Wusthof Knife Question
Bill sent me this email about his Wusthof knives. I've never seen the stress cracks in the handle that he describes but I'm wondering if any of you have had a similar experience. If so, please provide some details.
If you are thinking of purchasing any new knives, check out my article on buying kitchen knives. There is also an article on how to buy a chef's knife.
Not only is it the most important knife in your kitchen, the article will give you tips on purchasing any type of kitchen cutlery.
Here's what Bill described and how I responded.
I bought several Wusthof knives thinking I was buying a quality product from what I have read in different blogs. This past weekend I noticed that one of my small paring knives had what looked to be stress cracks in the Bakelite handle.
I examined my other knives to find that several of them have these fractures. I only hand wash the knives and towel dry so it can not be from the dishwasher so I am perplexed to say the least.
Have you ever encountered this and if so what should I do? It looks like it will be just a matter of time before the handles separate from the blade itself so I am wondering if I should replace them with something different.
It seems to be a big expense though when I thought I was buying quality in the first place. Please help. - Bill
Getting Help From Wusthof
I have not seen this with any of my knives and I own several brands but Bill should contact Wusthof at [email protected] and ask them if they have seen this happen before and if so, what should he do about it.
Wusthof is a top manufacturer of quality cutlery. If his knife is defective, there is a good chance they will replace it. In fact, I went to their web site at www.wusthof.com/ and here is what they say about their warranty:
Beyond the legally required guarantee time, WUSTHOF offers a very lenient unbureaucratic service covering material and workmanship defects.
We are assured of our quality and wish you much pleasure with our products.
Your satisfaction is the quality measurement for our assortment.
In case you require assistance please contact our customer service.
Should Bill Replace His Knives?
Personally, I wouldn't replace them until I heard from Wusthof and even then, I wouldn't replace them until they were unusable. In the meantime, I would start doing my homework by reading about different brands but more importantly, I would get to kitchenware stores like Williams Sonoma and ask to hold several brands in your own hands.
You are looking for a knife that feels good in your hand, like it belongs there. If you are doing any amount of cooking at home, you'll be spending a lot of time with your knives so how they feel in your hand is important.
You can support the store you are in by purchasing it there or go online and find the best price. If you do buy it online, don't forget to add the shipping and make sure the company is established in case you need to return it. I personally like Amazon.com (see below).
Even if you are not a big fan of cooking, you typically have to cook most days of the week. Unless you have a lot of money and have someone cook for you or you go out to eat all your meals, you are going to be spending a lot of time in the kitchen. You Have To Eat.
So it amazes me that many home cooks don't own at least one good knife in their kitchen. Some of my friends have beautiful kitchens with top quality cookware but are using inexpensive, low-end cutlery.
I try to tell them they are not only making cooking more difficult than it has to be, these cheap knives are more dangerous because they tend to slip off what you cutting more frequently than a sharp quality knife.
And speaking of sharp, it does no good to own an expensive, top name knife if you don't keep it sharp. I use an electric knife sharper by Chefs Choice. You can read about it here but I'll be working on a few articles about keep your knives sharp in the future.
onlinesources: Kitchen Knives & Cutlery
There are lots of sources for purchasing quality Kitchen Knives including chef's knives, pairing knives and boning knives. I suggest you check out your local department stores and kitchen supply shops.
I am happy to report I did hear from Bill who had a problem with his Wusthof knife. He said,
"I did what you advised and I am happy to inform you that Wusthof stood behind their product 100%. I contacted them, they replied, I returned the knife and they made good on it, no questions asked.
So I am happy to share this with you and your readers if you so choose to post this. Thank you for your advice.
I look forward to your newsletter and I have bought sauces on your advise too and have been pleased with them. Keep up the good work."
What happened to Bill is pretty much exactly what happened to me. I had noticed small cracks
in eight of my Wüsthof Classic knives.....and it all came to a head a few weeks back when carving
a chicken. I heard a clacking sound behind me, only to discover that two chunks of the handle
on my "Flexible" boning knife had fallen onto the floor.
I contacted Wüsthof-Trident of Canada (which is where I live) who told me to send all the knives. They were all
promptly replaced. When comparing the handles of the new & my other old ones, it's quite evident
the material is different. Wondering if Wüsthof had a generation of less-than-satistacory
Wonderful to see a company stand behind its product!
Old school. I bought a 8in Classic Chef blade in '65ish. 3-4 yrs ago 2015/16 I put into King Knives for a re profile/clean up. Like me, It was getting a bit tired. Lady rang me. " You got a hairline crack in rear of spine". Me... Yea. Bin there since new. Never bothered about it. (You almost need a magnifying glass to see it). No problems. They'll cover it under warranty. Scuse me. after 50 plus yrs?? " Not a problem."
A week or so later. Phone call. "Your knife ready." "Thank's, did they do a nice job?"
