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Henckle, where is the quality control?
on January 4, 2002
I bought the 9 piece Pro S set as a Christmas present for my father. I looked at all the different grades Henckle's makes and decided to go all out and buy the... Pro S set made in Solingen, Germany. I believe you get what you pay for, or at least that's the way it's supposed to work. After the excitement wore off of opening this... gift, for my father anyway, I took a close look at these knives and was somewhat disappointed by what I found.
This set is comprised of 6 knives, a scissors, sharpening steel, and wood block. The problem I immediately noticed is that on the six knives, none of them had the back edge of the blade, "the top of the blade," deburred. The top edges of these knives was very sharp, sharp enough to cut your finger if you rubbed or pressed your finger on them. This is alarming because some people like to rest their forefinger on the top of the knife when cutting, or like to rest the knife in the web of their hand, between thumb and forefinger, when chopping. Not only is this pathetic quality control, but it is also a safety hazard. This set of knives should never have left the factory in this condition. Five seconds on a buffing wheel would have cured this dangerous condition, but hey, if you can make a few more dollars by rushing a shoddy product out the door, at least the stockholders will be happy. They're the only ones who will be happy.
Another thing I noticed is that the sharpness of these knives is uneven. They, the non serrated knives, are fairly sharp from the bolster until about half way down the blade. However, as you get closer to the point, the duller they become. The 3 inch paring knife was the worst. The last 3/4 inch of the blade was so dull that you could press your thumb against it hard and not have to worry about cutting yourself. The grind lines on these non serrated knives, "the honed edge," were also uneven. Not to impressive...
Speaking of the serrated knives, the 5 inch serrated utility and the 8 inch bread knife; they were both slightly bent. Not severly, but they both had a slight arc to the blade. I was afraid the 8 inch carver would also be bent, because it has a thin blade like the serrrated knives, but thank "whomever," it was straight. Maybe this slightly bent condition is unique to Henckle's serrated knives. A final negative observation: the handles and stainless steel rivets on a few of these knives had scratches on them. A minor complaint, after all after a few months of use these knives might get a little "worn," but isn't nice to buy something expensive, open the box and get a perfect product? These Henckle's were far from perfect. It's inexcusable that these knives left the factory in this condition. I feel like I paid... for a... set of semi finished, dinged up knives. On a positive note, the steel appears to be of an excellent quality though extremely hard. I have resharpened a few of these knives and they do take on a very sharp edge- you can shave the hair off of your forearm - but because of the hardness of the steel, this takes about 20 minutes per knife. Tip, start with a semi rough stone to profile the blade, and finish with a fine Arkansas stone. All in all I would not buy this set, or probably any Henckles knife, for the price they charge. The shoddy workmanship, uneven sharpness, and scratches don't justify the high cost. I guess I could, or should have, looked at each individual knife before buying this brand, or any future Henckles, but should I really have to? No!
If you're thinking about buying the Henckels brand I would urge you to go to a cutlery store and physically examine each knife before purchasing it, otherwise you may be in for a disappointing shock. Thank you.