Wüsthof is one of the world’s leading premium chef’s knife manufacturers. The company is family-owned, now on its seventh generation since its inception as a shears factory in 1814 by Johann Abraham Wüsthof. It is based in Solingen, Germany, home to both its headquarters and main factory where it manufactures all its knives.
The All-Purpose Wusthof Classic 8 Inch Chef Knife is gentle on your cutting board as you use it to slice and dice, and it will keep performing for many years. This Wusthof knife is worth every penny. In this unbiased review, we break down this kitchen knife’s strengths and weaknesses and provide tips on converting these to your advantage. Keep reading for all the details.
To determine if this knife is right for you, there are a few things to consider. Does the knife retain its sharp edge? How tough is it? How quickly will it wear? Will it rust or corrode? How are its ergonomics? Is it comfortable to use?
If this chef knife isn’t for you, the Wüsthof Classic Series has 91 different blade shapes to accommodate all sorts of food preparation.
The Wüsthof Classic 8-inch chef knife is a utility knife that facilitates a myriad of tasks without necessarily specializing in any of them. Although the Classic remains the brand’s best-selling series to date, Wüsthof later introduced the Classic Ikon series with smoother handles and two half bolsters instead of one full bolster. We feel it is worth mentioning as an alternative because their features are almost identical.
The blade is precision-forged from a single piece of X50CrMoV15 martensitic steel with a hard, crystalline structure. Its chemical composition makes the blades tough, corrosion-resistant, and durable.
For clarity purposes, the X stands for stainless steel, 50 for 0.50% carbon concentration, Cr for its chromium component, Mo for molybdenum, V for vanadium, and 15 means its 15% chromium concentration. There are also trace elements of other minerals, like tungsten, sulfur, manganese, silicon, and phosphorus.
The carbon concentration is borderline hard as steel becomes above 0.6%. The manganese, phosphorus, molybdenum, and vanadium also boost hardness but with lower impact. The higher chromium concentration gives extra strength and corrosion resistance, supported by carbon and silicon. Its wear resistance is boosted further by vanadium and tungsten, and the molybdenum and tungsten make the blades machinable.
These are the implications of this mix of elements on your blade:
- The Wüsthof Classic 8 inch chefs knife is highly resistant to corrosion and staining due to its high chromium concentration. It can be used in humid circumstances but don’t throw it in the dishwasher or leave it in the sink.
- The blade has a remarkable tensile strength from a combination of carbon, silicon, and chromium. It will bear the impact of falling accidentally or catching that unexpected hard bone without chipping, cracking, or breaking.
- The relatively soft knife blade dulls quickly, and the beginner will struggle to sharpen it. On the bright side, it is also easy to sharpen, and you can restore the sharpness fast. If you are unsure about the sharpening angle; you should consider getting Wüsthof’s pull through a two-stage knife sharpener, designed with the learner in mind. It will create the perfect angle and allow you to avoid whetstones.
Buy: Wüsthof’s pull through a two-stage knife sharpener on Amazon
The black handle is polyoxymethylene (POM) material that is easy to clean and doesn’t hold on to food fibers. Its tighter molecular structure makes it durable and resistant to fading and discoloration.
The pieces of POM which make up the Wüsthof handles are thick and will retain their dimensions for a long while. They are also triple-riveted, which attaches them snugly to the blade and allows the knife to retain the smooth transition between blade and knife even after years of use and washing with cold and hot water.
Each Wusthof classic chef knife is sharpened using Wüsthof’s automated precision edge technology (PEtech). Precision lasers determine the exact angle at which the knife is sharpened, and the precision robotic arms sharpen the knives using whetstones.
It allows Wüsthof knives to hold their cutting edges approximately 20% longer than if they were sharpened using traditional means. They are sharpened on both sides, making them ambidextrous by default, and you can use them indiscriminately.
The resultant blades are uniform from the tip to the heel. Their uniform taper reduces drag when slicing and dicing, resulting in smooth and accurate cuts. Each blade is then buffed and polished by hand as they conduct quality inspection.
You should watch the fourteen production stages of Wüsthof forged knives in its factories to appreciate the elaborate process the knives go through before adding the iconic trident logo.
The blade has a rounded belly that supports the rocking movement while cutting so that your elbow (or, in this case, wrist) grease is not expended.
