly matched with no gaps or any other errors that I'm aware of. The blades are sharp, but to get them to the point of slicing produce paper thin they do need a couple of swipes through the built in knife sharpener (which I found works better for these knives than my Henckle dual sharpener). After I sharpened the utility knife I was slicing onions so thin that you could see through them. So I tried cutting tomatoes with the same results with very easy pressure the knife slid through the tomato literally as thin as you could possibly want to slice it.

I know that there are better knife sets out there but you are going to pay for them.

This set is perfect for the average home kitchen and again for the money they can't be beat.
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on January 13, 2008
Last year my wife had given me a three piece Chicago Cutlery Insignia2 set for Christmas. Once I started using those knives, the rest the knives I owned never made it out of the drawer. I used to buy the typical department store brands (which shall remain unnamed) and pretty much had to replace them yearly. Once I found Chicago Cutlery, I never looked back.

When I saw this set on sale at Amazon, I simply had to get it. I still had an older 12-piece block set and wanted to finally make the upgrade to a full set of Chicago Cutlery Insignia2. That was definitely the best move I could have made.

Without going into too much detail, these knives are fantastic! They are super sharp and are tremendously comfortable to use, so no hand fatigue while prepping meals. Plus, with the in-block sharpener, you never have to worry about them getting dull. The knives themselves are quality made with the full tang and triple rivets. Unlike some lower end models that simply have the plastic overcoat which cracks off after regular use, these knives will last a lifetime.

Positives: Great quality, super comfortable to use, very sharp, in-block sharpener keeps your knives like new, and I don't know how I've lived without the Santoku for so long! The way it sits in your hand is prefect for chopping veggies.

Negatives: Only one complaint, which is the utility scissors that come with the set. It's a problem that is frustrating the first time you use them but you do get used to it. The scissors come apart for easy cleaning, which, don't get me wrong, is a fantastic idea. The problem is that they split apart after about a 35-40 degree opening. So as long as you don't open the scissors fully, you'll never have an issue.

Overall, I would recommend these knives to anyone at any level of cooking experience.
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on January 2, 2008
Consumer Reports rated the Chicago Cutlery Metropolitan a Best Buy. We went to the store, felt those knives and were pretty disappointed. They had no heft, it felt like holding a toy instead of a culinary instrument. We then noticed the Chicago Cutlery Insignia2 forged set and it felt like a completely different league of knives. Not as great as Henckels and Wüsthof, but the price was much more favorable. We ended up buying the set and now, 6-months later, we're glad we did. By the way, we looked at more than a dozen various manufacturers and sets; we were ready to buy Wüsthof Classic before we found this Chicago Cutlery Insignia2 set.

These knives are great; they keep an edge pretty long, large array of knives, 8-steak knives are great for larger company and they look, feel and are built like they should have cost at least twice as much.

There are a few drawbacks and things I don't like about the set. Some of the reviewers have already mentioned that the knives should be washed and dried immediately else they start to look slightly rusty (you can use dishwasher, but must dry right after). What people haven't mentioned, and I think is a big problem is that this knife set does not come with a honing steel (and/or crappy sharpener). Didn't seem like a big deal to me until I sharpened one of the knives using the built-in sharpener. Even though the knives are forged, the edge is VERY thin and sharp. After a lot of use and banging around all over the kitchen the edge will start to lose alignment (this is true with all knives, by the way). If you use the built-in sharpener without honing you will eat up a part of your edge.

I highly recommend getting a honing steel and using that before you use the built-in sharpener or getting a sharpening stone so you don't just lose an edge and have way more control.

Other than these two major problems, which are pretty easy to control, the set is pretty nice. I highly recommend it if you're careful with your knives. If you like to beat on them, then please look elsewhere... these require a bit too much TLC.
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on May 4, 2007
Bought this as my first set of knives. Appreciated the price. A little surprised at the craftsmanship. The knife handles are not made to perfection and there are some rough edges where the handle meets the metal blade of the knife. This does not cause much of a problem other than appearance. The knife block is well made. The slots for the knives go completely through the knife block allowing for ventilation, should you want it.


+ Price

+ Great starter knives

+ Convenient storage block


+ Poor visual craftsmanship
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on August 22, 2012
I will start by saying that I purchased these for $99 not the $120 they are currently listed for. Obviously, I think I am better than you due to my $1.11111/knife savings.

Here is a ranked order of things I look for in a Knife Set:
1) Sharp as hell
2) Sharp as hell
3) Sharp as hell
4) looks pretty

That is the entire list. I am not nearly proficient enough in the kitchen to have other requirements. The knives are sharp as hell. They cut the crap out of stuff. I enjoy showing off their sharpness to amazed visitors (more realistically, I just show my girlfriend over and over again). Look how easy it is to cut through lemons! You try! Case closed. They are also a pretty good looking knife set. I'm not sure I needed 18 knives, because I only know what about 8 of them do, but it is impressive looking and really makes people know that I'm the boss.

