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My experience with a Kiwi, Henckes International and KitchenAid knives

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Since many people have discussed the Thai Kiwi knives here, I figure I should update my experience. A friend gave me a 5.5 inch Kiwi knife for sharpening. Another friend sent me a 6 inch Henckels International Chef’s knife and a 3.5 inch KitchenAid paring knife. They are all inexpensive stainless steel knives. They were all real dull when they were received.

All sharpened to a 15 degree bevel (from DMT coarse stone all the way to Naniwa 5000 Super stone). No microbevel put on. They all formed burr during sharpening, so they are definitely better than some poor knives I have seen.

The 5.5 inch Kiwi knife looks likes a small meat cleaver, but it is not (photo attached). Its blade is 2 mm thick which is thin for a meat cleaver. Moreover, it has a hollow ground. After sharpening, it formed a nice edge. It can push cut paper and shave arm hair. It holds its edge well for two cooking preparations. Based on the limited experience, I would say its steel is probably on par with the 420 of Dexter-Russell knife. It has a worn but sturdy wood handle, not loose. The fit and finish on the tang to handle is not good.

The 6 inch Henckels International knife formed an edge, but it is not as sharp as the Kiwi based on paper cut and hair cut tests and cutting meats. The difference feels less when cutting vegetables. I had resharpened it, but it could not take a very sharp edge. I rate it lower than a Dexter knife or in this case a Kiwi knife. The handle is good though. The Henckels has a handle similar to the Twin Signature, but it is definitely not a Twin (Zwilling).

The 3.5 inch KitchenAid paring knife also formed an edge, but not an impressive edge. The gel handle is comfortable.

Now, I apprecaite why many people love these inexpensive Kiwi knives.

 
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  1. CK - I see you are not over the OCKSD but I applaud the move to sharpening other peoples knives! Been looking for Kiwi forever but don't seem to have any success finding them!

    2 Replies
    1. re: knet

      Hi knet,

      :) I don't sharpen my own knives as often now because they seem to stay sharp longer. Sharpening other people's knives is going to allow me to experience more knives without buying them. Good luck finding a Kiwi knives. I have seen them in an Asian supermarket, but even then it is not that popular. I have been to the local Chinatown and I don't see any store carries them.

      1. re: knet

        You can order the knives online, I got mine from Wokshop.com. If you get just one the shipping will be high in comparison to the price of the knife, but if you get a few it is just a few bucks to ship each knife. Worth it for sure! There are other websites that sell them, just google it. Good luck and happy slicing!

      2. Are you holding on to the Kiwi knife for a while? What I'm mostly curious about is how their edge retention is. You said they held up well for two preparations, but can you elaborate? How do they hold up as compared to, say, your CCK cleaver?

        Thanks as always for taking the time to review. No surprises with the Henckels international and KitchenAid knives - I've sharpened both and have been disappointed with their edge taking. KitchenAid knives were one of the ones I was working with a while ago when I thought a carborundum stone seemed more effective than my waterstones (this was probably just an illusion due to leaving a coarser edge with the oilstone). But yeah, not very rewarding to sharpen.

        Are you looking to make a habit of sharpening other people's knives?

        9 Replies
        1. re: cowboyardee

          Cowboy,

          I have returned the Kiwi knife. It holds its edge in the two cooking sessions. It was able to take on an edge to shave my arm hair and push cut paper before the preparations and was able to do the same after the 2 preparations, so no huge drop in performance. My CCK can also do that, so I cannot differentiate. On the other hand, the Kiwi could not take on an edge as sharp as my CCK or my Tojiro DP. The Kiwi does not cut paper or shave arm hair as smooth as the CCK.

          I was both surprise and not surprise that the Henckels International and KitchenAid performed subpar. I didn't expect Henckels International to be as good as Zwilling Henckels, but it performed worse than Kiwi and Dexter knives as well. Disappointing. Handles are good though.

          I mostly wrote this post because of the Kiwi knife. Earlier we had people think the Kiwi knives are cheap craps and some claim they are sharper than Japanese knives like Shun or Tojiro. In my limited experience with this ONE Kiwi knife, I would say it is cheap, but not crap. On the other hand, it is not quiet as good as a Shun or a Tojiro. Still, it is a $10 knife.

          I am going to sharpen other's knives on a less than regular basis. I don't want to sharpen an entire knife set for people, but having one or two knives over the weekend will be good for practice and good for knowning different knives without buying them.

          Hey, I think you said you have sharpened a Hattori HD? Or was it KD? Like it?

          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

            I've sharpened the HD. Someday, maybe I'll get to play with a KD. Someday.

            The HD was nice. Looks and feels great, which is the biggest reason to buy one IMO. As for the edge, it's the tiniest bit harder to sharpen than a Tojiro DP (which as you know is quite easy), takes a pretty similarly sharp edge, and holds it a little bit longer than the DP (which, as you also know, has okay but not great edge retention).

            The Kiwi knives could certainly use a little demystifying, seeing as I've never read a review of them that didn't either dismiss them out of hand or (more often) claim that they are the greatest knives ever made. Thank you for doing so.

            1. re: cowboyardee

              Yeah, I noticed the Tojiro DP edge retention is not that super great, but that was about the time I switched from my wood cutting board to my rubber board and that rubber board dulled all my knvies faster. At first, I thought the Tojiro DP really does not retent an edge, but I later realize all my other knives suffer.

