The Great Knife Off

New West Knifeworks Wustoff Henckels Knife Comparison

I tend to be pretty flexible in the kitchen and make up for equipment deficiencies by repurposing other tools. One thing I just can’t deal with though is a dull knife. It’s one of my biggest kitchen pet peeves and something I find all too often when I cook in someone else’s kitchen.

When New West Knifeworks offered to send me some knives to review, I was excited by the chance to compare them to the knives in my current arsenal. While I’m always telling people that you only need one chef’s knife and one paring knife, I inherited pack-rat tendencies from my mother and have amassed quite a collection of kitchen knives over the years. To make this comparison as comprehensive as possible, I got some of the older ones out of mothball and gave them all a good sharpening so I could share how well the New West knives stacked up.

What are your kitchen pet peeves?

Back in my college days, it was common to find people with cheap knife sets that sliced through food about as cleanly as an aluminum baseball bat. This was understandable, for that matter, my first knives came from Macy’s on clearance and they came with a ceramic pot full of cooking utensils. Now that my peers have all grown up, they’ve moved on to better knives, but I’m still often shocked at how dull their knives are.

It seems that people have it in their heads that if they spend lots of money on a knife, it will stay sharp forever. This simply isn’t true. The constant abuse the fragile edge takes with every stroke on the cutting board will blunt even the sharpest knife over time. That’s why it’s important to hone your knives on a regular basis and sharpened them when they need it.

I sometimes hear people say that they don’t sharpen their knives because they are worried about cutting themselves. I know it may sound a bit counter-intuitive, but when handled correctly, a sharp knife is much safer than a dull one. Accidents happen when a knife slips, or when you are using too much pressure because the knife isn’t doing its job.

Knife comparison

So what are the criteria to judge a knife by? The best knives will hold their edge for a long time without sharpening and can easily be resharpened back to their original edge. Beyond that, there are subjective measures such as appearance, weight, balance, blade length, curvature of the blade, and the ergonomics of the handle. I’ll attempt to cover these points over a series of two posts.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be using all the knives below on a regular basis and I’ll be sharing my observations on Twitter with the hashtag #knifeoff. At the end of my review period, I’ll share some conclusions here, including which knife held its edge for the longest.

The Contenders:

NamePriceWeightUsable Length
New West Knifeworks Phoenix “The 9″$1997.9 oz8.75″
New West Knifeworks Fusionwood “Chef 8″$1499.7 oz7.75″
Wusthof Classic$1008.7 oz7.75″
J.A. Henckels Fine Edge Pro$115.3 oz8″
Japanese nakiri bocho$??5 oz6.25″


Initial thoughts:

New West Knifeworks Phoenix “The 9″
New West Knifeworks Phoenix "The 9"
Right out of the box I already knew I was going to love this knife. The Damascus steel blade is beautiful to look at with its nebulous swirls of high carbon steel and the candy red handle sports curves in all the right places. This knife just wants to be held in the tender caress of your palm. It’s also relatively light. This isn’t normally a good thing for a knife, since you should be using the weight of the knife to slice through whatever you are cutting, but in this case the thin blade is so sharp it effortlessly glides through everything from meat to tomatoes to ginger. The blade is also 1″ longer than most chef’s knives and that extra length really helps, especially when you’re trying to cut thin slices of meat or fish.

While I’d love to declare this knife the winner and be done with it, there are a few minor drawbacks I should mention. The first is that the blade is a little more narrow than a standard chef’s knife, so it does make scooping things up and over to a pan a bit of a chore. The second thing is that the blade is thinner than a chef’s knife, so I wouldn’t use it to debone a chicken for fear of chipping the blade. Neither of these drawbacks are really the knife’s fault since it’s technically not a chef’s knife, so if you can afford having this one and a more heavy duty chef’s knife, you won’t be disappointed.

New West Knifeworks Fusionwood “Chef 8″
New West Knifeworks Fusionwood "Chef 8"
More burly and rugged than its lithe Phoenix brethren, this is the Mickey Rourke of knives. It’s not much of a looker, but this knife isn’t worried about getting dirt under its nails, and it does a couple of things the The 9 doesn’t. First of all the blade is really thick, inspiring confidence when hacking your way through a whole chicken. The extra weight also helps in this department (you’ll need a proper butcher block if you don’t want to whack right through your cutting board). The broad blade makes it the perfect scoop for transferring those minced onions over to the pan without dropping them all over the floor.

The only minor flaw I found upon initial testing is that the blade discolored after only a few uses. I suspect it happened when I used the knife to cut up a hot pork roast, which has never happened before with any other knife I’ve used. This doesn’t effect how the knife functions though, and frankly it adds a little something to its grizzled charm.

Wusthof Classic
Wustof Classic Chef's Knife
This has been my go-to knife for the past 3 years. During that time, it’s been one of my most treasured kitchen tools and it’s seen a lot of action. I gave it a good sharpening before embarking on this knife off to ensure that it had the best chance of holding its own against the new knives in the block.

