Despite finding many impressive knife sets during the hours of research I put toward this section of this website, I was forced to find one which rose above the rest and name it “Best in Class”. This was a very difficult task. As I said, there were many impressive sets all competing for the same title. Also, each of those sets was unique in its own way. They were all made up of different pieces, made from different materials, and constructed in different fashions, which made them very difficult to compare with one another.

What set this Chicago Cutlery set apart from the rest was its combination of an impressive array of pieces, quality materials and exceptional craftsmanship. If you have already visited our main Knife Sets page, you may have read a brief synopsis of information about this knife set. In this article, we will take a closer look at each of the qualities which helped this set rise above the rest and claim the title of “Best in Class”.

Impressive Array of Pieces

It really should go without saying that an 18-piece knife set is a rather large set. Many people simply see that number and jump up to purchase a set right away, without even finding out what those 18 pieces are. I am here to tell you that the pieces in your set are just as important as, if not more important than, the number of pieces in that set. I have seen my share of 14 and 18-piece sets which fail to include basic knives such as chef’s knives and bread knives and which, instead, incorporate multiple paring knives, santoku knives, or an overabundance of steak knives.

This set includes the following: one 8-inch chef’s knife, one 8-inch bread knife, one 8-inch slicer, one 7-inch santoku, one 6-inch boning knife, one 5-inch straight-edge utility knife, one 3.25-inch spear-tip paring knife, one 3-inch bird’s beak paring knife, eight 4.5-inch steak knives with serrated tips, one set of shears, and a wooden knife block with a built-in sharpener. Not a single of the most vital knives (chef’s knife, utility knife, spear-tip paring knife, bread knife) is missing. It is as though Chicago Cutlery started with the basics then asked themselves, “What else can we add to improve this set?”

Quality Materials

Each blade in this set has been forged from high-carbon stainless steel, which is known for its strength, durability, longevity and rust-resistance. High-carbon stainless steel is, usually, more expensive than stainless steel. To bring this set to consumers at a decently affordable price, Chicago Cutlery has included stainless steel handles.

The high carbon content in the blades is what allows them to hold a sharp edge for an incredibly long time – this is not important for the handles. The blades and handles were forged together seamlessly, leaving no space or crack in which water or bacteria can gather.

Exceptional Craftsmanship

If I had to choose one aspect of this knife set as the thing which set it most apart from all the others, this would be it. The hollow metal handles of these knives, in conjunction with their steel bolsters, provides a perfect counterbalance to the weight of their blades. The way in which the blades and handles have been attached means that they will never come apart. A complete lack of plastic or wooden handles means that these knives are built to last and will not break down, dry up, crack, or fall apart over time.

The bolsters themselves serve triple function. Not only do they provide a counterbalance to the weight of the heavy steel blade, they also protect your fingers from sliding forward toward that blade. Additionally, they have been shaped to allow you to pinch them for expert, precision control.

The chef’s knife has been beautifully crafted with an elegant curve which is perfect for many of the slicing and dicing techniques for which chef’s knives are most commonly used. The shears feature blades of an adequate length for most kitchen tasks and handles which are designed to be used by both right-handed and left-handed individuals. They also feature a pop top bottle cap opener, a flat-head screwdriver bit, a bone notch, and a toothed nut cracker which can also be used to open screw-top bottle caps.

The knife sharpener has been built directly into the block for added convenience. As someone who had quite a difficult time mastering the technique involved in using a sharpening rod, this feature was something I was pleased to see. No technique required. Simply slide the knife into the sharpening slot, pull it back out and repeat until the blade is sharp.