Knife block and honing steel included
Handles have a flat hold
Bread knife isn't very flexible
We purchased the Wüsthof Classic 9-Piece Block Set so our reviewer could put it to the test in her kitchen. Keep reading for our full product review.
The debate of whether you should buy a knife set or buy knives individually is probably as old as when knife sets were first manufactured. Most of the time you hear recommendations to buy a couple of knives you'll use most and then add more. But there are times when buying a knife set makes for a better choice. For instance, if you are just starting out, a set of knives that have predefined functions is an easy way to practice knife skills. Also, a knife set gives you a consistent hold and feel for all the knives you have. And there is often a beautiful block that safely houses the knives and looks lovely on the kitchen counter. This brings us to the Wüsthof Classic 9-Piece Block Set.
This knife set is, well, a classic one! But something noteworthy about this particular set is that it includes what is essentially a Western-style kiritsuke knife (which is listed as a 6-inch prep knife on Amazon). I had to check out how this Western-style kiritsuke performed, and as well as how the Wüsthof Classic knives fared in general. Do these knives just rest on their past laurels, or are they still the top knives they used to be? Read on to find out.
Design: Efficient and functional
All the knives in the set are forged with a full tang, and the handles have three rivets that provide a sturdy grip. The knives felt fairly balanced in hand, which is essential, especially for the chef’s knife and the kiritsuke knife. All the knives have a thick, exposed bolster that provided a smooth surface to rest my finger on while holding them. The utility knives have a straight cutting edge that runs along the length of the blade, with a curved tip to allow for making precise incisions. The chef’s knife and the kiritsuke knife have a straight cutting edge for chopping and a gentle curve along the tip of the knife to help with long slicing cuts.
Material: High-carbon stainless steel
Knife manufacturers have custom metallurgical processes to produce a knife that meets their standard. Whether it is to produce a knife with a higher Rockwell hardness scale or a corrosion-free one, they all start with a base steel. The Wüsthof Classic blades are made from stainless steel as the base material, to which carbon, chromium, molybdenum, and vanadium are added. The mix helps with hardness (carbon), durability (vanadium), and corrosion resistance (chromium). The handles are made from a synthetic material called polyoxymethylene, which prevents fading and discoloration.
Performance: Sharp, balanced, rocking
This is what it boils down to. After I know that the knife looks good and feels great in my hands, I want to know if it really performs. So, I took all the knives, the shears, and the honing steel for a test run and very soon had a mountain of sliced, chopped, and diced vegetables.
The paring knife was sharp right out of the box. It felt perfectly sized, giving me more control over the knife. The flat edge of the blade made topping and tailing smaller vegetables much easier. I peeled and sliced apples with the knife with no problem at all.
The utility knife was not much different from the paring knife. Since it is only 1 inch longer than the paring knife, there was not much I could do with it that I could not do with the paring knife. It was also a bit odd to maneuver a longer knife for peeling.
The serrated utility knife was a smooth slicer. It went right through the tomatoes and cut very thin, even slices. Cutting cherry tomatoes into twos and dicing tomatoes were also smooth. The cuts were clean and not attached to each other.
The assortment of knives in the set got me through most kitchen tasks with ease. Chopping and slicing tomatoes were a breeze, and so were dicing and slicing onions.
The kiritsuke in the set is a Western-style one with a double bevel. While traditional single-bevel kiritsuke knives take mastery to use, this one was quite the opposite. It had speed, form, and function—all things I like when I am prepping things for cooking. It was my favorite knife in the block. It sliced through tomatoes and grilled meat and made a quick work of chopping herbs and dicing onions.
With softer sourdough, sandwich breads, and even a baguette, the bread knife cut through cleanly and efficiently without leaving marks on the crumb or squishing the bread. With its scalloped edges and a somewhat stiff blade, this bread knife had some trouble cutting through a large crusty sourdough boule. The cut was not as smooth and because of the smaller size of the knife; I had to cut it a couple of times.
The chef's knife worked as expected: smooth-rolling motion, sharp, and the cuts were exact. To further test this knife, I chopped some tomatoes and herbs, and it made clean slices of the former and chopped chives without smashing them.
For the honing steel: A few quick runs along the length of the blade, and the knives that I had deliberately not honed (to check how long the sharpness would last) were sharp and ready to go.
The kitchen shears are sharp and come apart easily for washing. I had no trouble chopping up a bunch of green chilies and herbs in addition to breaking down poultry.
Cleaning: Hand-washing required
Dishwashing knives dull their edges, and doing so is dangerous from a safety standpoint. As with all other knives, these knives must be hand-washed and air-dried. These knives did get marks on them when water was left on them, but the stain was not permanent. Using a soft cloth to completely dry them solved the issue.
Price: Expensive, but a worthy investment
Retailing at around $550, these are not the most expensive knives on the market, but they do cost a pretty penny. Given that these knives last a long time and are made with German steel and a precision-edge technology that results in quality blades, these knives are a worthy kitchen investment. The assortment of knives in the set got me through most of the kitchen tasks with ease. Chopping and slicing tomatoes were a breeze, and so were dicing and slicing onions.
Wüsthof Classic 9-Piece Block Set vs. Global 10-Piece Takashi Knife Block Set
Global 10-Piece Takashi Knife Block Set: The Wüsthof Classic 9-Piece Knife is a complete set and has all the knives you will need for routine kitchen jobs—except the boning knife, which can be added later. The Global 10-Piece Takashi Knife Block Set comes with the most used knives in the kitchen and includes a boning knife. They are, however, more expensive from the start, retailing for around $800 to $1200, whereas with Wüsthof Classic you can choose to buy the additional knives later.
A versatile and dependable knife set.
Pull up your sleeves and start chopping, slicing, and dicing. The Wüsthof 9-Piece Block Set comes with all the starter knives you will need, along with a sturdy block to store them. There are extra slots to put in steak knives and other new knives you may add to your collection. Also, it includes a kiritsuke knife!
- Product Name Classic 9-Piece Knife Set
- Product Brand Wusthof
- Price $550.00
- Material High-carbon stainless steel
- Warranty Lifetime (for defects in workmanship and material under normal use and conditions)
- What's Included 3.5-inch paring knife, 4.5-inch utility knife, 5-inch serrated utility knife, 6-inch Kiritsuke, 8-inch bread knife, 8-inch chef's knife, 9-inch honing steel, Come-apart kitchen shears, and 17-slot acacia knife block