Originally Posted by retired trucker
The 17* angle is actually more obtuse than the 30* bevel, as the 30* bevel is 30* inclusive. In other words, it is 15* per side. The 17* angle would be 34* inclusive. On kitchen knives, an inclusive angle of 30* is pretty standard. Some like 26*, but your steel needs to be fairly "soft" or not too hard, as an angle that acute will chip or roll on you.
Most hard use knives (hunting, chopping, etc) use an angle of 40* for longer edge retention. For pocket knives, a lot of people like the 30* or around 28* for getting their knives hair popping sharp.
For my personal preference, I prefer a carbon steel kitchen knife over a stainless steel one. My kitchen set is a quality stainless steel set I bought several years ago, and is quite sharp. I use a "steel" on them to keep them sharp between actual sharpening sessions. The steel does not actually sharpen the knives, but re profiles the edge after hard use as the edge rolls or gets minute chips in them.
I have several carbon steel knives that I found at a local Goodwill store for $1 each. I brought them home and sharpened them up to where you can push cut phone book paper without any tearing. Love to see just how sharp I can get them
I keep all my knives in a block or separated from each other. Never throw all your knives in a drawer together, as they will chip and dull each other. Also only cut on a wood or plastic type cutting board, and never on glass or ceramic. Good knives are worth protecting.
I have a friend who is a designer at Ontario Knives and his advice is to find the thinnest profile for each knife that you have that still works for that knife, i.e., each knife will have a different profile depending on what kind of work that it does.
I probably put too much work into my old carbon steel knives as I steel them before and after using and put a thin coat of oil on them when I put them away. My chef's knife is a gift from my mother from when she needed to use lighter knives. (I got her a set of Victorinox Fibrox and a set for me for when I travel.) I rarely use another knife except for a small paring knife for fine work, a serrated bread knife, or an antique, forged Sabattier carver that I found on eBay. Truth be told, I use that carver about once a year on Thanksgiving or Christmas, lol - for everything else I use my chef's knife.
I also have an old "Chicago Cutlery" stainless chef's knife from my college days that I keep around if I have guests who want to do prep work; I'd say that it's a piece of crap but for whatever reason I manage to keep a good edge on it if I hone it and steel it properly, so it stays in my knife block for occasional "guest" use. This is also the one with which my 12-year old is learning her prep technique; we start off each session with a review of good practice (thumbs tucked away, knuckles against the side, the knife does the work, etc.).
Some people like a serrated "Z" knife as it does quick work in the kitchen, but my bread knife does the same job, imho. I'd recommend a heavy cleaver if you need that sort of thing, and a pair of poultry shears - but that's just icing.
Thank you for the book recommendation: An Edge in the Kitchen, by Chad Ward; I'll definitely look it up. Another to consider is Knife Skills Illustrated, by Peter Hertzmann. Of course, the knife skills sections in books by Pepin, Child, etc. are great places to start as well.