The Great Hall
Wusthof knife question The Great Hall: Wusthof knife question
By Mixiearmadillo (Mixiearmadillo) on Sunday, November 30, 2003 - 01:38 am: Edit

Hello all,

I'm no culinary professional, just a home cook who appreciates excellent quality tools for any task. I'm looking into buying a good quality set of knives, and everything I've read points me towards Wusthof-Trident.
My question is, do any of you have experience with the various styles of Wusthof knives? I'm debating over the Classic or Grand Prix, the only difference is the handle construction. Is there any noticable difference in feel, balance, and strength between these two styles? I will be going out tomorrow to "test drive" both at a cutlery store, but I'd like some advice from those who use these knives on a daily basis.


By Snuffaluff (Snuffaluff) on Sunday, November 30, 2003 - 10:26 am: Edit

I think you'll find that the cutlery you use is a personal opinion. It depends on the comfort level, and ofcourse the blade/metal quality. Since you are cooking at home and don't have to worry about your tools sprouting legs and running off, go with whatever you like best. Ofcourse the major brand names will probably be the 'best' like Henkles and Wusthof. Just pick what you feel is best for you.
As for handles, look at the shape of the handle. Is it boxey? or does the bottom(part your fingers wrap around) rounded? Close your hand like you're holding a knife and look at the shape it makes. It's not square, it's oblong. Hope that helps, maybe someone w/ more experience can give some better advice, but since you are "test driving" them, test drive more than just Wusthof.

By Mixiearmadillo (Mixiearmadillo) on Sunday, November 30, 2003 - 11:23 am: Edit

I've also heard a lot of very good things about Global knives. Generally speaking, would you recommend Global over Wusthof?

By Dpconsu (Dpconsu) on Sunday, November 30, 2003 - 11:40 am: Edit

Try Forschner kives from Switzerland, they are serious knives well suited for the use that a home chef would use them for. There are good complete sets or you can buy them one at a time. They are about 1/3rd of the price of Trident's or Wusthof's and a lot better than Dexter. You can get through most restaurant supply houses and even at good knife shops in Malls, (not the cheapest way to go). I have used them for twenty years because I got sick and tired of my expensive German knives going BYE BYE or being used as screwdrivers and prybars by idiots who never bothered to get thier own gear. Also,Buy two different grades of diamond encrusted steeels to keep a fine edge and do not ever put the rose wood handled knives through a dish washing machine.

By Dpconsu (Dpconsu) on Sunday, November 30, 2003 - 11:48 am: Edit

PS I would not recommend Sabotierre knives from France, poor quality since the company was taken over about 12 years ago.
Also Trident and Wusthof used to be 2 companies does anyone remember when they merged?
Another source for good imports is the Matfer company, they are a French importer that has warehouses in Van Neys CA. Best place to get a real Mandolin or a Moulinex food mill.

By Chefrev (Chefrev) on Sunday, November 30, 2003 - 12:37 pm: Edit

Ask five cooks what knives they like and you'll get 6 opinions. It comes down to what you want to spend your money on. Not all the expensive knives are the best knives.

I look for construction of the knife. For example, does the tang (the unexposed portion of the metal) of the blade go all the way through the handle or does it quit half-way through? Full tang knives are good because over time their blades don't come loose and wobble when you cut. Also look for a blade that will be strong enough to hold an edge, but will also be rust-resistant. Most knives these days are made of an alloyed steel that accomplishes these two things. It just depends on the method used to make the blade as to how well the design works.

Last, like Snuff said, pick a knife that's comfortable to work with in your hand, well balanced, and just heavy enough to use even for big jobs like dicing 20 lbs of onions, but not so heavy you feel like you're handling a broadsword.

Just my .02

By Mixiearmadillo (Mixiearmadillo) on Sunday, November 30, 2003 - 12:53 pm: Edit

Thanks! I appreciate all the comments. Ultimately, I think I'm going to go with the Wusthof, they feel very nice in my hands, and I'm a little uncomfortable with the unconventional blade angle in the Global knives. I'm mostly concerned over whether there's a noticable difference, over time, between the Grand Prix and the Classic styles--in comfort, strength, and durability. It's hard to tell with one test drive which will hold up better over long periods of time, or which will be more comfy with long periods of use. The Grand Prix have an "almost full" tang, a metal core that extends almost all the way through the molded handle, while the Classic style has a tang the same width/depth/shape of the handle. The Grand Prix has fewer seams and a textured handle. I'm told the balance is exactly the same between the two.

I like the feel of the Grand Prix a little better, but I thought perhaps there might be some voices of experience that would tell me "sure, they feel great now, but in five years they'll fall apart". Or something. I really haven't heard a bad thing yet about them, though.

Anyway, thanks for the comments, I really do appreciate it.


By Adelie (Adelie) on Wednesday, February 04, 2004 - 08:08 pm: Edit

I just bought a chef's knife and after a lot of discussion with the proprietors of various shops, went with the Wusthof. Everyone agreed that Henckels are not very good, and Wusthoff are by far the better. Global are also good but unnecessarily expensive, at least for my use.

So now I'm the proud owner of a Wusthof 15 cm. knife and I wonder how I ever survived without it.