Now that I’ve used the New West Knifeworks’ knives, I do notice some flaws in the Wusthof’s design. First of all, the weight is almost perfectly distributed between the handle and the blade. It’s a personal preference, but I would rather have more of the weight in the blade since this is the part that actually does the slicing. Also, when doing a lot of chopping, the squared edges of the handle just don’t feel as nice as the beveled handles on the New West knives. Lastly, I’m not one to choose kitchen equipment for style over function, but the “classic” look is a bit dated, and next to the gorgeous Phoenix knives, it will have a hard time winning any beauty contests. That said, it’s a fine piece of cutlery that costs significantly less than the hand crafted ones above, so it shouldn’t be totally discounted, especially if you’re on a tight budget.

J.A. Henckels Fine Edge Pro
J.A. Henckels Fine Edge Pro
Put simply, this knife is a piece of crap. It not only looks cheap with its flimsy stamped (as opposed to forged) blade, it feels like a toy in your hand. The blade will actually flex if you’re trying to cut something hard. Of course, for the price, you could do a lot worse, but I’d recommend saving up and getting something a little more solid since a good knife should last you for many many years.

In all fairness I should mention that this wasn’t exactly an apples to apples comparison, since Henckels has other more expensive lines of knives that would probably compare more favourably to the other competitors. I’m including it in this comparison anyway as a representative sample of all knives in this price range.

Japanese nakiri bocho
Japanese nakiri bocho
A nakiri bocho (literally vegetable cutting knife) isn’t technically a chef’s knife, but it’s roughly the same size, so I thought I’d throw it into the ring along with the other knives. With a very light wooden handle and most of the weight in the thin blade, some might find this knife “unbalanced”. Personally I don’t mind the blade forward weight bias. The cutting edge is almost flat, making it perfect for rapidly chopping and mincing vegetables and herbs. Although it’s not intended for meat, and fish, the blade is sharp enough that it does an admirable job with both. The only major drawback of using it on meat is that the blade is quite short and you might not be able to slice all the way through a thicker piece of meat in one stroke.

If you like to chop using a rocking motion (instead of a circular motion), the flat edge may make this type of knife awkward for you. Another problem is that it’s made from a regular carbon steel (not stainless). This makes the knife rust, and the softer blade tends to lose its edge rather quickly. That said, it can be sharpened to a razor sharp edge that you could shave with, and it is very easy to sharpen.

  • http://freshlocalandbest.blogspot.com/ Christine

    Kudos! This sounds like a very interesting test. I have the Wusthof Classic Set, and do regularly sharpen it with another Wushtof gadget.

    I’m curious what your thoughts are on Shun. Have you used them?

    • marc

      Hi Christine, I haven’t had a chance to try the Shun knives, but I do like the way they look.

  • http://freshlocalandbest.blogspot.com Christine

    Kudos! This sounds like a very interesting test. I have the Wusthof Classic Set, and do regularly sharpen it with another Wushtof gadget.

    I’m curious what your thoughts are on Shun. Have you used them?

    • marc

      Hi Christine, I haven’t had a chance to try the Shun knives, but I do like the way they look.

  • http://whiteonricecouple.com/ White On Rice Couple

    Nice reviews. I’m like you and have lived and died by my Wusthof classic chef knife. I’ve loved it to death and it’s been a great knife to work with. But, as you’ve seen from our recent posts, I just came home with a knife from Japan and I now have a new mistress.
    For me I’ve always had a slight difficulty getting a perfect razor thin cut. It always seems to pull just a bit to the inside. Maybe it is the way I’ve sharpened the Wushof and if a real pro did it, maybe I wouldn’t see that as much. WIth the knife I got in Japan, it has been much easier to get a straight, thin slice. And I totally agree with you about the knife been very centered in its balance and it would be nice to be a little more blade heavy.
    It looks like both of the New West knives have a different cutting edge curve. How did they feel finishing the cuts? Did you feel a preference of one curve over the other between any of the knives?
    Great right up, Mark. I’m glad you mentioned it & I came to take a look. It’s been so busy lately we haven’t had time to visit.
    BTW, have you ever used a noodle knife? Another find for us in Japan. We can’t wait to try it out. It will be a first for us.

    • marc

      I’ve had the same problem with the Wusthof, I think it has to do with the thickness of the blade and perhaps the taper. “The 9″ doesn’t have this problem at all. I think the best analogy I can use is that it’s like wielding a high power laser.

      As for cutting edge curve, I actually like blades with a less exaggerated curve like “The 9″ because of the way I use the knife. Some people prefer cutting with a rocking motion, leaving the tip in contact with the board, but I use a circular motion, lifting the whole knife up with each slice. I imagine people who do the rocking thing would probably prefer more of a curve, but the flatter blade gives me more contact with whatever I’m slicing.

