questionsdude, seriously...that much for a boning knife?

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Okay, I'm out of the loop, but I'll try.
A $40 kitchen knife will serve you just fine. It will cut anything you want (within reason).
You can sharpen them, clean them easily. They're made of a high-carbon stainless steel (an odd combination metallurgically; pretty much only used for blades.) that won't rust or have to be oiled.
It's likely the $500 knife will be made from Damascus steel, which is stronger and more flexible than standard steels. It's made from a labor-intensive process that layers the steel together during a forging.
Is it necessary for taking the bones out of a fish? No.
But they're absolutely gorgeous.
You should hold one in your hands to understand it.
Then you should buy the $40 knife.

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If you're boning a lot you may want a reliable tool

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In before "IT'S HONING, BRO!"

(not in regards to your boning, of course)

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@lumpthar: I will say I recently started building my first "REALLY GOOD" set of [Calphalon] cookware instead of "just" a decent set from some place like Kohl's. The stainless stuff is great but I'm not sure I do the right amount of the right type of cooking to really get whatever the advantages are. Now, the Calphalon non-stick stuff I've gotten has opened my eyes to the fact that there can be a truly awesome non-stick pan. I'm trying to apply the same thinking to the whole knife thing and I'm mostly not seeing it.

I've held the better knives in my hand and I'll admit they do feel nice. I even agree they usually look really great. I get the "balance" people talk about but I don't know, $300 to section a chicken?

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BTW, thanks Woot for taking all the fun and creativity out of my question. Well, thanks for leaving "boning" in there. lol

I know the adults have to keep us kids and our boning jokes from getting outta hand. I'm just sayin'. ;o)

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@phillystyle: I have a basic set of the Henkels knives...I don't remember how expensive they were, but they were the low-end of their selection. I've used them now for 10 years, and I love them. They are "basic" compared to what a gourmet chef would use, but they suit my needs perfectly.
Go basic. It's cheaper.

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Sure. Shun makes some very expensive lines. Their Michel Bras line runs around $300 a piece. They are titanium coated though. And yep that's $300 for a steak knife.

http://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/michel-bras-4-inch-steak-knife/?pkey=e|michel%2Bbra|13|best|0|1|24||3&cm_src=PRODUCTSEARCH||NoFacet-_-NoFacet-_-Top%20Wide%20Gift%20of%20the%20Day%20-%20copy-_-

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@lumpthar: Nothing in the modern world is made of Damascus steel. It's a lost technique.
Modern "Damascus" steel blades are usually pattern welded or something like that to make them look similar to true Damascus steel, but they are still just regular old stainless steel blades.
Not that that's a bad thing, modern steel outperforms Damascus steel anyway.

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@stryker4526: I've definitely seen custom knives that are made of thousands of layers of folded Damascus steel. My understanding is they're bought more for the looks than the performance.

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I don't see the point of expensive cutlery for an ordinary person.

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There is a midline for home use cutlery. The cheap knives dull quickly and and feel heavy in your hand. Then you have knives that run about $50-100 per knife. Those can be very serviceable for a home cook and tend to last longer, keep an edge, and feel better in your hand. (If you don't cook/prepare food with a knife a lot, it's not worth the investment.)

Then there are knives in the several hundred to thousandish range. I count these as professional grade tools. If you aren't going to be boning (haha) every day, multiple times a day? No need for that tool. No need to take a chainsaw to a post-it.

The balance people refer to - the handle to blade weight ratio should be close. This means your hand isn't battling to keep the blade where you want it. Sometimes it can refer to the way the handle is molded - for a lefty or righty.

If you find a knife that works well for you, keeps an edge, and does the job - go for it. If that knife is $300, ask yourself if you need a "tool" or not.