              Maybe I will get a Hattori HD Santoku in a few months. :)

              If you ever come across some interesting knives, please let us know as well. Hey come to think of it, how was your Dojo paring knife. It is a clad knife with an Aogami Super core. How has it been doing?

              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                The Dojo paring knife.... I considered starting a new thread for it, but since you and those who read your threads are the main people here interested in such things, there's probably not much point.

                http://www.chefknivestogo.com/dopakn8...

                First off, I like the geometry of the knife. The basic profile of the knife is quite similar to other perennial paring knife favorites - the shun classic and the mac paring knife. It's 1.6 mm wide at the spine, with the last 1/3 of the spine tapering to a very pointy tip. Not much curve, just a gentle curve for the length of the edge. It's quite short at 80 mm, which was a selling point for me - I like short paring knives, as I mainly want a paring knife to feel nimble.

                The primary bevel sets in maybe halfway down the knife at the heel, with a small secondary bevel at the edge. The knife feels thin, nimble and agile, but still pleasantly substantial. It's got a nice weight to it for a thin knife with no bolster. No flex in the blade. It can feel a little thick behind the edge compared to something like the forschner paring knife, but the edge itself can get far sharper.

                The factory edge was nothing special, a bit dull, but no major work needed beyond a basic sharpening. I sharpened it soon after I got it. Took a VERY nice edge, which is of course one of the main reasons I got the knife - blue steel just does that. I was a little worried about getting a carbon steel (ss cladded) paring knife since paring knives see so much use with acidic ingredients. Doesn't seem to be much of an issue. There is just a barely-noticeable patina along the edge. Strangely, it doesn't form a patina anywhere near as readily as my Hiromoto gyuto, also with a Aogami SS core. The edge itself is still very sharp a couple months in. Still shaves easily, shreds paper. I've stropped it, but that's it for maintenance.

                The Aogami SS core may be tempered up even harder than that of my Hiromoto. It's listed at 62 hrc, and it seemed to take a bit longer to sharpen fully. If so, this is probably a good thing for a paring knife that doesn't contact a cutting board or bones very often. As I said, it really seems to hold its edge for a a while.

                If I have any real complaints about the knife, it would be that the handle has some fairly angular edges that can be uncomfortable in some grips. I'll probably wind up sanding it down a bit eventually.

                For $40, I feel like this paring knife is really quite hard to beat. It's really geared towards the hand sharpening crowd (or edgepro) though, since it's major selling point is the Aogami Super core. It won't compete with the forschner for price, the Wusthof classic for comfort, the MAC or Tojiro for out-of-the-box sharpness, or the Shun or Al Mar knives for polish. I'm quite happy with it.

                1. re: cowboyardee

                  You should write a review for a Dojo knife anyway. Thank for the review-reply.

                  I think a short paring knife is appealing to me right now. In fact, I am looking for something even shorter than that like 2.5 inch, just because I have several 3.5 inch paring knives and they can be too long to use in certain situations. I know several experts, including Norman Weinstein, grab the knife around the blade for those special situations. I have tried it, but just feel very uncomfortable. Here is a video, watch the first 30 second. In fact, I may just start a thread about "how many people grab the paring by the blade?"

                  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G7l-Tf...

                  Some of your description about the Dojo knife reminds me of my Tanaka nakiri. Rust resistance steel, semi-dull edge from the factory, good edge retention. I notice the handle is very squarely too, so I can understand it being uncomfortable to hold.

                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                    I use that grip for coring. Works quite well. I've even done that with chefs knives, on occasion. Feels fine with the Dojo. In truth, I use more different grips for the paring knife than for any other knife I own, so I'm glad the handle isn't contoured like some paring knives. But also because of all the different grips, the sharp-ish edges on the Dojo's handle are enough to bother me. Not all that uncomfortable really, but less than perfect on a knife I'm otherwise quite happy with.

            2. re: Chemicalkinetics

              This thread was brought back to life and i decided i would post a commnent.
              I have a few kiwi knives, the one i use most resembles a nakiri of 8 inches. The blade has a slight curve with notable rounding at the front. It seems like a bit of thought went into the shape. The handle and spine are not the most comfortable. I round off the spine of my knives near the handle and for some reason the kiwi knives still manage to be uncomfortable. On the kiwis I also sand the handles a bit and to me are a lot more comfortable, and then treat with mineral oil.
              The hollow ground with ridges is nice for this price range and edge retention is good, i would say a bit better than a dexter. I have the nakiri style kiwi at 10o and holds it well, the other kiwis i have dont like that steep of an angle so there seems to be some inconcistancy in their metal but it could be that it is due to the different style knife.
              Kiwi makes good knives in my humble opinion. Not great but not bad. It is a knife i reach for on a regular basis that i do not mind letting guests and relatives use or borrow. I get mine locally and have not paid more than $5 for one. It is a no frills workhorse and are starting to be available with plastic handles, but i dont think they are nsf listed.

              1. re: cannibal

                "I round off the spine of my knives near the handle and for some reason the kiwi knives still manage to"

                Manage to what?

                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                  I am on my phone and i hit "reply" before i was anywhere near done with my post :P
                  I edited it to finish my respone