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Windmuehlen Carbon Steel Chef's Knife
Large, elegant and maneuverable all-purpose knife. Razor-sharp carbon steel blade. Entirely handmade in Solingen, Germany, by a company that’s over 100 years old. (
Unless you're dining on a single peeled potato, you’ll be using a chef’s knife to prepare every meal. It slices, minces and dices; it’s long enough to cut watermelons or large bunches of kale; and is curved enough so you can rock it back and forth when you chop. It is basically an extension of your hand in the kitchen so it’s important to have a good one. A great one, even.
Windmuehlenmesser’s carbon steel chef’s knife is handmade from tip to handle. This means the handle is cut and carved in their woodshop, and the multi-step process of grinding the blade to razor-sharpness is all done by skilled craftsmen. Finishing the knife to a blue-glaze, which improves the cutting quality and durability of the blade, is done by Windmeuhlenmesser’s master grinder, Wilfried Fehrekampf, one of the few in the world who can still execute this ancient technique.
Windmuehlenmesser has been making knives since 1872 in Solingen, Germany, where it is literally against the law to make a bad knife.
The unique taper grind means the knife gets continuously sharper from spine to edge so there’s no bevel, making it thinner and lighter than most German-style knives. A narrow bolster (the area where the blade meets the handle) is less bulky, making the knife unusually lithe for its size.
The Windmuehlenmesser chef’s knife is very durable. It is made with a single piece of drop-forged steel so it is impossible for the blade to wiggle from the handle. The wood of the handle is secured by a skilled hand. Then there’s the material: carbon steel.
Carbon steel is the stuff Julia Child swore by. It’s the cast iron of knife blades — meaning in exchange for a little upkeep you get a better kitchen tool. To make the most of their impressive techniques, Windmuehlenmesser uses great materials, and the carbon steel of this knife sacrifices nothing to achieve a sharp blade that stays sharper longer. It looks down upon other steels from its measurement of HRC 60 on the Rockwell hardness scale.
The chef’s knife comes with a small bottle of mineral oil. Rub it into the blade after every use to keep it from rusting, and occasionally into the handle.
The handle is made from Austrian plum wood.
Use & Care
Wash and dry your knife immediately after use, especially if you've just cut acidic things like lemons of tomatoes. Don't leave it standing in water, and rub it with edible mineral oil before putting it back in the drawer. Like all knives, don't put this in the dishwasher (it degrades the edge prematurely).
The carbon steel blade will naturally develop a dark patina. This is the kind of protective oxidation you want and it won't affect the food you cut or the knife's performance. We think the darkness and stains gives the knife a rustic, lived-in feel, but if you want to bring it back to its fresh-off-the-grinding-stone gleam, give it a few swipes with Windmuehlenmesser's Rust Eraser & Oil.
Use and treat the Windmuehlenmesser chef's knife like you would any other good knife. Develop some good habits now and your knife will stay sharp longer, which makes it safer and also more fun to use. Here are some things to keep in mind:
“Use a wooden cutting board, and don't cut onto glass, metal or counter top.
“When sliding cut food off a board, turn the knife over and push the food off with the spine, so you're not dragging the edge across the board.
“Don't use your Windmeuhlenmesser to chip or hack away at frozen meats (or anything else for that matter).
“The blade is thin, so don't twist and turn the knife while cutting.
“When it starts to get dull, send it to a reputable professional knife sharpener. Don't wait until it is already dull.
Production & Design
This knife is made using the same methods and materials that Windmuehlenmesser used in 1922. It's the same carbon steel, same plum wood, same drop-forging, same taper-grinding. Die-hard users bring knives into the Windmuehlenmesser shop to be sharpened that are upwards of 60 years old.
Each knife starts as a brick of metal which is drop-forged into knife blanks by giant, earth shaking hammers. Skilled craftsmen bring the edge to a razor sharp taper grind by hand, before passing it off to the master for the blue-glaze finish.
Carbon Steel Knives, Kaufmann Mercantile References
Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Simone Beck, Louise Bertholle and Julia Child, Scribd
Caring for Carbon Steel Knives, Mizugaeshi
Rockwell Scale, Wikipedia
Care for Your Kitchen Knives, Kaufmann Mercantile References
13.58 inches (345 mm)
–Slicing, mincing, chopping, dicing etc
–Cuts all types of meats, fruits, vegetables
–Austrian plum wood handle
HRC 60 on the Rockwell scale
–Hand wash only
–Wash and dry immediately after use
–Apply mineral oil to the blade after every use, and occasionally to the handle