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Warther Knives

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Hello everyone!

I'm looking to buy my first several knives worthy of the name, and I've been lurking about absorbing the collected wisdom around here. Right now I'm making do with... well, let's just say that my ten-year old cutco steak knife is probably the sharpest knife I own. Needless to say, this makes cooking something of a chore.

Right now I am leaning towards buying several Warther knives (9" Chefs, 9" Carving Knife, 5" Sandwich Knife + Forschner Bread Knife)

However, aside from a few offhand remarks by boar_d_laze, there doesn't seem to be much information out there about Warther knives. What little I have gathered is that they are "good" knives. Can anyone tell me a little bit more about them? While all input is appreciated, I am specifically interested in the following:

1. Any general information on Warther Knives - especially as compared to Mac knives (superior and pro), which are running a close second.

2. What would be a good method of sharpening them - right now I am considering learning to freehand, probably with a pair of superstones (1000 and 5000). This would allow me to maintain the convex edge on the Warthers. However, I'm open to alternatives.

3. While we are on sharpening, I've heard Warther's are difficult to sharpen - since I've never sharpened a knife in my life, would this make them a bad choice?

Thanks in advance!
post #2 of 6
Presumably you've been to the website so you know the chef's knives are more French than German profile; and indeed, the whole line is on the slender side.

No bolsters -- but you know that. Also no finger guards. I can't recall if the spines and backs are smooth from the factory or need rounding over.

Good steel -- I'm guessing D2. D2 is a "stain resistant" tool steel, with a suggested hardening profile that easily holds Warther's. To give "stain resistance" some context, the legal definition of "stainless" is at least 13% chromium, while D2 is right around 12%. So it, and Walthers for that matter, are very stain resistant.

Anyway, if it isn't D2, it's something made in the USA and a whole lot like D2. You could ask. FWIW, D2 is the western equivalent of SKD-11, which is the Japanese (and Korean) steel used in Yoshikane knives.

Whatever alloy they use is not quite as stainless as the big-deal Germans, but is in every other way a vastly better alloy. Certainly the top line Germans have much better F&F, more sophisticated handles and so on; but their steel can't compare. Warther's win.

Nice light weight on the knives -- part of that is the effect of how they're blocked and partly on the lack of a bolster.

Fairly comfortable handles, but not ergonomic marvels like Henckels, MAC, Masamoto, Misono, Sabatier, and Wusthof to name some standouts.

Made in the US, from US made steel.

Very distinctive "engine turned" finish. Looks like a Dusenberg dashboard. Nice looking handles, too. Visually, I find them stunning.

Where did you get convex edges from? The two or three I've handled and sharpened all had flat bevelled edges; and I can't find a reference to convexed Warthers anywhere. Anyway, I've taken the mythical two or three to a 15* edge angle with 50/50 symmetry on a good set of oilstones (no oil, though), no problemo. Waterstones would have been quicker, no doubt. I thought they sharpened pretty easily considering their nominal hardness -- which I have no reason to doubt.

You have to like their no-bolster design, and/or completely buy into their value.

Very fair pricing. I think they've always been fair, but the current weakness of the dollar makes them an especially good deal.

One of the few non-Japanese, "mass-produced" makers actually using decent steel.

I sharpened and used the already mentioned Warthers at a sharpening clinic/ cooking class I did for charity; and thought they were nice knifes. The owners (brothers) said they were easy to sharpen and maintain -- while neither was what you'd call a good sharpener I gathered the same impression about sharpening and am sure they're right about maintenance.

Warther suggests the usual sorts of sharpening strategies most good knife makers do; and also offer free "lifetime" sharpening for the new owner.

A quirky, interesting and good choice. You could call it "the eccentric's Aritsugu," but Aritsugu would be twice as eccentric.

BDL
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http://www.cookfoodgood.com
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post #3 of 6
D2 is a steel I have a hard time sharpening. But I can easily sharpen S30V, A2, M2 and others. But something about D2 and my technique don't match well.
post #4 of 6
Phil,

Some tool steels can be a burden. :mad: D2 can be awkward for a number of reasons including the different ways it's hardened.

