Wusthof is without a doubt one of the best manufacturers of kitchen knives in the entire world.
They have existed for over 200 years and are headquartered to this day in the historic hub of metal crafts throughout Europe – Solingen, Germany.
There are several reasons why they are considered the best, but one that really stands out is the incredible sharpness of their products.
With the dizzying edge angle of 14 degrees (for their western-style western leaves), Wusthofs is sharper than its Solingen competitor Zwilling JA Henckels.
It seems that they have perfected their craft, especially when it comes to how they construct their knives, especially the slanted belly.
The three basic edging edges
For efficiency in the kitchen, whether you are working in a professional setting or just a home cook who wants to make great meals, it is important to have a better understanding of your knife.
And it all starts with the crushed stomach on your leaf.
This is the most common type found in a whole lot of knives, from small knives to large clubs.
It’s usually the sharpest of all, great for most cuts and dice.
This has elongated shaped depressions or divisions right on top of the slope.
The small pockets prevent friction between the blade and the food so that the slices can just fall off the knife and onto the cutting board. Some call indented knives Granton Slicers.
This refers to small, saw-like teeth used to cut through objects with rough or hard exterior and soft interiors like bread, watermelon, pineapple and even tomatoes. A variation of this type is the inverted scallop.
While this is not exactly part of the conversation, it is good that you have an idea about this particular type.
Are hollow edges a new thing?
Most people know this type when Santoku came into being.
When TV chef Rachel Ray praised the Japanese piece in her show, she specified two points: the slightly sloping tip that has become a safety feature, and the divots along the slope that made the cutting board tasks more efficient.
However, the idea of preventing food adhesion during excision has been considered for decades, long before it was pointed out by Rachel Ray.
The hollow side of the single oblique Japanese knife
Most traditional Japanese pieces are single-phase.
Shinogi is the angled grinding, and Urasuki is the slightly concave surface on the back of the blade. Shinogi cuts and Urasuki pushes the sliced portion away from the uncut ingredient.
The problem with creating Urasuki is that the slope is made too thin and susceptible to breakage; therefore, they have added Uraoshi, an edge that surrounds the concave side and strengthens the vulnerable steel.
Early 20th century European design
Although this came at a later date compared to the centuries of Japanese knife-making technique, the Granton style was developed by Wm. Grant and Sons Ltd (probably where the name comes from) is the actual forerunner of Hollow Edge that most people know today.
Here, the oval sculpted parts are placed just above the slope on both sides (European styles are double-phase) so that the edge is not hammered dangerously thin.
These cutters are also made of thicker and softer metal than usual, so they do not risk being chipped or cracked.
Is this the same as hollow grinding?
Many home cooks and non-experts often confuse hollow edges with grinds. These two are completely different.
Both the inclined blades on the straight edges, the indented ones and even the sawtooth are ground at a linear angle. As mentioned, Wusthofs is given 14 degrees on each side, while Zwillings has 15 degrees.
True hollow grindings have concave chamfers. This is what straight razors have, which is why they are incredibly sharp.
Unfortunately, it does not last long and must either be replaced or professionally sanded. It is difficult to maintain the concavity of this piece with the usual honing tools.
The right way to polish your wusthof
The only maintenance work that knives need is fine-tuning. Do this before and after use and you will not have any blunt problems soon.
It may be necessary to grind this back to its factory level, once a year or even more if you are not working in a professional kitchen.
Straight edges are easy to polish. You can use rods, pull-throughs and even an amber for this.
Be aware that using these rectangular boulders requires little skill and is time consuming. However, the results are all worth it.
Granton cutters are also not that difficult to work on – rods and pull-ups are just as effective for this.
However, it is not advisable to use a rut, especially if you have not practiced using this, as it can damage the slope and depressions.
The good news is that Wusthof has been made incredibly sharp to begin with.
As long as you refine your tools religiously, sharpening will not be a problem.
The company also has a number of large grinders such as diamond and ceramic grinding rods, two- or three-stage manual grinders and a super-efficient electric grinder.
The ongoing argument
This has been a point of contention for many connoisseurs in forums all over the internet: because a whole lot of knife styles now contain the oval dents – even the chef’s, mating and auxiliary knives – is it a good idea to get this or just plain kind?
Some will say that the only good thing about the recesses is that it prevents food adhesion.
These people will also tell you that it is a non-issue. If the sliced ingredient is stuck to the steel, push it down or pull it off with your hand.
The Japanese have already seen the challenge of creating the ‘air pocket’ in their single-phase pieces, which is why they have strengthened their Urasuki with Uraoshi.
Modern double-phase tools do not have it, which means thinner steel that can be easily broken.
Some also complain about constant sharpening with hollow-edged knives compared to the straight ones.
And if you do not know it yet, manual grinding is a skill that is quite difficult to learn.
All things considered, which of the two works better?
To be completely honest, the best tool in the kitchen is the most basic.
If you choose between a regular chef’s knife and the one with hollow edges, choose the former.
A well-developed piece will not create too much of the trait that some people complain about.
If you get a Santoku, get it with divots. It’s already an accepted part of the design, and it’s not exactly a handicap.