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on December 13, 2006
I just got these knives and I love them. Regarding the rust problem, all quality knives are made of high carbon steel. They will all rust if left in water. This includes henckles, shun, wustof ect.

Regarding the spaces that others have been complaining about, high quality knives are forged out of a single piece of metal. It is impossible to get a uniform shape for every knife this way. Chicago Cutlery uses a poly handle that has uniform in shape (unlike wood handles), hence the spaces.

These knives are very sharp. You can see how sharp a knife is by holding it loosely by the handle and pulling it over a tomato without applying pressure. I have done this with the sontoku from this et and it slices through like butter.

Handles are a matter of taste. these are thick handles, I like them this way. If you like thinner handles go with Shun. Of coarse one chef's knife will cost you twice as much as this whole set.

The only minor complaint is the steak knives. Steak knives should be serrated; the steak knives in this set are basically long paring knives.

These are great knives and %99 of users will be just as happy with these as with a $500 set from henckles.
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on November 24, 2007
I bought these to replace a set of Mundial 5100's that was lost. I wasn't expecting such high quality from this set, but Consumers Digest selected these above many sets costing hundreds of dollars more (including the Mundial set that they reviewd) and I have to say this set is more than I expected for the price. I am not claiming they are better than the Mundial 5100 block set, but so far they're pretty close.

Unlike some of the other reviewers, I haven't found anything to complain about. The handles and blades are perfectly matched with no gaps or any other errors that I'm aware of. The blades are sharp, but to get them to the point of slicing produce paper thin they do need a couple of swipes through the built in knife sharpener (which I found works better for these knives than my Henckle dual sharpener). After I sharpened the utility knife I was slicing onions so thin that you could see through them. So I tried cutting tomatoes with the same results with very easy pressure the knife slid through the tomato literally as thin as you could possibly want to slice it.

I know that there are better knife sets out there but you are going to pay for them.

This set is perfect for the average home kitchen and again for the money they can't be beat.
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on January 13, 2008
Last year my wife had given me a three piece Chicago Cutlery Insignia2 set for Christmas. Once I started using those knives, the rest the knives I owned never made it out of the drawer. I used to buy the typical department store brands (which shall remain unnamed) and pretty much had to replace them yearly. Once I found Chicago Cutlery, I never looked back.

When I saw this set on sale at Amazon, I simply had to get it. I still had an older 12-piece block set and wanted to finally make the upgrade to a full set of Chicago Cutlery Insignia2. That was definitely the best move I could have made.

Without going into too much detail, these knives are fantastic! They are super sharp and are tremendously comfortable to use, so no hand fatigue while prepping meals. Plus, with the in-block sharpener, you never have to worry about them getting dull. The knives themselves are quality made with the full tang and triple rivets. Unlike some lower end models that simply have the plastic overcoat which cracks off after regular use, these knives will last a lifetime.

Positives: Great quality, super comfortable to use, very sharp, in-block sharpener keeps your knives like new, and I don't know how I've lived without the Santoku for so long! The way it sits in your hand is prefect for chopping veggies.

Negatives: Only one complaint, which is the utility scissors that come with the set. It's a problem that is frustrating the first time you use them but you do get used to it. The scissors come apart for easy cleaning, which, don't get me wrong, is a fantastic idea. The problem is that they split apart after about a 35-40 degree opening. So as long as you don't open the scissors fully, you'll never have an issue.

Overall, I would recommend these knives to anyone at any level of cooking experience.
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on January 2, 2008
Consumer Reports rated the Chicago Cutlery Metropolitan a Best Buy. We went to the store, felt those knives and were pretty disappointed. They had no heft, it felt like holding a toy instead of a culinary instrument. We then noticed the Chicago Cutlery Insignia2 forged set and it felt like a completely different league of knives. Not as great as Henckels and Wüsthof, but the price was much more favorable. We ended up buying the set and now, 6-months later, we're glad we did. By the way, we looked at more than a dozen various manufacturers and sets; we were ready to buy Wüsthof Classic before we found this Chicago Cutlery Insignia2 set.

These knives are great; they keep an edge pretty long, large array of knives, 8-steak knives are great for larger company and they look, feel and are built like they should have cost at least twice as much.

There are a few drawbacks and things I don't like about the set. Some of the reviewers have already mentioned that the knives should be washed and dried immediately else they start to look slightly rusty (you can use dishwasher, but must dry right after). What people haven't mentioned, and I think is a big problem is that this knife set does not come with a honing steel (and/or crappy sharpener). Didn't seem like a big deal to me until I sharpened one of the knives using the built-in sharpener. Even though the knives are forged, the edge is VERY thin and sharp. After a lot of use and banging around all over the kitchen the edge will start to lose alignment (this is true with all knives, by the way). If you use the built-in sharpener without honing you will eat up a part of your edge.

I highly recommend getting a honing steel and using that before you use the built-in sharpener or getting a sharpening stone so you don't just lose an edge and have way more control.

