Wusthof Classic Ikon 8″ Cook’s Knife Review (4596/20)9 min readNovember 29, 2020
Wusthof Classic Ikon 4596/20 is a 8” cook’s knife designed and produced in Solingen by a famous German manufacturer with a more than 200-years history. Wusthof is well-known for its high-alloyed steel and exceptional focus on kitchen knives while many other cutlery brands produce various types of kitchenware. This concentration allows the company to offer exclusive and elegant blades for their customers. Wuesthof Classic Ikon is exactly one of those chef’s knives combining elegance and proficiency at the same time. Developed mostly for professional cooks, the Classic Ikon blade is the main tool used by the German National Culinary Team. Based on a real-life usage experience, this Wusthof Classic Ikon review will help you decide whether you should purchase it or not.
- Series – Classic Ikon
- Blade material – molybdenum vanadium steel
- Steel grade – X50CrMoV15
- Type – forged
- Blade length – 8” (20 cm)
- Handle material – polyoxymethylene
I’ve spent 6 weeks with this knife and I’ve got things to tell in this Wusthof Classic Ikon chef’s knife review. Being a fan of the European cutting technique and blade design, I couldn’t resist giving it a try in my kitchen. The appearance is the first thing that captured my attention in this knife. I saw many chef’s knives with mediocre styling, I used many knives, made by different brands, that are hard to distinguish from each other because of their repeatedly boring design called “classic”. I’ve never seen, however, a cook’s knife developed under the advanced classic styling paradigm that would manage to keep the practicality of well-known design and remove the mediocrity from it at the same time until I took this blade in my hand.
Separate from a set, Wusthof Classic Ikon 4596/20 has been originally packed in a small carton case covering only a knife blade and transparent plastic bag. No gift boxes and luxurious textiles in it. Such a modest packing can confuse you and make you think of this knife as much cheaper than it is. The thing is it requires no nice dress to look good. Cooks and knife enthusiasts will appreciate such a present anyway.
The knife looks brutal and masculine due to its massive metal counterweight on the end of the handle, also known as butt. If it’s possible to divide chef’s knives into men’s and women’s, I would call it men’s for sure. However, this opinion has been formed most likely because of its black colored handle since a similar Wusthof Classic Ikon Creme cook’s knife looks more elegant only because its handle has a cream color.
Сooks usually don’t mind how their cutting tools look in their professional kitchens while at home, knives may be a part of the interior. From this perspective, Classic Ikon is hardly an important element capable of somehow impacting your room image. With its discreet black handles and shiny steel elements, the blade is rather a suitable supplement than an inherent component. This is not what will catch your guests’ look as soon as they step up into your kitchen. But they will definitely notice its beauty in action when you suggest them slicing a couple of tomatoes for a salad.
A chef’s knife is the most important knife in any kitchen. It’s also the most frequently used that’s why a blade should be solid enough to ensure the structural integrity of the cutting edge and reasonably soft at the same time to be malleable for manual honing.
The Wusthof Classic Ikon cook’s knife is one of the best Wusthof cook’s knives under $200 in terms of materials. Its blade is made of forged molybdenum-vanadium steel and has the Rockwell Hardness Scale rating equal to 58. This allows the blade to keep sharpening for months depending on how often you use it and remain soft for easy honing and resist such shock loads as falling on the floor from a cooking table. After one-and-a-half months of usage, it still could cut paper even though that was not that easy as it was once I made the first meat slice with this knife. I didn’t hone it at all for purpose to learn how long it can stay sharp. These results, however, may be different if you use the knife in your professional kitchen. Anyway, the forged stainless steel greatly prolongs the sharpness of the cutting edge.
When it comes to design, the blade has a traditional European upward curved cutting edge and straight spine a bit curved downward on the tip. On the left side, it also has a brand stamp with the Wusthof logo, the name of the Classic Ikon series, model 4596/20, and information about the place where the knife was made – Solingen, Germany. This is a famous city also known as “the city of blades“. The right side of the blade is blank with no information on it.