      I’ve never used a noodle knife before but now you have me curious. I usually use my nakiri bocho for cutting udon and such. Can’t wait to see you guys use yours

  • http://whiteonricecouple.com/ White On Rice Couple

    Nice reviews. I’m like you and have lived and died by my Wusthof classic chef knife. I’ve loved it to death and it’s been a great knife to work with. But, as you’ve seen from our recent posts, I just came home with a knife from Japan and I now have a new mistress.
    For me I’ve always had a slight difficulty getting a perfect razor thin cut. It always seems to pull just a bit to the inside. Maybe it is the way I’ve sharpened the Wushof and if a real pro did it, maybe I wouldn’t see that as much. WIth the knife I got in Japan, it has been much easier to get a straight, thin slice. And I totally agree with you about the knife been very centered in its balance and it would be nice to be a little more blade heavy.
    It looks like both of the New West knives have a different cutting edge curve. How did they feel finishing the cuts? Did you feel a preference of one curve over the other between any of the knives?
    Great right up, Mark. I’m glad you mentioned it & I came to take a look. It’s been so busy lately we haven’t had time to visit.
    BTW, have you ever used a noodle knife? Another find for us in Japan. We can’t wait to try it out. It will be a first for us.

    • marc

      I’ve had the same problem with the Wusthof, I think it has to do with the thickness of the blade and perhaps the taper. “The 9″ doesn’t have this problem at all. I think the best analogy I can use is that it’s like wielding a high power laser.

      As for cutting edge curve, I actually like blades with a less exaggerated curve like “The 9″ because of the way I use the knife. Some people prefer cutting with a rocking motion, leaving the tip in contact with the board, but I use a circular motion, lifting the whole knife up with each slice. I imagine people who do the rocking thing would probably prefer more of a curve, but the flatter blade gives me more contact with whatever I’m slicing.

      I’ve never used a noodle knife before but now you have me curious. I usually use my nakiri bocho for cutting udon and such. Can’t wait to see you guys use yours

  • http://www.foodgal.com/ Carolyn Jung

    I remember a Henckels rep telling me at a store, “Always remember, two men are better than one!” After I stopped laughing, she explained that the Henckels knives with the symbol of two little men on the blade are better made than the Henckels knives with only one little man on it. So yes, that’s what I ended up buying. I know people swear by Wusthof, but I have to say I like my two-men blades. ;)

  • http://www.foodgal.com Carolyn Jung

    I remember a Henckels rep telling me at a store, “Always remember, two men are better than one!” After I stopped laughing, she explained that the Henckels knives with the symbol of two little men on the blade are better made than the Henckels knives with only one little man on it. So yes, that’s what I ended up buying. I know people swear by Wusthof, but I have to say I like my two-men blades. ;)

  • Enjeong

    Thanks Marc. Looking forward to the verdict!

    I’ve always thought it would be nice if there were some kind of forum among chefs and food-bloggers on knives. You got me remember a segment I heard on the radio with a guest who wrote “An Edge in the Kitchen: The Ultimate Guide to Kitchen Knives”. http://splendidtable.publicradio.org/listings/shows08_08_23.html

  • Enjeong

    Thanks Marc. Looking forward to the verdict!

    I’ve always thought it would be nice if there were some kind of forum among chefs and food-bloggers on knives. You got me remember a segment I heard on the radio with a guest who wrote “An Edge in the Kitchen: The Ultimate Guide to Kitchen Knives”. http://splendidtable.publicradio.org/listings/shows08_08_23.html

  • http://kitchensidecar.blogspot.com/ katiek @kitchensidecar

    i’m liking my sebatier knives – in large part becuase they were a gift.

    I also enjoy this mind blowing kyoto knife that my cousins brought back. Sharpest thing I have EVER gotten the pleasure to work with.

    I almost cut all my fingers off.

  • http://kitchensidecar.blogspot.com katiek @kitchensidecar

    i’m liking my sebatier knives – in large part becuase they were a gift.

    I also enjoy this mind blowing kyoto knife that my cousins brought back. Sharpest thing I have EVER gotten the pleasure to work with.

    I almost cut all my fingers off.

  • A

    Indeed, it wasn’t really fair to compare Henkels using an $11 knife. You really should have used the professional S series (twin). I’ve gotten a lot of good use out of that series over the years; the full-tang version has exactly the right amount of heft for me. I originally considered both Henkels and Global but the handles of Global didn’t fit my hand quite right. Once you get a decent blade, it’s mostly just a matter of taste, and different people like different types of knife.

    For people who don’t like sharpening knives, I suggest taking them to be sharpened.

    I hope you’ll also speak out against the horrors of plastic and the even more horrible glass cutting boards. I used to carry my knives with me if I knew I’d be cooking at another person’s house, but I no longer like to do that because their horrible cutting boards dull the knives. Plus there’s also the question of sanitation; although plastic cutting boards were thought to be best when they were developed, it was discovered quite some time ago now that wood has antibacterial properties. (I remember speaking with someone who owned a restaurant; he was very frustrated that health and safety mandated plastic cutting boards, which he described as being inferior.) Personally I’ve found olive wood to be the best, although bamboo seems more popular.

