Help Support Kitchen Knife Forums by donating using the link above or becoming a Supporting Member.
Page 2 of 2 FirstFirst 12
Results 11 to 17 of 17

Thread: Chicago Cutlery 42S and 44S review

  1. #11

    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Posts
    3
    Quote Originally Posted by psfred View Post
    Typically these knives are variable in quality, depending on age and origin. The ones made from 440C with good heat treatment in the US are not bad, although the profile and geometry isn't great as found. The ones made in China (which usually do not have the model numbers) are junk. QC was quite variable as seen by the obvious differences in geometry for what should be identical knives,

    I have a pair of 42S knives, sharpened them up at 15 degrees per side, and other than more wedging than I would like, they work pretty well. Edge retention isn't great, but they are 440 stainless, what do you expect? I may learn to thin using them, good knives for that purpose as I don't really care if I mess them up.

    As inexpensive knock around/lending knives they are great, easy to sharpen, hold a usable edge, and cheap enough if they walk off you won't be crying!

    Peter
    I found a 42S and use it for a pizza knife. The edge has never held up well. After reading your comments I think I will also thin this one to 17 degrees and see what happens. How can you tell the USA 440C from the Chinese models. Is it by a stamping in the steel or on the handle? Thanks, Craig


  2. #12

    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Posts
    3
    I saw a new old stock package for a Chicago Cutlery 7" American Pride Chef Knife from the '80s with the cherry wood handle. On the back of the package it said made from high carbon 420 stainless steel. I wonder if it is safe to assume that is what was used in these 42s and 44s knives.

    https://picclick.com/NEW-1980s-CHICA...l#&gid=1&pid=7


  3. #13

    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Posts
    3
    Here's a 66s new old stock package that only says "high carbon steel" when you magnify it enough.

    not sure which ones are in 440c that are referred to.

  4. #14
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Near Munich, Germany
    Posts
    282
    Nice work on the blades. Have you buffed them already? I have found hat makes a huge difference regarding stiction/wedging and food release. I would have kept the original handles, though. Those "nice" wood handles seem a case of slight "over-restoration" to me.

  5. #15
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Posts
    302
    I would polish the heck out of it, yes that will improve it's release of food, not so much edge retention. Those knives were sold at many department stores back in the day. I think they are as good as modern day Wustoff standard line of knives.

  6. #16
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    210
    Quote Originally Posted by mhpr262 View Post
    Nice work on the blades. Have you buffed them already? I have found hat makes a huge difference regarding stiction/wedging and food release. I would have kept the original handles, though. Those "nice" wood handles seem a case of slight "over-restoration" to me.
    I didn't take the blades to a high polish. I think 600 grit was about as high as I went for them just to hide some of the thinning scratches. These are beater knives, so I didn't want to put any more work into them. The blades could use more work to blend the scratches, but they are functional and I only use them when traveling. So no big deal there.

    For the over restoration, these were really just practice knives as these were some of the first knives I put handles on. In order to get better I needed to do quite a few re-handles, so I bought these for the sole purpose of re-handle practice. As a bonus I think they look and handle better.


    Thanks everyone for all the compliments. It was fun working on these and I learned a lot. Especially about thinning blades. It is a lot of work, and on the 44S I thinned the blade flat, which did not lend well to food release. Convex is the way to go, and if I can, I will try to include some convexity in my next attempts.

  7. #17

    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Posts
    9
    Quote Originally Posted by KitchenCommander View Post
    A little while back I posted a thread asking for information on the Chicago Cutlery 44S 10" chef knife and got little results. I was looking on ebay for fun project knives and stumbled upon them and wanted to see if anyone likes them or not. Well I saw a few for cheap and decided to give them a try. I have never done a kitchen knife review, but have been using older carbon steel and some stainless so I'll do my best to provide good information for everyone. I ended up with a few to try out and these are my findings.

