View Full Version : Carbon Sabatier

03-30-2012, 10:39 AM
Hey guys, quick question, i'm wanting to buy a carbon sabatier however i'm trying to choose which is best, the two i've found are:
Mexeur Sabatier here http://www.salamandercookshop.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=389
K Sabatier http://www.sabatier.us/kitchen-knives_15_au-carbone-vintage_cooking-knife-10-in__carbcui25pol.html
They end up being around the same price so i was wondering if there's a definitive answer to which is better. Thanks.

03-30-2012, 10:44 AM
I have this (http://bernalcutlery.com/shop/sabatier-pre-ww2-hand-forged-nogent-carbon-steel-3) one from Bernal Cutlery in San Francisco. Sweet knife.

03-30-2012, 10:58 AM
The thier-issard especially the nogent ones look nice and seemed to be reviewd the best, however i can't find any nogent ones in the uk and the thier-issard ones are nearly double the price here.

03-30-2012, 11:04 AM
Somewhere I read the K-Sabs were slightly better than the Mexeur. Might have been BDL on ChefTalk.com? Also possible I don't remember correctly. But when I was looking for my own Sabatier I narrowed it down to TI 4-star Elephant and K-Sab for some reason. I ruled out Mexeur but don't remember why.


03-30-2012, 11:06 AM
The Thiers-Issard knives do tend to be a big more expensive on line in the US.

sachem allison
03-30-2012, 11:12 AM
try best of things

03-30-2012, 11:17 AM
Just missed out on one here! :D

03-30-2012, 11:26 AM
Problem with "the best things" is that it's a us site, i'd get hit by shipping and customs charging :/

03-30-2012, 12:13 PM
I you're looking for a historically interesting knife, go for the pre-WWII Nogent. The're good performers as well. Modern French carbons are made of different materials in a different construction. Not very interesting, neither historically nor performancewise I'm afraid.

03-30-2012, 12:23 PM
Maybe BDL will jump in here, as he seems to be the resident Sabatier expert.

I ordered a Nogent from "The Best Things," but understand this could be cost prohibitive for you being outside the States.

03-31-2012, 12:19 AM
I'm pretty sure Epic Edge carry the Mexeur and they don't sell crap, so they're probably a safe bet. I have a few Lion and K sab which I'm fond of, though I really only use them for breaking up crab now. F+F on both are good though the K Sabs seemed to be a bit better ground, the Lions were pretty uneven though it doesn't take long to fix on such soft steel.

One word of warning though, if you do order direct from the K sab website, I would send them an email before hand to ensure they know what knife you want. I don't think it would be a problem with the standard stock but I ordered a 10" antique carbon canadian chefs knife and I got a stainless knife which actually looked kind of new with old scales, I'm probably wrong, but I wouldn't have thought they'd be producing stainless knives in the 50s (supposibly when my knife was made). I sent them a few emails but never got a reply, so pretty much a waste of $100.

03-31-2012, 08:59 AM
I'm a big fan of Thiers-Issard and I have several.

The top one, 280mm, is most interesting because it came to me unsharpened by the factory as if it slipped through the cracks or something. I haven't touched it.

The next one down is a workhorse but it sits on a shelf as I use a 300mm J knife for the heavy work today.

The boxed knives are nogent carbons as they came from TheBestThings a few years ago.


03-31-2012, 01:37 PM
The development of martinistic stainless steel took place around 1950, so decent stainless blades could have been produced around then, for what that's worth.

03-31-2012, 05:14 PM
The development of martinistic stainless steel took place around 1950, so decent stainless blades could have been produced around then, for what that's worth.

Earlier than that. Both Vickers and Krupp were racing each other in an arms race circa 1920 and each had a patent for stain resistant steel.


03-31-2012, 05:40 PM
True, but the steel that they were making was not good for knife blades. "the knife that wouldn't cut" was the phrase.

03-31-2012, 08:16 PM
History of stainless steel


I've been trying to find some vintage sheffield knives for a while, to no avail. Modern carbon sabs are IMO no better than j knives and on the whole more costly

03-31-2012, 08:43 PM
Yeah, kind of.

