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Are there many people that would argue out that Wusthof isn’t a great knife brand? I doubt. Their two bestselling product lines- the Wusthof classic and the Wusthof Ikon are proof that they make products we could rely on. In fact, these two product lines have more similarities than differences. Looking at their functionality (and performance); they’re virtually indistinguishable. They both have the same forged blade and their blades score the same in the Rockwell hardness test. If they’re the same, then why do most shoppers vouch for Wusthof ikon? Is it because of the lower price tag? In this Wusthof ikon vs classic battle; we’ll look at their similarities and differences. Hint: it’s in the handle design and on the price tag.
Wusthof ikon vs classic: What they have in common
- Three rivets on their handle. This feature isn’t unique to Wusthof knives alone. In fact, all major knife brands (think of Shun, Cutco, Henkel) design their knives with three rivets on the handle. Traditionally, knives (and swords) used to have three rivets. I guess this manufacturing technique works as it has barely evolved over the years. It’s a craftsman’s rule of thumb that you shouldn’t fix it if it’s not broken.
- They both have Polyoxymethylene handles. Often referred to as POM, Polyoxymethylene is industrial-grade composite finding practicability in the cutlery industry due to its resistance to fading, discoloration and general tear and wear.
- Both product lines have a full tang. A tang is the exposed part of the blade that extends to the handle.
- They have a full bolster. This is the thick metallic part joining the handle and the blade. Even though the bolster adds a great aesthetic finish to the knife, it’s primarily included in knife design to add weight; effectively creating balance.
- Both knife models have a curved handle. The handle is curved near the butt with the butt being considerably thicker than the neck. This serves two purposes. It gives the knife a great anti-slip grip while giving the pinkie finger a place to leverage for great balance.
- Their contoured handles are curved from African Wood. Marketed as Grenadil Wood, African Blackwood makes for a great knife handle material and it’s extremely durable and practically immune to tear and wear. This natural material is, of course, immune to expanding and contracting (unlike metal handles). Its only downside is that it’s prone to scratches. These scratches may be unsightly but you will, of course, agree with me that it’s a small sacrifice.
Wusthof ikon vs classic: How are these two knives different
- The Ikon product line makes use of smoother curves and their handles rarely have the sharp curve (next to the knife’s butt) that’s a characteristic of all Wusthof classic knives. Sharp curves give a great grip and perhaps this is why Wusthof ikon knives slip more often as they’re designed with a smooth curve handle instead.
- Wusthof ikon handles feature a fully exposed tang too. However, they make use of two half bolsters instead of one full-length one unlike in the classic product line. With one bolster at the butt and the other one joining the handle and the blade, ikon handles have a rather unusual design.
- The ikon line features a wooden handle and naturally, treated wooden handles are more expensive than Polyoxymethylene ones. This is why the manufacturer charges more for knives in the ikon line even though they have the same functionality.
Which Wusthof Kitchen knife should you buy?
Most people know Solingen, a metropolitan city in Germany, as the knife capital. With major brands like Wusthof and Henckels having their headquarters there, it’s only logical that this city has gained reputation from hosting knife makers. Wusthof, this family-owned knife brand has been making great kitchen knives from 1824. The only challenge is in choosing which product line you should settle for.
Does Wusthof make forged or stamped knives and how do they compare?
Forged knife models are cast from different, separate steel members heated and hammered repeatedly during the blade shaping process. How is this beneficial? In this repeated process, the molecular composition of the blade is altered for the better and the consumer benefits most by getting a strong and hard blade.
As implied by the procedure, stamped knife blades are literally stamped from a single sheet of stainless steel. Treatment and strengthening are then carried out thereafter. As you would imagine, this manufacturing process isn’t as labor-intensive and the blades tend to be considerably cheaper. The Wusthof Gourmet and the Wusthof pro are manufactured through the stamping technique. All the other product lines (classic, classic IKON, epicure and Grand Prix 2) are forged. This explains the price disparity across the various models. With the forged ones being costlier of course.
Contrary to popular belief, Wusthof knives are quite versatile. You could randomly pick a model form any of their product lines and it would serve you just as knife. Wusthof knives make a great starter knife as you could use them when chopping up small and large foods. Thanks to their curved handles, it’s often a breeze cutting through even the toughest of foods.
Should you use a finger guard when working with Wusthof knives?
The manufacturer recommends that you should always use a finger guard for added safety when working with these knives as they have extremely sharp blades. Quite frankly, I believe this is overkill. Of course, you should obviously be cautious when working with these knives unless you want to leave your finger on the chopping board.
Are Wusthof classic and ikon knives dishwasher safe?
Even though both brands are dishwasher safe, you’re better off handwashing them to prolong their utility. In the dishwasher’s cleaning cycle, the knife may be cracked effectively reducing its lifespan. I doubt if this is what you want.