There’s no need for describing how well it cuts various products. The Wusthof Classic Ikon Black cook’s knife is suitable for slicing any food: meat, fish, vegetables, and fruits. The question is how comfortable cutting is with this blade. It’s 8” long (20 cm) and 1.6” wide (4.7 cm). It weighs 0.6 lbs. (271 g), so the knife feels quite heavy in a hand, which is totally OK for a forged blade. This exactly how a professional cook’s knife has to feel. On the other hand, it may seem too much for ordinary home use.
The form of its blade makes it extremely natural to use a rock chop cutting technique that implies keeping a tip of the knife down on the board while chopping products with a knife heel by moving it up and down and pushing them forward instead of changing a blade placement. Wusthof Classic Ikon Black has a full-tang blade which extends its actual length from butt to a tip. Along with the fact that it’s produced from a single metallic brick, it makes the knife strong and ensures it won’t break in your hand.
Wusthof Classic Ikon has a special thickening between its blade and handle. It’s called a bolster that ensures the optimal knife balance, protects your fingers from being injured, as well as prevents product odds and ends from getting under the handle pads. Thanks to this bolster, the knife is easy to work with – even with 3-4 hours of cutting, the hand does not get tired. The bolster fits well to a so-called claw grip and doesn’t create pressure on your middle finger. While holding the knife, your fingers easily lay on the blade face in a proper way. The thing is that the bolster is too short to fully barrier your fingers. On the other hand, its small size makes the knife lighter and enables you to use the full length of the blade and chop products with its heel.
The 8” Wusthof Classic Ikon cook’s knife has a handle made of polyoxymethylene. This is a special plastic material that prevents the knife from slipping even in a wet hand. I’ve tried to cut a watermelon having washed my hands before without wiping them. Even though a bread knife would be a better fit for this task, I just wanted to check how polyoxymethylene pads do their job. Compared to metallic handles of other knives, this plastic feels much more comfortable in a hand. It, however, differs a little from polypropylene by tactile feelings which is a more affordable material.
The handle pads are securely attached with 3 steel rivets. The handle surface with the rivets is smooth – no protrusions or dips on it. The handle has an asymmetrical shape along the horizontal cut, thus adapted to the shape of the palm when holding the knife. At the end of the handle, there is a counterweight with the Wusthof logo engraved with a laser. This steel counterweight significantly improves the balance of the knife. When holding it, the blade and handle seem to have the same weight which eliminates the need to apply extra effort to effectively manipulate the knife.
My Wusthof Classic Ikon cook’s knife review wouldn’t be complete without mentioning its price. High-quality professional knives can’t be cheap since their cost includes, complex alloys, superior materials, exquisite design, and brand reputation. This blade belongs to a premium segment with its relatively affordable price of about $180 excluding the delivery cost. This amount is quite high for a home use knife but it’s totally fair for a forged professional knife.
Pros and Cons
- Suitable for slicing and chopping all kinds of food.
- A perfectly balanced blade.
- A full-tang blade
- Forged from a solid piece of chromium-molybdenum-vanadium steel.
- The ergonomic handle design is developed in coordination with professional chefs.
- The soft cutting edge makes Wusthof Classic Ikon chef’s knife unsuitable for chopping bones.
- You will have to sharpen your knife more often than blades made from harder steels, for example, Damascus steel.
- A short bolster
- High price
If you just need a reliable kitchen knife for ordinary use, then you should turn towards cheaper options. Wusthof Classic Ikon 4596/20, however, is a robust choice for professional kitchens and those adoring to cook at home or creating masterpieces at the cooking table on a regular basis. This knife is worth considering if you cook often or just want to make the process pleasurable and you’re ready to spend almost $200 for a cutting tool you will rarely use. It will be a great deal for those who understand what Wusthof Classic Ikon and Solingen mean.