    • marc

      As I mentioned in the post the choice of knives was more about what I had in the drawer. I’m sure the S series are fine knives.

      I’m also totally with you on the glass/stone cutting board thing. I have no idea why anyone would subject their knives to such abuse and am even more puzzled by the manufacturers that produce them.

      • A

        I’d like to defend my knives, but I like them too much to send them to you so they’re handy for you to test! If only you could get some knife companies to sponsor the test by providing you with a standard knife like an 8″ chef’s knife.

        Anyhow, I look forward to seeing the followup, as it’s how the knife performs in the long term that’s of most interest. If I were rating knives purely on the ability to hold an edge, my Al-Mar pocket knife would win hands down. It took about 6 years of regular use before it needed sharpening. If only I could find a kitchen knife of the same caliber (hmm, I wonder how the Al-Mar kitchen knives are).

  • A

    Indeed, it wasn’t really fair to compare Henkels using an $11 knife. You really should have used the professional S series (twin). I’ve gotten a lot of good use out of that series over the years; the full-tang version has exactly the right amount of heft for me. I originally considered both Henkels and Global but the handles of Global didn’t fit my hand quite right. Once you get a decent blade, it’s mostly just a matter of taste, and different people like different types of knife.

    For people who don’t like sharpening knives, I suggest taking them to be sharpened.

    I hope you’ll also speak out against the horrors of plastic and the even more horrible glass cutting boards. I used to carry my knives with me if I knew I’d be cooking at another person’s house, but I no longer like to do that because their horrible cutting boards dull the knives. Plus there’s also the question of sanitation; although plastic cutting boards were thought to be best when they were developed, it was discovered quite some time ago now that wood has antibacterial properties. (I remember speaking with someone who owned a restaurant; he was very frustrated that health and safety mandated plastic cutting boards, which he described as being inferior.) Personally I’ve found olive wood to be the best, although bamboo seems more popular.

    • marc

      As I mentioned in the post the choice of knives was more about what I had in the drawer. I’m sure the S series are fine knives.

      I’m also totally with you on the glass/stone cutting board thing. I have no idea why anyone would subject their knives to such abuse and am even more puzzled by the manufacturers that produce them.

      • A

        I’d like to defend my knives, but I like them too much to send them to you so they’re handy for you to test! If only you could get some knife companies to sponsor the test by providing you with a standard knife like an 8″ chef’s knife.

        Anyhow, I look forward to seeing the followup, as it’s how the knife performs in the long term that’s of most interest. If I were rating knives purely on the ability to hold an edge, my Al-Mar pocket knife would win hands down. It took about 6 years of regular use before it needed sharpening. If only I could find a kitchen knife of the same caliber (hmm, I wonder how the Al-Mar kitchen knives are).

  • http://eataduckimust.blogspot.com/ Jared

    That New West Phoenix looks really nice as I am in the market for a new chef knife myself. Currently, I am using the Shun Classic. Sharp and stays sharp longer due to the hard steal. I prefer Japanese knives as they are lighter and more balance. Prepping for many hours will take a toll on your hands with a heavy knife. I recently acquired a Watanabe yanagi. One of the sharpest knife I have ever owned. A good value if you are looking for handmade knives from a master knife maker. I will be in Sakai City next month, I guess its time to go knife shopping.

    • marc

      If you’re going to be in Japan you should be able to get your hands on some awesome cutlery, but for the rest of us, the blades for the Phoenix line are actually made in Japan out of 33 layers of Damascus steel.

  • http://eataduckimust.blogspot.com/ Jared

    That New West Phoenix looks really nice as I am in the market for a new chef knife myself. Currently, I am using the Shun Classic. Sharp and stays sharp longer due to the hard steal. I prefer Japanese knives as they are lighter and more balance. Prepping for many hours will take a toll on your hands with a heavy knife. I recently acquired a Watanabe yanagi. One of the sharpest knife I have ever owned. A good value if you are looking for handmade knives from a master knife maker. I will be in Sakai City next month, I guess its time to go knife shopping.

    • marc

      If you’re going to be in Japan you should be able to get your hands on some awesome cutlery, but for the rest of us, the blades for the Phoenix line are actually made in Japan out of 33 layers of Damascus steel.

  • http://colloquialcooking.com/ Colloquial Cook

    Hmm I have that rusting problem on some of my saws (not cooking saws), it’s usually really easy to get it off with a quick sand paper abrasion.
    VERY interesting post. I need more good knives. You should definitely post something on blade sharpening. It’s *really* specific and geeky for woodwork, and I hear knife sharpening techniques -especially for meat-cutting knives- are different. If you have any knowledge on that subject, do share :-)

  • http://colloquialcooking.com Colloquial Cook

    Hmm I have that rusting problem on some of my saws (not cooking saws), it’s usually really easy to get it off with a quick sand paper abrasion.
    VERY interesting post. I need more good knives. You should definitely post something on blade sharpening. It’s *really* specific and geeky for woodwork, and I hear knife sharpening techniques -especially for meat-cutting knives- are different. If you have any knowledge on that subject, do share :-)

  • Stephen

    I’d like to see a ceramic blade chefs knife included in the test. Think you could pick up one?

