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Wusthof 4306 140.00mm(5.5") Classic Flexible Boning
Kitchen Knife Review

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Wusthof 4306 140.00mm(5.5") Classic Flexible BoningKnife

That's one rather old knife that ended up with me. I didn't buy it though. The original owner picked up the Global GF-31 boning knife and this one was retired, not completely, used for the random cutting jobs, obviously, as it happens those somewhat retired and many other kitchen knives too, those cutting jobs were not exactly what the knife was designed for. Therefore, it wasn't a surprise that the knife was completely dull. Plus numerous sharpenings, some by me and some by its owner. You can see on the photo, the edge is quite worn out. Granted the knife was anything but useless, I've asked the owner if I could take the knife for testing and experimenting and I got the yes as an answer and a knife with it. I'll talk about the planned experiment later in this review, but for now let's move to the knife itself.

General

- As the knife description says, this is a flexible boning knife. Typical western boning knife. Complete with all the goodies knife marketing loves to make noise about, specifically full tang, bolster and triple riveted slabs onto that full tang handle. You're all set aren't you ;) Anyway, I wrote in quite a good detail about usefulness of those features in the How to Choose Kitchen Knives article, you can get that info over there. Other that that, it's a medium size boning knife, with polypropylene handle and weighing about 117g(4oz). I figure originally it was a little heavier, but all the sharpenings would remove a few grams of metal. As for the flexibility, I wouldn't say it's too flexible, but does have some flexibility in the tip area. 1.8mm thickness it pretty good for the thickness. The blade still has sufficient strength around the heel to go through the joints if necessary, but generally boning knives are designed to work around and in between the bones, not chop through them. If you have to cut through the bones, then either use western style meat cleaver, or alternatively, use Japanese Deba type knife. Other than that, fit and finish were ok in the beginning and the knife was still in a pretty good shape when I got it. I was rather surprised to see the handle slabs quite intact, even after multiple washes in a dishwasher. As usual they crack and become loose. Although, please don't take this comment as an encouragement to put your Wusthof or any other knife in a dishwasher. And the experiment I am conducting is a good argument against dishwasher use too, link below.

Blade

- The blade has quite standard western boning knife geometry. 140.00mm(5.51") long, 1.8mm thick and about 20mm wide at its widest. As usual, my main problem is the bolster, but this narrow boning knife is one of those cases when it makes some sense, protecting fingers from slipping down on the edge. Even for experienced people bolstered knives are no joy to sharpen. Inexperienced folks, especially the ones with electric grinders simply ruin them. Anyway, you can work around those bolsters just fine, it's more work. Original blade had about 40° inclusive angle, or 20° per side. That's also typical for western knives and given the steel used in the Wusthof boning knife - X50CrMoV15 to be precise, plus the designed use, which implies occasional bone contact, can't avoid that completely... So, 40° is more or less reasonable edge sharpening for the X50CrMoV15 steel, at 54-56HRC. As usual I'd consider that thick of edge to be a problem, but ok, softer steel, probable bone contact, you need thicker edge.

Handle

- As you already know, slabs are plastic, attached to the full tang using three rivets. It's an ok handle. I don't use Wusthof boning knife regularly, so may be I've missed some issues with it, but generally there doesn't appear to be many. It's neither something outstanding, nor something really bad. Just an average handle. Doesn't bother during work, no slippage issues. Not being a butcher I have no serious use for boning knives, so I can't comment on prolonged use. I've used it twice, instead of my own Global GF-31 boning knife, and that was about it. So, my impressions on handle comfort are limited, based on just those two occasions. Haven't heard any complaints from the original owner either, who managed to use it as a multi purpose knife, and I have no idea how that works with boning knife :) As in, it's hard to imagine chopping vegetables with this knife, but bunch of people still do it.

Usage

- Two sessions, both for its dedicated use. Once it was lamb rack and another time it was pork ribs. The knife performed ok, although I am used to thinner edged. I was careful not to hit the bones, but one way or another bone contact still happens. Still, the edge held up pretty good, no chipping, minor rolling. Considering the short amount of time for each session, the result doesn't give reason to commend the edge durability. Anyway, by now I can honestly say I am familiar with X50CrMoV15 steel performance capabilities, I've used it from many makers, in all sorts of knives. It's quite old steel, typically gets hardened to 54-56HRC. In longer knives and those designed for harsher use, and that included boning knives makers tend to make softer, so it's a safe bet to assume the knife is closer to 54HRC than its upper range. Sharpening is easy, save for the arch formed by the bolster. Long story short, this is your average western boning knife and it can take some beating. if you are not very demanding about your knife edge holding ability and sharpness, this one will fit the bill, if the price is right.

I mentioned above, the knife was intended for experimenting, and eventually I'll probably break it or destroy in some other way, depends what kind of data I will be gathering. As of now, which is summer 2010, the knife is a subject to the rust in a dishwasher experiment. Simply put, I keep dishwashing Wusthof boning knife repeatedly, although in part one, which is commencing at this time, I don't use it for food, just wash it in a dishwasher and dry it. Rust appeared quite quickly and keeps developing. I suspect the knife will rust even quicker if I use it for cutting food and then dishwash it, that's a part two of the experiment. The detailed log and photos of the test is in the Stainless Steel Knives In A Dishwasher, Why You Should Avoid it article.

    Specs:
  • Blade - 140.00mm(5.51")
  • Thickness - 1.80mm
  • Width - 20.00mm
  • OAL - 262.00mm(10.31")
  • Steel - X50CrMoV15 steel at 54-56HRC
  • Handle - Polypropylene
  • Weight - 116.60g(3.94oz)
  • Acquired - 02/2002 Price - 80.00$

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Last updated - 09/01/11