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Wüsthof-Trident knives

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Being a newbie here, I am curious to see a few opinions on Wüsthof-Trident knives if anyone can help out please

post #2 of 9

Any specific questions?  Any particular knife?  Any particular line such as Classic or Ikon?



post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by boar_d_laze View Post

Any specific questions?  Any particular knife?  Any particular line such as Classic or Ikon?



Just a general idea of peoples opinions of the products, any knives but in the Classic line please

post #4 of 9

If you're just polling for personal opinion, then I'll say that I've always liked Wusthof knives, they've served me well at work for the last 16 or so years with little complaint, and they're gorgeous.  However, once I popped the lid on the esoteric world of harder steels and thinner edges, which lurks elsewhere on the internet (no doubt BDL will be by shortly with a roadmap), I haven't been able to go back to the Wusties.  Still nice to have around to help crack open a jar of sauerkraut or a bottle of doppelbock, but not exactly my favorites (anymore).

Edited by CookinMT - 9/13/10 at 7:47pm
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 

For starting out it seems from your reply I should be in good hands using them until I explore other possibilities?

post #6 of 9

Dreizack is the German word for Trident.  Dreizack is the top of Wusthof's production, made in Germany, and I believe the only Wusthofs imported to North America. Wusthof Dreizack knives have a picture of a trident screened on the blade.  


For a number of reasons, some good and some bad, the Wusthof Trident brand is synonymous with "the best" in the U.S.  Throughout most of the rest of the world, that honor probably belongs to Henckels Zwillings.


The major differences between the various Dreizack lines are the handles.  There's also some variance in bolster shape.  For instance, the Ikons don't have finger guards.


They're extremely well made and finished.  In those respects Dreizacks are as good as any mass-produced knife in the world.  The handles through all their lines tend to be sure and comfortable for all sorts of hands.  The Classics are the gold standard for traditional style handles, the Ikons especially comfortable and adaptable for all hand sizes and grip types, the Grand Prixs feel a bit cheap, and the Culinars cold -- to me. 


All of the chef's knives have "German" profiles (lots of belly).  My impression is that the Ikons and LCBs (no longer made) have a bit less; but I can't swear to it.  I prefer the flatter, French profile.  In my experience most cooks with good technique find French to be more agile, when given the chance to compare.  But tastes vary, and that's certainly no absolute.  Plenty of great cutters like German shapes.


Dreizacks are all drop-hammer forged in one piece, except the bolster which is sintered on.  They are very robust.  You certainly don't have to put one of their ordinary chef's knives away to split the occasional chicken or trim the odd rack of spares down to St. Louis.


Wusthof uses something called "distal tapering," and a heavy bolser to move the balance point as close to the bolster as possible, but otherwise do not artificially balance the knives (like Globe, Viking, or Furi to name a few).  Ultimately, balance point depends on length.  10" knives balance right around the pinch point, shorter knives are handle-heavy (a lot of people like that), longer knives are blade-heavy.


Wusthofs have thick spines, are thick througout the blade, and are thick at the heel.  My impression is that the Ikons seem to be slightly thinner, but still thick.  It's hard to tell, because I don't own any Wusties, and although I've sharpened and handled quite a few, seldom see two different lines at the same time. 


Compared to Japanese or French knives, Wusthofs are heavy.  Compared to other European and American, top-line forged knives, they're about average.  The Ikons feel slightly lighter than the other lines.


Wusthof QC is exemplary.  F&F is perfect. 


The knives come very sharp out of the box, almost as sharp as they can be made.  (It may come as a surprise to many, but that's not usually true about knives.  With a few exceptions -- most of them German as well -- the quality of factory edges tends to be haphazard.)


Dreizacks are all made from the same German alloy, X50CrMoV15.  The alloy and the way Wusthof hardens it makes for a durable knife.  But, compared to the alloys used in comprably priced, Japanese manufactured  knives, it is less than mediocre in terms of absolue edge taking (how good an edge a skilled sharpener can put on it), ease of sharpening, and edge holding (how long the edge will last with ordinary maintenance).  They will not hold a polish for long. 


Ease of maintenance is mediocre, Wusthofs are very soft and get dinged out of true very easily.  They require very frequent steeling, but steeling isn't exactly onerous.  I'd certainly rather run a knife down a rod a few times than prep a water stone for a "touch up."


