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The Hienkel Professional S Series Knives

post #1 of 2
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It's been almost 30 years since I bought my first Henkels Knife a 10" Chef's Knife. The back bone of all my work in the kitchen. Because of a cook at a new job lifting my knife under some self gratifying five finger discount I had to replace it. Served me faithfully for 15 years with-out issue. The knife that did replace it was found in the basement of an Atlanta Macy's. Some how it was lost in the shuffle and happened to be from the same year my original was made. I couldn't believe it. That knife has served me fathfully for almost 15 byears now and with no end in sight.


Anyhow, enough of a back story........ how about the knife.  


The balance and feel of the Henkels is extraordinary. It cuts effortlessly through things that leaves other knives I have used wondering what happened. I have often found myself using the knife for such delicate work as boning a chicken or filleting a Dover sole to the more heavy duty work of butchering meat. I find it more comfortable than my best Forschner Scimitar or Fillet Knife for such tasks as cleaning a Tenderloin, or cutting quality meats such as a Strip Loin and even a Rib-eye or Delmonico in my kitchens. Even Frenching the Ribs on a Rack of lamb is an easy task. The knife takes on sort of an extension of your hand and is wielded effortlessly.  


It holds an edge better than any knife I have used and needs only a touch up on the steel maybe after every 30 minutes of continuous use. I do recommend having a Professional Sharpener touch up the blade only once every year even under the heaviest of usage. Using anything but a wet stone yourself is not recommended because of the thickness of the heel of the knife. The riveted handle and sold tang give the knife a feeling of more control and it's sense of balance.


In my opinion, the Henkels Professional S series Chef's knife is a fine example where the product produced and sold is equal to the history the name represents. With proper care....most anyone that purchases this knife will experience many years, if not a life-time, of useful and reliable service. It is the best $100.00 I have ever invested on any purchase of kitchen equipment over the years of my career.


I looked everywhere for the last couple weeks on where to submit a review. Now that there is a winner, I see the whole bloody topic and wow. How could I have missed that? Doohhh!!!!


Dang........ am I getting blind in my old age or what? Hehehe


Could one of the nice moderators please edit my title to reflect the correct spelling of Henkels. Somehow an "i" ended up floating in there. Doohhh!!!!



post #2 of 2

Funny how a difference of opinion makes horse races.  Without disagreeing, here's an alternate point of view which reaches a disparate conclusion.


Thirty something years ago I decided to switch from carbon to stainlless and bought a bunch of Henckels Pro S, including what's probably the very same 10" chef's Old is using.  I used it happily for a few years, but when I ran across my old Sabs in a box in the garage -- that was it for the Henckels.  Once I had one of my Sab chef's cleaned, sharpened, and back on the board, my clear thought about the Henckels was, "What the [heck] was I thinking?!"


Henckels makes three basic marques, with each having a few series.  The Pro S are part of the top of the line Zwillings (Twins) label.  Pro S are traditional three rivet handle knives. 


They're wonderfully made and quite durable, two things Old mentioned.  They also have great handles, which he didn't.  Phenomenally good fit and finish -- I think Old takes it for granted.  Another thing about Henckels is that there is no knife company with better customer support.  They will take care of problem knives, even to the point of allowing a trade up. 


But I dislike nearly everything else about them.  German profile, heavy, soft alloy which needs a lot of steeling, limitations on how sharp they can get, how quickly they lose an edge, you name it.  I was just sooooo happy to put them behind me.  Like I said, I couldn't and still can't remember what convinced me to switch to them to begin with.  Shiny maybe.


Of course, all that negativity requires some "compared to what" perspective.  Compared to French carbons and better Japanese knives is what.  You might like another German style knife maker's efforts more, but you're not really going to get a better knife.  Just a bit different, with most of that cosmetic.


It also requires some "reality check" perspective.  The reality is that tens of thousands of good cutters are thrilled with Henckels, and have prepared millions of great meals.  For whatever reasons -- good or bad -- Wusthof Dreizack (Trident) has the rep in the States.  But everywhere else in the world, it's Henckels Zwillings.


For quite a while, Henckels was making most of their Zwillings (Twins) series -- which includes Old's Pro S -- by forge-welding/sintering the tang to a stub on the blade, and hiding the seam under a slide-on and sintered bolster.  At a guess, Old's old and new knives were made that way.  A few years ago they switched to the more conventional one piece (except for the bolster) construction which most of the other German makers use.


I'm a little confused by Old's sharpening recommendations in terms of what he recommends or regards as inappropriate between annual services and twice an hour rod-honing. 


You can use oilstones to put as good as an edge as Henckels Zwillings will take.  In terms of edge refinement and polish, they max somewhere between hard Arkansas and black or translucent.  However, they don't have enough scratch hardness to hold even that limited polish very well. 


Henckels won't say which alloy they use in their Zwillings series, but whatever it is, it acts much the same as X50CrMoV15, the same alloy used by Wusthof, Victorinox, the top line F. Dick, Lamson and so on.  They use their "Friodur" hardening process as a selling point -- but again, not much different.  Old's already kvelled about the edge taking qualities, while I've kvetched.  'Nuff said.


The chef's knife/go-to gyuto is such an important part of prep, it's always nice to read someone write about one he loves. 


Thanks Old,


Edited by boar_d_laze - 9/1/10 at 9:20pm
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