I want to buy a quality Santoku knife and I have heard that Wusthof is a good brand of knife...should I go with this one? Suggestions anyone?
- categoryAsian Santoku Knivestagged by System, 9/27/10
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- itemChicago Cutlery Forum 7.5-Inch Chef's Knifetagged by Nicko, 12/20/14
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Gear mentioned in this thread:post #2 of 227/6/10 at 9:28ampost #3 of 227/6/10 at 9:58am
Most here would ask you would want a santoku. If you have good knife skills you likely won't find santokus of sufficient productivity.,
They are generally too short for efficient knife work.
For the cost of a quality Wusthof Santoku you can probably do better with other Japanese brands if you must have a santoku.It's not that there's anything wrong with the Wusthof, but you can get more refinements than Wusthof offers for the price.
The Santoku I had was a Dexter Russell. Nothing wrong with it per se, but it just wasn't as useful for general tasks as it turned out. I do think it makes a good cheese knife.post #4 of 227/6/10 at 11:19am
+ 1 with Phatch.
A santoku is a decent alternative to a chef's knife for many people. While it's not the type of knife which works best for me, you seem to have decided that it's the knife you want to buy. And, why not?
Wusthof does make quality knives, but unless an extremely high level of fit and finish and a prestige label are priorities, there are as good knives for substantially less money, and substantially better knives for the same money. Because of that, it's hard to recommend Wusthof.
Let me make it clear that I'm not saying Wusthof is a bad choice. Too many people have made too many great cuts and cooked too many great meals with Wusthof for that to be true. It is only in the realm which includes other very good choices where Wusthof suffers; and then, only by comparison.
No matter how good, how expensive, and how sharp out of the box, all knives dull eventually. More than anything else, knives come down to how they'll respond to your sharpening methods. That obviously begs a question.
We should also examine whether you really want or need to choose from the high-end of "German" type knives, or whether something less expensive (Forschner or Meridian, for instance) or Japanese (MAC, e.g.) would suit you better. Even if you were to choose among the substantially similar high-end Germans, Messermeister, by way of one example could be better. It depends which qualities you value most.
Not only is there no single best knife, there's no single best knife for you. The idea is to limit the world of choices to very good ones -- so you don't waste time or money. A well informed knife purchase requires a sort of dialogue with yourself. The more you tell us about yourself, the more quickly it will happen.
So, here are a few questions to get us started: .
- How are you planning to sharpen and maintain?
- Will you sharpen yourself, or have someone else do it for you?
- How much money are you willing to invest in sharpening?
- What kind of cutting board do you use? (I.e., hardwood, bamboo, plastic, or something else.) And, what size is it?
- How would you describe your knife skills?
- Do you do, or aspire to do, much fine cutting like julienne and brunoise?
- What other types of knives will you use?
- Do you see this purchase as "lifetime knife" or something which only needs to be practical for a few years?
- What's your price limit for this particular knife?
- Is a name brand important to you? Good reviews? Good guaranty?
- Are you comfortable buying a knife off the internet?
- How about buying a knife you cannot find at a local store to see if the handle is comfortable?
Edited by boar_d_laze - 7/6/10 at 11:51ampost #5 of 227/6/10 at 11:22am
I actually prefer the Santuko when mincing herbs.
But would I buy one just for that reason? No way. A regular chef's knife is the best tool for most kitchen tasks.They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard KiplingThey have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kiplingpost #6 of 227/6/10 at 10:14pm
i have a 5" wusthoff santoku and it is a great knife. the thing is, i don't really ever use it. i have to remind myself to pull it out when i'm doing some veg prep, which it's great for. i keep it sharp as hell and it does a great job. if you're looking for a general purpose knife i would stick with buying a great chef's knife. if you have money to burn and want a santoku for the sake of having a santoku, i say go for it. they are fun knives.....post #7 of 227/7/10 at 5:46amThread Starterpost #8 of 227/7/10 at 6:59am
No, it's a terrible price. And now I know why this is all so familiar. it's because you've spammed that site around cheftalk previously and the mods have deleted the links.
