I surprised myself by actually liking this knife. Generally, I don’t like Henckels knives. There are plain and decent, but I expect a little more than just decent from a premium knife. The Zwilling J.A. Henckels Twin Four Star II stands out as an exceptional knife. It may not be exactly my style, and it might not find its way into my favorites, but it’s a superb blade with everything I look for in a knife.
J.A. Henckel’s has been one of the worlds best-known and best-respected cutlery companies for over 275 years. It’s a favorite among pros and passionate amateurs alike. In fact, I remember my father had a complete set of Henckels hanging on the kitchen wall growing up. They are well known for excellent quality and classic designs, which have long been my beef with the knives. I prefer lightweight knives with ergonomic handles. The Twin Four Star II line gets at least half of that equation down.
These knives have a classically designed European-style blade. There’s a good curve to the edge, which lends itself to rocking and chopping. There’s a heavy reinforced bolster and fingerguard, which lend both weight and balance. The thicker fingerguard extending to the heel of the knife gives it some extra strength for tough jobs. The handle isn’t the typically block handle found on European style knives. Instead, it’s rounded and swept into curves that naturally fit the hand, but swell into a strong butt of the handle for more weight and balance.
The knife is made of high-carbon stainless steel, forged with the Sigmaforge technique and ice hardened for extra strength and edge retention. The knife is full tang, having been crafted out of a single piece of steel. The polypropylene handle is permanently bonded to the tang, not riveted, which results in a seamless handle. The butt is fitted with a stainless steel end cap for weight and aesthetics.
Steel – High-carbon stainless steel is the Rolls-Royce of knife steels. It’s wicked hard, takes on a surgical edge, and holds that edge for a nice long time. J.A. Henckels also has their own formula for top-quality knife steel, which seems to have been working for them pretty well so far.
Handle – Though I don’t think it’s especially pretty (see below), I do think that the Zwillings J.A. Henckels Twin Four Star II has one of the better designed handles among European knifemakers. It’s smooth and fitted to the hand. It doesn’t have the seams and rivets that act as both weak points and traps for unsanitary debris. It does compare favorably with the Wusthof Classic Ikon line I’ve reviewed.
Reinforced Fingerguard – The fingerguard that extends down from the bolster is great for anyone who used their chef knife for more than just slicing and chopping. (I don’t. I have a cleaver for heavier tasks.) For the chef that needs a more versatile primary knife, though, having a strong heel for cracking shells and disjointing meat is very handy.
Weight – This is definitely a heavy knife. I find using heavy knives to be tiring for long session of chopping, which can influence the quality of my cuts. And I find heavier knives slightly harder to control. I definitely prefer lighter knives. That being said, I certainly wouldn’t shy away from this knife, especially for heavy-duty tasks.
Aesthetics – Though purely a personal preference, I don’t much like the look of this knife. As chef knives are long-term investments, I prefer something that suites my own visual tastes. I find the Zwilling J.A. Henckels Twin Four Star II to be a bit ugly. That doesn’t make it a poor tool, just not something I would happily display on a wall or even in a block.
This is a brilliant knife, and one of the European-style knives I like the best. Between this one and the Wusthof Classic Ikon line, it would be a tough decision. It’s got great balance, an awesome edge, and it’s from a long line of beloved knives. I’m not sure if it has a place in my kitchen, though, because the weight and look of it don’t appeal to me very much. On the flip side, for someone liking a heavier, classic knife with a well-designed handle, this is the knife for you. Click here to get the Zwilling Henckels Twin Four Star II now.
For anyone sharing my opinion on weight, though, there are some great other options. Check out the Global G-2 for a fantastic, lightweight chef’s knife with a very modern look. Or try a classic Japanese knife like the Shun Premier. I’m a big fan of both for both form and function.