ZWILLING J.A.HENCKELS Traditional vs Pro

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CrazyClown

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Hi,

I am new here. I am 29 yrs old home cook. I use knives here and there. I am considering the following purchase:

ZWILLING J.A.HENCKELS Traditional 7 piece block set made is Spain for 200$ Cad which comes with 8 steak knifes

ZWILLING J.A.HENCKELS Pro 6 piece block set made in germany for 330$ cad

What are your recommendations? Your help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
 

chinacats

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Welcome!

If you must choose the Henckels I would suggest the ones made in Germany as they have traditionally been of a higher quality than those made in Spain which are a higher quality than those made in China...I do believe they also have some knives made in Japan which I would suggest may be even better. Perhaps Richard will chime in as he seems to have a good grasp of these particular lines. My suggestion would be to buy a Japanese gyuto in which case I would suggest filling out the 'which knife should I buy questionnaire'. I would not buy a set under any circumstances as this is how companies generally unload all their knives that aren't particularly useful.

Cheers
 

K813zra

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Welcome!

If you must choose the Henckels I would suggest the ones made in Germany as they have traditionally been of a higher quality than those made in Spain which are a higher quality than those made in China...I do believe they also have some knives made in Japan which I would suggest may be even better. Perhaps Richard will chime in as he seems to have a good grasp of these particular lines. My suggestion would be to buy a Japanese gyuto in which case I would suggest filling out the 'which knife should I buy questionnaire'. I would not buy a set under any circumstances as this is how companies generally unload all their knives that aren't particularly useful.

Cheers
I agree, even if you stick with German or other Euro knives to buy them by part. I started with a block set some years back and of course I had to get the full block with a bunch of knives that I have never used.

Then again, now I have nearly a dozen Gyutos that I don't always use...
 

Krassi

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Hi!

As Chinacats mentions. Dondt buy a Block with at least 4-5 Knifes that you will never use.
You will get 2 excellent Knifes for your budget and much better stuff than the ZWILLING J.A.HENCKELS .. I am living next to the city Solingen were the knifes are manufactured in germany and would never ever buy one of those again (also started with a Zwilling 5 Star Block).. read a bit about all the stuff that is mentioned here and then decide what you need and want. ;).. with your budget you will be in knife heaven if you never had good knifes before ;)

Seeya, daniel ;)
 

bennyprofane

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A Zwilling block was what got me into good knives, I was so disappointed by it.
 

CrazyClown

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A Zwilling block was what got me into good knives, I was so disappointed by it.
Based on the feedback. I shouldn't buy a set. So I am filling this questionnaire out.


LOCATION
What country are you in?
CANADA


KNIFE TYPE
What type of knife are you interested in (e.g., chef’s knife, slicer, boning knife, utility knife, bread knife, paring knife, cleaver)?
CHEF KNIFE
BREAD KNIFE
PARING KNIFE
UTILITY KNIFE
SENTOKU KNIFE

Are you right or left handed? RIGHT

Are you interested in a Western handle (e.g., classic Wusthof handle) or Japanese handle?

MORE MODERN, CLASSIC WUSTHOF FOR Example

What length of knife (blade) are you interested in (in inches or millimeters)?

NO CLUE

Do you require a stainless knife? (Yes or no)

YES

What is your absolute maximum budget for your knife?

200-300 CAD

KNIFE USE
Do you primarily intend to use this knife at home or a professional environment?

HOME USE

What are the main tasks you primarily intend to use the knife for (e.g., slicing vegetables, chopping vegetables, mincing vegetables, slicing meats, cutting down poultry, breaking poultry bones, filleting fish, trimming meats, etc.)? (Please identify as many tasks as you would like.)


HOME COOK TYPE OF TASKS

What knife, if any, are you replacing?
VICTORIA KNOX UTILITY KNIFE AND SOME RANDOM NO NAME

Do you have a particular grip that you primarily use? (Please click on this LINK for the common types of grips.) 3 WHOLE ONE IDK TO BE HONEST

What cutting motions do you primarily use? (Please click on this LINK for types of cutting motions and identify the two or three most common cutting motions, in order of most used to least used.)

NO CLUE

What improvements do you want from your current knife? If you are not replacing a knife, please identify as many characteristics identified below in parentheses that you would like this knife to have.)

BETTER CURT'S, SHARP, LONG LASTING

Better aesthetics (e.g., a certain type of finish; layered/Damascus or other pattern of steel; different handle color/pattern/shape/wood; better scratch resistance; better stain resistance)?

NO BATTERY, STEEL IS GOOD

Comfort (e.g., lighter/heavier knife; better handle material; better handle shape; rounded spine/choil of the knife; improved balance)?

NO PREFERENCE BUT NOT TOO LIGHT

Ease of Use (e.g., ability to use the knife right out of the box; smoother rock chopping, push cutting, or slicing motion; less wedging; better food release; less reactivity with food; easier to sharpen)?


HIGH EASE OF USE


Edge Retention (i.e., length of time you want the edge to last without sharpening)?

LONG TIME



KNIFE MAINTENANCE
Do you use a bamboo, wood, rubber, or synthetic cutting board? (Yes or no.)


