Wusthof Santoku

Joined May 29, 2013
Welcome to ChefTalk.

However, this is an older thread (look at the date of the last several posts - the last post was in November, and the previous discussion was in September) and everyone else has probably moved on.  As one of the earlier posters, I was notified through email that a new posting was made.

A few notes about Wusthof, santoku's and forged knives.

Wusthof makes a number of different lines of knives, of varying quality.  Their best knives, such as the "Classic" and "Classic Icon" lines, are made out of a steel which is listeds on each blade as "X50CrMoV15".  This steel is also known as 1.4116 steel and 4116 steel, and is made and sold by Krupp as "Krupp 4116" steel.  In the cutlery world, it's not particularly difficult to find - Victorinox, Mercer, Messermeister, and a veritable and vast horde of other cutlery manufacturers also make their top-of-their-line knives from this steel.  With the exception of Wusthof, almost all of the other 4116 steel blades are hardened to a hardness standard of about 54 to 56 hRc - not particularly hard -  in a product which really should have an edge hardened to not less than 56 to 58 hRc.  Wusthof does harden their "X50CrMoV15" knives to about 58 hRc - which is a step better, but nowhere near the hardness levels of good Japanese knives, which often have their knives hardened to much higher than 58 hRc (in general, the harder the steel, the slower it.will wear, and the longer it will remain sharp).

Wusthof also offers knives using lesser quality steel than "X50CrMoV15", so it is necessary for a person looking for a Wusthof to not simply rely on the Wusthof name, but to look up the specific line of Wusthof and check to see what quality is reflected in that particular line.

Forging by and of itself does not particularly make a knife better or worse than non-forged knives.  The critical factors are the quality of the steel and the specific heat treatment (annealing, quenching and tempering) process used by the knife maker.  After annealing - the first part of heat treatment - there is no metalurigical difference between a stamped blade, a machined blade or a forged blade, if all types of blades came from the same type of steel and went through the same type of heat treatment.  Wusthof does make a line of stamped and machined blades using "X50CrMoV15" steel and heat-treated to the same quality level as their other top-of-the-line knives - their "Professional" line - though it is mostly marketed to the restaurant and commercial kitchen market (the handles are the big issue - they are "ergonomic" and are a pain to try to hold using a pinch grip).

Almost none of the really top quality Japanese knives (including santoku's) use forged blades.

Most santoku's do not use forged blades.

Galley Swiller
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