Old Hickory knives are a carbon steel classic. They will last a lifetime with just a little proper care.
Probably 30 years ago my father gave me three basic kitchen knives from the Old Hickory company, and they are still going strong. Of course he taught me how to sharpen a knife many years before that!
The Old Hickory company has been in business since 1889. If you just want to throw your knives in the dishwasher and run them through some mechanized sharpener, these are not the knives for you. If you want razor sharp blades that take an edge like stainless steel never can, at a price anyone can afford, then these are your answer.
The blades are fully heat treated 1095 carbon steel. All have hardwood handles secured to the tang with brass compression rivets. They will not have a super-sharp edge when you first purchase them. Carbon steel needs to be lovingly hand-sharpened to get the right angle on the edge. But if you know how to do this, or have a friend who can do it for you then you will be all set. I keep a sharpening steel handy and give the blades a few swipes every week or so. This will keep that thin edge that is the hallmark of carbon steel knives.
You do need to care for these knives. I keep them in a rack, not in a drawer to get nicked. (That said, if you can spot the nick in the largest knife, that can be accredited to a son who took it outside and was throwing it at a fencepost with wire fencing attached, oh so many years ago. I told him he’d live to regret pilfering the sacred knives!) You do need to wipe them off whenever you use them, not soak them in water, and never put them in the dishwasher.
The ones I have are the 3" paring knife, 6" boning knife, and 8" butcher knife. Several other styles are also available.
Dad is long gone, but I think of him every day as I use these gifts from his heart.
They can be purchased individually on line at www.knivesplus.com/OLD-HICKORY-KNIVES.HTML, and most are under $10. They also sell a sharpening steel.