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Knife recommendation for arthritic ha...

Valerie_Serdy's picture

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Mom called yesterday because the Wal-Mart paring knife she's been using for everything (including cutting potatoes!) is dull. She wanted a recommendation for a new knife but she has arthritis in her hands and doesn't want anything too heavy or hard to hold. (I suspect this is why she's using her paring knife for everything: it's easier to hold than her 8" chef's knife.) She's been in the habit of buying "never-need-sharpening-knives" so she doesn't know how to use a steel, but seems to be willing to try.

I plan to recommend she buy a 6" chef knife as well as a new paring knife. However, before I send her off to various stores to actually handle different brands, can you recommend anything that might be light-weight and comfortable to hold (and, of course, be of good quality)?

TIA,
-valerie

Chiffonade_'s picture

(post #53586, reply #1 of 10)

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I have a friend with teeny hands - and I recommended a 6" chef's knife for her as well. I think a larger knife can be unwieldy for arthritic or very small hands. As for weights, many of the better knife companies are using polymers for handles. This is usually lighter in weight than the traditional wooden handles (which I prefer :) The best thing she can do is go to a department store or kitchenware store and handle some knives for heft and fit in her hand. A 6" chef's knife is not always easy to find but PCD usually carries them. Their website is http://www.cutlery.com. Get them to mail you a catalogue so you can page through and see which knife would best suit the purpose for your mom.

If you decide to order from PCD, they are very liberal in their return policy, so it's basically risk-free. If she wants to test a knife, tell her to try a tomato or other soft food. If she decides she does not want the knife, wash in hot soapy water with
i no
abrasives.

Valerie_Serdy's picture

(post #53586, reply #2 of 10)

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Great! Thanks for the tips!

Gretchen_'s picture

(post #53586, reply #3 of 10)

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If it is for chopping you might eventually think in terms of a food processor. Have a friend with rheumatoid arthritis and a mother-in-law that has needed and used this for a long time.

Rose_'s picture

(post #53586, reply #4 of 10)

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I just purchased some new knives from a company called Cutco. These are wonderful knives! The contoured handle is very easy to hold, it is lightweight, and the blade cuts better than my Henkel knives do, even when they've just been sharpened. I'd like to replace that entire set with Cutco someday. One of the knives they sell is called a Trimmer - it is great for everyday use. I think the blade is about 6".
They only sell through representatives, they're not available in stores. They've been in business many years, and have a lifetime guarantee. 20 years ago, a friend had their steak knives that he'd received as a gift, and wished he could buy more but didn't know where. I was thrilled when I found out how to buy them a few weeks ago, I ordered a lot of trimmers for Christmas gifts. I think your Mom would be happy with one.

They have a website, and you can call for a referral to a sales person, or I can send you the name of the person I bought from. She was great.

Oxo makes a knife that won awards from the Arthritis foundation. It has a great handle, but I don't like the way it cuts. It is under $10 so it might be worth a try for short term solution.

Good luck!

Chiffonade_'s picture

(post #53586, reply #5 of 10)

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I have a Cutco parer which we call "Joe" (the name of the guy who sold it to us.) It is incredible. I believe Cutco can only be sold by a representative (like Tupperware or Pampered Chef). Here is the Cutco Website...perhaps they list reps in your area? http://www.cutco.com/.

Valerie_Serdy's picture

(post #53586, reply #6 of 10)

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Thanks for the tips!
I found the Oxo knife that the AF recommends. They have a paring knife and "mini-chef knife" set for $12 with what looks like a pretty liberal return policy so it's worth a shot (https://www.oxo.com/catalog/index.html).

About the Cutco brand, I've never seen or used them, but Consumer Reports (December '98) claims they have uncomfortable handles and are more likely to corrode than most other knives. I assume you all haven't seen these problems?

Chiffonade_'s picture

(post #53586, reply #7 of 10)

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Thanks for the heads-up on Cutco. I have my parer for at least 4 years and have not experienced any of these problems. It has not corroded, nor do I feel that the handle is uncomfortable. My hands are pretty strong though. I realized just how strong when I tightened the faucets in the kitchen of my childhood home and found my mom trying to turn on the water with a hammer.

Carolina's picture

(post #53586, reply #8 of 10)

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Whoever mentioned Oxo, hit the nail on the head. Their knives are designed expressly for arthritic hands, as are all their other 1st class kitchen wares. You can't miss with Oxo.

nihon_no_cook's picture

(post #53586, reply #9 of 10)

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In addition to all of the excellent recommendations above, don't forget that ANY knife will be easier and safer to use if it is razor-sharp. So buy a steel and help her learn to use it, so that she doesn't have to apply so much pressure to the knives when she uses them.

Valerie_Serdy's picture

(post #53586, reply #10 of 10)

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You're not just whistlin' dixie there. I live in Seattle and she's in St. Louis so it's hard for me to teach her. I did tell her to make sure the store teaches her how to use a steel if she goes that route. I'm also trying to get her to come up here for Christmas. If she makes it, she'll get a nice Christmas present as well as lessons on how to use it!