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Re: Sabatier and TBT

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TDj

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So, I'm in the market for a carbon knife. Unsure if I want to go for a 210 slicer as is so popular in these parts, or if I want to go for a normal 210-240 chef's knife as a foil to my HD. I was thinking it'd be nice to have a Sabatier, so I went to where I know to go and acquire legit Sabatiers - thebestthings. But now I have questions. What is better/different between the Nogent, the Canadian Massif, and the normal carbon ones? I see a difference in handles, but is that really all? Any difference in construction, spine thickness, geometry, etc? Or how about rarity?
And then they made it more confusing by having their "house brand of carbon French knives".
http://thebestthings.com/knives/carbon_steel_knives.htm
Either way, I was planning on rehandling the carbon knife anyways (or, rather, I was going to have Dave rehandle it), so I just need to know blade-for-blade is there any difference or reason to get a Sabatier over house brand, and if so, WHICH Sabatier?
 

Seb

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Last year, I ordered two chef knives: a Nogent 10" and a Canadian 8" - the Nogent's handle was slightly out of alignment and the Canadian's tip was bent (about 3mm out of true). TBT took care of it by offering me a discount on the Canadian, I decided not to worry about the Nogent and anyway I had read that this was normal for vintage Sabs. We didn't discuss a refund as I am in Australia.

Anyway, I would suggest, based on various comments I have seen here and there on the various cutlery forums, that there are QC issues with the Thiers-Issard Elephant Four-Star Sabs because other people have had problems too. Not that I wouldn't take a risk on them again, but you have to spell-it-out beforehand that you want them to take extra care to ship you a good one. But, guess what, I did that and one knife still arrived with a seriously bent tip (I tried bending it back but it is still 1mm off). In the following email convo, the sales rep even said that they had personally checked my knives before they went out [but obviously missed it anyhow], so go figure.

I surmise that part of the issue with the vintage Nogents and Canadians is that TBT's stock is almost all gone and the ones that are left may be the 'less than perfect' specimens. But then OTOH some of the biggest complaints have been about the red staminawood handled series which is not a vintage line so, again, go figure.

I also remember reading comments (I think it was at bladeforums) that TBT had tried asking Thiers to get with the programme and stop shipping bent knives, but basically got nowhere with that. Thiers (or the distributor) basically told 'em to lump it.

Anyway, I suggest you also check out Sabatier K here. I ordered a 10" Canadian chef's from them too and it is pretty darn nice! But these weren't made by Thiers-Issard but from another Sab outfit called Acier-Fondu and this one feels heavier and has a bigger handle than the Thiers 'Canadian Massif' ones sold by TBT.

I like my Sabs from TBT but thought you should know that there could be 'issues'. If you want something 'modern'-looking with tight fit and finish then the K-Sabatier is the one you want.

PS: Epicurean Edge also carries Sabs, but from a third outfit called Mexceur et Cie. Check out those nifty little carbon parers.
 

obtuse

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I have a T-I 10" chef's in olive wood. The blade is not just bent, but twisted near the tip. If you love steeling, you will love these knives. They have a great profile and are very comfy to hold.
 

Wagstaff

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I've got some Nogents -- 10" Chef's, 6" slicer (petty), 4" parer. They all came just about perfect. NO bends, tip or otherwise. But if you don't want to go "vintage", another option besides the Thiers-Issard is Sabatier-K. POM handles, very similar to the ****Elephants in other respects; I haven't heard of anyone who had problems with bends or any other fit and finish issues to speak of (again, just not good edges OOTB, as should be expected).
 

Pensacola Tiger

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Last September I ordered four Nogents, a parer, a utility, a chef's and a slicer, from TBT, and asked to have each inspected for bends and/or twists. All four had bent blades and the slicer had a twist that would make sharpening impossible. To their credit, TBT took them back without any problem, and gave me full credit for all of them, so all I was out was shipping, but it still left a bad taste.

Caveat emptor.
 

Seb

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The light was pretty good today so I couldn't resist the temptation to take a few pics of my carbon Sabs. I am using these as go-to's at the moment and having a ball:
1. TI Elephant Nogent 10".
2. Acier Fondu Canadian 10" from K-Sabatier's Gamme Antique line.
3. TI Canadian Massif 8".