So, if you're serious about the shopping for a knife let us know. But stop the spamming or be banned.post #9 of 227/7/10 at 7:16amThread Starterpost #10 of 227/7/10 at 7:52am
Sorry. If you were seriously considering purchasing a knife you would have at least responded to the knife posts, including mine. Instead you spammed, got caught, and reacted to that only.[In] your expert opinion, what website would you recommend that has a cheaper price than [deleted]?
You can link through to Amazon and get a Wusthof Classic 7" Santoku for 25% less ... plus the vendor throws in a free bamboo cutting board.
BDLpost #11 of 227/7/10 at 8:27ampost #12 of 229/17/13 at 9:28am
I know you responded to this post quite a wile back, but I am hoping that you come across my post and have to time to answer. I can see you are not only a professional when it comes to knives/cooking but you have the time and patience to help others, therefore I wanted to answer the questions you posed for MadGreek in the hopes that you will help me to find a knife set for myself.
About myself: I am home-cook, nothing fancy. I am still young (mid 20's) and am aspiring to someday be called a "great cook". I love to experiment and try new things. I usually make a lot of salads, soups, meat and some fish. I also make quite a bit of dessert. I would like to purchase a knife box set that does NOT include steak knives. The most I am willing to pay is $300 dollars. I know this isn't much but I am still young and newly wed so money is tight. I want to get the best for my money. These knives do not need to last me a lifetime but at least 10 years. I am extremely irritated by dull knives. I have been going back and forth between carbon steel and stainless steel for quite a while now. I want good blade retention but I do not want to have to oil them after every use to prevent rusting. I also prefer nothing too lightweight.
Here are the answers to the questions you posed above:
1) The most sharpening I plan on doing is light honing on a honing rod.
2) I can "hone" myself or I would be will to send the knives back to the company for a free sharpening (if included)
3) Not willing to invest money in sharpening, not yet at least (maybe later on)
4) I have a large (20" x 14") Acacia End-grain cutting board
5) My knife skills are beginner, maybe borderline intermediate. I can mince, dice, chop. (that may tell you everything)
6) I do aspire to do better.
7) Like I mentioned before, I would like to purchase a lifetime set later on. For now I am looking for a set that would last 10 years for sure.
8) Box set price limit:$300, It is important to note that I would require a santoku in the set (it is one of the most comfortable knives for me)
9) Name brand is of course important, but only if I can afford it. If there is something not name brand that is great quality and affordable then I am game.
10) I am comfortable buying a knife set over the internet as long as I can return it if it is not to my liking (comfort-wise)
Anyone can feel free to answer of course. I perfectly understand that the perfect knives for me depends on what is comfortable for me (as everyone mentions), however, I do not have the time to go and hold every knife out there and then research if it is a good knife or not. I would like to know which are the good ones in my price range fist and then go to test them out for comfort.
If anyone has any additional questions, please feel free to ask.
Thank you to everyone for your help!
O. Brusovpost #13 of 229/17/13 at 4:53pm
Since I'm on line, I'll toss in my two cents for a quick answer.
First, you're posting onto an old thread, on the Cooking Equipment forum. You would probably get a lot more answers, and faster response (especially from BDL), if you started a new thread on the Cooking Knives forum.
Second, concerning box sets - there is simply no love for them on this web site. Box sets, especially in the price range you list ($300 or so) are at best an iffy proposition for quality. You will be advised (and I am one of those advising) to buy your knives singly, so that you buy the best knife for the purpose, rather than buying a set because it "looks good". Knife sets are mostly for impressing your guests with the fact that you have a "full set" of knives on your kitchen countertop. you end up spending a lot of money on a collection of knives, of so-so-quality, for which you end up using only a few on a regular basis. If you aspire to be a great cook and think that getting a good set of knives will help you - save your money and buy your knives one-by-one. Knife sets are definitely not the best way to spend your money.
Be also advised that a basic set of knives consists of two knives - a chef's knife and a paring knife. A third knife rounds out what the first two don't do well - a serrated edge bread knife.
You specifically called for a santoku in the knife set. Have you used a santoku? If you have (and are using a santoku) and you prefer it because it is a shorter knife than a gyuto or chef's knife, then that might very well be a good reason to look for a better one. Otherwise, buy a chef's knife or a gyuto.
There's not a good deal of sympathy on this web site for santoku's, since everything you can do with a santoku, you can easily do with a gyuto or chef's knife - and there's much you can do with a gyuto or chef's knife which will be much more difficult with the shorter santoku.