Other than these two major problems, which are pretty easy to control, the set is pretty nice. I highly recommend it if you're careful with your knives. If you like to beat on them, then please look elsewhere... these require a bit too much TLC.
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on May 4, 2007
Bought this as my first set of knives. Appreciated the price. A little surprised at the craftsmanship. The knife handles are not made to perfection and there are some rough edges where the handle meets the metal blade of the knife. This does not cause much of a problem other than appearance. The knife block is well made. The slots for the knives go completely through the knife block allowing for ventilation, should you want it.


+ Price

+ Great starter knives

+ Convenient storage block


+ Poor visual craftsmanship
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on August 22, 2012
I will start by saying that I purchased these for $99 not the $120 they are currently listed for. Obviously, I think I am better than you due to my $1.11111/knife savings.

Here is a ranked order of things I look for in a Knife Set:
1) Sharp as hell
2) Sharp as hell
3) Sharp as hell
4) looks pretty

That is the entire list. I am not nearly proficient enough in the kitchen to have other requirements. The knives are sharp as hell. They cut the crap out of stuff. I enjoy showing off their sharpness to amazed visitors (more realistically, I just show my girlfriend over and over again). Look how easy it is to cut through lemons! You try! Case closed. They are also a pretty good looking knife set. I'm not sure I needed 18 knives, because I only know what about 8 of them do, but it is impressive looking and really makes people know that I'm the boss.

I purchased them about 1 month ago, so I cannot objectively weigh in on the rust-issue (I have none at this point). Therefore my only real con at this point is that this point is that the block is really big and awkwardly fits in my small New York City kitchen. Please note the massive size before you follow me to sharpcity.
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on March 3, 2008
I received these knives 4 days ago. I immediately unpackaged and began to use them. They arrived well packaged and in good condition. I have used all but the steak knives on multiple occasions daily. I also read the literature accompanying the knives as well. This way I would not be surprised by doing something ignorant to the knives and ruining them. I have washed them by hand immediately after use and then dried them. I store them in the block for now, which by the way is a superior knife block.

Ok, the knives are great. They are a steal for this price. They cut well and feel wonderful in your hand. They are forged. As such their appearance is as that of a forged piece of high quality cutlery. These knives look wonderful. They were sharp out of the box and I have not had to sharpen them yet. I have used them on vegetables, meat, fruit, and all sorts of items while preparing meals. I look forward to preparing meals with this set. I actually try to make meals that require me to use them because they are truly that wonderful to use. This is definitely a high quality set of cutlery. I inspected and used some German cutlery and can say that these knives definitely hold their own against a set of German cutlery costing 300-500 dollars. If you are searching for a high quality set of cutlery and you are not wanting to spend 300 to 500 dollars to get them, these are a great set to choose.

The block is high quality as well. It is worth 30-60 dollars easy just by itself. I normally keep my knives on a magnetic strip to conserve space. However, this block is so attractive and of high quality I am considering continuing to use it and make a special place for it on my counter. The block and knives just scream quality and I like the way they look.

Please read and do what the directions say when cleaning and using these knives. If you choose not to follow the directions, then DON'T COMPLAIN WHEN YOUR KNIVES BECOME DISCOLORED OR RUST WHEN YOU SOAK THEM OR PUT THEM IN THE DISHWASHER! These are not some cheap 39.99 set of serrated knives. These are a high quality forged set of cutlery. If washing them by hand and drying them immediately is too hard to do then this set is not for you. Get that 39.99 set so you won't get frustrated when the expected happens.

I highly recommend this set to anybody in the market for set of cutlery. No, they are not German made and they do not cost 500 dollars. However, they are high quality and, unless you just want to impress somebody with your high priced cutlery set made in Germany, this is a great choice. Just make sure you understand how to take care of high quality cutlery and can handle doing it.
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on May 5, 2011
First of all, I want to thank the other reviewers for helping me make my choice. After reading each the reviews at least twice, I decided to place my order late last week. The knives arrived today as predicted. They were well packed within an outer carton, an inner carton, and the retail box. Inside that box was a smaller box inside of which the knives and scissors were individually packed in plastic bags and cardboard blade protectors. A folded bit of cardboard kept the knife block from shifting in the box. The block was also in a plastic bag.

I carefully examined each knife looking for signs of the damage or flaws some reviewers had reported. The polymer handle inserts showed no gaps where they met the forged blades. I did find that a few of the handle inserts might have benefited from spending a little more time going through the polishing process but I dismissed the minor flaws as they have no effect on function, very little on appearance, and probably help to account for the low price.

The first knife I unwrapped was the chef's knife. I was pleased to find it had a keen edge right out of the box. The other knives varied in their initial sharpness though none could be described as dull. I chose to forgo the block's built in sharpener and brought out the Messermeister 12-Inch Ceramic Rod Knife Sharpener I had picked up from Amazon a while back. A few swipes of the blades on the rod brought all but two to near razor sharpness. The Santoku had been the least sharp of the bunch and it took several more passes over the rod before it equaled the sharpness of the others. I don't have any experience using a Santoku but from what I've read, a primary asset of such a knife is the thinness of its blade. The Santoku that came with this set does not appear to have that property. The boning knife also required additional sharpening. It is flexible and should make trimming around bones an easy task.

