Prepping your foods for canning, dehydrating, or freezing is a lot of work. Hard work. You will spend hours washing, sorting and cutting. Oh,the cutting. You are going to need a cold compress on your knuckles by the time you are done cutting to keep the swelling down. That’s why it is so important to have a great set of knives.
For years I slaved away in the kitchen with a mismatched set of knives. They were knives I picked up here and there in my travels. Some had been given to me, others I bought when I saw them on sale or at the dollar store, some I just plain stole. It wasn’t until my wife came along that I got my first real set of knives. What a difference a good set of knives make.
Chicago Cutlery has been in business since the 1930’s. They started out as a knife sharpening service that catered to the butchers in the Chicago area. Later they branched out and began designing and making their own knives specifically for cutting beef and poultry in the butcher shops. In 1969 they branched out again and began designing knives for the home kitchen.
Chicago Cutlery Knives:
- Are easy to use because they are comfortable and well-balanced
- Take and hold an edge for excellent precision
- Come in a wide rage of styles to meet the needs of every kitchen
In this article, I looked at four different sets of Chicago Cutlery knives. The data collected is from Amazon.com. You can check out the pricing for any of the sets in the chart below by clicking on the “Check Pricing” button in the chart under the picture of the product. This site does get a small royalty if you purchase after clicking through to Amazon.
* User rating and review numbers were as of the time of writing this article and may have changed.
The Insignia Set
The Insignia Knife set is Chicago Cutlery’s professional grade set. Both the blades and handles are made of stainless steel This means you won’t have to worry about rust or pitting of the surface. The handles are contoured and sleek looking giving the user a comfortable grip on a good-looking knife. As with all quality knives, it is recommended that the knives in this set be washed by hand only for lasting performance. The set includes:
- 3 inch peeler
- 3-1/4 inch parer
- 6 inch boning knife
- 5 inch utility knife
- 8 inch serrated bread knife
- 7 inch Santoku knife
- 8 inch slicer
- 8 inch chef’s knife
- eight 4-1/2″ steak knives
- block with in-block sharpener
The Fusion Set
Chicago Cutlery’s Fusion Knife set looks as sharp as it’s blades. The contrast of the black molded handles against the stainless steel of the blade is just a classic look that draws the eye. All of the knives in this set are housed beautifully in a stained pinewood block. These knives are comfortable and thanks to the patented Taper Grind Edge Technology they stay sharp and make precise cuts.The Fusion set comes with the following knives:
- 3 inch peeling knife
- 5 inch utility knife
- 7-3/4 inch chef knife
- 8 inch slicer
- 7-3/4 inch bread knife
- 5 inch partoku knife
- 7 inch santoku knife
- 3-1/4 inch paring knife
- Eight 4-1/4 inch steak knives
- 8 inch sharpening steel
The Belden Set
Chicago Cutlery’s Belden set is a smaller 15-piece set. The Belden Knife set is meant for the home user. The sleek and stylish curved handles give this set a more contemporary look. A Stained cherrywood block hives the set a warm and handsome face that would be welcome on the counter of just about any kitchen.These knives have an exceptional balance, comfort, and control for the user. The set contains the most popular knives:
- 3 inch peeler
- 8 inch bread knife
- Two 4 inch paring knives
- 8 inch chef knife
- 8 inch slicer
- 5-1/2 inch utility knife
- Six 4-1/2 inch steak knives
The Damen Set
The Damen Knife set is a home knife set by Chicago Cutlery. This set has the same High-Carbon Stainless steel blades as all the other we looked at. The classic design boasts three stainless steel rivets in a black molded handle. Just because the handles are riveted, doesn’t mean that they aren’t every bit as balanced and comfortable as their molded counterparts. This is a professional quality set for the home. The Damen Set includes:
- 7-3/4 inch Chef Knife
- 7-3/4 inch Bread Knife
- 4-1/2 inch Utility Knife
- Two 3-1/2 inch Parer Knives
- Six 4-1/2 inch Serrated Steak Knives
- Kitchen Shears
- Sharpening Steel
It’s nice to know that companies will stand behind their product. Chicago Cutlery is one such company. All they ask is that you take care of your knives by washing them by hand and drying them. I am not going to sit here and tell you that I read all of the fine print n their warranty paperwork. As the kids say “ain’t nobody got time for that”. But, I will say that as long as you aren’t using the knives to chisel rocks or pry doors open or something, I think they will take care of you. There may be some shipping and handling involved, but it is better than going out and buying a set of knives in most cases.
Taper Grind Edge Technology
This is a patented process exclusive to Chicago Cutlery. Taper Grind Edge technology makes the Chicago Cutlery knives more stable than other knives. The blade is better able to hold and take an edge and can withstand more cutting.
If you were reading through this post and found that your eyes were glazing over at the content lists of knives in the sets, I guarantee you you weren’t alone. My eyes were glazing as I wrote this. You can probably tell. Sorry. Anyway, as I wrote, I began to wonder how many people understood the knives. Some we know. A steak knife is best for cutting rigid foam for fifth-grade dioramas and steak, I guess. A bread knife, cuts bread. What is a boning knife and a Santoku? What is the difference between a peeler and a paring knife? Let me run through them here for you.
Santoku and Partoku
Santoku in Japanese means “Three Virtues”. In this case, chopping, dicing and mincing. The blade is usually between 8 inches in length and 5 inches. It is also a flatter blade as opposed to western knives that have more of a curve to them. The blade itself usually has dimples along the edge called kullens. These kullens keep meat from sticking to the sides of the blade when cutting. A partoku knife is a smaller Santoku knife.
Probably the most versatile knife in the arsenal. This knife is great for chopping, slicing, dicing, and mincing almost anything it comes across. The Chef knife is usually a bit bigger than a utility knife and was originally designed to disjoint large cuts of beef.
Paring knives are smaller than a Chef knife and are probably the second most useful knife in the kitchen. Use the Paring knife for peeling fruits and vegetables or chopping smaller items such as garlic or scallions. It is also useful for cutting shapes into fruits, venting pastries, and carving foods.
Peelers do what the name implies. They peel fruits and vegetables. Most peelers have a short curved blade that easily contours to the body of the fruit. I am not sure why knife sets come with so many of these knives. If I had to guess, I would say it is because the curved blades make them a bit harder to sharpen, or maybe they think that you will actually have some help in the kitchen while you are peeling all of your pears for jelly.
Like I said before, you are going to spend a LOT of time with a knife in our hand. Make it a great one. You would not believe how much difference a good balanced knife makes in the way your hand feels at the end of a long day of chopping. And if your hand feels better, you will get more processed in a shorter amount of time. If you are like me (before I met the wife) and you have a mish-mosh of knives that you are using and you think they are fine, go get a set of Chicago Cutlery Knives. You won’t believe you didn’t do it sooner.
There are more than the four sets I outlined here. Some are more expensive, some are less. But, all of the sets that Chicago Cutlery puts out are quality and offer a variety of knives to fit the needs of every home chef and food preserver.