One of the Henckels Twin Select series knives I got a while back for sharpening and testing. Lucky me I got the whole set. However, can't say I had enjoyed using them too much, or at all to be honest. Oh well, at least minor satisfaction from testing yet another new knife. Besides, somehow, even though I get a lot of various knives to sharpen form friends and coworkers, very few of them ever were carving knives. Come to think of it, out of all the loaners, there were just 2 or 3 carving knives. So, at least that was a relief, one more carving knife. As usual, they are quite the lookers, with long, slender blades. Not very versatile, but on the other hand some people manage to use them for all sorts cutting chores. I did some experimenting too, but about that below.
Carving vs. Slicing Knife- By definition, carving knives are designed for slicing thin slices of meat, fish and poultry, mostly cooked stuff. So, in other words, they are the equivalents, or counterparts to Japanese sujihiki knives to some degree and I figure, carving knives also work as a substitutes for yanagibas, fugubikis, takohikis, takobikis, and to some degree boning knives, in that their use doesn't exclude bone contact when necessary, and the list could go on for a while. Just goes on to show how much specialized and diverse Japanese knives are, not the versatility of the carving knives. On the other hand, slicing knives have almost identical definition. As it is, western carving knives are supposed to be slightly thicker and perhaps shorter than slicers. Except, depending on who makes one or the other(carving and slicing) knife, thickness can be the opposite. From what I've seen, generally carvers are shorter than slicers, and blade geometry is slightly different, slicers have rounded tips more often, carvers tend to have upswept or slip points. Although, all in all, they can be used interchangeably quite successfully, granted you avoid the bone contact with a slicer. Another point of view is that slicers are used on the board, while carvers are mostly used off the cutting board, but that depends on the user too. So, in the end, carvers are a bit more specialized than the slicers, and chef's knife, or gyuto will do the job as well.
General- Being a mostly protein slicing knife, carving knives need to be slim, long and thin. Now, I wouldn't call 200mm(~8") blade long, it's perhaps more on the medium side, but then again, it's a western knife, and sadly western makers, at least mainstream makers are not into making really long knives. For its size, Twin Select carving knife isn't too heavy, just 230.00g(7.78oz). As for its looks, sorry, even though I like lots of carving knives, Twin select was not one of them. I suppose, that's mainly because the handle looks real ugly on the slim blade, if you ask me, I think Calphalon slicer looks better. Ok, whatever, I got the knife, which was in a pretty bad shape, sharpened it, gave 100K high polished edge, finishing with 0.25µ diamond crystal charged leather strop, well obviously I've used plain leather strop as well. Other than screwed up edge, there was no significant damage to the knife, it was in a pretty good shape. And, unlike its other Twin Select brethren which also ended up with me, the carving knife had no signs of rust, just discoloration from dishwasher I'd guess.
Blade- Finally, the most interesting part of the knife, which I think looks better than the handle. The blade is 200.00mm(7.87") long and at the heel it measures 2mm in thickness and 30mm in width. Actually, most of the blade is 2mm thick, although it does taper towards the tip, abut 2 inches or so. Blade geometry is sort of dagger like, but of course, it is sharpened only form one side, since it is no dagger, but a carving knife. The left side of the blade has plenty of markings, including Henckels logo, model, Friodur(indicates cryogenic heat treatment of the blade) and barcode which shows knife making plant, lot and time. Original edge was a goner, but I could still measure what it was, sort of, came out 20° per side, somewhere in that vicinity, which is not surprising, but weird. After all, this is supposed to be a knife dedicated for cutting soft proteins, why not grind a thinner edge. Apparently, that'd require changing program for a sharpening robot. I've mentioned above sharpening, and because it was a carving knife, I've used compound, double V edge. Primary bevel at 30° and secondary at 40° inclusive angle. if it was my knife, even for a western knife, I'd go with 30° angle, and with Japanese knives I am using 15°-20° angle.; Since it was not mine and the edge clearly showed nicks and rolls, I've figured 40° inclusive angle was a safer bet. Still, primary bevel at 30° does improve cutting ability, I could tell that much. Unfortunately, the blade on the Twin Select carving knife, just like all other twin select series knives have a bolster. As with most of the knives, there is no need for it on this knife. The handle is high enough and even though the blade is just 30mm, it's still enough to prevent slippage. So, the bolster does nothing really, just makes sharpening more difficult, well what else is new.
Handle- And the worst part of the knife, the handle. I don't like how it looks, and I disliked its security, which I've noted in all other reviews of the Twin Select knives. As soon as your hands are oily or wet, the grip stability is severely affected. Can't say I like the blade/handle ratio either. On its own, the handle is sortta ergonomic. While your hands are dry, it feels ok in hand, although all those ergonomics don't mean much when using a pinch grip, and when slicing meat I don't really use full grip or hammer grip. Alright, then you are pushing down on a large piece, you might find full grip more comfy, appreciating handle ergonomics, but that type of cutting doesn't happen too often for me. The other detail I am not too happy about the Twin Select series handles is the visible seam connecting the handle to the blade. Minor detail, but I'd rather have a seamless connection. That's pretty much it about the handle.
Last updated - 05/06/12