The factory set for all Wusthof Dreizack edge angles is a relatively obtuse 20*.  If you're going to buy Wusthof Tridents and sharpen them yourself, I think oil stones are a better choice than waterstones.  Even though they are very slightly slower, they're less expensive, require less maintenance, and the best final edge comes off a black Arkansas.


Prices are high.  Wusthofs provide a lot for the money, but they are not high value knives.  If edge characteristics are a primary concern, Japanese made, stainless knives give a lot more for the money.  Both Japanese and better Sabatier, (non-stainless) carbons will easily outperform Wusties, but they're carbon.  


"German steel, knives in the same class include Messermeisters, Viking (Gude), Henckels Zwillings, the top F. Dicks, and Lamsons.  Messers are made from a slightly higher grade alloy, and with a slightly more French profile. Forschner Forged are also very good, but lower priced. 


In my opinion (and it's just my opinion) Dreizacks' poor edge characteristics along with any knives made from X50CrMoV15 or a similar alloy make them relatively obsolete, unless you substitue weight and a curved for good sharpening.  When you throw in their weight, price and clunky profiles, balance those against their many wonderful qualities...


Bottom Line:

If you like a lot of weight, if you don't care much about sharpness, if great finish is very important to you, if you're a confirmed "rock" chopper, if you're looking for something very close to a chef de chef, they're an expensive but great choice.  Without question they're among the very best of their type.


To my mind knives are supposed to get and stay sharp, and every other quality falls somewhere behind.  If like me you hihgly value agility, lightness, and above all edge quality, Dreizacks are knives whose time has passed.  Just say, Nuts.




PS.  With very little editing this is also posted on CookFoodGood.  Yadda yadda Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works yadda yadda.

Edited by boar_d_laze - 9/14/10 at 8:48am
post #7 of 9

Dreizacks are knives whose time has passed.


And yet they continue selling so many of them. Otherwise, a great summary.


I'd add a couple of comments. I happen to have both a Zwilling and Trident sitting here, both 6" chef's (don't ask!) and made some comparisons. One thing that, I feel, must be stressed is the differences between models of the same grade.


The Zwilling Twin Cuisine is almost twice as heavy as the Trident Ikon; 318 grams as compared to 168. For the occasional heavy-duty job at home, no big deal. But for professional work that's a lot of weight to handle all day. And to prove the point about models, my 10" Zwilling Professional S comes in at only 274 grams---slightly more than 2/3 of the shorter Twin Cuisine. FWIW, an older, no-name French carbon in 10" comes in at 280 grams.


The other point I'd make is that the Zwillings, at least those I own, are more French pattern than German. When compared to the amount of rocker in the Tridents, the Zwillings are almost straight-edged. This difference becomes more apparent the longer the blade.


Oddly enough, while I personally prefer knives without finger guards, I find myself gravitating to the Zwillings because of other features. But I wouldn't hesitate to go with the Tridents, particularly as starter knives. When it was time for Friend Wife to get her own knives, we went with Ikons, and haven't regretted it for a second.



They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
post #8 of 9
Originally Posted by MrBonejangles View Post

For starting out it seems from your reply I should be in good hands using them until I explore other possibilities?

Well, I think it depends a lot on your budget and what you want to get out of your knife.  If money isn't too much of a consideration, and if you really enjoy that style of knife, then yeah definitely go for the Wusthofs--especially the Ikons.  They're dead sexy, they're sturdy and dependable, and you're getting a product that's got a ton of kitchen cred.  No reason someone starting out shouldn't get a "luxury" brand if they can afford it.  :)


Keep in mind though that the popularity of these German brands (especially in Western production kitchens) seems to stem a lot from their ability to withstand abuse.  These are not the keenest knives in the world by any stretch of the imagination; rather, they're clunky, slow moving Panzers.  A couple of the Henckels and Wusthof's at work have been there for 30+ years, getting dropped, banged around, run through the Hobart, used to pry open cans, and mistreated in so many horrible ways it would make Johann Abraham Henckels sick in der Magen.  I don't think many knives can stand up  to that kind of treatment, and ultimately that may be the real benefit in buying one.

Edited by CookinMT - 9/14/10 at 7:47am
post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the information everyone, it is very much appreciated!!

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