A while back I got several Henckels Twin Select series stainless kitchen knives set. All of them were in rather desperate need of sharpening and minor restoration, mainly removing rust and discoloration. I've sharpened and repaired all of them, one by one, and tested them as things progressed. I was choosing the knives by like and usability factors combination, and even though I didn't like this utility knife the least, it was the least usable knife in the lot, and as such, utility knife was tested the last, and its review comes online the last. Personally, I consider utility knives to be of very limited use in the kitchen, even though I know a few people who do use similar size utility knives in their kitchens. Doesn't mean you have to do the same anyway. Like I said, I didn't think utility knife looked the worst out of the set I got, but it still looks ugly enough to me. Handle shape, blade to handle ratio, not exactly my cup of tea. May be you'll like how it looks though.
General- Like the other Twin Select knives, utility knife came to me in well used condition, including completely dull edge and few rust spots. It was obvious, the knife was used frequently, and I don't really understand why. Considering all the knives were from the same person, I can't really tell which cutting task would've been done better with this utility knife compared to Henckels Twin Select paring knife, or Henckels Twin Select Chef's Knife, or Henckels Twin Select Carving knife. Still, the owner managed to use it a lot, apparently more creative with knives than I am, or may be less picky about his knives compared to me. Even though the term utility somehow implies very broad spectrum of use, in reality kitchen utility knives are less efficient for most of the cutting tasks compared to major types, e.g. gyuto or chef's knife, paring knife, bread knife, slicers, etc. Whenever I picked up any of the kitchen utility knives, I've always found that mainly it was just to play with it, or because I was doing some experiment/testing. Not because I specifically picked any of them for a job. Well, to open packaging, few times! Although, to be honest, I did like couple utility knives purely as knives, e.g. Miyabi 34582-130 7000MC Shotoh and Shun Classic Utility Knife, but alas, not the Twin Select. Medium size knife, quite heavy for its size, but nothing too bad. Quality is alright, on par with other Twin Select series knives, nicely brushed handle, things fit well together, no visible defects in making. For its price it's ok. If you can make good use of it, even better. The owner of this knife certainly does :)
Blade- Utility knives have quite similar blade geometry more or less. Drop point blades, relatively thin. Twin Select utility knife is no exception form the rules. The blade measures 160.00mm(6.3") in length, at the heel it has 1.90mm thickness and 30mm width. As you can see the blade is fairly thin, although not extraordinarily thin either, still closer to 2mm, and there are 270 gyutos of that thickness. Still, with exact designated purpose of the utility knives being rather unclear, it's not really possible to say whether it is a think or thin for a kitchen utility knife. The edge is quite for a typical western kitchen knife, about 20° per side, V type. The left side of the blade has Henckels logo, product name, barcode indicating make, place lot etc. And like all Twin Select series knives, utility knife has a full bolster. And like most of other cases, it's hardly of any use. Blade/handle height difference is not huge, but still enough to prevent slippage. On the other hand, sharpening full bolster knives has its own problems, but with practice, you can master it. I'm talking about preventing forming the notch at the bolster. And finally, the steel used in the blade is the same X50CrMoV15 stainless steel, very popular in mainstream western kitchen knives. Okay stainless alloy, quite old at that. Main problem with it, or with makers to be precise is that typically it's run around 54-56HRC, which is too low to squeeze any good performance out if it.
Handle- Stainless steel handle, most likely constructed from another stainless alloy, and apparently more stain resistant than X50CrMoV15 used in the blade. Don't have the specs, but it rather obvious by observing all four Twin Select knives, rust and discoloration were present mainly on the blades. Like I said in other reviews of the Twin Select knives, handle ergonomics are alright, although I still don't like the design and how it looks on those knives. Main complaint with the Twin Series handles, repeated in each review was the grip security with wet or oily hands. Considering that I didn't use the knife for tasks involving oily stuff, I didn't face any of the problems. Ergonomics of the handle don't play significant role when holding the knife in a pinch grip though. Given unclear designation of the utility knives, full grip might become necessary, and in that case you're in luck.
Usage- This was not my first kitchen utility knife to work with, so I've had plenty of opportunities to try to figure out what exactly the utility knives are the best for. Unfortunately, no grand discoveries there. As usual they're a bit too long for paring knives role and too short and narrow for general food prep. Best luck I've had was with relatively short utility knives, like Miyabi 34582-130 7000MC Shotoh. Mainly because it was better suited to work as a paring knife. I've said in few other reviews, utility knives work pretty good for opening food packaging, wraps and such. Although, paring knives can do pretty much the same. As for the Twin Select knife, same can be applied. However, food packaging isn't the main cutting task for kitchen knives. Other than that, I found Twin Select utility knife mildly useful when cleaning and prepping vegetables before cutting them. I.e. cutting celery stem tops, removing leaves and rough spots form Broccoli, roots from green onion bunches, etc. Still, none of those tasks were easier or more efficient with an utility knife compared to paring knife or a gyuto(chef's knife'). Nothing new in this aspect. If you don't have or want paring knife, utility knife should be able to substitute it, but Twin Select is a bit long for a paring knife, in my opinion that is. May be you will find it good enough. After all, some people manage to get by with utility knives for most, if not all of their kitchen cutting needs. It's a different question what do those cutting needs entail though. May not match yours, and I wouldn't be so sure one utility knife will do for you.
Conclusions- My personal take on this knife is that I'd skip it. I don't like the design, handle isn't the best design either, has its issues with security under circumstances, in other words when you need it. Besides, the steel is too soft to my liking, forcing to have a thick edge and that is not justified on a small kitchen knife. Not that I justify thick edges on larger kitchen knives either. Generally speaking, for average(not so picky about knives as I) user it can be ok knife. All stainless construction makes it more durable, and therefore a bit easier to take care of, although it still requires care, as it was clearly demonstrated with this knife as well, I mean the rust spots and discoloration. If you think you can find a good use for the knife, and you like the design, then it is neither better nor worse than other mainstream kitchen utility knives.
- Blade - 160.00mm(6.3")
- Thickness - 1.90mm
- Width - 30.00mm
- OAL - 308.00mm(12.13")
- Steel - X50CrMoV15 54-56HRC
- Handle - Stainless Steel
- Weight - 219.00g(7.41oz)
- Acquired - 06/2007 Price - 80.00$
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Last updated - 05/08/12