This set of three fundamental home chef’s knives from J. A. Henckels Cutlery is a reasonable choice for someone starting out on a budget. The Professional Series from which these knives are taken isn’t the finest Henckels has to offer, but it’s serviceable if you are willing to spend time on edge maintenance.
In this set you get an 8″ blade chef’s knife, 5″ blade utility knife, and 3″ blade paring knife–all well designed blades with gap free polpropylene handle slabs securely riveted to the full tang knife blanks. Stamped from rolls of high carbon stainless steel, the blades will not have the superior edge holding quality of knives that are hand forged. Cost cutting usually also involves oven tempering in large lots and sometimes a wide variation in quality from knife to knife.
The end result is a set of knives that one person may love and another may find troublesome. In every factory batch there will be great knives, and the not so great as well. The flat grind makes getting a good initial edge a little more difficult, and often takes some hand honing with a good whetstone before a sharpening steel will be of much help. This same grind gives lower quality steel a very strong edge, so it isn’t a bad trade-off. It just requires more attention from the owner.
The stainless steel Henckels uses is not corrosion free–chosen for qualities beyond simple corrosion protection, the blades survive best if hand washed rather than run through dishwashers. The gap free construction makes hand washing simple. Check the edge while you’re at it.
Looking for a better set in the same price range? Check out our favorite small set — the Forschner 3-piece set.
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