Wusthof Classic Ikon Bread Knife Review (4166/20)8 min readNovember 28, 2020
Wusthof Classic Ikon 4166/20 is an 8-inch bread knife developed by one of the best German knife brands based in Solingen, Germany. Established in 1871, this company started its operation in a small manufactory with only three blacksmiths. Now, it’s a family business managed by the 7th generation of the Wusthofs with more than 300 workers.
Wusthof is one of the oldest cutlery vendors in Germany. It produces the Classic Ikon series knives using its patented PeTEC precision technology, thus applying 55 different manufacturing steps to create the 4166/20 blade. Mostly carried out by robots, these steps, nevertheless, include handcraft as well as manual polishing and quality checks. This Wusthof Classic Ikon bread knife review will help you understand whether you should purchase or rather pick a cheaper alternative.
- Series – Classic Ikon Black
- Blade material – chrome molybdenum vanadium steel
- Steel grade – X50CrMoV15
- Type – forged
- Blade length – 8” (20 cm)
- Handle material – polyoxymethylene
When it comes to design, Classic Ikon is my favorite Wusthof knife series. 4166/20 is one of best Wusthof bread knives. It’s more affordable compared to Ikon with its glamorous wooden handle, Classic Ikon combines a discreet exclusivity with practical materials. If you consider each element in-depth, you won’t find any extraordinary styling solution. Separate from the whole image, you will see a black riveted handle, a bolster many other knives have, and a shiny serrated blade. None of these can impress you from the first look. However, when you look at the knife altogether, it will surprise you with some esthetic magic that will make you desire it for your kitchen.
As wheels are what influence the car exterior the most, a handle is the main element that makes the Classic Ikon bread knife look so good. The elegant curve lines turn this tool into a magnificent bakery cutting razor that won’t leave you indifferent. What I like the most in the 4166 model is how the company managed to combine a classic design with brutal styling to get an appearance that will never seem outdated if it’s even possible with kitchen knives. Classic Ikon looks more sophisticated than the Classic series. At the same time, it’s not too pretentious as Epicure. The knife is modern and stylish.
I’m not a fan of dividing kitchen knives into male and female. However, in this Wusthof Classic Ikon Black bread knife review I would say that the blade looks brutal, thus more suitable for men. Its descending handle and heavy counterweight are associated with a veiny male cook’s hand. I suppose that women would prefer this knife in a cream color since Wusthof also offers the Classic Ikon Creme series. Although, the black bread knife will be a good fit for any kitchen interior. The Classic Ikon design will impress any guest entering your dining room and please your look even when it remains in a countertop block or on the magnetic wall strip.
Wusthof Classic Ikon 4166/20 has an 8-inch forged blade made of chrome molybdenum vanadium steel appreciated by knife experts from all over the world. Compared to a cheap martensitic stainless steel alloyed with chrome only, for example, X30Cr13, X50CrMoV15 has a variety of other alloying chemical elements that significantly improves the initial steel characteristics. For instance, chrome makes the blade resistant to corrosion, molybdenum makes the alloy more solid, and vanadium increases the overall blade hardness and reliability of the cutting edge.
Hardened to 58 HRC, the blade will keep its sharpness for many years taking into account that a bread knife is mostly used for such soft products as bread and cakes. The most important advantage of the forged bread knife is in its serrated blade rather than sharpness. Such a blade works as a saw, thus increasing the applied force due to a reduced surface of each tooth. This makes the cutting process easier and more efficient, especially for those products with a tough peel and which are soft inside, for example, a watermelon. This physical principle also prolongs a cutting edge life since it requires less effort to apply to cut a pumpkin with a serrated blade than with a cook’s knife.
On the other hand, such a complex cutting edge design makes it impossible to manually sharpen the blade using a whetstone or even manual sharpener. One way or another, you will need to approach a specialized sharpening service company for this task. It’s, however, hard to say when the blade will become that dull it will require sharpening. Until then, you will easily cut bread into thin pieces with a minimum quantity of crumbs. Cakes will no longer turn into a mash as soon as you have them divided. In addition, while cutting pumpkins and pineapples, you may no longer be afraid of cutting your fingers off with the Wusthof Classic Ikon bread knife.
Wusthof Classic Ikon 4166/20 has a half bolster between its blade and handle. This metal thickening is actually an inherent part of the full-tang blade. Despite its simple design, it plays a huge role in ensuring hygiene and security during the cutting process. At first, it prevents product pieces and aggressive liquids from getting under the handle pads, thus eliminating the accumulation of bacterias and microorganisms there. At second, a bolster protects your fingers from slipping from a handle to a blade, thus preventing injuries while slicing. Another benefit of a bolster is that it protects a handle from damage caused by hits on a table or cutting board. The other function of bolsters is ensuring a suitable knife balance.
A half-bolster of the Wusthof Classic Ikon bread knife adds another comfort level to the cutting process. Due to its shortened design, you can use the full length of the serrated blade, thus preparing large fruits, berries, and vegetables for cooking faster and easier. Its half bolster also makes cutting Birthday cakes cleaner and smoother because less cream covers the knife. As a result, more of a cake gets eaten and less time spent on washing the knife. Unfortunately, Wusthof Classic Ikon is not dishwasher safe so you have to wash it manually.
The 8” Wusthof Classic Ikon bread knife has a 4.7-inch handle made of polyoxymethylene. This plastic eliminates the handle slipping in a hand. I diced a medium-sized pumpkin having washed my hands before without wiping them to check polyoxymethylene shells in action. Compared to metallic or even polypropylene shells, this plastic is much more suitable for such hard tasks. Unlike wooden handles, the Wusthof Classic Ikon shells are more practical and durable, so you may not worry about the appearance of this bread knife in many years.
The handle shells are securely attached with 3 steel rivets just like in the Wusthof Classic series. Classic Ikon, on the other hand, looks gorgeous and worth the premium segment. The handle surface and the rivets feel smooth, You won’t notice any protrusions or dips on the shells. The handle has an asymmetrical shape along the horizontal cut, thus adapted to the shape of the palm. The handle has a double bolster with high-quality logo lasering. This double bolster plays the role of the counterweight that greatly improves the balance of the knife. Despite the overall weight of 0.34 lbs (154 g), the Wusthof Classic Ikon bread knife is well-balanced and feels much lighter than it really is that’s why it’s easy to manipulate and it requires no extra effort to apply in order to cut large solid products.
The 8” Wusthof Classic Ikon bread knife costs about $120. This amount is quite high for a home use knife but it’s totally fair for a forged professional knife. Classic Ikon is the latter case. Is it worth such an expensive price? In my opinion, $120 are too much for a bread knife if you use it in your home kitchen. I often buy already sliced bread. You may too I guess. How often do you cut cakes, pumpkins, or pineapples?
I suppose that $100 should be totally enough for an in-home bread knife. While buying Wusthof Classic Ikon 4166/20, you pay extra $20 for a brilliant design. If you are a cooking enthusiast and want high-quality tools to be nice as well, then you definitely know what you pay for. Would I buy it? No. Would I be incredibly happy if somebody presented it to me? Definitely yes.
Pros and Cons
- Serrated blade.
- 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.
- It’s not dishwasher safe
- Unsuitable for manual sharpening
- Short bolster
- High price