    I just bought a 7″ one on dealextreme.com for REALLY cheap. I should have it in about 2 weeks and am really curious how I’ll like it and how it compares to the expensive name brand ones.

    • marc

      Hi Stephen, I’m not a huge an of ceramic knives. They hold their edge very well due to the hardness of the ceramic, but they cannot be sharpened and need to be sent to the manufacturer when they eventually get blunt. Another issue for me is that I’m a bit clumsy and have a tendency to drop or strike blades against hard surfaces inadvertently. With a steel blade, this can be repaired fairly easily by removing some of the steel. With a ceramic knife, you may as well go and get a new one.

      That said, knives are largely about personal preference, so what’s important is that you’re happy with your purchase and that you got a good deal.

  • Stephen

    I’d like to see a ceramic blade chefs knife included in the test. Think you could pick up one?

    I just bought a 7″ one on dealextreme.com for REALLY cheap. I should have it in about 2 weeks and am really curious how I’ll like it and how it compares to the expensive name brand ones.

    • marc

      Hi Stephen, I’m not a huge an of ceramic knives. They hold their edge very well due to the hardness of the ceramic, but they cannot be sharpened and need to be sent to the manufacturer when they eventually get blunt. Another issue for me is that I’m a bit clumsy and have a tendency to drop or strike blades against hard surfaces inadvertently. With a steel blade, this can be repaired fairly easily by removing some of the steel. With a ceramic knife, you may as well go and get a new one.

      That said, knives are largely about personal preference, so what’s important is that you’re happy with your purchase and that you got a good deal.

  • http://memoriesinthebaking.blogspot.com/ Marysol

    I’m also a knife pack-rat, and I’ll admit I own a couple of those crappy Henckles. But I’d hurl them out the window for that Phoenix in a heartbeat.

    Btw, I’m impressed that you take the time to sharpen your own knives. I’ve yet to try that.
    Wielding knives around tends to make the people around me uneasy. I even scare myself. So I prefer to have my knives sharpened by a pro. What have you found to be the best way to sharpen a knife?

    • marc

      Taking it to a pro is definitely the best bet, but you should keep a honing steel (those metal rods that are often mistakenly called “knife sharpeners”) at home and use it on a regular basis to realign the edge and keep the blade sharp for as long as possible.

  • http://memoriesinthebaking.blogspot.com Marysol

    I’m also a knife pack-rat, and I’ll admit I own a couple of those crappy Henckles. But I’d hurl them out the window for that Phoenix in a heartbeat.

    Btw, I’m impressed that you take the time to sharpen your own knives. I’ve yet to try that.
    Wielding knives around tends to make the people around me uneasy. I even scare myself. So I prefer to have my knives sharpened by a pro. What have you found to be the best way to sharpen a knife?

    • marc

      Taking it to a pro is definitely the best bet, but you should keep a honing steel (those metal rods that are often mistakenly called “knife sharpeners”) at home and use it on a regular basis to realign the edge and keep the blade sharp for as long as possible.

  • http://anediblesymphony.blogspot.com/ Muneeba

    Oh man … I’m learning something new today. Now, when it comes to sharpening, do you have one of those electric sharpeners at home? Or do you do it manually?
    I think my pet peeve in the kitchen is a messy stove. I didn’t used to be picky at all in the kitchen, but lately I’ve become a bit of a neat freak in my kitchen … sink always clean, stove always cleaned after cooking, floor cleaned etc. And organized – I gotta keep the clutter down!

    • marc

      If you love your knives don’t use those electric sharpeners. They remove a ton of metal and while they get your knives relatively sharp, your knife won’t last very long if you keep using it.

      I’m no sharpening expert, but I use a combination of wusthof gadget that has a carbide and ceramic “v” and a stone to sharpen my knives. I also use a honing steel on a regular basis to keep the edge aligned.

  • http://anediblesymphony.blogspot.com Muneeba

    Oh man … I’m learning something new today. Now, when it comes to sharpening, do you have one of those electric sharpeners at home? Or do you do it manually?
    I think my pet peeve in the kitchen is a messy stove. I didn’t used to be picky at all in the kitchen, but lately I’ve become a bit of a neat freak in my kitchen … sink always clean, stove always cleaned after cooking, floor cleaned etc. And organized – I gotta keep the clutter down!

    • marc

      If you love your knives don’t use those electric sharpeners. They remove a ton of metal and while they get your knives relatively sharp, your knife won’t last very long if you keep using it.

      I’m no sharpening expert, but I use a combination of wusthof gadget that has a carbide and ceramic “v” and a stone to sharpen my knives. I also use a honing steel on a regular basis to keep the edge aligned.

