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I'd been after a knife block for a bit after having a new kitchen fitted - the old one was purple and didn't match anything. I saw this kitchen craft knife block and knives on Amazon and while I had some gift vouchers saved up they weren't going to cost me anything. They were £34 through one of their sellers (Harts of Slur), that price included around £3 postage. Their recommended retail price was £60 so looked like a great buy. The knives had rave reviews and looked good from the picture but I did buy them without seeing them first (I've never seen them in a high street store). The delivery was ridiculously quick - ordered Monday afternoon, arrived via courier Tuesday afternoon! As they are knives, they can't be sold to under 18's and therefore have to be signed for on delivery.
The box that they came in looked professional. The knives were all individually wrapped in their own cellophane wrapping. There are 5 knives in total. There are two small knives - 1 is a paring knife with an 8.5cm blade and 1 is a utility knife with 12.5cm blade. I use these for chopping vegetables. There is one 20cm carving knife, one 20cm chef's knife and a 20cm bread knife. The knife block is in stainless steel and is brushed silver in colour; there are five slots within it for the knives to fit into. It measures 21cm high, 14cm wide and 15cm deep. The knives are stainless high carbon steel and have a black handle with a brushed silver coloured trim, the blade parts are all a brushed silver colour too. A nice feature is the curved design the knife block has, nicer in my view than just a rectangular shape.
The knives certainly feel very good quality. Each of the knives feels weighty to pick up, much more so than similar priced knife block knives that I've owned in the past. Don't get me wrong, they aren't too heavy to use at all but the weight gives me the feeling that they are well made. They are made with bolsters, apparently this is what makes them feel this weighty. They also look very stylish and contemporary without losing out on quality; my last ones looked the part but were not good for their main use of cutting! Having looked in stores at the various famous chef's versions of knife blocks available, I felt like I'd made the right decision as I didn't think I could justify spending £100+ on those - I couldn't see much difference between them in my view. That's coming from someone though who cooks the evening meal only and a Sunday roast each week, so perhaps people using them more frequently for complex menus may notice more of a difference.
Obviously with knives, they'd be useless if they weren't good at chopping, slicing and cutting. These knives are sharp - all of them have superb blades on them that cut through everything I need them to in the kitchen. I've not yet had to sharpen the blades in the three months I've owned them for either. I've noticed the biggest difference since my last set with the carvery knife as it glides through any meat that I cook for our Sunday roasts. The bread knife also makes it easy to cut through all types of bread that we've bought, not just bog standard slices on sandwiches.
The handles on the knives are also great - the black coating on the handle is actually a non slip grip, I find this is a good feature to have when I'm chopping tougher vegetables.
On the whole, these knives are fabulous but have come across one issue with them. They were described as being dishwasher safe (this was a manufacturers claim) but unfortunately even after one use in the dishwasher, small rust marks started to appear on the blades. Thankfully these don't seem to have got any bigger with the many cycles they've been through since, but it's just something that I have to now keep an eye on. The handle trims etc haven't shown any marks of rust, just the blades. For the 3 months I've owned them, I've used at least one of them each day so I was expecting the rust spots to grow but they haven't which is a good thing. They do come with a 25 year guarantee so if I see those rust marks getting bigger I always have that.
I rate the knives 4 stars in all, with the rust marks just letting them down. In my view they would definitely give more expensive branded ones a run for their money and are perfect for people who need a set of knives for everyday simple cooking.