I have this much-abused Henckels knife that I'd like to replace with something of the same size and shape. What type is it? A utility knife? Thanks.
Yes that is a utility knife.
I have one by Wusthof and Tramontina and the Tramontina, from Brazil, is the most used blade after a chef in my house. The Wusthof is far more flexible but the Tramontina is quite rigid like a German chef so I use it more for sausage, chicken breasts and similar smaller items.
The wood looks quite dry but that, along with any issues in your pic, doesn't looks like the knife needs too be retired.
You want a better one or does it have some problem that does not show? Dull, and dry can be fixed.
I use it so much, I thought an upgrade in quality would be enjoyable. That one and my paring knife are my favorites. I should get used to the chef's knife I have, but I've just never felt comfortable with it.
I've considered both the high-end retail brands and the generic ones sold at the restaurant supply stores.
It's impossible to tell what it was, impossible for me anyway. The original blade profile is unrecognizable because it's not only been sharpened down so much, but -- as shown by the little bump where the blade comes out of the handle -- been deeply notched by sharpening with a roller, or some sort of other gag (machine, maybe) which doesn't allow sharpening all the way to the handle.
Henckels made a German Zwillings (two little guys in the logo) series with wood handles and no bolster during the seventies/eighties. I think it was "Pro," which is a line that disappeared, only to be restyled and reintroduced. Whatever it was, I have a bread knife and a boning knife I bought in the mid-seventies to early-eighties from that series; unfortunately their logos have long since been scrubbed off.
Yours might have started life as a "utility" knife but more likely was a "wide fillet," a profile which is no longer part of the Henckles catalog. The particular identity between those two doesn't matter much, because you could use them for pretty much the same thing.
I don't know about "upgrading," but a chef's knife is certainly different than whatever that was. A chef's is more versatile and efficient shape for a great many purposes, and it's the knife most pros and cooks with good knife skills use most often. But it does require some learning in order to use comfortably and well; and, even so, a good, agile knife in the 5" - 7" range (measuring the blade only) is a very useful thing to have in the kitchen.
It looks more like a fillet knife to me if the blade is a bit flexible or a utility knife if the blade is not flexible.It I only can look at it and not feel it in my hand there is just no way to tell.
I have seen new knives for sale in Germany where the handle was just like the one in the picture and the US Army also issued knives with natural wood handles.
Mm, I think BDL is referring to the appearance of the wood, not the fact that it is wood.
To me, it appears to have been mishandled in some manner as evidenced by the checks, cracks, and dry appearance.
I have many wood handled knives that do not have that appearance.
I question whether a new, wood handled, knife would have the same appearance, mine never have.
Yup, and my used wood handled knives do not have the same appearance.
The wooden handles of Henckels knives were impregnated with black paint (or maybe it was a stain or dye). I'm not an expert on German knives by any means, but "if memory serves" Henckels' German made knives have been black ever since Henckels went entirely stainless in -- I think -- the mid sixties.
Furthermore, you can see from the rivets that the wood has shrunk and swelled in the way typical of knives which have gone through the dishwasher. The blade also has the characteristic appearance of one which has been hit very hard with particles of dishwasher detergent.
To my eyes, the knife doesn't just appear used, it seems as though it was used very hard. But I used the word "probably," because as I said, I'm far from an expert in German, stainless knives. It's quite possible you, KnifeSavers and any number of other people know more about the subject than me. If so, more power to you. I'm always happy to learn.
In any case, good knives shouldn't be washed in the dishwasher; and for that matter, neither should anything with a wooden handle.
Just to clarify: I inherited it when it was in bad shape, and I don't really care about a wood handle. Plastic, nylon, metal etc would be fine. What I like is the shape...fairly straight line from edge to bottom of handle. I don't have good depth perception, and a chef's knife makes it hard for me to judge where I'm cutting. I have more control and hand-eye coordination with this type.
At a guess, your knife started its life looking something like this Forschner 6" chef's with a Rosewood handle:
The 7-1/2" profile is similar but a bit slimmer and flatter:
If you really liked your old Henckels, either the 6" or 7-1/2" Forschner chef's would make a nice replacement. I greatly prefer the Rosewood handles, but if you do use the dishwasher for your knives get a Fibrox handle. FYI, the only difference between Forschner's Rosewood and Fibrox series is the handle material. Otherwise alla time same same.
Here's what a Forschner wide boning knife looks like:
As you can see, the blade profile is similar but with a higher point and straighter top line. The handle is also different, with the heel of the blade completely inside the handle. I have one of these and use it for all sorts of things like cutting pie, opening packages and cutting string and very occasionally as a sort of all purpose chef's knife, even though you (or I) can't get the heel on the board. I never use it for its intended purpose though. My grip allows me to keep my fingers out of the way even with a narrow knife. Unless your grip is like mine, it probably wouldn't be a good all-round knife for you. But when I said "wide fillet" this is what I meant -- just wanted to clear that up.
Forschner makes the same knives with a different handle. They call it Fibrox. If you do run your knives through the dishwasher now and then, you'll find that the Fibrox handles will hold up much better to the abuse; but if you use powder detergent the impact will continually erode the edges and eventually kill the blades. Personally, I think the Rosewood knives are more comfortable and worth the extra $10 or so.
Forschner is known as Forschner, Victorinox, and Victorinox Swiss Army. They're a lot of bang for not much buck, and I'm happy to recommend them to anyone who isn't looking for something high end. They're easy to sharpen to fairly sharp, and can be maintained on a steel -- if you know how to use one -- for a long time before needing resharpening. These knives are at least equal to your old Henckels, and any of them would make a good replacement.