Henckels Twin Select 30440-100 Paring made a short trip to my kitchen, because it was yet another loaner, given to me for sharpening and some time for testing as well. As usual, I get the knives in small, or occasionally larger batches and then things become complicated. This time it was a larger batch, but considering that paring knives in general don't require too much testing to get the idea how well or bad they perform, mainly because they are quite specialized knives unlike chef's knives or gyutos. Basically, all I had to do besides sharpening, use it for a while and then try to compare with another paring knife or knives available at that time in my possession, which is exactly what I did.
General- Twin Select 30440-100 paring knife is an all stainless steel paring knife from Henckels Twin Select series knives, which represents their mid range line, well, one of those, since they have a lot different models in their lineup. The specifics of the Twin Select line is the all steel design. Stainless steel to be precise. If I am guessing it right then the blade is X50CrMoV15 steel and the handle is 18/10 brushed stainless steel. As far as looks go, to me it looks ok, can't say perfect or beautiful though, but the look is in the eye of the beholder. Other than that, the same FRIODUR heat treatment process for the blade and that's all I found about Twin Select on Henckels website. Although, I'm not gonna loose any sleep over the lack of specific info about Twin Select knives, if it was anything important they'd post it, otherwise it's just an average kitchen knife. I guess I have to mention that this is not your typical full tang, triple riveted knife, which knife marketers love to boast about :) Well, it might be a full tang, which isn't really that important, especially in a small knife like a paring knife. Full metal handle is obviously more sturdy than tripe riveted slabs. And to complete the picture, we have a small bolster, which on the narrow knife like this one makes more sense that on most of the knives you find bolsters on. If you are interested, may be you should also check out Don't fall for the marketing hype chapter of the How To Choose Kitchen Knives guide.
Blade- Henckels Twin Select paring knife features quite pointy, 100.00mm(3.94") long blade which is exactly 20mm wide at the base and about 1.70mm thick. As far as geometry goes, it looks like a long triangle, so whenever you need a long point, it's got you covered. Other than that, there's not much to speak of the blade. Since we're talking about the blade it's obviously worth mentioning the blade steel, which is X50CrMoV15 stainless steel, hardened to 54-56HRC. To be precise, this is my guess, based on Henckels and other German knifemakers extensive use of this steel in the past and present. Plus its behavior during sharpening and cutting. Perhaps the steel has some variation in composition, and proprietary heat treatment can also play a role, but in the end, I couldn't tell any difference between Henckels and Wusthofs paring knives, of which Wusthof knife, clearly has X50CrMoV15 stamped on the side. So, in the end, it's either exactly same steel, or slightly changed version. For the curious, here X50CrMoV15 steel composition and makers list.
Handle- As I mentioned above, the handle is the most distinct feature of the Twin Select series of the Henckels knives lineup. All stainless, brushed steel handle, most likely 18/10 stainless steel. The handle is slightly curved, it is typical, ergonomic handle, found on other lines of Henckels knives including Twin Cermax and Twin Cuisine. I've handled several different models and knives with this style of handle, different length, width etc. So, I got a pretty good idea about its comfortability and security. All in all, it is ok handle, ok in most of the grips, but my main complaint is with the grip security. Brushes stainless steel might look very sexy to some, and it is durable, but the moment your hands become oily, it is a disaster. I didn't cut myself, but it was really slippery, with vegetable oil, avocados, etc... As usual I try to keep my right hand clean and dry when working with knives, but that's not always possible. So, keep that in mind, when you use it.