I purchased them about 1 month ago, so I cannot objectively weigh in on the rust-issue (I have none at this point). Therefore my only real con at this point is that this point is that the block is really big and awkwardly fits in my small New York City kitchen. Please note the massive size before you follow me to sharpcity.
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on March 3, 2008
I received these knives 4 days ago. I immediately unpackaged and began to use them. They arrived well packaged and in good condition. I have used all but the steak knives on multiple occasions daily. I also read the literature accompanying the knives as well. This way I would not be surprised by doing something ignorant to the knives and ruining them. I have washed them by hand immediately after use and then dried them. I store them in the block for now, which by the way is a superior knife block.

Ok, the knives are great. They are a steal for this price. They cut well and feel wonderful in your hand. They are forged. As such their appearance is as that of a forged piece of high quality cutlery. These knives look wonderful. They were sharp out of the box and I have not had to sharpen them yet. I have used them on vegetables, meat, fruit, and all sorts of items while preparing meals. I look forward to preparing meals with this set. I actually try to make meals that require me to use them because they are truly that wonderful to use. This is definitely a high quality set of cutlery. I inspected and used some German cutlery and can say that these knives definitely hold their own against a set of German cutlery costing 300-500 dollars. If you are searching for a high quality set of cutlery and you are not wanting to spend 300 to 500 dollars to get them, these are a great set to choose.

The block is high quality as well. It is worth 30-60 dollars easy just by itself. I normally keep my knives on a magnetic strip to conserve space. However, this block is so attractive and of high quality I am considering continuing to use it and make a special place for it on my counter. The block and knives just scream quality and I like the way they look.

Please read and do what the directions say when cleaning and using these knives. If you choose not to follow the directions, then DON'T COMPLAIN WHEN YOUR KNIVES BECOME DISCOLORED OR RUST WHEN YOU SOAK THEM OR PUT THEM IN THE DISHWASHER! These are not some cheap 39.99 set of serrated knives. These are a high quality forged set of cutlery. If washing them by hand and drying them immediately is too hard to do then this set is not for you. Get that 39.99 set so you won't get frustrated when the expected happens.

I highly recommend this set to anybody in the market for set of cutlery. No, they are not German made and they do not cost 500 dollars. However, they are high quality and, unless you just want to impress somebody with your high priced cutlery set made in Germany, this is a great choice. Just make sure you understand how to take care of high quality cutlery and can handle doing it.
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on May 14, 2007
I'm not a knife expert but these knives feel good. I was dissatisfied with my last set (J.A. Henckles) which I bought for double the price because they required a lot of tuning. These knives have been holding their edge longer and the in-block sharpener is very convenient and easy to use. The Consumer Reports review convinced me to buy these in the first place and so far they've been holding up to their praise.
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on March 11, 2012
This is a VERY good set of knives for the price I paid. (The price was less than what ONE excellent German 8" chef knife will cost at full retail). That being said, one must keep his or her expectations in a safe and sane place. These are not professional knives. Then again, if you are not a professional chef, do you really need a $1,000 set of knives? There is no hyperbole there. If one buys 18 German forged steel knives, one is talking well over 1,500 dollars--no matter the brand.

Please: If you are a professional expecting professional steel, please do not dump on these knives because they do not meet your expectations. If you want excellent quality for an incredible price, these will almost certainly delight you. If you want German steel and the price that comes with it, Amazon has those.


* Solid, forged knives for the cost of stamped steel. If you want knives to toss in the dishwasher or "soak" in the sink prior to cleaning, steer clear. Hand wash these knives right after use and dry with a clean towel. (This is not unique; any good knife should be washed by hand with a soft sponge). I encourage anyone looking at these (or any) knives to ignore negative comments from people who ruined their knives in the dishwasher. That is simply user error.

* The integrated sharpener is surprisingly useful; it does work as advertised* (* One caveat--See below)

* The knives feel balanced and are quite sharp out of the box. The integrated sharpener works, but some say there is no way around a good griped steel. It depends on the user. If you want the steel, there is a slot for it (in lieu of one knife).

* The steak knives are not serrated. They may be sharpened like any other knife in the package.

* Solid bolsters and solid handles. Full tang. Three rivets. Solid and heavy. Even the steak knives feel quite nice.


* * The integrated sharpener works great out of the box--IF your block arrives with a clear slot. My block was not milled/cleared properly. Bits of wood clogged the opening to the sharpener. I had to use one of my old knives to rake / push out bits of wood to allow the sharpener to function. This is my primary reason for deducting one star on this product. In general, the block does not measure up to the knives--in ANY respect. The contrast is quite noticable.

* The steak knife slots are not milled to precision. Even a very small milling mistake = 1/4 an inch visual distortion when one inserts steak knives into slots adjacent to one another. This really hurts the aesthetics of the whole set. The set looks cheap with the steak knives sitting about like jagged teeth. The knives themselves are good. (See above).


This is an excellent value for the money. If you want a nice presentation, buy a properly made block. The block is the loose bolt in this deal.
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on November 3, 2006
The knives are reasonably sharp and do their job. However, the construction is disappointly poor. There are large gaps in between the plastic of the handle and the metal bolster. The finish of the handle and blade is also poor. Understandably, this isn't the most expensive set of knives out there, but I wish they would have spent a few more dollars not making them look like such cheap knives.
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