The Wusthof Ikon Blackwood Paring Knife shows definite improvements compared to Wusthof’s older styles, but one thing that hasn’t changed is the steel.
This full tang knife with forged bolsters at the blade base and the butt of the handle makes an already strong design even stronger. Perfectly fitted handle slabs of African blackwood or Grenadill fill out the grip with a smooth polished surface that works by shape rather than traction. A slight finger choil behind the bolster adds even more grip security. Wusthof has claimed ergonomic design ever since the word became popular, but the Wusthof Classic handles never changed. The Ikon series handles are genuinely different and won’t press rounded corners into your hands — if you work for hours with knives, instead of moments, you’ll appreciate the improvement.
The riveted Grenadill handle really is beautiful, made from a wood so dense that it will hardly be affected by moisture or abrasion. With such an ample handle and only a 3-1/2-inch-long paring blade, there’s really not much to say about balance — weight is nearly all in the grip. Most of the paring work I do is hand-held, not on the cutting board, so the extra control suits me just fine. If you find the knife too short for mincing and chopping, move on to a different knife.
The quality of the steel matches the blades of the Classic series. Made from X50CrMoV15 high carbon stainless steel, the taper-ground edge will turn rather than chip when pressed against hard bone. With this amount of temper, the knife is easily maintained with a honing steel, and more serious problems can be easily corrected with whetstones. Unlike Wusthof’s older styles, the Ikon Blackwood Paring Knife’s front bolster does not extend to the cutting edge. That makes the working edge of the knife more accessible for use and for sharpening.