Nevertheless, I smell opportunity. Your D2 nightmare is the product of one knife, several or many?

You freehand on stones right?

Which stones do you use?

What kind of strokes do you use for profiling and sharpening? Full length (heel to point) "strop" or "swipe" strokes? Or do you section straight up and down? "W" strokes (not a standard name, but the "W" should say it all)? What?

How much pressure?

How much do you care about not getting scratches up the knife face? Does appearance count? Or, are you strictly fire for effect?"

What's your SPM, i.e., strokes per minute rate -- I got that from a friend, KC, who's the best freehander I've ever met. Changed my technique, let me tell ya.

BDL
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post #5 of 6
Hello Advocate:

How did an Atty in DC get turned on to Warther Cutlery? I live near their knife plant in Dover, OH. Below are their specifications.
fantastic quality and value. Take that all you high-falutin'  German and Japanese knife advocates(no offense ;) ).

website:  http://www.warthercutlery.com

sharpen: these knives have a convex grind. use the following @ a 20 degree angle to sharpener on each bevel
(light hone..brings back razor sharp edge):

The 10" Diamond Knife Sharpener is perfect for a quick and easy razor sharp edge on your knife.
 

  • The 10" length will sharpen any size knife, long or short.

     


Below are the specifications on the most awesome cutlery knives. They are not German nor Japanese made knives.They are the highest quality at a fair price. Hand made in the USofA!

100% American Made:
Warther knives use all American made materials and make all their kitchen knives at a plant in Dover, OH. Warther does not outsource any work overseas! Anyone is welcome to stop in and visit the plant in Dover, OH for a tour of the knife shop, where you can watch the knife making firsthand.

Knife Making:
Ernest "Mooney" Warther began making knives in 1902 because he couldn't find a knife that would stay sharp while carving hard materials like walnut, bone and
ivory. He researched what was the best steel to use and he created his own techniques for grinding the steel blade so it would keep its sharp edge. Warther's still use the same specifications and techniques Mooney created. Combining these techniques with today's steel, Warther's is able to create a superior quality knife.

Steel:
American made high carbon tool steel that is rust resistant. The steel is hand-rolled on an old-style hand-operated mill. This type of steel allows them to temper it to a high degree of hardness (58 - 60 Rockwell C) without being brittle. Other qualities of the tool steel include the ability to stay sharp, keep its polished finish, and remain highly rust resistant.

Grind and Polish: (Warther trademarks)
They grind and polish each knife to a convex grind, which can only be accomplished by hand - no automated machinery is used. The purpose of the convex grind is its ability to retain a razor-like edge with just a light honing. This method was common in the early 1900's but has been lost by most knife manufacturers today.

"Spotting":
When Mooney started making knives, he wanted a finish that would not show wear. So he came up with the idea of "spotting" the blade. The more formal term for this process is "Engine Turning". It creates a fine swirl design on the blade by grinding a concentric circle pattern on the surface. The "spotting" is smooth to the touch, makes the knife look newer longer, and gives the knife a distinctive look. This tooling design is created
by hand and has become a Warther registered trademark.

Handles:
Knife handles are made from Vermont birch wood which is treated in a resin to make it more durable than regular wood. Note: The natural birch wood does vary in color. The handles are riveted onto the blade at two points. The blade extends all the way through the handle creating a strong and balanced knife. After riveting, the handles are sanded and buffed to a smooth and lustrous finish.


God Bless The United States of America and Warther's Cutlery.

post #6 of 6

I know I'm late getting to this post but in case anyone reads about these Warther knives today, they are using a new steel in their knives.

At least I know in the 9" Chef knife.  It is a relatively new steel by Crucible, CPM S35VN.  The N is for the niobium content which causes the formation of niobium carbides in the steel which makes the blade tougher and less likely to  chip.  It is not as hard as some of the new super steels, but the toughness helps make up for that.  It has a great edge retention according to Warther and Crucible.  I am getting one.

 

See the steel on the crucible.com web site and you'll want one too.

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