NO. THEY REPLACED IT. with latest thin line model. Scuse me. THAT's WARRANTY. Then some.. Soft steel but probably best Knife to go with best warranty on market. I use mainly Japanese blades nowadays. BUT. Any heavy, or Cutting work. Out with the trusty Wusthof. I still shake my head when I pick it up. I had a 50 yr life out of them. then they replaced it. NOTHING... In my eyes. Wrong with it.
Over the yrs. I replace most of my Hunting Folders and fixed. (Incl Japanese cooking blades.). with Mainly Burlwood and Tigerwood Scales and some old Staghorn I have from the '50's. Makes them LOOK a lot/Custom Better with advantage that I shape the scales to fit my palms and fingers. $20 to $50 a set plus brass rivets. Sooo Nice. Why the heck would you replace obviously over stressed assembly plasticso it can do it again. For such a renowned Company.. Somebody's brain NOT in gear there. It's so easy. and so enjoyable playing round with them. Either epoxying or riveting scales on.
Dead simple with a modicum of patience. and sooo much self satisfaction when it finished.
Some of you should try it.. With an OLD blade firstly.
Hi there I also have had the same issues with my set of knives all 5 of the set have the cracks in the handles. I contacted Wusthof and they gave me excellent service and said they would treat my case as a matter of urgency. I will be shipping them the knives on Monday to be replaced. That have promised the replacements will be back to me with in 2-3 business days.
Hi S, good to hear they are giving you such good service. - RG
My Wusthof Classic knife handles are cracking I just sent an e-mail to the company. It is not enough that they respond - they should not continue to sell products with known defects.
I agree but I'm guessing they are not "known defects". Please let us know what kind of response you get from them after they receive your e-mail. I would also suggest you send them a letter by mail along with the email. Sometimes they get more attention. - RG
I have also had this problem with the handles on my Classic Ikon knives. I already had them replaced by Wusthof about a year ago and I am now seeing the cracks again in the replacements. I'm not so sure that this is not a "known defect". I've experienced this twice, and Bill above had this problem three years ago; obviously Wusthof has not resolved the problem.
Hi Christy, thanks for letting us know about your experiences. Did you contact Wusthof and if so, what did they say? - RG
I'm having this same problem! I'm going to contact the company and go from there.
Hi Darlene, please let me know what you find out. - RG
My wife just noticed this problem in both our Wusthof steak knives and a couple of our kitchen knives. Will contact Wusthof and report back.
Sounds good Dennis - RG
Yes, we too have a fine expensive Classic Wusthof knife that has a fractured handle. Like many of you we purchase an expensive fine quality knife as a long term investment. The years of cheap knife set purchases are behind us now. Like many of you we cherish our collection, care for them and only hand wash our knives. It is disappointing to see that there appears to be systemic problem with Wusthof"'s handle components and materials have been defective. We too will see if they can be replaced. Correcting this problem will be important to Wusthof.
Thanks for all the entries. We are slightly encouraged, MM
Hi Martin, let me know how it turns out. - RG
I have 1 Wusthof Classic Santoku Knife (purchased in 2003/2004); 4 Wusthof Classic Steak Knives (purchased in 2004/2005); 1 Wusthof Classic Paring Knife (purchased in 2004/2005); 1 Wusthof Classic Carving Knife (purchased in 2004); and 6 Wusthof Gourmet Steak Knives (look like the Classics but have half depth full tang instead of full depth; purchased in 2006).
All but the paring knife and carving knife were purchased from Williams-Sonoma. The other two came from an independent kitchenwares retailer.
After cafeful examination of all of the knives, I have found that all 4 of my original 4 steak knives have one or two hairline cracks on the handle, running perpendicular to the tang, all but one located above the center rivet.
None of the other knives bear these signs of wear, even though the Paring Knife is smaller and gets more use, and the Santoku Knife is by far the most frequently used.
This seems like a clear manufacturing defect in the Wusthof Classic knives to me. I will contact Wusthof as recommended above to see if I can get them replaced, but I still have concerns.
Does anyone know if the newest Wusthof knives are likely to suffer the same fate in a few years? Did Wusthof change the formula for the handle material, or did they change anything in their manufacturing process?
I'm perplexed by it.
I have two different sizes of the Santoku knives from the Classic Ikon series, which are the most frequently used tools in my kitchen. I also noticed cracks in the handle around the rivets and now a chunk of the handle has fallen off! I will be contacting Wusthof, as so many others have done. Thanks for all the information!
We have the 22 classic set and last night the boning knife handle broke. The set is two years old. After looking at all the handles closely we have 14 of the 22 that are cracked 🙁 I have emailed them and they said to return and they would look at them to see if their fault. I was a little more than upset at that response. I feel slightly better after reading the success of others with the same trouble.
