Posts Tagged ‘knives’

Kitchen Knives

November 1, 2008

You need good kitchen knives.  I like to cook so I may have more than people that don’t cook.  You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a good knife if you know what features to look for.    You should be able to get any one of these knives for less than $20.  Anyone will tell you that you need to keep your knives sharp. I also think that using a sharp knife to cut onions will make you cry less then using a dull knife to crush your way through the onion.

You can probably tell that I like a full tang.  To the uninitiated it just means that the blade runs all the way through the handle.  You can tell that a knife has a full tang by looking at the handle.  If you see the metal run all the way through between both sides of the handle than it’s a full tang.

Large kitchen knives

Large kitchen knives

Moving from left to right: The knife on the left is a Faberware.  It has a full tang.  Some sort of Japanese design.  Those little dimples on the blade cut down on the friction when you’re slicing something like cheese or tomatoes.  Second from left is a Victorinox bread knife.  It has a serrated blade.  Besides slicing bread, it’s also good for cutting through the joints of a bird.   Second from right is Ecko Eterna 12″ chef’s knife.  You rock this one back n’ forth on the cutting board to chop stuff really fine, or you can use the flat edge for smashing garlic and nuts or to slice up beef.    The method is to hold the front tip down on the cutting board and you move the handle up and down, so you move the knife in a rocking motion.  I generally don’t like wooden handle knives, but this one is a beauty.  Farthest to the right is a Joyce Chen cleaver.  This one is great for hacking apart large roasts or smashing through bone.

I don’t care at all what the name is.  If it looks and feels like a good knife I’ll buy it.  Don’t get tied to names.  Quality can be found anywhere.

Medium kitchen knives

Medium kitchen knives

The medium knives are the ones I use the most.  Cut apart chicken or fillet fish, slice an onion or make a salad.  The medium knives from left to right.  Farthest to the left is a 6″ Henckels.  The Henckels is a nice knife and easy to sharpen.  I like a more curved blade though like the two knives to the right.  Do you notice the curve? In the middle is a 6″ Chefmate made in Taiwan, but it’s full tang, sharpens easy and holds a good edge.  I’m sure I didn’t pay more than 10 bucks for it.  All the way over to the right is a Cold Steel fillet knife.  It has a very thin and the blade has a lot of flex in it.  This is my first Cold Steel kitchen knife.  I can recommend this knife without hesitation.  I think that this knife can also be found around ten bucks.  I’ll be buying more Cold STeel kitchen knives.

Small kitchen knives

Small kitchen knives

I probably use these the least.  These are almost like carving knives that you use for very fine kitchen work.  Once again left to right.  All the way on the left is a Kershaw carbon stainless steel knife made in Japan.  This was a cheap knife and it’s sharp.  The handle is an easy soft grip rubber.  In the middle with the blue handle is kind of a strange story.  It’s an Ontario knife.  I think it’s carbon steel, not stainless.  I don’t like it.  It stained, I guess because it’s carbon and it didn’t even come very sharp and I can’t get it to hold a good edge.  I think Ontario is a good company.  I have one of the RAT knives so I was disappointed to get this one.  Can’t recommend the Ontario kitchen knife.

Don’t let you knives remain dirty over night.  Don’t let them sit in water or the kitchen sink over night.  I don’t care how much fun you are having you gotta clean em as you use em.

I keep saying you have to keep your knives sharp.  I have some old fashion stones and a knife iron, but my favorites are the diamond stones. I like the ones that have two different grades in one unit. One side is course and the other side is fine. The sharpening surface also folds into the handle which is nice.  Plus, all you need for these stones is a few drops of water.

dmt stone

dmt stone

You turn it over to the red side and it’s course.

The other stone I like is a Smith’s double-sided stone. Same story as the DMT stone, one side is course and the other side is fine. Once again, the whole thing inserts into the handle for storage. The nice thing with this stone is that it has a little groove in it to sharpen fish hooks.

Smith's

Smith

I have the Smith’s in my silverware draw.  Keep it handy and it won’t take more then 1/2 a minute to put a nice edge on it when you are cooking.

Here’s a nice tutorial put out by the good folks at DMT on how to sharpen different tools. http://www.dmtsharp.com/general/basicsharp.htm

Don’t be dull.  Stay sharp.