  • http://www.bitemekitchen.blogspot.com/ Rose

    I too, have a knife collecting habit that perfectly compliments my cooking habit ;)

    I’ve got ceramics (Kyocera), Wusthoffs, Henckles and a New West Knifeworks (petty & super bread).

    I’ve been dying to try the New West chef’s or santoku knives. I personally like the lighter but sharper combination that they seem to achieve in their knives. Perhaps it is due to being a girl and having smaller hands/forearms, but some of the more popular knives tend to be a little too heavy and cumbersome for someone with a smaller frame to use.

    I’d love to see how Shun or Global knives matched up.

    Great review!

    • marc

      The Phoenix should work well for you. It’s really light and I love using it especially when I have a lot to chop for two reasons. 1) the weight – it’s light and most of the weight is in the blade 2) the handle – it feels soft in your hand due to the rounded edges, but it’s still substantial enough that you can get a good grip on it.

  • http://www.bitemekitchen.blogspot.com Rose

    I too, have a knife collecting habit that perfectly compliments my cooking habit ;)

    I’ve got ceramics (Kyocera), Wusthoffs, Henckles and a New West Knifeworks (petty & super bread).

    I’ve been dying to try the New West chef’s or santoku knives. I personally like the lighter but sharper combination that they seem to achieve in their knives. Perhaps it is due to being a girl and having smaller hands/forearms, but some of the more popular knives tend to be a little too heavy and cumbersome for someone with a smaller frame to use.

    I’d love to see how Shun or Global knives matched up.

    Great review!

    • marc

      The Phoenix should work well for you. It’s really light and I love using it especially when I have a lot to chop for two reasons. 1) the weight – it’s light and most of the weight is in the blade 2) the handle – it feels soft in your hand due to the rounded edges, but it’s still substantial enough that you can get a good grip on it.

  • http://deltakitchen.blogspot.com/ Andreas

    Great idea. I’m looking forward to the next post on this topic.
    I use two Wüsthof paring knifes, one from the “Classic” and one from the “Classic Icon” line. The handle of the latter has a much nicer rounded look and feel.

  • http://deltakitchen.blogspot.com Andreas

    Great idea. I’m looking forward to the next post on this topic.
    I use two Wüsthof paring knifes, one from the “Classic” and one from the “Classic Icon” line. The handle of the latter has a much nicer rounded look and feel.

  • http://ravenouscouple.blogspot.com/ ravenouscouple

    great review and discussion on knives. The Wusthof classic is our first good chef’s knife and we love it. We’ll love to try the japanese vegetable knife one day.

  • http://ravenouscouple.blogspot.com ravenouscouple

    great review and discussion on knives. The Wusthof classic is our first good chef’s knife and we love it. We’ll love to try the japanese vegetable knife one day.

  • http://www.hubpages.jai-warren.com/ Jai

    Believe it or not, I have Wusthof knives (pairing & chef)
    but, my $12.00 chinese cleaver is all I use for everything.
    It’s about 5 years old and gets sharpened regularly but I’ve
    honed my knife skills to accomplish whatever I need with this cleaver (kinda Martin Yan ish) OOPS! Ever use one?

    • http://norecipes.com/ Marc @ NoRecipes

      The cleavers are a great deal, but they’re a bit heavy for me especially when I’m prepping for a large party and need to do a ton of chopping. I do like the “badass” appeal that goes along with wielding a massive cleaver though;-)

  • http://www.hubpages.jai-warren.com Jai

    Believe it or not, I have Wusthof knives (pairing & chef)
    but, my $12.00 chinese cleaver is all I use for everything.
    It’s about 5 years old and gets sharpened regularly but I’ve
    honed my knife skills to accomplish whatever I need with this cleaver (kinda Martin Yan ish) OOPS! Ever use one?

    • http://norecipes.com Marc @ NoRecipes

      The cleavers are a great deal, but they’re a bit heavy for me especially when I’m prepping for a large party and need to do a ton of chopping. I do like the “badass” appeal that goes along with wielding a massive cleaver though;-)

  • http://kitchenmusings.com/ Veron

    That Phoenix looks real sexy. A knife chooses it’s wielder…he..hee..just kidding. I wanted to get a Shun knife but I found that I my extremely small hands like the feel of the Global chef knife. So I wanted to get a global paring knife to go with it but it felt weird when I tried it. It turns out the Wustof paring knife was the perfect fit for my hands. So, really people should go to the store and try and handle different knives before making a purchase.

  • http://kitchenmusings.com Veron

    That Phoenix looks real sexy. A knife chooses it’s wielder…he..hee..just kidding. I wanted to get a Shun knife but I found that I my extremely small hands like the feel of the Global chef knife. So I wanted to get a global paring knife to go with it but it felt weird when I tried it. It turns out the Wustof paring knife was the perfect fit for my hands. So, really people should go to the store and try and handle different knives before making a purchase.

  • http://www.openkyoto.com/ KyotoFoodieのPeko

    Wow, you got pitched to review knives! You are a foodie blogger of note! That is great.