Third, you are extremely irritated by dull knives. Expect to remain irritated by dull knives until you get a way to sharpen your knives yourself. Honing is mostly a means to straighten the microscopic alignment of the edge of the knife - it does not sharpen. To sharpen, you need a way to remove metal in a controlled fashion. The traditional way is by using a series of stones of varying grit. An alternative way is to use a guided system, such as the Edge Pro Apex or the Wicked Edge system. Pull-through sharpeners, either mechanical or electric, don't get much sympathy from many of the reviewers on this web site.
You say that you are not interested in a lifetime set now, but would be more interested in something that would last a decade or so. I would suggest that you concentrate your immediate money for what will give you a combination of "best bang for the buck" AND permanent quality.
For a budget of $300, my recommendations for you would be as follows:
First, go to your local library and check out or reserve or get on inter-library loan a specific book, An Edge In The Kitchen by Chad Ward, then read through it. Published in 2008, the specific prices are now dated, but it will give you a lot of information that I can't fully describe in this posting. The going rate through Amazon and such used book sites as Alibris and Abebooks runs about $20 to $25, but getting it through the library will save you money (sorry, Chad!).
Next, concentrate on sharpening as your first priority - even a low quality knife when sharpened will be much better than a better quality, but dull knife. Sharpening skills will last you a lifetime. Sharpening stones and/or a guided sharpening system will last you decades, if not for the rest of your life. Chef Knives To Go ("CKTG") offers a basic stone set for about $130, and also offers The Edge Pro Apex guided system in various combinations beginning at $165.
Look at how you intend to hone your knives - if your honing rod is metal, especially a coarse steel rod, get a new honing rod. You can do a lot of damage to the edge of your knife before you realize it with a coarse steel. As an alternative rod, CKTG sells the 12" Idahone for $30.
Assuming you have a sharpening system and have about $105 to $140 or so left. Save money on your paring knive and bread knife selections. Buy a Victorinox (also known as Forschner) paring knife with a Fibrox (molded) handle for about $5. Also buy a Dexter Russell or Victorinox (Forschner) serrated bread knife for under $15. Those can be bought at a local restaurant supply stores.
You now have left somewhere between $85 and $120 left of your original $300. That should be your budget for your chef's knife or santoku. This is where the differences in opinion will be all over the map. I'm going to give a few suggestions, but they will be for a French chef's knife or for a gyuto. I won't go into santoku's.
For a quality stainless knife, a lot of people (including BDL) have listed the Mac MBK-95 Professional Line 9-1/2" "Mighty" French Chef/gyuto as an excellent quality basic chef's knife, though it is priced at about $185. I would suggest you just swallow a little bit harder and extend your budget and go for it.
For a carbon steel knife, you might look at a K-Sabatier. The least expensive source I have seen them at is China Fair Inc (www.chinafairinc.com), which offers a 10 inch carbon steel K-Sabatier chef's knife for $90. Other people like the Japanese CarboNext gyuto.
You will then have a small, but very good basic set of knives and a means of sharpening them.
You will then be able to concentrate on the important thing - cooking
Galley Swillerpost #14 of 229/17/13 at 7:04pmDear Galley,
Thank you very much for your quick response. It was a delight to read and truly enlightening. After careful consideration, I have decided that you are correct and I should not buy a box set. You have convinced me.
Now to answer your question, why I prefer santoku knives, for some reason (and it may be because I have small feminine hands) I am not comfortable holding a chefs knife. I have used them so I know they are better to use with certain things. However, for my daily chopping of vegetables I always find myself reaching for a santoku. The design just seems to suit me better. For some reason a chefs knife (and please excuse me if I sound silly), when I chop down on something feels like my fingers get squished between the handle and the cutting board. A santoku allows for more space and hence more comfort, for me at least (maybe my small feminine hands have abnormally chunky fingers).
I did take quite an interest in K-Sabatier while doing my own research, so I am glad you mentioned it. But I would like to know, I have been going back and forth between stainless steel and carbon for a bit. Are carbon blades really in fact high maintenance or did all the lazy chefs of the world decide to exaggerate? Oiling a blade after each use seems a bit extreme to me.