I'm in love with the way these things feel in my hand.


Note that the Acier Fondu has a really lousy uneven grind but this thing is THIN (thinner than the Nogent).


This took a killer edge on my Green Brick.
 

tk59

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At the bottom of the page you linked to, there is a picture of a someone in what appears to be a chef jacket cutting on a glass cutting board. That's good for a demerit, Seb.
 

Seb

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At the bottom of the page you linked to, there is a picture of a someone in what appears to be a chef jacket cutting on a glass cutting board. That's good for a demerit, Seb.
That? Oh, that's not glass, it's a space-age, see-through, edge-friendly material. I have it on good authority that it's even better for your edges than end-grain walnut.

(whew, that was close!)
 

Lefty

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Wow. I really want those! I have such a weakness for Sabs.
 

Lefty

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That? Oh, that's not glass, it's a space-age, see-through, edge-friendly material. I have it on good authority that it's even better for your edges than end-grain walnut.

(whew, that was close!)
Hahahahaha.
You could likely just sum it up with, "Meh. It's a French thing. They always have fancy shmancy stuff". (note* no offense was intended by the previous comment!)
 

Seb

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Hahahahaha.
You could likely just sum it up with, "Meh. It's a French thing. They always have fancy shmancy stuff". (note* no offense was intended by the previous comment!)
You know what they say about European knives: they can withstand a lot more abuse!

But seriously though, I would love to see what would happen if that glass board took a hit from a Kau Kong heavy-duty bone chopper. hehe ;)
 

Seb

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Wow. I really want those! I have such a weakness for Sabs.
Get 'em while stocks last. I don't where we could get them once TBT runs out. I waited and now there are no more 9" Nogs and 10" Canadians. :(
 

Lefty

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Uh oh! To be honest, my wife searched for a 9" Nogent for me, while in France this past summer, with no luck. I think they are pretty hard to find now.
 

Seb

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But it worked out nicely for me - I had to get the 10" Nogent instead and I am really happy with it. It also handed me an excuse (as if I needed one lol) to grab the 8" Canadian as well and this thing is a little laser, I love it!

It's also the reason I ordered the 10" Acier Fondu from K-Sab and I am really glad I did. I freaking love this thing! Super thin, agile blade matched with a huuuuuge, uber-comfy, chunky and beautiful wooden handle.

If you decide to order from TBT though I would start an email convo about the level of Fit and Finish you will (or won't) put up with and what your exact deal breakers are, and hopefully that will help. Get a written, personal assurance or warranty that they ain't gonna ship no bent, twisted, wonky-handled knives cuz it's happened so many times now. :)
 

TDj

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is there a diff in blade thickness between the chef-de-chef vs. the chef knives in the canadian collection?
 

Wagstaff

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The chef-de-chef is much thicker. I haven't bought one, but a friend of mine who was ignorant of the difference had to return it. A chef-de-chef is a "lobster cracker", it's not a "chef's knife" for normal use.
 

Seb

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OP,

My not-so-educated guess is that you may have better luck with the Nogent 10" slicer than with one from the Canadian Massif series. My thinking is that because the Canadians are thinner along the spine than the Nogents, they are more likely to have bent and/or twisted tips.

Of course, I am probably completely, utterly mistaken in this.
 

EdipisReks

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i bought a 10" chef and a 10" slicer from the Nogent line. i've always wanted to own (i've handled them before, and like them) some good carbon Sabs, so i figure i might as well, before they run out completely.
 

ajhuff

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I bought a 9" Nogent chef knife about a year ago. I waited a month or so before I opened it and when I did I found it had an ever so slight bend in the last two inches. I sent it out to Epicurean to have it straightened. Came back fine. LOVE this knife.

-AJ
 

EdipisReks

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i got my knives in today. they were both "specials," the 10 inch slicer being $30 off, and the 10" inch chef's being $15 off, due to a slightly chipped tip and a cracked handle, respectively. the chip in the slicer literally took 10 seconds to fix on my coarse/fine DMT, and i'm not convinced the crack on the chef's knife handle is actually a crack, but i gave it a daub of tite bond III, anyway. i've only ever seen these knives well used, and the fit and finish is quite a surprise. smoothed and polished. the handle on the slicer is slightly bent up, but i'll drag my vise up from the basement and fix that in a second. the spines are straight, and the grinds all look even. i look forward to sharpening and using them!
 

wsfarrell

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It's also the reason I ordered the 10" Acier Fondu from K-Sab and I am really glad I did. I freaking love this thing! Super thin, agile blade matched with a huuuuuge, uber-comfy, chunky and beautiful wooden handle.
I got one and agree. Further, the blade is dead straight with beautifully ground distal taper.
 