After sharpening the knives, I washed and dried each one before tucking them into the block. As another reviewer had cautioned about, I did notice that one of the paring knives came to rest on its spine with the sharp edge up when I set in in the sink. I'm confident I'll adapt to the shape of these new knives in short order and the problem will go away. However, it would be wise to call attention to the possibility when others share kitchen duties.

The scissors easily split into its two parts for cleaning. To me, the scissors seem out of place with the other items in the set both in finish and in the sense that it seemed more like a gadget than a single purpose tool like the rest. Perhaps I'm mistaken but I find it difficult to imagine that a person who spends more than a $100 on a kitchen knife set would not have a more functional bottle cap lifter and screwdriver in a nearby kitchen drawer. Opening the scissors wide enough to allow use of the notch is more than my smallish hand can manage. I suspect that I'll be replacing the scissors before too long.

I went by intuition in placing the knives in the block and found that my slot choices differed from those listed in the care instructions only by my reversal of the two paring knives. All of the slots are larger than they need to be so if visual alignment of the knives is a concern, a bit of nudging will help but the two slots directly above the scissors slot don't line up with each other. I also missed the slot a couple of times when inserting knives. Again, as I become more familiar with the new set, that problem will also vanish. It's sensible to take extra care with any newly acquired sharp instruments until their quirks become known.

I'll add to this review after I've had a chance to use the knives.
Update 9/26/2011

Now that I've had the knives for a while, it's time for some corrections to my previous post.

First of all, I was mistaken about being able to adapt to the knives propensity for resting on their spines with the sharp edge up. That is the natural state for the knives in this set. The slightest nudge causes them to roll over onto their backs. It is a hazard that requires constant vigilance.

Several other reviews mentioned rust so I chose to sacrifice one of the steak knives to harsher treatment than the rest of the set. After the second pass through the dishwasher, I did find rust on the blade and between the handles. A little careful scrubbing with Bar Keepers Friend® Cleanser & Polish: 12 OZ made quick work of the rust. The rust on the cutting edge created a small pit in the blade. Fortunately it was up near the handle where not much cutting is done. If a knife has a pit or nick in the blade, the sharpener built into the storage block will make the pit or nick deeper with each pass.

I left the sacrificial steak knife on the counter after a meal so that any food stuck to it would dry. When I returned to it the bits of meat were stuck fast. I grabbed a sponge with a scrubbing surface on one side and went to work. This was useful in that it caused me to learn about scrubbers for delicate surfaces. My non-delicate scrubber put permanent scratches on both sides of the blade. This will not cause functional problems but it is noticeable from several feet away.

I inspected the cutting edges of all the knives under a magnifying glass and discovered that there was a considerable difference from one side to the other on several of the knives. I did my best to correct the problem using my Presto Pro EverSharp Electric Knife Sharpener. I've never been too fond of that device but it did help a bit. I next tried the Smith's TRI-6 Arkansas TRI-HONE Sharpening Stones System. This took quite a bit of time and I wasn't really satisfied when I gave up.

A search for a better knife sharpener led me to the Work Sharp WSKTS Knife and Tool Sharpener. The reviews easily convinced me to give it a try. Wow! Within a half hour, each blade was sharp enough to remove hair from my arm. These knives were now truly sharp and the edges were the same on each side. It's been about a month and the most used knives could benefit from a few passes with the finest grit belt to dress the edges. However, the ceramic sharpening rod is doing a good enough job to allow me to delay hauling out the Work Sharp for a while.

Working with sharp knives is a treat. I have become much more careful regarding the sharp-edge-up problem now that the blades are so keen.

All in all, I remain very pleased with the knife set.
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on May 14, 2007
I'm not a knife expert but these knives feel good. I was dissatisfied with my last set (J.A. Henckles) which I bought for double the price because they required a lot of tuning. These knives have been holding their edge longer and the in-block sharpener is very convenient and easy to use. The Consumer Reports review convinced me to buy these in the first place and so far they've been holding up to their praise.
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on April 27, 2011
Bought this set a while back and I felt they were only ok so I waited awhile before writing a review.
Knives feel good in my hands, may be a bit heavy and large for some.
As one reviewer noted there may be a safety issue because the knives will lay flat with the blade up. I don't have any problem with that.(do not toss it the sink and forget about it.)
The Block itself is ok, on mine the far left steak knife does not sit level with the others.
The knives themselves are made very well, but the built in sharpener is only mediocre at best.
One last thing, the top left of the block will hold a sharpening steel. If you buy this set do yourself a huge favor and get one. I highly recommend the ceramic Wusthof 4455 10-Inch Sharpening Steel its about fifty bucks,it will fit in this block , and it will make these knives like razor blades with handles. just watch the fingers. After getting the sharpening steel I really love this set.
tip: it has been stated many times on knife reviews. Good quality knives are high in carbon, they will rust. yes even stainless steel. never leave knife in a sink full of water,or wash in a dishwasher. do it by hand and wipe dry immediately.
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