Also, I know this my not be your area of expertise since I notice you do not seem to care for santoku knives but if you were to recommend one or some, which would they be?
Thank you vey much,
O.post #15 of 229/17/13 at 8:46pm
Except for such stand-bys as the Mac Professional gyuto and the K-Sabatier, which I am as much just repeating BDL's advice, I would not necessarily directly trust my own recommendations about specific knives. The best I can do is repeat general information about knives. For specific information, you should post in the Cooking Knives forum .
About chef's knives and santoku's - Some time ago, I bought a santoku, but the feel of it did not appeal to me. So, yes, I am not an expert on santoku's.
However, you are mentioning that you reach for a santoku when you are doing vegetables. You might look at another Japanese design - the nakiri., which is very much intended as a vegetable knife. It is smaller than even a santoku, but looks like a narrowed cleaver. In pre-WWII Japanese homes, often the only kitchen knife would be a nakiri. Do be advised that BDL is not a fan of the nakiri.
It is also very likely that working with a sharpened knife will vastly improve your enjoyment of prep. In that case, I am once again pitching for concentrating on sharpening as even more important than getting a new set of knives.
If developing the skills for working with stones is intimidating, then the Edge Pro Apex will be a much quicker-to-learn system.
If you don't already use it, you might also try a pinch grip on your knife. That would minimize the amount of your hand under the handle, and is also the type of grip most often taught to aspiring chefs in culinary schools.
I mentioned K-Sabatier because it is inexpensive enough to match your budget. I myself am a bit perplexed over the reference you gave about oiling a blade after every use. The recommended procedures I know about are to wash the blade IMMEDIATELY after use and then dry it by towel IMMEDIATELY, then put it where it will further air dry. That's not "wait until after finishing everything before cleaning". Carbon steel needs IMMEDIATE treatment - not later. Washed and dried immediately after use, then keeping it dry and clean is the most important thing to remember about carbon steel.
It's also important to remember that all steel reacts with the oxygen in air. That's true of stainless knives (where the reaction takes place between the chromium atoms on the blade surface) and of carbon steel (where the reacting elements are iron and oxygen). Those reactions result in surface layers which are called "patina" and are useful, because they form protective surfaces to minimize further reactions, such as with water
For carbon steel, the preferred oxide of iron is Fe3O4 (3 atoms of iron with 4 atoms of oxygen). The color of this is gray through black, and is relatively stable in both providing a patina and staying on the underlying unoxygenated steel layer. If the knife develops red or orange spots, that's a different form of iron oxide (Fe2O3 - 2 atoms of iron with 3 atoms of oxygen) and is better known as "rust". Scrub off the red or orange as fast as possible with a nylon scrubbing pad.
That does bring up one quirk with carbon steel - if you do sharpen the edge of a carbon steel knife, let it rest for a day or two, so the newly-exposed steel can form a patina. Sushi chefs in Japan commonly have two sets of knives, and after finishing the day's work, will sharpen their knives as their last work of the day, and put the knives aside, not to be used until after at least a full day of "rest".
As for oiling - I cannot think that would be desired, even when putting a carbon steel knife into long-term storage. The key is first, keeping the knife clean and second, minimizing, or better yet, eliminating contact with water.
Stainless steel vs. carbon steel is an old issue. Stainless results in a knife which is easier to care for. But carbon knives form smaller grain particles and are more maleable than comparable stainless steel knife edges. That's why carbon steel knives have once again come into use (at least by knowledgeable chefs).
Galley Swillerpost #16 of 229/18/13 at 7:04am
I see.. I have never much been a chemistry wiz. Okay, seems like I should be able to handle carbon steel (as long as my husband doesn't get his hands on it...)
I have looked into a Nakiri, they are beautiful but they are missing something vital, a point. Since I use the Santoku so commonly, it wouldn't make sense for me to switch it to a more handicapped knife (IMO a Santoku seems more versatile than a Nakiri). I will start a new forum to find the right Santoku for me though.
On to sharpening, I have checked out the Edge Pro Apex and quite frankly it looks intimidating for a novice sharpener. Are there an sharpeners that a cheaper, smaller and, more or less, easier to use? I have never sharpened a knife before and the Edge Pro Apex looks like a lot of manual labor. Maybe once I get the hang of sharpening ( and really test the waters in terms of how often I will be really doing it) then I can invest $200 (plus shipping and tax) in a sharpener. I am just afraid that if I purchase it now, I may get frustrated and never use it.