WOOD AND PLASTIC BOARDS

Do you sharpen your own knives? (Yes or no.)
NO

If not, are you interested in learning how to sharpen your knives? (Yes or no.)
YES

Are you interested in purchasing sharpening products for your knives? (Yes or no.)
YES
 

laxdad

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200-300 CAD$ for the whole set is not a lot of money for Japanese knives.

A couple of suggestions. First, reduce the number of knives to three: a chefs knife, a bread knife, and parer/utility. Then spend the majority of your budget on the chefs knife. It will be your most used knife. Tojiro is a good entry level brand for J-knives. Take a look at them. Don't know who has the best prices for them in Canada. In the US, many stores are having their Thanksgiving/Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales.
 

daveb

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Hencks are no better and no worse than the other "typical" German knives - Hencks, Wusties, Messermeister. They made of soft steel by design so that the knives can be forgiving to abuse and so they can be quickly touched up on a honing steel. This also means they won't hold an edge long. It's a design tradeoff and the Germans have gone one way and the Japanese another way.

If you like the Germans, by all means buy a German. I suggest Messermeister Elite as a starting point, to me they balance better than the others I have used and I like the semi-bolster that they come with. I will echo others in that you will be best served with an individual knife or two rather than a block full. If Henckels floats your boat then I suggest the Four Star series - IMO the best line that Henckels ever made. The International series is crap, the Professional series sucks less than some of the others.

Most here prefer the harder steel that is used in the Japanese knives. Of course most here handle their knives with some care and sharpen them themselves. If you are open to the Japanese knives we can certainly provide some recommendations there as well. Long term you'll thank us for that.
 

chinacats

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So if you'd like to go the J-knife route I would suggest opting for something similar in size to the knife you're most comfortable using currently. If it's in the 8 inch size or larger then start with a stainless gyuto. You don't have to spend a lot of money to get a really good knife and as stated you only likely need a gyuto, parer, petty (basically a knife in between parer and gyuto) and bread knife if it's something you like/need. You could easily get by without at least one of the ones mentioned but that would give you some good options.

There are a couple of vendors in Canada with good reputations but I'll leave it to the Canadians to chime in as to who they are. They'll be more familiar with the specific brands available at the local shops as well. Again, you don't really need anything fancy but something that doesn't need a lot of work out of box would be a good choice.

As to sharpening a knife, it's not very complicated (rub knife on rock) and won't take long to get proficient...maybe a lifetime to master:) If you mess up the knife along the way it is easily fixed with some sandpaper and maybe some advice. [video=youtube;GB3jkRi1dKs]https://www.youtube.com/watch?list=PLEBF55079F53216AB&v=GB3jkRi1dKs[/video]

These are some demonstration/training videos done by a guy who gives a lot to this community (and also happens to sell some really nice knives here in the states). I'd recommend a King combination stone 1k/6k to start as it is a small investment and a decent stone...if you want to spend more or pursue better we can help you spend more money.:angel2:
 

LifeByA1000Cuts

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Zwilling kind of have two kinds of knives: These sold under the "Zwilling" brand, for people that want something old school and boring. And the "Miyabi" brand that is taking a lot of inspiration from japanese cutlery. Confusingly, there is is at least one "Zwilling" line (Cermax - these are NOT ceramic but should be treated like they were!) that should be Miyabi, probably there to introduce Miyabi products via retailers that only stock the "Zwilling" brand :)

BTW, Zwilling's german webstore (not the US store I think) has a Cermax gyuto on sale for around €200 (which I would, unlike the normal price, actually call a very decent price for what you are getting).
 

jljohn

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You are getting some good advice here. If it were me, I'd start with the following three knives and get the best I could for the money I had:

8"--10" Chef's or Gyuto (I'd err on the long side)
10" Serrated Bread
3"--5" Paring or Petty

Focus on getting the best Chef's/Gyuto you can, buy the MAC Bread Knife, and then look for the pest Paring/Petty with what you have left. You can do virtually anything you need with these three, and any other knives are not strictly necessary. Plan on getting more, but start here.
 

LifeByA1000Cuts

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Look at Herder Windmühlen if you like something German :)

If you could do with a japanese style (not conducive to rough use or rock chopping, but sharper :) ), check what 330 CAD will buy you at knifewear.ca ;)
 

James

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You are getting some good advice here. If it were me, I'd start with the following three knives and get the best I could for the money I had:

8"--10" Chef's or Gyuto (I'd err on the long side)
10" Serrated Bread
3"--5" Paring or Petty

Focus on getting the best Chef's/Gyuto you can, buy the MAC Bread Knife, and then look for the pest Paring/Petty with what you have left. You can do virtually anything you need with these three, and any other knives are not strictly necessary. Plan on getting more, but start here.
Do this. Santoku and chef/gyuto are redundant as are paring and petty.
 

LifeByA1000Cuts

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I'd say the bread knife is redundant (but inexpensive anyway). Or was the suggestion more towards always having some serrated bread around to keep the cook well fed? ;)

Erring on the long side is only a good idea for someone with a big board and big uncluttered counter and long arms (cross cutting with a long knife, or especially tip work with the blade parallel to the counter front... might be no prob at all for the pros, I find it awkward to do as an amateur...).

