For anyone preferring traditional European knives, there’s no better knife than this. It’s a weighty, classic blade and handle. it’s a top quality knife, a favorite among chefs and home cooks. And despite all this, it’s not one of my favorite knives. I prefer lighter, more modern designs in my kitchen, though I would definitely recommend this knife to anyone who prefers the heft and shape of good quality German cutlery.
Wusthof is a world famous brand of knives respected by professionals and cooking enthusiasts. Based in Solingen, Germany, the knife capital of the world, Wusthof has been producing some of the best forged blades for almost 200 years. The Wusthof Classic chef’s knife is the culmination of that experience, with a few modern twists in the crafting.
Like all of Wusthof’s knives, the Classic knife series is made of high-carbon stainless steel. it has excellent stain resistance from the stainless qualities of the steel. At the same time, the high-carbon steel is incredibly hard and takes a brilliantly sharp edge, especially right out of the factory.
The edge itself is a double-beveled edge ground to a very sharp 14 degrees per side (for a total angle of 28 degrees). The edge itself is precision machined with Wusthof’s patented PEtec, a cool process involving both hand grinding and lasers for a very sharp edge.
The handle of the knife is an absolute classic. It has the typical shape of a European knife: a heavy bolster and finger guard, a slightly curved center, and a large weighted butt. It’s a more angular design than a lot of newer, more ergonomic designs, but it’s a well-established style that appeals to any old school chef. Its made of a synthetic material firmly attached with a series of rivets.
The Edge – Wusthof knives have a wicked factory edge, and they maintain that edge with a little honing and occasional sharpening. Some people have mentioned that the knife needs very regular maintenance to keep its optimal edge, but this isn’t unique to this knife or even to this brand.
Full Finger Guard – The finger guard adds extra heft and balance to the Wusthof Classic chef’s knife. I’m a big fan of the balance, but not so much the weight. The finger guard especially helps lend strength to the heel for disjointing meat or cracking tough shells.
The Handle – I’ve personally never found the traditionally shaped handles very comfortable, and even with a pinch grip the blockier shape makes it more difficult to grip the knife. Also, with the handle being held together with rivets, there is some weakness in the material. At least one chef I know about had his handles crack and fall apart after a year or two of heavy professional use.
Weight – This is a very sturdy knife, but it is also quite heavy. With a full finger guard, and a large butt at the end of the handle, it makes for a knife that is heavier than I tend to prefer. Though the weight may help with some heavy-duty jobs, a lighter knife offers control and less fatigue, especially to pros doing a lot of prep.
For classically designed German knives, it doesn’t get any better than the Wusthof Classic 8-inch chef’s knife. It is exactly what any chef loving an old-school knife will look for in a blade. However, for people preferring a very modern touch (or aesthetic), it may seem a little stuffy and utilitarian. I’d recommend this knife to anyone, but it doesn’t fall within my personal cutlery tastes. There are other knives I like better.