Olga.post #17 of 229/18/13 at 8:24am
I have and use an Edge Pro Apex. It's not really all that big or complex to set up. Nor is it difficult to use. The advantage of the Apex is that you can consistently set the same edge bevel angle as you sharpen the knife, something which is much more difficult to do with any other manual system, except the Wicked Edge. The learning curve on setting it up is very quick and easy. You are not really doing any heavy grunt work when you are sharpening a knife - and there will be a "feel" when a stone and knife edge bevel match. Learning where that "feel" is takes only a few blade sharpenings.
If you haven't seen the videos on the Edge Pro web site (which are done by the developer of the system, Ben Dale), I would suggest you view them.
There are 4 different "sets" in the Edge Pro systems which are offered by Ben. The differences are in the number of stones and accessories offered. As a series of alternative sets, Mark Richmond at Chef Knives To Go offers different mounted custom stones - I bought the "Essential" kit from CKTG, which came with 3 Shapton Glass stones (but none of Ben Dale's stones).
Two very inexpensive accessories make the Edge Pro easier to work with, and are offered by CKTG - a very small, but powerful magnet, and a stop collar. Together, they cost less than $10. The magnet is glued or taped under the sharpener platform and helps keep the knife blade flat and not moving around during sharpening. The stop collar helps you adjust the angle of the stone guide rod housing, so you can take into account different stone thicknesses. Both are very well worth the pocket change amount spent on them.
Alternative stones for the Apex are offered both by CKTG and by Jende Industries.
A "do-it-yourself" source of unmounted stones can be found and bought from Congress Tools, though you will need to separately factor in the cost of shipping (about $15 per order), and the cost of either buying blanks separately or making your own blanks from 1" x 1/8" aluminum bar stock. Congress Tools is a supplier of polishing stones to tool and die makers, and is used to small orders, though they are not really in the supply business for the knife sharpening crowd - you are mostly just buying unmounted polishing stones from them, with no technical advice available from Congress Tools. The Congress Tool polishing stones you would order for the Apex are 6" x 1" x 1/4", and the series which are usually discussed in other knife forums are the "Moldmaster" and "Flex" series. When the cost of shipping and the cost for the blanks is factored in, the cost of the "do-it-yourself" stones does not differ all that much from Ben Dale's offerings.
There are a number of alternative guide systems on the market. Most involve specialty files and guides which are not very big in surface area and wear out fairly fast, requiring relatively expensive replacement. They also will not consistently duplicate the edge bevel angle during the sharpening process.
The notable exception is the Wicked Edge sharpener. The main problem with the Wicked Edge is cost: it is initially more expensive than the Apex and you need two stones of each grit (compared to just one stone with the Apex). The advantage to the Wicked Edge over the Apex is that the blade can be consistently clamped into the same position in the Wicked Edge vise, resulting in a consistent and uniform edge bevel angle.
Because of quality, after market accessory and stone availability and price, I went with the Apex.
The real world alternative is the centuries-old traditional way of manually holding the knife at a constant and very low angle as you draw it along sharpening stones. This is a process which requires a bit of practice to develop the skill used to sharpen your knives - I would suggest you watch the videos of Jon Broida at Japanese Knife Imports to see what is involved.
Edited by Galley Swiller - 9/18/13 at 8:52ampost #18 of 229/18/13 at 9:23am
Yes, I just checked the videos out. Quite informative, I must say. It does seem easier then I expected. I guess I will have to work something out with my budget.
I am hoping the system comes with some sort of informative booklet that explains when and how to use the different stones. As you can probably tell, I need to read up on sharpening.
Thanks for all your help!
O.post #19 of 2211/17/13 at 8:12am
Buy a cheap knife. Second hand will do and practice sharpening.
I'd go a combination stone (wetstone) 8000\2000 or 1000\4000
Plus, Myself a 10 in 600 grit Diamond steel from Mitchel Catering and an old worn smooth Dick. same size 600 diamond stick too.
with a Smiths type single pull through. (Around $10\12)
That will give you the WESTERN edge angle to start with. A 2inch ish clamp Paper clip will give you a near right angle for Japanese angles.