    The Fushionwood series appeals to me.

  • http://www.openkyoto.com KyotoFoodieのPeko

    Wow, you got pitched to review knives! You are a foodie blogger of note! That is great.

    The Fushionwood series appeals to me.

  • http://alliemaddyn.livejournal.com/ Abby

    I own the Wusthof classic, and absolutely love it. It’s absolutely my go-to knife. I think alot of that has to do with the fact that I slice using a back-to-forward rocking motion, and the balance and handle of the Wusthof naturally fits my hand and arm very very well. (But I am not built like your average chef – feminine arms with tiny palms but very long fingers.)

  • http://alliemaddyn.livejournal.com Abby

    I own the Wusthof classic, and absolutely love it. It’s absolutely my go-to knife. I think alot of that has to do with the fact that I slice using a back-to-forward rocking motion, and the balance and handle of the Wusthof naturally fits my hand and arm very very well. (But I am not built like your average chef – feminine arms with tiny palms but very long fingers.)

  • http://www.newwestknifeworks.com/ Corey Milligan

    Marc, Great post. Your writing style is very enjoyable. Let me disclose from the get go that I own New West KnifeWorks, so take what you want from my obvious bias.

    I look forward to the ongoing testing. I believe the combination of edge holding with ease of resharpening are the two most important factors in evaluating the quality of a knife. I look forward to seeing how my knives stack up.

    I have couple of comments on your evaluation.

    1. The 9. Thin to win, baby. The magic of damascus steel is that it greatly increases the toughness of the steel. So you can grind it super thin and it is still strong enough to hold up to the same tasks as the thicker, club style chefs. For example, I bought a dozen free range chickens from the local “Wyoming Chicken Ranch”. These 5-6 pound monsters raised in the rugged Wyoming prairie have very thick skin and much thicker, harder bones than your standard grocery store organic birds. Though I admit I was nervous the first time, I have been hacking them to bits all Summer. The breasts are so big I cut them into three pieces right through the bone. I encourage you to see if you can break it. Besides it has a lifetime guarantee.

    The “high powered laser” quote sure did make me smile!

    2. Fusionwood Chef and stain resistance. The steel in the chef has 70% higher carbon than the Wustof and Henkel. That makes it higher performance but it also makes it less stain resistant. Think of it as a hybrid between the Wustof and the carbon steel Nikiri Bocho. Any stain can and should be scrubbed of with the abrasive side of a sponge and soap and water. (This will do a lot to clean up that Nikiri Bocho as well). I have found that overtime the Fusionwood knives become more stain resistant.

    3. I see a lot of comments on sharpening. I personally believe plain metal steels should be discarded as relics of an era when knives were all made out of soft steel. They should be replaced with a diamond or ceramic steel. I will be happy to send you the diamond steel we sell. Maybe you can weave steel testing into the knife testing. I hope this isn’t considered ruthless self promotion. I’ve got some good information on sharpening on my website. http://www.newwestknifeworks.com/information/how-to-sharpen-knives

    I look forward to your further posts.

    Corey Milligan
    Owner
    New West KnifeWorks

  • http://www.newwestknifeworks.com Corey Milligan

    Marc, Great post. Your writing style is very enjoyable. Let me disclose from the get go that I own New West KnifeWorks, so take what you want from my obvious bias.

    I look forward to the ongoing testing. I believe the combination of edge holding with ease of resharpening are the two most important factors in evaluating the quality of a knife. I look forward to seeing how my knives stack up.

    I have couple of comments on your evaluation.

    1. The 9. Thin to win, baby. The magic of damascus steel is that it greatly increases the toughness of the steel. So you can grind it super thin and it is still strong enough to hold up to the same tasks as the thicker, club style chefs. For example, I bought a dozen free range chickens from the local “Wyoming Chicken Ranch”. These 5-6 pound monsters raised in the rugged Wyoming prairie have very thick skin and much thicker, harder bones than your standard grocery store organic birds. Though I admit I was nervous the first time, I have been hacking them to bits all Summer. The breasts are so big I cut them into three pieces right through the bone. I encourage you to see if you can break it. Besides it has a lifetime guarantee.

    The “high powered laser” quote sure did make me smile!

    2. Fusionwood Chef and stain resistance. The steel in the chef has 70% higher carbon than the Wustof and Henkel. That makes it higher performance but it also makes it less stain resistant. Think of it as a hybrid between the Wustof and the carbon steel Nikiri Bocho. Any stain can and should be scrubbed of with the abrasive side of a sponge and soap and water. (This will do a lot to clean up that Nikiri Bocho as well). I have found that overtime the Fusionwood knives become more stain resistant.

    3. I see a lot of comments on sharpening. I personally believe plain metal steels should be discarded as relics of an era when knives were all made out of soft steel. They should be replaced with a diamond or ceramic steel. I will be happy to send you the diamond steel we sell. Maybe you can weave steel testing into the knife testing. I hope this isn’t considered ruthless self promotion. I’ve got some good information on sharpening on my website. http://www.newwestknifeworks.com/information/how-to-sharpen-knives

    I look forward to your further posts.

