Review number four, of the Chroma cutlery Porsche design small chef's knife concludes my experience with Chroma series knives and that's a last one for a long time for sure, as I have no interest in those knives, nor the wish to deal with sharpening those softy knives. If they ever come up with something better, may be, but not as they are. Anyway, like I said, this was the fourth knife in the set I got a while back and finally, I got around my notes to complete this review and Chroma series reviews as well. Like I said in other reviews, I really don't like writing negative reviews, no fun testing bad knives and no fun describing all that either. Still, I'll have to write as things were. Sharpening was no fun either, but I still had to do it, after all that's why I was given the knives, besides testing ;)
General- According to its name, Chroma Porsche design P04 knife is a small chef's knife. As far as chef's knives go, it is indeed a small one, the blade isn't even 6" long. As with the other Chroma knives, I got the small chef's knife in used condition, might as well call that well used condition. The edge was pretty much gone. That level of degradation normally I'd attribute to severe abuse, but in case of Chroma knives, it doesn't take much to dull and deform the edge, unfortunately so. As far as the blade/handle ratio and overall design goes, in my opinion it was second best out of the four I've had for testing, and number one was the Porsche design type 301 P09 paring knife. I'm referring purely to its looks though, sadly performance on all four was equally frustrating.
As you can see on the photo attached at the top of this page, the knife was in sort of ok condition, except the dead edge, and interestingly enough, couple rust spots, which by the way, one more time illustrates that all so called stainless steel knives do rust if proper care is not taken. If it were a better steel and not so weird handle, ~6" long blade is quite usable in the kitchen, I used to use even shorter knife before I've learned more about kitchen knives, and I know a lot of people who swear by their 5-6" chef's knives. So, the length probably won't be an issue for many, although I wouldn't use such a short knife as a primary knife in the kitchen. Then again, that's just me. For example, Phil Wilson Small Chefs Knife, which is in my kitchen knife set, is slightly shorter than (and thinner, just 2mm thick) the Chroma small chef's knife, and I do use it often for certain tasks, but not for major, prolonged cutting sessions, where longer blades make things easier. Obviously, performance difference between Phil's knife and Chroma is like day and night, let's not even go there. And finally the weight - 201.00g(6.8oz). Chroma knife is pretty light for something of its size, especially given its all metal construction. Obviously, the handle is hollow, solid steel of that size would be really heavy for a medium, or even large knife.
Blade- The blade on the Chroma P04 small chef's knife is almost 6" long, I've measured the length of the cutting edge, came out exactly 147.00mm(5.79") long. The width is 35mm at the heel and the thickness is almost 3mm at the same place. For a medium size knife, it's an average thickness and width, granted that there are 3mm thick chef's knives easily twice as long. Although, I doubt 301 steel, as soft as in Chromas could sustain that type of blade geometry, it'll simply bend. As far as the blade geometry goes, it's pretty much average drop point blade. Quite typical shape for small/medium chef's knives and overall, I find it(blade geometry) quite useful and versatile for many cutting tasks, in the kitchen and outside of it. The width isn't sufficient in my opinion, it'd be more useful as a kitchen knife, especially as a chef's knife, which implies working with wide variety of ingredients, if it was a little wider. Well, that is rather secondary, because as far as wishes and important things about knives go, first and foremost would be decent steel with decent heat treatment and alas, Chroma Porsche design can not claim neither. Original edge was about 40° inclusive, which is no surprise. Soft steel simply will not sustain thin edges. That's what I have sharpened the edge too. Sharpening was not very easy, due to soft steel folding, basically the same experience with other Chroma knives.
Steel- I have to admit, initial info on steel being AISI 301 stainless steel was incorrect. I was contacted by Chroma representative, who clarified the steel naming issue, it is Type 301, proprietary batch made in Japan, for Chroma Cutlery. Close, but not identical to Chromova 18 steel used in Global Kitchen Knives. That is a whole lot better compared to 301, which isn't a knife steel at all. Unfortunately, back when I was researching 301 steel issue, I've tried to contact Chroma through their website contacts, and never got any response, and in addition to that, info on type 301 being proprietary alloy was not available. Searching for 301 yields AISI 301, and coupled with disappointing results in my own tests and couple other knife enthusiasts, we ended up concluding it was AISI 301. According to the same source, median hardness of Chroma knives is 57HRC. It is rather puzzling why all the issues with sharpening in that case. Anyway, I am expecting a new knife from Chroma, which will be thoroughly retested, so updates will follow.
