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I was given this I.O Chen knife as a present, being a dab hand in the kitchen I appreciate a good knife and have used a few over the years. Even after carefully sharpening my existing knifes they don't come close to this I.O Chen one.
Used by many professional chefs the knife is extremely well balanced in the hand and has a good weight to it, making it comfortable to both hold and use. The blade itself is stated to have the ultimate cutting edge, and the handle is not just a fancy scroll effect its integral to the handle to balance the weight of the knife (or so the manufacture states).
The cutting edge is rated using the Rockwell degree scale, I.O Chen knifes use have a rating of 62 degrees which is the highest rating. However at this rating the metal is extremely expensive to manufacture so the knife has two softer grade metals sandwiching it which makes it possible to construct the knife itself. Due to the construction of the knife not only does it provide a superb cutting edge it also retains it sharpness for longer.
Cost -Well its not cheap for the chefs knife your looking at around the £60 mark - but they do bigger knifes even more expensive. Now this is expensive and yes you can buy many a good knife for cheaper and even an entire knife set and storage block, but these knifes dont really compare given the retention of the knifes sharpness. I have a knife block set myself which cost near £100 but the knifes do need sharpening frequently - now whilst sharpening isn't a long and complicated task over time the knifes edge will wear down and become useless.
As with any good quality or for that matter any sharp knife, its how its used and stored. You should be cutting on wood, not a marble or glass board - not only will these quickly blunt or damage the knife you also dont have any control on glass and marble and things slip easily - and trust me one slip on the I.O Chen knife and you could be a finger short! Some would say I dont like sharp knifes as more prone to cutting myself - but though correct use a sharper knife is actually safer as it cuts through items easier doesn't slip off, but yes if careless it will cut through your hand or fingers easier. Also knifes shouldn't be put in the dishwasher, left in the sink etc, after use its best to clean and dry to prevent the edge getting blunt and damaged.
The downside - Due to the strong 62 degree Rockwell blade then whilst it will last a long time it will need sharpening eventually and using a cheap sharpener wont work and will end up just damaging a very expensive knife, they recommend a couple of electric sharpeners but again these are £60+ or alternative a sharpening whet stone block around 1200 grade (around £30) but using a block and not a machine means its down to you to achieve the correct angle of 15 degrees.
It does however glide through tomatoes like a razor blade, allowing extremely thin slicing, and cuts though hard veg - carrots, turnip etc without having to hammer the knife down. I would recommend the knife but only for those who appreciate a good knife and can afford to spend so much on one. The I.O Chen knifes are not by any means the most expensive knifes available, they just look expensive comparing them to the cheap everyday knifes you get in superstores and supermarkets.