    Corey Milligan
    Owner
    New West KnifeWorks

  • http://thesplitpea.blogspot.com/ Eralda

    Great reviews! I am finding myself becoming a pack rat when it comes to kitchen gadgets. I often bring my own tools to my mother-in-law’s house when I go there to cook. It is just nice to have the familiar and reliable with me.

    Have you tried ceramic blades? If so, what do you think of them?

  • http://thesplitpea.blogspot.com Eralda

    Great reviews! I am finding myself becoming a pack rat when it comes to kitchen gadgets. I often bring my own tools to my mother-in-law’s house when I go there to cook. It is just nice to have the familiar and reliable with me.

    Have you tried ceramic blades? If so, what do you think of them?

  • http://newwaytowrite.livejournal.com/ SMM

    We, for years cursed our knives. Finally the last three years we have finally decided to be grown ups and get real knives. Now we would not be without our three Global knives and a good steel for sharpening.

    I can’t tell you how many times I talk about how fabulous it is to work in the kitchen preparing a meal with good knives.

    Sure they are expensive but you slowly build the arsenal one knife at a time and each time you bring home a new knife a piece of crap knife goes in the trash.

  • http://newwaytowrite.livejournal.com/ SMM

    We, for years cursed our knives. Finally the last three years we have finally decided to be grown ups and get real knives. Now we would not be without our three Global knives and a good steel for sharpening.

    I can’t tell you how many times I talk about how fabulous it is to work in the kitchen preparing a meal with good knives.

    Sure they are expensive but you slowly build the arsenal one knife at a time and each time you bring home a new knife a piece of crap knife goes in the trash.

  • http://www.apolloscred.com Chris

    I Love Knife Reviews. My personal choice for years was a heavy german knife until my world changed when i finally bough a Japanese knife. It sharpens so much easier. I tend to sharpen 4 to 5 times a week. But I always give people the advice to pick a knife that they like. It is all about whatever works for you and to keep it sharp and you mention multiple times. Thanks for the review, I will keep reading

  • http://www.apolloscred.com/ Chris

    I Love Knife Reviews. My personal choice for years was a heavy german knife until my world changed when i finally bough a Japanese knife. It sharpens so much easier. I tend to sharpen 4 to 5 times a week. But I always give people the advice to pick a knife that they like. It is all about whatever works for you and to keep it sharp and you mention multiple times. Thanks for the review, I will keep reading

  • http://papawow.com/ dave

    I have a $6 stone sharpener I got from Amazon and my favorite knife is a cheapie with a stainless steel handle. I just now looked at it to find the brand but I couldn’t see any logo on it, until I looked really close – Farberware Pro.

    It doesn’t stay sharp very long but it feels really good in my hands. i keep the sharpener by the sink and seem to use it 2-3 times per month. i guess it all comes down to what you feel comfortable with!

  • http://papawow.com dave

    I have a $6 stone sharpener I got from Amazon and my favorite knife is a cheapie with a stainless steel handle. I just now looked at it to find the brand but I couldn’t see any logo on it, until I looked really close – Farberware Pro.

    It doesn’t stay sharp very long but it feels really good in my hands. i keep the sharpener by the sink and seem to use it 2-3 times per month. i guess it all comes down to what you feel comfortable with!

  • Lonnie

    I got a set of Henckels for a gift whilst in university (30 years ago…lol). Used them ever since, but the damn things will not keep an edge!! I have to sharpen every single time I use them, which is really, really annoying. i think I will go knife shopping , but not for Henckels………

    • deforeman

      I also have had a set of Henckels knives for over thirty years. And I did go through a phase where they seemed to dull too quickly. The cause, as I found out eventually, was the chopping boards we used. CORIAN is particularly damaging to knife sharpness, as are several other man-made plastics and resins. A contributing factor for me was poor technique with a honing steel; I suspect that is true for many others as well.

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  • http://www.armorica.co.uk Kitchen knives

    A lovely experiment you’ve proposed here, I’d be interested in following the results on twitter. I’ve always been a Wusthof fan but I have to say, the New West blade you have there is quite snazzy. Thanks for sharing and keep the results coming!

    John.

  • Laubmai13

    I like what you said about the fusionwood 8″ – perfect scoop! Question: is it perfect even when the scooping edge is sharp?

  • somegirlfromcalifornia

    Bought a Wusthof Classic paring knife just to start out. I wanted to see how it held up and like so many others I went to use it one day and the handle is all cracked. So depressing

  • Onecalljohn

    You are comparing the entry level Henckels to top end knives it is a bad comparison

  • Onecalljohn

    What is the point of comparing one 11 dollar knife with 3 $100.00 plus knives?  Makes no sense.

  • andy

    Whoever wrote this is border line retarded and obviously knows jack-shit about knives. I also HIGHLY, HIGHLY doubt you have ever really cooked professionally.

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