Handle- The handle is really distinctive, specific to Porsche design series. Hollow steel construction, welded to the blade, but transition is seamless. Two knobs from either side of the blades serve as small finger guards, preventing slippage, but in reality they tend to get in a way when using a pinch grip and I really doubt their usefulness as slippage preventers. Well, I wrote about that in other Chroma Porsche knives reviews, and in respect to the small chef's knife those notes apply just same. On the positive side, I would say, \or like I already said above, proportions are good, I mean blade/handle ratio. And again, as I said in other Chroma knives reviews, I do not like those handles, I don't find then neither ergonomic, nor secure, but I do know other folks who like them. It'll be up to you to decide. Except, the handle geometry and shape is the last thing I'd be worried in this knife, granted its edge holding ability it close to non existent. If that's not a big concern and you want a weird looking kitchen knife, then why not :)
Usage- Since the small chef's knife was the last Chroma knife I was testing, and I already had formed really negative opinion about them, I didn't bother with edge holding tests, it was crystal clear there was nothing to test in that regard. I've sharpened the knife and then sampled bunch of different vegetables and soft meat. Sampled meaning I did test cuts of small amounts, to see how the knife would feel and perform, even the crappiest steel can hold the edge for some time on veggies ;) I didn't try to chop vegetables in rocking motion, because I know it's not working for me well with blades that short, and I also know there's plenty of people who do that with the similar knives and feel just fine. First test was cutting the ends of the Brussels sprouts. I took that ingredient as a first test sample, because it's pretty harsh (relative to other vegetables) on the edge and I wanted to test things while the blade still was sharp. Cutting those ends using a choke grip wasn't working well, after all it's not a paring knife, and those knobs or buttons on the handle were irritating. Switched to cutting on the board, things went better, but then again, I am so used to thin edged knives, 40° inclusive edge felt like I had to wrestle with each sprout. Anyhow, if you are not spoiled with super sharp, thin edged kitchen knives like I am, may be it'll do, except the edge won't last too long, keep that in mind. Cutting the ends on the bunches of the Italian Parsley went alright! Chroma chef's knife handled that feat with no problem, no squashed or mangled stems :)
Red radish cutting test wasn't very successful, no thanks to thick edge again. Push cutting was not very easy because of the edge angle, but things did improve with slicing. Except, there is not all that much of an edge to slice with, just under 6" long blade, which is sufficient with something radish sized, but as things go larger, lack of the edge length is a handicap, to me at least. That part was very clear when I was slicing a larger piece of London broil steak into small cubes. Because of the short edge I had to make multiple cuts along the same line, resulting in jagged lines, etc. but at least it worked, however the edge did loose some of its sharpness, not from the meat but form the contact with rubber cutting board. Luckily that was the last test. I just run ahead in test descriptions, because of the edge length discussion. Otherwise, meat cutting is after veggies, and not on the same board. Which brings the point, all of the cutting except for the meat was done on custom, end grain wood board, which is edge friendly as it can get. Cleaning bell peppers wasn't neither difficult nor easy. With my knives I can do it equally effectively with either 150mm long Watanabe Nakiri, or 270mm gyuto. With Chroma knife the length and blade geometry were not the issue, but the handle felt awkward in choke grip again, and I had to use the board again, however, when cleaning out soft parts from the inside, I had to maneuver the knife and change grips couple times, and those knobs definitely were not in the right place.
I did few other ingredients, including garlic, eggplant, cleaned some broccoli, cut asparagus ends, and so on. Overall, the results were the same, for some tasks the edge length wasn't sufficient in my option of course, and for the tasks requiring choke grip the handle is awkward, again that's my take on all this.
Conclusion- Since this knife in this review was most likely a counterfeit, you should disregard issues with sharpening and edge holding is this review. Genuine Chroma Porsche design knife I've reviewed in Chroma Cutlery Porsche Type 301 P02 Santoku(2014 model) article has shown much better results, exceeding mainstream western knives, performing on par with Global Knives.
- Blade - 147.00mm(5.79")
- Thickness - 2.90mm
- Width - 35.00mm
- OAL - 263.00mm(10.35")
- Steel - Type 301 56-58HRC
- Handle - Stainless Steel
- Weight - 201.00g(6.8oz)
- Acquired - 06/2007 Price - 88.00$
- Phil Wilson Small Chefs Knife Review
- Trace Rinaldi TTKK Knife Review
- Shun Classic 200mm Chefs Knife Review
- Kumagoro 240mm Hammer Finish Gyuto Knife Review
- Shigefusa 270mm Kitaeji Gyuto Knife Review
- Watanabe 270mm Honyaki Gyuto Knife Review
- Sanetsu 270mm ZDP-189 Gyuto Knife Review
- Aritsugu 270mm A-Type Gyuto Knife Review
- Tadatsuna 270mm White Steel Gyuto Knife Review
- Henckels Twin Select Chefs Knife Review
Last updated - 12/07/14