By Flattop (Flattop) on Thursday, February 05, 2004 - 10:27 am: Edit

There's nothing wrong with Henckels. At least in my opinion. Then again I'm happy with my Cheaper Chef Direct German made, ice forged knifes same process just not as well finished. Holds an edge just fine.

Regardless enjoy your new knife.

By Adelie (Adelie) on Thursday, February 05, 2004 - 11:37 am: Edit

Well, the consensus when I was shopping was that Henckels are stamped out of three different kinds of metal and then hammered out, a process that doesn't eliminate all the impurities and bubbles. So they break more easily. One knife guy said that he gets a couple of broken Henckels back every month, but has only gotten two broken Wusthoffs back in 20 years. Apparently the latter are forged from one piece of metal, which makes them inherently stronger and better able to hold an edge.

By Adelie (Adelie) on Thursday, February 05, 2004 - 11:44 am: Edit

And, lest anyone think I"m shilling for Wusthof, I bought a set of knives in 1966 from a door-to-door salesman that I'm still using very happily. They are "Ancienne Maison," a name I've never seen before or since, and I got:

- a full battery of knives plus a storage block

- six steak knives plus storage

- a 5-piece spoon-slotted spoon-ladle-etc. set plus rack

all for $125! That was a lot of money at that time. But the knives have held up beautifully for 38 years, with only about four professional sharpenings (and a lot of careful home sharpening,) and they take a beautiful edge.

So a famous or glamour brand name isn't the only indicator of quality!

By Flattop (Flattop) on Friday, February 06, 2004 - 03:26 am: Edit

Hmmm.. Henckels do have a series of stamped knives but just like Wusthof, they do have forged knives. which are top quality. My cheapie chef directs are forged useing the same type of process as the Henckels and Wusthofs. I just feel that you were misinformed about the Henckels is all.

And just to let you know my favorite home French knife is a 25 yr old stamped carbon steel Old Hickory which run about $6 US new. It holds an edge 3 times as long as any new Henckel or Wusthof.

By Boz (Boz) on Friday, February 06, 2004 - 11:23 am: Edit

how do like your chefs direct knives? I need a set for school next month, and would like some that are good but will last. I have a set of Calpholon knives at home.


By Scott123 (Scott123) on Friday, February 06, 2004 - 08:51 pm: Edit

For a ton of info about knives and knife making processes, I recommend Alton Browns new book, Gear for Your Kitchen. I don't agree with him about a lot of stuff, none the less, he does have a lot to say on the subject.

By Flattop (Flattop) on Saturday, February 07, 2004 - 04:25 am: Edit

I like them. The only thing is the final finish is not as good as the more expensive knives but nothing worth worrying about. They hold an edge well and I'm happy with them. I picked up a set of forged Regent Sheffields on ebay for about $30. I'm suprised at how well I like them for home knives.

By Adelie (Adelie) on Monday, February 16, 2004 - 08:55 pm: Edit

Actually, my best knife is a strange-looking weapon that I got from a Japanese shop on San Pablo Ave. in Berkeley about 18 years ago. The little old man who runs it sells anything with a blade, from lawn-mowers to razors. His knives are carbon steel with wooden handles and sharpen up beautifully on the stones he also sells. He also insists on training his customers on how to use the stones. (I'm speaking in present tense, but this was long ago.) My knife cost me $9 and I have to keep rescuing it from all my larcenous friends who try to "borrow" it!

You just never know, do you?

By Andapanda (Andapanda) on Friday, July 16, 2004 - 12:25 pm: Edit

I had worked with a sous chef who had destested his Wusthof-Trident Grand Prix cutlery, or his "Worstoff-Trydon't" cutlery as he used to call them, because they had always felt "clubby" and imbalanced to his hands. They also had felt bulky and heavy to my small hands. The Grand Prix II series appears to be more ergonomic than either the Classic or Grand Prix series. Whichever style you choose, with proper usage and maintenance, they should last many years. Since you're a home cook, they should last a lifetime. Don't forget to buy a honing steel, which ED. WUSTHOF DREIZACKWERK<> or <> mistakenly labeled as "sharpening steels."
J.A. Henckels, Wusthof-Trident, and Global have done a remarkable job advertising their brands. They have become the "chic" brands of cutlery to own, ergo, status symbols among cooks and culinary students.
Global manufactures forged and stamped knives. They, as most fine Japanese knives, are usually ground to a 15 degree right bevel. That means that if you are a left-handed cook, then it would behoove you to buy knives that are ground on the left-side of the blade. Moreover, when honing a single-bevel blade remember to stroke the blade only on the side with the bevel but never the straight edge! That would destroy the blade geometry, and the blade edge would have to be reground using a sharpening stone.
The Japanese are pre-eminent swordsmiths and kitchen cutlery manufacturers. They also believe that each knife has a soul, and that they must be treated with respect. Perhaps that is why Japanese Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto was offended when Challenger(later to become an American 'Iron Chef!?') Bobby Flay, F.C.I.'s most successful alumn, jumped onto the cutting board, and gloated on top of the cutting board and countertop!

By Chefgibz0 (Chefgibz0) on Friday, July 16, 2004 - 01:48 pm: Edit

Why does nobody mention Masahiro?? They are excellently made japanese, well balanced, full tang knives...all for cheaper than premium german knives....and unlike cars, japanese make better knives than cars.

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