Whether you like a santoku or chef as a main is personal taste and technique; same with petty length (3" is annoyingly short if pinch gripped and/or used on-board, 5" needs some practice if used for actual in-hand paring).

Get an empty block (the fact you opened an account on this forum is evidence that an 18 to 24 slot block should suffice) and fill it over time with what you like :)
 

K813zra

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If you are looking for utility rather than diving down the endless rabbit hole of collecting J-knives then something softer than a typical J-knife would do just fine and save you a boat load of money. Something like Fujiwara, JKI Gesshin Stainless, Suisin Western etc would all be more forgiving than typical Japanese knives and should still be an improvement over most Euro knives. Things like Tojiro DP would bridge the gap between softer and harder knives and not be too much of an impact to your wallet but I don't know about their availability or pricing in the North.

I got my mother a few Fujiwara FKM knives for her birthday about three years ago as an upgrade from Vicotorinox and she has never been happier. You might have to mix and match though as a lot of J-knife lines do not have paring knives and other lines do not have bread knives.

I agree with the others that three knives is a good start. Maybe something like this.

Gyuto on a budget: Fujiwara FKM or Tojiro DP
Bread Knife: Tojiro or Mac
Paring knife: Misono Moly or Mac

By all means there are other semi-budget choices out there that fit your needs but these are the ones that I have the most experience with. Whatever you choose, enjoy them! Oh, and as others have said, if you want German knives then get German knives. We don't all have the same needs or desires.
 

DanDan

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Agree with the advice in here. Since you want edge retention and have an interest in sharpening I'd say start by just grabbing a solid gyuto (like the already mentioned Tojiro DP). Start from there and put the rest of the money away to invest in a few more knives or sharpening down the road once you're more sure. I don't mean to underestimate your tasks, but it should handle most needs and will show you what you're missing after you start using it. Also, physically handling the knife will give you a good idea of your personal preferences.

There are also some Tojiro sets out there (i.e. gyuto and petty) for a good deal that you should look into. Also some good deals on bread slicers like the Tojiro F-737 which can be purchased in Canada (but I'm not too knowledgable on bread knives).
 

Krassi

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Yep! 100% Herder Windmühlen if you want the best german factory produced knifes.
Get the 1922 big one and a Petty in Carbon, or check the K-series, or get a cheapo one that is still super thin and very good.
 

LifeByA1000Cuts

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Maybe try something "extremely japanese" at the same time, eg a wa-handled blue#2 kurouchi santoku :)
 

milkbaby

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Hey CC, based on the answers in your questionnaire, I would say that you don't necessarily need the types of Japanese knives a lot of forum regulars prefer. Sounds like you're in Canada from your budget in CAD, so I'm also going to assume you cut like a lot of westerners where you keep the tip of the knife in contact with the cutting board and rock the handle up and down to cut. If this is incorrect, please correct me.

In general, the German chef's knives will have more "belly" towards the tip so you can rock the knife up and down with the tip in "constant" contact with the board. I use quotation marks around "constant" because many people may actually lift the tip some and walk it along what they're cutting. The German knives also tend to be softer than Japanese knives, so the steel will tend to bend at the cutting edge. This means when you walk the blade, hit bones, or bludgeon something on the cutting board, the edge is more likely to fold rather than chip a piece out. Then you can bring most of the sharpness back by unfolding the bent edge by using a honing steel. You probably seen people run their knives on a metal rod, that's the honing steel.

Japanese chef's knives, also known as gyutos, often have much less belly and are hardened steel much harder than German knives. It's tougher to rock the blade higher over some things you want to cut, many people use more slicing and chopping motions where the whole blade lifts up from the cutting board. The harder steel can take a narrower and sharper edge as well as stay sharper longer (because it's harder). On the downside, harder usually means more brittle, so these knives are more likely to break chips out of the edge if you hit a hard bone or are lazy with cutting technique, say walking a rock cut across your board and twisting the edge of the tip while still in contact with the board.

I speak in generalities, so there are some German knives that are harder with narrower edge angles, and there are softer Japanese knives amenable to rocking the blade.

I agree with everybody that a knife set is usually not a great choice because you get knives you don't need and compromise on quality for more quantity. For ease of use and staying sharp, I would say first try a Japanese stainless steel gyuto 210 mm blade length with a western style handle. I like the Japanese style wa handle which tends to be a straight piece of wood, but wa handled knives tend to be lighter than full tang western handle knives, and you said you prefer a heavier knife. Odds are it will still feel a lot lighter than what you're used to, but don't worry, you actually have more control and use less effort with a lighter knife once you get used to it. I also prefer 240 mm or longer blade, but not everybody does.

You could spend $100 to $200 Canadian on a gyuto first then decide on a paring and/or utility knife and bread knife later. Unless you cut a lot of crusty bread, you could even skip the bread knife as a good sharp chef's knife can often cut bread better with less crumbs made than a lower quality serrated bread knife.
 

Krassi

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Yeah like a Tanaka or Shiro Kamo for a small budget or the Tadafusa.
 
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