Over all, a very nice tool.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 24 March 2019
Once again, if you are reading this, then you are looking at the Mercer chef's knife. my photo would be the same as the one you are looking at.
Firstly, I took a good look around before buying this knife to fit my purpose, and in the process, i noted many reviews that were, well, not so much unfair but more "misplaced". A knife is a tool, and every tool is designed and built to serve a specific purpose…. Sorry, this is one of my pet peeves, as an erstwhile knife smith and engineer.
This applies perhaps more to knives than for most forms of tool. The knife is in some ways the most primal of tools in that it has been with us since the first cave man broke a piece of flint and realised how sharp it was (probably cutting himself to the bone in the process - [the first lesson - treat knives with RESPECT!].
A good knife is almost a living thing and in fact for some of the deeper cultures [including me], it is considered to be exactly that - a living thing in it's own right. Certainly, that is the belief of many of the finest knife smiths.
IF you are going to buy a knife, first make certain that you know what you want it to do, and have teh consideration to understand the various forms, shapes, behaviours and functions of knives so that you wont be disappointed.
A Chinese / Japanese vegetable knife, for example is a fast, subtle, efficient tool that is totally fit for purpose, and while it might look like a cleaver, IT IS ABSOLUTELY NOT A CLEAVER and if you are crude enough to use it as cleaver, then you don’t deserve it!
When you abuse such a tool, don’t be surprised if small bits of metal break off at high velocity and you get one in your eye, or do yourself some nasty damage! a vegetable knife is not a *****y axe. First learn, then choose and buy the most expensive, highest quality tool that is fit for your purpose. learn to look after and care for it, and it will serve you with honour for the rest of your life.
Talk to the manufacturers. They will be delighted and honoured to help you.
NOW; this Mercer Chinese chef's knife is a very nice piece. IT IS NOT A CLEAVER, AND IT IS NOT AN AXE!. IT has a very nice weight and balance that facilitates the most efficient movements for work with vegetables and meat. IF you master the techniques of cheese cookery, you will be surprised how quickly, safely and easily you can prepare food.
Fine for veg; fine fore meat, but not of bones, if you really want to look after your investment.
That said, it would chop light chicken bones, although i would not consider it, because i care for my knives. The blade was well sharpened for a factory edge, and i spent around 5 to ten minutes bringing it toe a satisfactory edge. Now it will happily slice paper form a magazine page to a cigarette paper with no effort or hesitation.
A knife should be sharpened in the manner appropriate for the work you want it to do. A meat or bone cleaver requires a very different edge to that of a vegetable knife.
The belly of this knife has a gently curve and efficient "belly" that is just nice for me, when cutting and preparing veg; filleting and preparing meat. good balance,; good steel with a nice temper.
Not so hard it takes all day to hone, but hard enough to hold the edge i want for a good time.
The handle has a nice brass bolster, smooth and comfy, although i do wonder if it is solid or sheet brass. which doesn’t really matter much except for a little greater strength and personal satisfaction and just possibly a tiny vulnerability for food and other deleterious mater to collect where the tang, bolster and heel meet. A very minor point but i am fussy,
THE brass is nicely finished, and the heel reasonably comfortable for control and accuracy, although – if anyone is listening, the corner edges of the heel would benefit from a light rounding. Over time, they get a little abrasive. It doesn’t need much, just enough to remove the angularity of the edges that could conceivably chafe hands that have soft skin.
The steel gives a very satisfactory ring when i take it off the rack. Nice tone. Good balance.
It has a round wood handle that looks like it might be rosewood, and is varnished.
This is the most significant design flaw in the knife. the round handle with varnish on a blade of this design can make problems if your hands get wet, and make it unwieldy. IT would benefit form a more ergonomic shape of handle with a more tangible grip for fine control, especially at speed.
I think i will probably sand the varnish off and perhaps apply a LIGHT wipe of linseed oil - if the wood will absorb it rather than remain on the surface. Or i might fit a better shaped handle - perhaps linen Micarta, well shaped to the hand and nice to look at, or possibly a shaped wood laminate.. either way definitely a round handle detracts from it's utility as from time to time it is inevitable that the handle or hands will get wet and it s not inconceivable that oil can also get on to one\s hands.
Over all, I am very pleased with it in all other respects. Money well spent and good value for the money.
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