It is a full tang blade, enhancing sensitivity and control as the connection between your hands, the blade, and the cutting board is seamless.
It also has a protective full bolster on the back end near the handle, which creates a sufficient buffer between the blade and your finger to ensure you don’t nick your hands and you have a better grip on the knife.
The full tang, full bolster, and thick blade combined make the Wüsthof Classic 8-inch knife relatively hefty. Some might find this hard to work with for long periods, while to others, it gives a sense of control, especially for cutting hard ingredients.
The knife makes up for the extra weight through its well-balanced design; the balance point is centrally located between the bolster and the ergonomic handle.
The lifetime warranty provided with each Wusthof Classic knife doesn’t come as a surprise. The amount of effort going into their production allows them to confidently back up their product.
The bolster gives it a harder heel than the Ikon when cutting, and it comes down on the cutting board harder, which takes a bit of getting used to.
Several qualities are reliant on each other, and you should consider them in relation to one another and the intended function of the knife. Some qualities are given up for others to get the perfect kitchen knife. You might have to sacrifice some hardness for corrosion resistance, for example. Different steel elements are responsible for these qualities, and the combination has to be balanced differently to enhance either.
Sharpness and edge retention are key as they define the purpose of a knife. You need a knife that cuts fast and efficiently to save time and energy. The ability to retain an edge hinges on the knife’s hardness. The harder it is, the longer it will remain sharp, and the less frequently you will need to sharpen it.
On the flip side, if the knife is too hard, it also becomes hard to sharpen, and the longer it takes to get it to the desired sharpness. An extremely hard knife will also damage your cutting board and is likely to be fragile as some components which give tensile strength must have been sacrificed for hardening purposes.
You need to strike a delicate balance between strengthening and conditioning elements for adequate sharpness and edge retention.
These two qualities are often mistaken for each other. They are correlated, but each has its unique impact on the quality of the knife and its functionality.
Knife steel hardness is commonly measured using the Rockwell Hardness Scale, which enables the comparison of different steel types. This article captures everything you should know about the hardness scale. High carbon concentration coupled with other hardening elements like manganese result in extra hard blades that are also brittle and susceptible to chipping and breakages on impact.
Toughness is the high tensile strength that bestows the ability to resist cracking, breaking, or chipping from impact. Elements that are mid-range on the hardness scale, like nickel, will add toughness to the steel and are used to balance toughness and hardness.
This stalemate is also broken by the thicker blades, which enhance toughness on top of hardness but also add weight to the knife.
Wear resistance includes both hardness and strength and goes beyond the blade to the handle. The longer the knife can retain its blade’s sharpness, the longer it will last. This requires it to be hard, but if it is too hard, it becomes vulnerable to breakages and chipping on impact. It needs to have elements that keep it rugged as well.
The handle should also be a durable material that can keep up with the blade and be fastened to stand the test of time.
All manners of steel will rust if exposed to corrosive elements, which will never lack in the kitchen. An abundance of corrosion-resistant elements like chromium combined with proper care will go a long way in preventing the onset of corrosion.
You should be able to handle the knife safely and comfortably without too much trouble, courtesy of its design and features. It shouldn’t be too light as this means you will need to apply more force to cut through tough ingredients, which takes some of the control away.
The knife shouldn’t be too heavy either, because you will get tired during long cookouts. The weight should be distributed throughout the knife so that it doesn’t lean towards one side and you can hold it naturally.
The doctors at the Hand and Wrist Institute cite knife holding as a potential cause of tendinitis or even carpal tunnel, so you shouldn’t take comfort lightly.
We scoured the internet and found user reviews that seemed pretty positive, including hundreds of 5-star reviews. Many users claim to use the same all-purpose Wüsthof classic 8-Inch chef knife for well over a decade. People compliment this knife for many reasons. Users love its look, feel, and how it handles, but the thing that sets it apart for most people is that you can use it for just about anything.
This multipurpose knife can be useful to people of all skill levels. The beginner will enjoy the simplicity, ease of sharpening, and the fact that it can perform countless tasks. It is also durable. We have many reviewers who have had theirs for more than thirty years, yet they still look brand new. Don’t be embarrassed to list them among the items in your will.
If you are looking for the jack of all trades whose only specialty is longevity, by all means, go for the Wüsthof Classic 8-inch chef knife.