Or a Global\Tojiro angle clamp that fits over spine of knives (Around $15\18.)
Knives. Myself. Wushof for 50plus yrs.
Nowadays I'm going the Japanese Tojiro DP Cobalt. Good quality blades. GOOD reputation and sharp as.
I go Hocho knives. $65 AUD del for a 6 in Utility DP. and $72 del AUD for a 7 in Santuko
Missus has a Mundial 6 in chef's which she loves. I've taken edge down to 18ish deg. and I have a new Wusthof 8in Chef in mail to replace old 45ish yr one of mine. Plus a 10 in Meatworks Slicer\Butchers knife I use for Pumpkin etc
Boner. old one from son in law ex meatworks knife around $23 new..
Bread Knives. 72 yr old. Never seen reason for one. the 10 in slicer does anything the others won't. and a little cheap 3 1\2 in Parer does the rest. $12 from memory.
So $72 Santuko or chef's 7\8in. Santuko for chopping. Chef's for slice cutting. Basically, Missus uses both.
+$65 6 in Utility
+47ish for combination Tojiro stone.
+$12 for Smith
+$25ish meatworks 6in Boner.
And I paid from Mitchel ?? $35ish?? for 10in Diamond steel.
I wouldn't go a low grit stone. Untrained hands can do too much damage and remove too much steel practicing and still get it wrong.
a single Carbon\ceramic pull through "decent" will give the right angle without doing too much damage or removal of.
Maybe later a 600\800 stone..post #20 of 222/15/14 at 2:52am
Writing from Greece, home chef.
I'd vote for the Wusthof Santoku, i have one myself and its shape is pretty helpful for several cuts. Nevertheless, it will always be a secondary knife. The must have is the cook's knife, i ve got a 20 cm (i think it s the 7'') and i dont exchange it for nothing.
If you decide Wusthof, which i recommend from experience, try only the forged lines.post #21 of 222/15/14 at 11:46am
Welcome to ChefTalk.
However, this is an older thread (look at the date of the last several posts - the last post was in November, and the previous discussion was in September) and everyone else has probably moved on. As one of the earlier posters, I was notified through email that a new posting was made.
A few notes about Wusthof, santoku's and forged knives.
Wusthof makes a number of different lines of knives, of varying quality. Their best knives, such as the "Classic" and "Classic Icon" lines, are made out of a steel which is listeds on each blade as "X50CrMoV15". This steel is also known as 1.4116 steel and 4116 steel, and is made and sold by Krupp as "Krupp 4116" steel. In the cutlery world, it's not particularly difficult to find - Victorinox, Mercer, Messermeister, and a veritable and vast horde of other cutlery manufacturers also make their top-of-their-line knives from this steel. With the exception of Wusthof, almost all of the other 4116 steel blades are hardened to a hardness standard of about 54 to 56 hRc - not particularly hard - in a product which really should have an edge hardened to not less than 56 to 58 hRc. Wusthof does harden their "X50CrMoV15" knives to about 58 hRc - which is a step better, but nowhere near the hardness levels of good Japanese knives, which often have their knives hardened to much higher than 58 hRc (in general, the harder the steel, the slower it.will wear, and the longer it will remain sharp).
Wusthof also offers knives using lesser quality steel than "X50CrMoV15", so it is necessary for a person looking for a Wusthof to not simply rely on the Wusthof name, but to look up the specific line of Wusthof and check to see what quality is reflected in that particular line.
Forging by and of itself does not particularly make a knife better or worse than non-forged knives. The critical factors are the quality of the steel and the specific heat treatment (annealing, quenching and tempering) process used by the knife maker. After annealing - the first part of heat treatment - there is no metalurigical difference between a stamped blade, a machined blade or a forged blade, if all types of blades came from the same type of steel and went through the same type of heat treatment. Wusthof does make a line of stamped and machined blades using "X50CrMoV15" steel and heat-treated to the same quality level as their other top-of-the-line knives - their "Professional" line - though it is mostly marketed to the restaurant and commercial kitchen market (the handles are the big issue - they are "ergonomic" and are a pain to try to hold using a pinch grip).
Almost none of the really top quality Japanese knives (including santoku's) use forged blades.
Most santoku's do not use forged blades.
- Wusthof Santoku
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