Hi Julie, please let us know how you do with the return. I'm sure everyone is interested in hearing your results. - RG
Very happy to say today in the mail was a box from Wusthof with brand new replacement knives for all the ones sent back to them the 19th. I am very happy to have my block filled once again. Julie
Way to go Julie, glad to hear they took care of you. - RG
Hello, I own a set of culinar wusthuf knifes and the wusthuf icon on the handles are falling off. They are less than 1 year old. They never go in the dishwasher so it must be the glue that they use to put the icons on. I am a bit surprise that Wusthuf would use glue instead of stamping their logo on the handles. More than half of the icons are gone and what is left is the glue residue on the handles. Very disappointed considering how much I payed for this set. Has anyone else experienced this with the culinar line? Thank you, Suzie
Hi Suzie, I'm sure if someone has had the problem and read this, they will comment but as you can see from the post, those who have had problems contacted the company directly and seem to get matters resolved. Please let me know how you do with your knives. - RG
Hey there on the past 5 years I had four classic ikons the santoku shaped knife. And for the past five years I got it replaced 4 times at the shop I bought it because it kept cracking on the handle .and I did't use dishwasher it simply kept cracking and they kept replacing it for four times and then the shop owner said that wusthof wouldn't replace it no more because I must of been doing something that I shouldn't with it .so I had to fix it but that was the last classic ikon that I will buy
I have full set of Classics and most all of them have cracks coming off of the rivets. I've got a few of the steak knives that the corners have completely fallen off. They have never been in dishwasher and will be contacting them to see if they will replace them.
I've had the same problem with our classic set. I've had the entire set replaced once (Wustof replaced with no questions asked) but now the replacement set has the same issue. We even have the same issue with a separate santoku knife bought at a different time and place. Even though Wustof is replacing the knives, I cannot recommend these to anyone as it appears to be a clear known defect.
Wow. I bought the Classic Ikon Chef's Knife and Pairing knife about two weeks ago. Since then I noticed that the black handle on the pairing knife is no longer flush with the tang that runs along its center. Obviously this is distracting, and very concerning since it is less than 2 weeks old and has been babied beyond belief at this point.
I bought my wife a set of beautiful high quality Wusthof Classic Ikon knives for Christmas. Never having a set of good knives it was a very special gift. We have treated these knives with care - hand washing only. After five years the steel continues to keep a fine edge. About a year after the purchase one of the paring knife's handle started cracking. Within six months the black 'bakelite' fell off of one face. Cracks started appearing on the other two paring knives and the handle of the 9" carving knife started 'peeling'. The boning knife and the large Santoku knife have also begun cracking. Today two chunks fell of the peeling knife. The only knife that seems to be free from this defect is the 10" butcher knife. Perhaps this is due to it having the largest handle and thus the greatest mass of 'bakelite'. We have been managing with the aggravating cracks (muttering under breath) but will now contact Wusthof after viewing your site and reading the numerous posts. I do hope they have rectified this deficiency; these are otherwise beautiful knives.
The Reluctant Gourmet
Kent, other readers have had good luck after contacting them so please let us know how you do.
These comments drew my interest as I am now purchasing Wustof Classic and Classic Icon knives. I have 3 so far. By comparison, I happen to have a set of steak knives given free for watching a Kirby(vacuum) demonstration.They have ivory plastic handles, very lightweight, still sharp after 40 years. Go in dishwasher all time. You never know what will last and give good service. I will still buy the Wustof, they are nice, but will read articles first.
Re: Wusthof Classic
After 5 months, I still have not heard from Wusthof regarding the knife that I returned in May 2020.
If you cannot repair the handle, please mail it back to me....this is a knife that we use daily.
I am very disappointed that you neglected to communicate with me over the past 5 months.
Please ship my knife back to my home address, if I do not receive in 10 days, I am contacting the Better Business Bureau regarding this matter.
G. Stephen Jones
Hi Pat, I'm not sure who you sent your knife to, but I am not Wusthof. Just a food writer for this website. I think you may want to call them and speak with a customer service person rather than sending them emails. I just looked up their number and it is 1-800-289-9878. Good luck with this matter.
I have this exact same problem with every single Wusthof knife I own. I have contacted them twice and have heard nothing either time. I finally gave up. My son just learned how to replace the handles with nice wood ones. Now he's excited when he sees the cracked Wusthof handles. Needless to say, I am very(!) disappointed with Wusthof knife quality, and expected that the knives we got for our wedding would outlast us, not die after less than 20 years. Oh well, now my son has a fun hobby out of it.
G. Stephen Jones
Hi Jen, sucks about customer service but how cool your son is making them even better. Thanks for sharing.
I have a whole set of Classics with cracks in the handles, 7 in total I bought in the early 2000's. Any idea how to get them replaced from in the UK now that Brexit has made a complicated mess out of a return to the EU. They still sell knives here(UK) but I cannot find any info other than a return/ warranty address in Canada which would be very expensive in terms of shipping. Many thanks
G. Stephen Jones
Hi Kelly, wow, that seems way to soon to have cracked handles. I would suggest you take them back to where you purchased them in Canada and see what they say.
Sadly, Wusthof no longer has good customer service. I sent them my knife 4 months ago. They would not replace it but offered me a new one at 1/2 price, still haven't heard from them about processing payment. They received it Feb. 18, it is now June 18. The old one was always hand-washed but the rivet failed and apparently that is not covered under their warranty.