Are J. A. Henckels kitchen knives zany good?

Discussion in 'Kitchen Cutlery & Tools' started by matgarsmi, Dec 28, 2012.

  1. matgarsmi


    Feb 27, 2012
    I received a pleasant surprise for Christmas, a set of A. J. Henckels kitchen knives. I know nothing about kitchen knives, so I was wondering what I should expect from them? Are they any good? I know these are very general questions, but any help would be great.
  2. franzb69


    Dec 6, 2012
    they're decent, but there are knives that are better for the same price. =D

    what kind did you get? what model? they have quite a few product lines.
  3. matgarsmi


    Feb 27, 2012
    I'm not sure. They say forged premio German stainless steel and they are made in china. I forgot to check the box before throwing it out.
  4. Jaytaylor

    Jaytaylor Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 9, 2012
    I purchased a twin cuisine set about 3 years ago, they perform just fine but all are showing signs of rust - so much for the "NO STAIN".
  5. Jaytaylor

    Jaytaylor Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 9, 2012
    Mine are made in Germany.
  6. shunsui

    shunsui Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 12, 2008
    I think it comes down to whether you like the handles and design. If it works for you, the worst is you might have to sharpen a little more often. I've got an old Henckels 4Star 6" chef's knife I've been using for about 25 years. A couple of passes over a Sharpmaker and it's good to go.
  7. franzb69


    Dec 6, 2012
    well i say, stick with it and use it. if you find it unsatisfactory then you can always find someone else to give it or sell it to. then just buy a knife of your choice that would fit your needs. =D
  8. Hesparus


    Oct 31, 2004
    I have an 8" chef's knife from Henckels Zwilling (it has an integral bolster and handle scales that are riveted on — I'm not sure what the series is), as well as a bread knife, paring knife and utility knife of the same series (the latter two I never use). The chef's knife is what I use for nearly everything and I like it quite a bit. It has surprisingly good geometry — I measured it at 0.005" behind the edge — and the balance is good. There are two things I don't like about it, though: 1st, there is an odd design flaw where the edge is pretty flat leading up to the bolster, which runs all the way down to the edge. This means that after just a few sharpenings, the edge will be higher than the bolster, and most of the flat area leading up to the bolster will be useless — this is the area that is used most often. To fix this, I ground down part of the bolster on my belt grinder. I don't recommend doing this without knifemaking experience. F. Dick knives also have this issue (and some other issues that I could list) but I believe Wusthof knives don't.
    The other issue is that the steel is relatively soft; I believe it's only RC56. This is soft enough that it won't break if you drop it, but I'm a little disappointed in the edge-holding ability.

    My girlfriend also has a set of Henckels from the Four Star series (not the four star 2). She has a couple of paring knives, a european chef's knife and a santoku. Her chef's knife is several years newer than mine (I got mine in 2003; hers are only about three years old). I don't like her chef's knife nearly as much as mine. It is thinner at the spine, about the same thickness at the edge, but it just doesn't cut as well. I believe the bevels are convex rather than flat on my knife. The steel doesn't seem to take an edge as well or hold it as well. The santoku is even worse: it's 0.01" thick behind the edge, and it will not take or hold an edge for anything. It also has a flimsy feel to it.

    A few years ago I bought a friend of mine a Henckels Forged Synergy santoku. For the money I paid (about $40 at target) it's not a bad knife. It doesn't take or hold an edge particularly well, but the geometry is pretty good. I actually like it better than the four star santoku.

    So Henckels are a mixed bag in my experience. You can do much better but you can also do much worse. Since yours was free, you have nothing to lose by using it. The only real issue is whether or not it works for you.

    - Chris
  9. Magnaminous_G


    Jul 13, 2011
    J.A. Henckels "Twin" series made in Germany are very good. I don't own any, but I've been sharpening many lately, and I can tell that the steel and overall construction is pretty dang good. As for the "International" series made in China, I have no idea.
  10. franzb69


    Dec 6, 2012
    it'll fit will for many many people who don't really demand a whole lot from their kitchen knives. =D
  11. Bernoulli


    Jun 15, 2007
    The Henckels line is so large that it's impossible to answer. I believe, though, that their outsourced knives use Solingen steel - except for their Japanese group. Some of their stuff is good - some not so hot.
  12. Luis G.

    Luis G. Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 18, 2011
    JA Henckels german made knives are pretty darn good.
    Their International series however leave a lot to be desired.
  13. matgarsmi


    Feb 27, 2012
    Thanks for all the replies. It's pretty much what I figured, but compared to my last set of kitchen knives they are pretty darn good. I'll use them and enjoy them.
  14. timbit


    Jul 21, 2011
    Better than what most people have in thrdre kitchens. I switched from german to Japanese knives 2 years ago. I will never ever buy another German knife. They are decent quality, nothin wrong with them at all...but Japanese knives...omg sexy
  15. jimnolimit


    Oct 28, 2009
    how will you be keeping these new knives sharp?
  16. matgarsmi


    Feb 27, 2012
    I use a sharpmaker
  17. kenhills


    Dec 17, 2007
    They make two types (prices) one is in stainless the other high carbon. I have had a 6 pc set of the hi carbon for almost 30 years and have always enjoyed them. I keep them very sharp with a fine oil stone and touch them up once every 3 or 4 months. I have used the stainless ones they are fine for what you pay for them. In my opinion just harder to keep sharp.
  18. grelcar


    Dec 30, 2007
    I have some of their International series knives that were made in Spain. Fit and finish is very good but I am not impressed whit their edge holding ability. They do sharpen easily though.
  19. Mudbug007


    Nov 29, 2010
    My wife bought me a set three years ago for Christmas. I was pretty stoked. That is, until I started using them. I process my own game and I would have to stop regularly and sharpen them. I didn't think they should have to be touched up that often. I then noticed they were made in China and not Germany. We eventually sold them in a yard sale for a lot less than what she gave for them.
  20. Carson Donovan

    Carson Donovan

    Oct 13, 2012
    In my opinion they had became knives marketer instead of cutlery maker. Their newer lines are from all over the place and the same can be said for their quality. Mostly they are good in name only, edges retention are quite dismal.

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