Seb

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I got one and agree. Further, the blade is dead straight with beautifully ground distal taper.
Those French sure know a thing or two about knife design! :)

The other great thing about these French carbons is that none of them is as reactive as most of my Japanese carbons. There is a slight 'ozone' smell - but no uber-funky, 'train wreck', 'burning rubber' smell and brown/black/green juice like you often get with SK carbon steel.
 

Seb

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i got my knives in today. they were both "specials," the 10 inch slicer being $30 off, and the 10" inch chef's being $15 off, due to a slightly chipped tip and a cracked handle, respectively. the chip in the slicer literally took 10 seconds to fix on my coarse/fine DMT, and i'm not convinced the crack on the chef's knife handle is actually a crack, but i gave it a daub of tite bond III, anyway. i've only ever seen these knives well used, and the fit and finish is quite a surprise. smoothed and polished. the handle on the slicer is slightly bent up, but i'll drag my vise up from the basement and fix that in a second. the spines are straight, and the grinds all look even. i look forward to sharpening and using them!
Well done, great score!! :D

I have been using my Sabs exclusively for the past week now, and having a ball!

I've also been experimenting with final stones - Green Brick and King G-1 #8K. Both work nicely. These knives also love the HA Knife Mate (which is basically a pocket-sized polished steel with two finishes), the Idahone and the boro rod.

BTW, did you say that the slicer's handle is 'bent up' like on the vertical axis? I noticed that too in TBT's pop-up pic - is that maybe an intentional part of the design - to keep your fingers up off the board?
 

EdipisReks

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yes, it's bent up. hmm, maybe i'll use it as is for a while, before doing anything with it, as you may be right.
 

Seb

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yes, it's bent up. hmm, maybe i'll use it as is for a while, before doing anything with it, as you may be right.
Now that you've mentioned it, I've also noticed that some of the real vintage Sabatier chef knives that I've seen on ebay from time to time have handles that are 'bent down' (a bit like Kramers and Lamsons, but less exaggerated) - this might be because it's better for rocking? And the slicers are 'bent up' for the reasons suggested above.

So it might not just be dubious QC. ;)

But then there are Sabs that are bent sideways (like my Nogent 10" which has a slight bias at the handle to the left) - I may need a little more extra time to dream up a justification for this one! lol :D
 

sachem allison

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Well done, great score!! :D

I have been using my Sabs exclusively for the past week now, and having a ball!

I've also been experimenting with final stones - Green Brick and King G-1 #8K. Both work nicely. These knives also love the HA Knife Mate (which is basically a pocket-sized polished steel with two finishes), the Idahone and the boro rod.

BTW, did you say that the slicer's handle is 'bent up' like on the vertical axis? I noticed that too in TBT's pop-up pic - is that maybe an intentional part of the design - to keep your fingers up off the board?
The nogent style has a tendency to bend up or down because of the rattail tang which is usually narrow and round is not as strong as a rectangular full tang
 

EdipisReks

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i did end up straightening the handle. i don't think the small bend on such a narrow knife would actually make much of a knuckle clearance difference, and i won't use this knife as any kind of all-rounder. anyway, i put an initial edge on both. the chef has a mis-grind for about an inch by the heel on one side, but otherwise both are ground fine. it's an under grind above the edge, and i won't be putting steep angles on these, so i'll let nature take its course. i went through the full progression to .25 diamond, and they are as sharp as anything else i have. very comfortable cutting up some veggies. looking forward to seeing how they hold up.
 

Lefty

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I know I've said this before, but, man do I love Sabs!
 

EdipisReks

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i broke all of the sharp edges on the chef's, refinished the blade (two grades of finger stones, followed by my rust eraser which pretty exactly reproduced the original finish), gave it a nice forced mustard patina, and chopped some produce today. it's a good knife!
 
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