Sharpening- Henckels Twin Select paring knife wasn't too badly damaged when it arrived to me, and X50CrMoV15 steel is pretty easy to sharpen. Given X50CrMoV15 steel and its hardness, and the fact that I wasn't grinding new bevel, I've started with 1200 grit King whetstone, then the 3000 grit synthetic (blue) aoto waterstone and, few strokes per side on the 5000 grit Naniwa Chosera waterstone, followed by probably 5 minutes on a 8000-12000 grit Kitayama waterstone. To finish the process I've stropped the knife consequently on 0.5µm diamond crystal loaded leather strop, 0.25µm diamond crystal strop, and a plain leather strop. Few steps in the process could've been skipped, e.g. 3000 or 5000 grit stones, or even both, but I did it anyway. As they say, practice makes it perfect ;)
Usage 40° Angle- Like I said, I had to keep the original edge, and that's why 40° inclusive angle on the paring knife. It wasn't my choice in other words. If you want my opinion, if I had to have my own X0CrMoV15 knife, even at 56-58HRC, I'd most likely grin double bevel edge at 30° inclusive angle for primary bevel and use 40° angle for the secondary. That does cut a lot better than double grind, single bevel edge at 40°. Anyway, my preferences aside, I had to test the knife as it was, or as I had to sharpen it. Since it was a simple paring knife I've picked a few small vegetables, although in relatively large quantities and proceeded. Task number one was removing the ends or whatever that is from Brussels sprouts. That thing is quite crunchy and not very knife friendly if you ask me. I've started with sprouts, while the knife was the sharpest. Compared to other veggies, it takes more effort to make the cut. So, I've cleaned about 1 lbs of those, and cut them in half. Remembering the experience with other paring knives, I've skipped the attempt to mince them on the board. Small knife, no knuckle space, in short no good for working on the board. After Brussels sprouts workout the edge was in a good shape, still could shave at the same level as in the beginning. Next was peeling a large potato, which is something I really don't like doing, having my trusty Rosle Crosswise peeler for all sorts of the peeling works. Well, this was the test. I kindda managed to peel the potato, the speed and technique were definitely sub-par. For the record, cutting out potato "eyes" was easy, because of the long point, although I can't say it was very complicated with other paring knives either. When I started cutting the potato in small pieces, then somehow my hands were already wet and I started having problems with the grip security. I finished the potato and went with the red radish. Cut the ends, then in half, prepared for shredding with the Small Watanabe Nakiri. For testing purposes I also tried katsura muki on the radish. It was note easy or convenient at all and I obviously made a few mistakes cutting the thin sheet few times. Double grind bevels aside, the triangular blade doesn't help with that type of cutting much. But I got to assess the grip comfortability ;) It was ok, with my palms dry. Later, I've cleaned bunch of green onions, cutting the ends and cleaning the stems. One apple was also peeled for testing purposes and then I've peeled and cut 5 avocados for the salad. Now that became very messy and complicated. My hands were covered in avocado paste, which is very oily and slippery, and during the whole process the knife was trying to twist, turn and run away from my paws. I figure, I was just being stubborn and still finished work.
Comparison with other paring knives- I did some of the same cuts during the next week, alternating with both, Tojiro Flash paring knife, and Global GS-40 paring knife. Both of those paring knives are mine, and of those two, Tojiro has 30° inclusive angle edge on it, and Global GS-40 has 40° inclusive angle, both are double grind, convexed edge knives. I've dropped comparison with Tojiro Flash knife pretty much right away, it was too unfair for the Henckels paring knife. Tojiro parer having thinner and sharper edge was far better cutter than the thick edged Henckels parer. On top of that, harder steel, 62HRC vs. 54-56HRC, used in the Tojiro makes big difference in terms of the overall edge holding, the edge even thinner is stronger, in other words edge stability is much higher. Global GS-40 is much closer to Henckels parer, steel is softer ~58HRC, and Global parer is also all steel construction. Interestingly, Global GS-40 also has quite triangular blade. In the end, Henckels lost that match as well. Handle security on Global was still better, thanks to those dimples. I can't say it's excellent, but compared to all smooth Henckels, GS-40 definitely wins. Same goes for the edge holding ability. Chances are, Henckels paring knife is 56HRC, western makers tend to harden smaller knives to higher end of the specified hardness range and larger knives at lower end, or in worse cases below that too. So, even if Henckels is 56HRC, Global GS-40 is still closer to 58HRC. 2 points can make very significant difference in edge strength and that shows. Plus the steel in Global is definitely more wear resistant than the X50CrMoV15(or its variation) used in Henckels, that's quite evident during sharpening. The only aspects where Henckels wins over its competition in this review is the price, it's cheaper than either of the contenders and the ease of sharpening. This proverbial ease of sharpening is a double edged sword in 99% of the cases though, easier to sharpen, easier to dull too. Anyway, if ease of sharpening is important, and budget plays role you might pick Henckels Twin Select 30440-100 paring knife as well.
- Blade - 100.00mm(3.94")
- Thickness - 1.67mm
- Width - 20.00mm
- OAL - 222.00mm(8.74")
- Steel - X50CrMoV15 54-56HRC
- Handle - Stainless Steel
- Weight - 111.00g(3.75oz)
- Acquired - 06/2007 Price - 40.00$
- Wusthof Grand Prix 4005 80mm Paring Knife Review
- Watanabe Ko-Deba Knife Review
- Tojiro Flash Paring Knife Review
- Shun Classic Paring Knife Review
- Global GS-40 Paring Knife Review
- Global GSF-15 Paring Knife Review
Last updated - 06/25/13