Pros: one-piece construction, stainless steel, sharp blades, knives will never need sharpening, excellent shears
Cons: despite sharp blades, these knives will not cut raw meat
Our old knife set was looking worn. The wooden block showed wear, and the knives no longer cut as well as they did fifteen years ago. Time to usher in a new knife block and knives. Enter the Ginsu 13-Piece Knife Set with Block.
What Comes in the Set
We ordered the block from an internet store. When the knives arrived, they came in a cardboard shipping carton. Inside the carton were two boxes: one box containing the wooden knife block, and one box containing the knives. Each knife was in its own cardboard sheath and protected by plastic.
Here is what came as part of the set:
* Chef's Slicer (I call it a Chef's Knife)
* Boning Knife
* Bread Knife
* Paring Knife
* Utility Knife
* Steak Knives (6)
* Wooden Knife Block
The Wooden Knife Block
My first disappointment was the finish of the hardwood knife block. The black finish is flat and dull, which is fine. However, the stain is unevenly applied to the wood, creating a blotchy look if examined closely. One family member says, "Forget the blotchy description. Call it cheap looking." Also, there is a chip on the bottom of the base where the scissors are held. Even though the chip (a fairly large missing piece of wood) is not visible since it is on the bottom of the block, we know it is there.
The knife block has a contemporary appearance. The block sits at an angle and has three separate sections that somewhat resemble elongated ovals in a tiered effect. The largest section is at the back of the block and measures 5 1/4" wide. This section holds two rows of three knives and the shears on the right side. The other two sections hold the six steak knives. The tier in front of the knife/shear section measures 3 3/4" wide, and the tier in front of that measures 3 1/2" wide. There are four hard rubber feet on the bottom of the block. The entire wooden knife block measures 8 1/2" tall x 5 1/4" wide x 8" deep.
The Knives & Shears
These are sharp knives with a full tang. I almost cut myself the first time I used the paring knife. Each knife has a stainless steel blade that is sturdy with a serrated edge. The knives are of one-piece construction with silver-colored metal satin-finish handles. The handles are smooth and straight along the top edge and slightly curved on the bottom side to more comfortably fit the hand. They are well balanced, too.
The six steak knives have a 4 5/8" long blade with only 2 1/2" of the blade having a serrated edge. On the remaining knives, the blade is fully serrated.
This set comes with a pair of kitchen shears that are so similar in make to my old ones that I have to wonder if they come from the same manufacturer. These shears have wide blades and excellent movement. The plastic handles are comfortable to hold and use.
The second major disappointment is that these knives don't cut raw meat. With blades this sharp, I can't understand it. I tried several of the knives, too, to slice cubes of beef. No matter which knife I tried, the blade would not bite into the meat to slice it. Instead, the knife moved against the raw meat without cutting it. I finally gave up and used my old set of knives, which cut the meat without a problem.
On the other hand, the bread knife works like a dream. I tested it to see how thin a slice of bread I could cut, and this knife produced a paper-thin slice. I just moved the knife back and forth with a steady downward motion. The bread cut without crumbling.
The paring knife easily slices vegetables (and be careful of those fingers!). I even used the paring knife in a back-and-forth motion against some carrots to quickly remove the outer skin before grating them. The paring knife did a fantastic job.
When slicing carrots, I prefer using the wide-bladed Chef's Slicer. I've always called this knife a Chef's knife, and it does an excellent job cutting carrots.
The steak knives are also a great addition to this set. I was surprised to see the curved blade at the end of the steak knife. I'm used to steak knives that have straight blades with a slight curve at the end. On these Ginsu steak knives, the curve at the end of the knife is large ... but the knives cut well.
My favorite utensil in this set are the scissors. These scissors have a whisper-smooth cutting action that makes them a joy to use. When certain members of the family complain they don't like the narrow band of skin on the rim of deli meat, I use these scissors to cut the offending rim free from the meat. These scissors make quick work of any task.
The "Use & Care Guide" that came with the knives says, "This set contains serrated Ginsu knives, which never need sharpening. Attempting to sharpen these knives will damage the edge."
The wooden block, because of its three tiers and forward slant, gives the illusion of using more counter space. I always keep the knives and scissors in the wooden block when not being used. The manufacturer cautions, "Avoid direct contact between the blade and other metal or ceramic surfaces."
These knives should be hand-washed even though the manufacturer says they can be cleaned in the dishwasher. I always hand-wash my cutting knives anyway. However, when I purchase something and the product specifications clearly state "Dishwasher Safe" ... then I expect the product to be dishwasher safe without any weird stipulations.
"To maintain original luster, hand wash in hot, soapy water and scrub with a dishcloth or other non-abrasive cloth. Rise and towel dry after each use. Do not soak." Then the manufacturer continues, "Although the knives are dishwasher safe, it is recommended that precautions be taken not to damage the knives, dishwasher, or you. Place the knives in the top rack and do not use the heating element." I'm curious ... how many people use their dishwasher without the heating element?
We belong to a food delivery service (Schwan). As a member, we earn points that can be used toward the purchase of merchandise. Schwan notes these knives have a retail value of $59.99. With points, I paid $44.99 and 75 points. These knives are also available on the internet. In a search engine (such as google.com), type: Ginsu 13 knife set -- a number of stores selling these knives will appear in the search results.
Sometimes this set is also accompanied by a free pair of Kitchen Shears. I received a free pair of Kitchen Shears with my order and like them. The shears also have a built-in bottle opener in the handle.
I cannot recommend this set of knives since they will not cut through raw meat. Granted, I usually freeze my meat and then cut through it, which makes cutting the meat much easier. However, there are times when I don't have time to freeze freshly purchased meat. If the knives won't easily cut through raw meat, I prefer not to keep them. Today I am contacting Schwan to return this knife set. Meanwhile, I'm back to using my old knife set until I find something better.
I hope you have found this review useful.
Enjoy your day,
Limited Warranty -- "Ginsu knives are warranted to be free from defects in material and workmanship for as long as you own the product. In the unlikely event a defect exists, the knife will be replaced free of charge by sending $3.00 per knife, to cover postage and handling fees, prepaid."
Please read my other reviews.
Trudeau Polypropylene Cutting Board
Oneidea Premier Flatware
Calphalon Flat Whisk
Rubbermaid Stain Shield Round 1.1 Quart Storage Container
Rubbermaid Space-Saver Dish Drainer
Sterilite Ultra Storage Drawer
West Bend Automatic Egg Cooker
Braun Coffee Grinder (and flax seed)
Le Creuset Bean Pot with recipe
GE Top Freezer Refrigerator
Maytag Gemini Double Oven Range
Copyright 2004 Dawn L. Stewart