When I was finishing up College, I worked at Cutlery World. It was a fun gig, and I learned a lot about knives. I also became enamored with Henckels knives. At the time, the three big lines were Chicago Cutlery, Trident, and Henckels. Chicago Cutlery had wood handles, and stamped blades. I did not care for either, but they were popular. I always liked the forge steel blades of Trident and Henckels. What sold me on the Four Star blades by Henckels was that the handles had no rivets. Rivets are just a place for crud to gather.
Flash forward to wedding plans, and I had two things I wanted. A KitchenAid Stand mixer, and a set of Henckels Four-Star knives. They don’t sell quite that set anymore, but it was close to this one: Zwilling J.A. Henckels Twin Four Star 7-Piece Block Set (associate link) minus the Santoku and scissors. This fall I will have been with my Four Star knives for almost 20 years. Oh yeah, and my wife as well.
I have since added a 7″ Santoku and 3″ paring knife (it was a mini-set). We have used these a lot over the years, so I can testify to their durability. I like the label; Friodur… Ice Hardened.
Getting a set of nice knives, and making them last 20 years does require some care and maintenance. I recently found a series of videos by Bob Kramer (a master bladesmith) created by Sur La Table and JA Henckels. See links after the jump.
Here is a nice look at what “sharp” means. You are far more likely to injury yourself with a dull knife than a sharp knife.
Here is a run down on how to hone your knife. My personal peeve, the tendency of knife companies calling their honing steel a sharpening steel. Honing and sharpening are different, and both are important.
Finally, here he is showing you how to sharpen your blade with a stone, and quick description of the two-step process. Frankly, I keep my blades well-honed, and when they need to be sharpened, take them to professionals. Just don’t want to mess up my investment.