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Skills

October 31, 2008

Today’s post is about skills.  I have two posts in the works.  One will be on knives and the other on getting out.

Just got back from the range.  I tried out some subsonic Remington .22 rounds.  Quiet, but they still make too much noise to shoot stuff in my suburban neighborhood.  I was hoping for a pfft rather than a crack.    Also shot the 7.62 * 39 Saiga.  That is fun.  What an easy gun to shoot.  Also, fired off a few .357 rounds from my S&W model 60.  Getting better.  Practice makes you better.  My goal for a rifle is to be able to shoot a paper plate from 100 yards with iron sights.  For my handguns it’s to shoot a small plate from five yards.  Of course I try to shoot from all different ranges, positions and angles.  I don’t want to try using a scope until I have the iron sights nailed down.

Onto today’s post on skills-

Napoleon Dynamite: No, but who would? I don’t even have any good skills.
Pedro: What do you mean?
Napoleon Dynamite: You know, like nunchuku skills, bow hunting skills, computer hacking skills… Girls only want boyfriends who have great skills.
Pedro: Aren’t you pretty good at drawing, like animals and warriors and stuff?

Napoleon Dynamite (2004)

What skills do you have? This is my list of skills that I think are important to have. Of course it’s not all inclusive. There are many things that I can’t do that I wish I could.  Let me know what I’m missing.

Start a fire. If you don’t know how to start a fire, the main thing to keep in mind is that it is like painting, you need to get all your prep work done first. Before you touch the flame to the kindling you need to have everything ready. Start with tinder, then kindling then larger logs. You want to have all your gathering done before you start the fire.  You fire kit should contain matches, a steel and lighters.

Sharpen a knife. I like diamond stones. I’m going to have a separate post just for knives once I get the camera back from the wife. There’s a Halloween party where she works so she wanted to take pictures of all of her clients in the costumes.

Understand a variety of firearms. How to make safe, load, unload, field strip and clean. Learn how to use a pistol, a revolver, a lever action rifle, a center fire rifle and a shotgun. If you understand the basics for each one of these you will be in pretty good shape. You won’t be an expert, but if you come upon one you will at least (hopefully) be able to make it safe.

Cook a meal just using what you have in your pantry. I love to cook. You need to be able to mix a can or two of this or that and a bag of noodles and make a good dinner. Understand about cross contamination and how to avoid it. Know how to store food safely. Know what various herbs and spices taste like and how to use them.

Set up a camp and cook over a campfire.  Know to look overhead for widowmakers.  Don’t set up too close to some river or stream that may rise up.

Use a Coleman stove and lantern. Know how to fill them, pump them, light them and change a mantle.

Gardening skills. Know how to compost, understand NPK and micronutrients. I used to work with a very well paid lawyer (like $450 an hour, yup, that’s right). She went to all private schools that were very expensive for her education. She was interested in gardening. One day I was explaining to her about bees. She had no idea that bees pollinate and that without bees we wouldn’t have any fruit. Imagine that, not knowing that bees pollinate? Learn what USDA zone you are in. If you don’t garden buy a book and some seeds and start.

Be able to fix simple things around your home like a toilet that runs, fix a clogged toilet or clogged sink, a bad light switch or prime and finish the walls of your home. Know how to use simple hand tools.  Be able to replace a cord from an appliance or a switch from a lamp.

Understand the basics of how your car works. I don’t mean just turning the key and having it start. You should understand the basics about fuel, air and spark. Know where the battery is and how to jump start a car safely. If you have a standard transmission you should know how to pop the clutch to start it. You should know how to change a tire safely, how to check the fluid levels – brake, transmission, coolant, oil, washer, how to put air in your tires.

First aid skills. Understand how to spot an infection, redness, hot to the touch, maybe drippy fluids and how to treat an infection. Know how to perform CPR, how to take someone’s temperature, how to stop bleeding (direct pressure and raise the wound), how to prevent shock in someone. Know the difference between a virus and bacteria. Know what kind of bandages, dressings and ointments to use. Know the difference between different degrees of burns and how to treat them. How to get something out of someone’s eye, remove a tick or sew someone up. Know the basics of anatomy and physiology. Where your arteries and veins are and the basic bones of the human body.

That is all for now.  Knives and getting out coming up.