    I found two lots from the same seller that I bought. One with a 44S (10") and a 42S (8"), and another with two 42S's. Price for each lot was $15+shipping, and I think the total for 4 knives was ~$37 shipped.
    [IMG][/IMG]

    The 42S below came with damaged edges, but I was able to restore them fairly well. I do not have after photos of the knives, but I lightly sanded and oiled the handles and sharpened them up.
    [IMG][/IMG]

    My first observation was that one of them was noticeably thicker and heavier than the other 2. The middle knife in the pic has a thicker tang than the other two.
    [IMG][/IMG]

    Here are the choil shots of the three 42S knives. The shots can be deceiving as some are not as thin as they look. The choil was relieved slightly making it look thinner than it is. Still not too shabby.
    [IMG][/IMG]
    [IMG][/IMG]
    [IMG][/IMG]

    Choil shot of the 44S. This one looked thick in person despite the photo which makes it look serviceable. Regrettably I did not sharpen the 44S and use it with the factory grind. I planned it for a project knife and didn't want to sharpen it before I to my mods.
    [IMG][/IMG]

    Photo of the 44S after my mods. I thinned it with my new belt sander (not very well, but it will work) This knife did not have a full flat grind, and held most of the spine thickness through the length of the blade. I hope my photo illustrates kind of how the originally grind was. It was thick behind the edge, and very blade heavy. I thinned it out a good amount, and re-handled with Wenge. I only used 1/4" thick scales, so the knife is still handle heavy, but cuts quite well and looks much better. I feel like I have a nice knife now compared to my disappointed unboxing upon first receipt.
    [IMG][/IMG]

    Conclusions:

    I used the 42S with the best grind (the bottom choil shot) for a couple of weeks off and on. It has a nice profile with good belly and has good geometry. The handle was thick and boxy, so I sanded down some finger ramps to make a pinch grip more manageable. It gets pretty sharp but edge retention is only decent. Loses the shaving edge rather quickly, but holds a working edge for a good amount of time (yes I know that is subjective sorry). I touched it up once over the 2 weeks, but it didn't need a sharpening, it just lost the shaving edge and I wanted it back. I know for kitchen knives working edges are mostly not very desirable, but as a loaner knife, travel knife, or backup beater, they are very good for the $10-$15 I see many go for on the bay. Sharpenability was average, not difficult, but it did take time. I sharpened all three of the 42S and they all handled about the same. I put a thin ~12 degree primary bevel (rough guess) then a thick ~20 degree secondary bevel to help with edge stability. The primary bevel took a while, but after the edge was thinned the secondary bevel was much easier to work with. Burrs were a slight problem with this stainless steel, but manageable. They don't get carbon steel sharp, but they can take a good edge. Please keep in mind that I had 3 and was able to choose the nicest one. Two of them had thinner spines and one was thicker. All had good geometry, but one stood out as better than the rest. I ended up giving one away, am keeping one, and have a spare for another gift, or to sell to a co-worker or anyone who needs a cheap upgrade.

    For the 44S, I did not get to use it with the factory grind. I feel I can safely say it would not be very fun to use right out of the package (on the one I got) due to the thickness near the edge. Wedging was my primary concern. I was not able to sample a variety like on the 42S, so please keep this in mind. I feel like the 44S has much more potential than the example I got. After thinning, the knife cut very well. I'm not very good on the belt sander yet, but was able to get the geometry somewhere where I was very happy cutting with it. The blade is heavy, but gets sharp. I got the 44S sharper than the 42S if that means anything. It has a nice profile, with a generous flat spot near the heel, so it push cuts and chops very well after the tune up. My new handle is a little thin for my taste (should have bought 3/8 thick scales not 1/4) but the pinch grip is nice and it is comfortable to use. Haven't used it enough to do edge retention tests, but it gets nicely sharp and was not difficult to sharpen. Sometimes I would get a stubborn burr, but it just takes finesse to remove.

    Rating (my opinion with limited experience)

    42S
    Sharpness 6/10
    Geometry variable (6/10)
    Profile 7/10 Good for rocking
    Handle 5/10 boxy with some gaps
    Edge Retension 6/10 midrange stainless
    AVERAGE 6/10

    44S
    Sharpness 7/10
    Geometry variable (5/10)
    Profile 7/10
    Handle 5/10 boxy with some gaps
    Edge Retension N/A (not enough data)
    AVERAGE 6/10

    I realized I don't have any good dimensions for ya'll, so I'll try to get some dimensions up later. I do not have a scale, so weights are not available.
    I loved my old Chicago cutlery knives! Thanks for taking me down memory lane


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •