I will not abandon my 8" Wusthof Classic Ikon Chef's Knife, but

It no longer is my #1 go to Chef’s Knife. That honor belongs to my Kai Shun Fuji 8 1/2".

Instead, it is the foundation and backup for all the damascus and hard steel knives in my batterie.

Seven years ago, when I set out to select my Chef Knife, I looked exclusively to the European tradition. I was looking for one knife that could do everything well enough, that I wouldn’t really need any other kitchen knives. It also needed to fit my own need for “feel.” That led me to quickly exclude Victorinox–even though I grew up with a Swiss Army knife in my pocket.

I settled on the Wusthof tapered design and profile: a knife with a solid base that could even direct chop a chicken bone, a thin tip area that could match a great paring knife, and exactly the right amount of curvature across the body of the knife for great rock chopping. At Rockwell 58, it was hard enough to hold an acute edge, but soft enough to bend more often than chip, with regular honing and other maintenance as needed.

I’ve found that Wusthof has kept up over the years with advanced production techniques that still preserve fundamental blacksmithing steps:

I keep my Wusthof Classic Ikon grabbably close, with a steel for honing, ready to take over when those high Rockwell knives just seem too brittle. I also have a Wusthof precision 3 1/2" next to my computer–and use it every day.

Do you use softer steel knives to backup your harder steel knives?

I focused in on the Classic Ikon for the handle–so, I never considered the Zwilling Henckels. I did not make any comparisons between German and French knives.

How would Wusthof compare with Sabitier K ?

I don’t pay any attention, none. When cutting through bone I’ll grab the cleaver or one of the $14 Mercer chefs. In fact, there’s nothing I do the cheap Mercer Santoku can’t handle.


Hi RD,

If you don’t have any any hard steel knives, Rockwell 60 or higher, it’s not a problem for you. When a softer steel knife, like your Mercer, looses an edge, it goes out of alignment–it doesn’t chip.

When I decided to develop cooking into a hobby, I realized that I wasn’t satisfied with my pre hobby knife prepping experiences.

As I described above, I felt that my Wusthof Classic Ikon not only had the right “feel,” but a versatility that allowed me to take on the full range of kitchen knife support tasks my new kitchen hobby would require. I still feel that way.

The one knife I had that outperformed even my new Wusthof Classic Ikon on vegetable prep was the nakiri I had brought back from Japan. It was extra thin, a little bit harder–and it felt great with it’s simple wa handle. Unfortunately, it also had a very slight problem with micro chipping, which could be easily repaired in sharpening.

That nakiri experience led me in the direction of harder steel knives that had an even better “feel” than my Wusthof–and they now dominate my batterie. None of them have chipped yet–but the potential is clearly there.

My Wisthof Classic Ikon is now my final level of defense.

As I answered your question….I don’t worry about the hardness of the steel. I really don’t. If I need to cut through bone or deboning something I’ll grab a cheaper knife that I don’t care if the edge is ruined. I’ll just touch it up. The longer I can avoid sharpening the nicer knives the better.


It’s the maintenance that’s the killer in the soft steel knives. For occasional users like home cooks, hard steel knives hold their edges for a long long time.

By making loaded stropping a relaxing “break” activity while working with my computer, I’ve avoided sharpening with whetstones–or anything else. Even my ceramic honing is minimal. The stropping has not only maintained, but actually refined, my edges.

My two Wusthofs, on the other hand, have been sharpened with pull-throughs, and honed with a steel, before stropping with several different loadings. My Wusthof precision knife is involved in near constant maintenance.

On the job, I may hone my Wusthof Classic Ikon at any time. I located it next to a honing steel in the kitchen.


my Wusthof has steel that is several Rockwell grades harder than the Mercers you use.

I rely on my Wusthof for cutting bones–but on a very limited basis. The only bones I’ll attempt to cut are chicken bones: I leave heavier bones to the butcher.

You asked members what we do. No one is saying what you do is wrong. Are you saying what I am doing is wrong, Ray?


Hi RD,

I don’t think that way.

Anyone who cooks has a story. We’re just sharing our own experiences (stories)–this thread–with kitchen knives.

The closest we ever get to right and wrong, IMO, is “fun” vs. “not so much.”


1 Like

You may want to rethink this…


Three shots, methinks.



Can you explain?


1 Like

I drink too much, Ray.

1 Like

How would the Wusthof compare with a K Sabatier?

It will be heavier, thicker, have more belly, and be harder to sharpen and to hone. Likewise if the Sab is carbon steel only more so. For me a Sab carbon 10" is the most versatile knife I have ever used.


You sure it is not about the beautiful olive wood handle?

Hi Vecchiouomo,

I’ve had over five years experience with Wusthofs–and I think I’ve already described my ongoing adventures with my Classic Ikon Chef Knife and much loved Wusthof Precision 3 1/2" that sits next to my computer. That includes experiences with pull throughs, steels, and stropping.

I’ve never even seen any French knives ever, but the K Sab site that I linked was the one that Pertti bought from. I’ve also been in touch with a European member on the kitchen knife forum who has been updating me on the differences between knife culture at Thiers and Solingen.

I now recognize a clear difference in the traditions, but the most recent models are becoming more similar to each other–no carbon steel any more, half bolsters, and modernized handles.

Dare I say, cultural fusion?

1 Like

I’d be disappointed if you didn’t :joy:


Or not enough :smile_cat:
One of those half full/l half empty questions.

Most of them have regular black micarta. All of mine but my big chef do. It has a wood that I cannot identify.

I had an 8" carbon Henckels made in Brazil that I got that year. Its handle was jacaranda.

I have never seen a Thiers Issard with a half bolster, and all models are offered in stainless or carbon. I am sure it is not lost on them that copper sells out more quickly and, in the used market on places like Etsy and eBay, commands higher prices. I see no evidence whatsoever of cultural fusion. They are distinctly French and unchanged for many decades.

Hi Vecchiouomo,

Check out the website I posted. Things have changed over there: I’m impressed. I wouldn’t even be surprised if they were the OEM suppliers for “Made in” knives.