As I said the history is wrapped up in an arms race between England and Germany and there are a lot of national overtones to any of the reported history. Who developed it first in the lab, who produced it first for production, who patented it first? Which date marks the beginning? This is true for any invention, especially if multiple parties are competing to be first. Krupp patented NIROSTA in 1912. Brearly's patent is between 1915 and 1921 according to Portland's web page. Even if he claims he discovered it in 1913, how long had he been working on it? How long had Krupp? Personally I give Krupp the edge; I think history is colored by two World Wars in this case. To the victors go the spoils. I think it is safe to say that the development of non-rusting steel was concurrent between England and Germany.

I agree with Spike, stainless was developed in the arms race for artillery and rifle barrels, not kitchen cutlery. Acceptable steel for cutlery would have come at a later date as that was definitely not the market at the time.

It would be interesting to know about the use of stainless in kitchen knives, when did it begin? It's not outside the realm of possibilities to have a stainless knife from the 1950's but I think that stainless had a stigma in the kitchen for a long time (still does among some) and carbon steel knives dominated until attitudes changed.



04-01-2012, 12:12 AM
I too believe the best blades to be either the ****/Elephant or the K-Sab. Since you are in the UK, you can order directly from K-Sab in France. They not only have the newer carbon, but also some antique carbon reportedly mfg'd between 1950-1960...though not quite as 'sexy' as the nogent **** they are great steel and beautiful knives.



sachem allison
04-01-2012, 01:30 AM
The cogs were set in motion by Englishmen Stoddard and Farraday circa 1820 and Frenchman Pierre Berthier in 1821. These scientists, among others, noted that iron-chromium alloys were more resistant to attack by certain acids, but tests were only carried out on low chromium content alloys. Attempts to produce higher chromium alloys failed primarily because of scientists not understanding the importance of low carbon content.

In 1872 another pair of Englishmen, Woods and Clark, filed for patent of an acid and weather resistant iron alloy containing 30-35% chromium and 2% tungsten, effectively the first ever patent on what would now be considered a stainless steel. However, the real development came in 1875 when a Frenchman named Brustlein detailed the importance of low carbon content in successfully making stainless steel. Brustlein pointed out that in order to create an alloy with a high percentage of chromium, the carbon content must remain below around 0.15%

04-01-2012, 03:41 AM
Well, there you go. My knife probably is old stainless steel. It's still sh*t at any rate though :dontknow:

labor of love
04-05-2012, 09:24 AM
thiers issard were my favorite ones. didnt like the nogent handles though. the k sabs handles are made of the plastic POM stuff fyi. not to my liking.

04-06-2012, 04:17 AM
Last time I ordered a carbon knife from K-Sabatier I received something bent beyond usability. The tip of my 7" chef's knife was about half an inch off center and the whole spine was twisted like a snake. A blind man would have seen this and still they send it out to their customers and refuse to pay for return postage.
On my second order 1 of 2 pocket knives had a dysfunctional liner lock. These guys do have a problem with qc and I do not recommend buying from them.

04-09-2012, 12:02 PM
I have a handful of old Sabatier knives that I used extensively until a couple of years ago. They were given to me in the 80's after they had been in my grandparents kitchen for at least 20 years, maybe more. The carbon knives have black wood handles and the elephant logo. If I understand correctly that indicates they are the 'made in Thiers' version? The stainless knives have no elephant and red nylon handles (or something similar). The place where I had them sharpened didn't know anything about the red handles but didn't think the knives were anything special.


04-09-2012, 01:10 PM
Were the black wood handles riveted?

04-09-2012, 01:34 PM
Were the black wood handles riveted?

Yes - three rivets. They look similar to the second knife down in the photo from Buzzard. For what it's worth, the red handles are full tang and rivited as well.

04-09-2012, 05:24 PM
Both series clearly post-WWII. The carbons are sometimes very well made; never seen a good French stainless yet I'm afraid.