Wüsthof 8 inch 970 Gram Cleaver Review

You do not need to own an 8 inch, 970g Wüsthof cleaver. If you are the type of person who only buys things that you truly read then you should stop reading now. If you are the type of person who occasionally buys things you know you don’t need but really want, by all means, continue reading, because this review is meant for you.

This knife is the least used knife in my collection, but I absolutely love using it. I primarily use it for quartering chickens, but I also use it for cutting up chicken wings into segments every now and then. If you want to try this knife at home, be sure to use the thickest butcher block you can find, because if you try quartering a chicken with this thing on a normal cutting board you will likely cut your board in half and damage your counter top.

For those of you unfamiliar with metric, 970 grams is a little over two pounds. That’s a lot of kitchen knife. The knife comes with a disclaimer that it should not be used with frozen foods or large bones, but pay that no heed; that is just the same standard disclaimer they put in with all their other mortal knives. You can safely hack through a moose’s femur with this thing. Frozen foods are far more afraid of this knife that it is of frozen foods, and for good reason.

To be clear, this is not a kitchen tool; it is a kitchen toy. You may find yourself buying things at the grocery store purely on the basis of whether they can be hacked up. My consumption of whole chickens spiked dramatically after I bought this knife. Nobody reading this review truly needs to own this knife, but I would recommend it to each and every one of you.

Williams Food Equipment

If you like high end kitchen tools, but don’t happen to live in a big city like Toronto, then you probably do most of your shopping online. Kitchen supplies, particularly high end knives, are often sold through smaller, more specialized niche companies, which can make making a purchase seem like a leap of faith. I have bought from many online retailers with varying degrees of success. I am writing today about one of the best, Williams Food Equipment.

Williams Food Equipment appears to be one of the largest suppliers of “food equipment” in the country. They have a large selection of just about every type of kitchen product. I have bought several Wusthof knives and Le Cruset pots and pans from them and have no major complaints about any of my purchases. They generally have products in stock, which is big factor when buying online. Some retailers have slick looking websites but are small and unable to maintain much inventory, so you sometimes have to wait weeks, if not months, to receive your order.

My first order from Williams did take almost two weeks to ship, but that was an exception. My other orders shipped right away. One great thing about them is that they are very responsive. When you go the website a chat window will open, and they will actually respond to you quite quickly. When my first order was delayed, someone would always respond to my inquiry. They were honest about the fact that my knives were not in stock when I made my purchase and that they were waiting on a shipment from Germany.

One thing that some people find slightly annoying about the site is that while you are browsing a chat window will pop up. Most people hate pop ups but the saving grace for this website is that they seem to employ some bright, good natured people to man the chat rooms. One night I decided to have a little fun with them just to see how they would react, and the person on the other end was both professional and good-natured. I have included an excerpt of the exchange below.

Williams Food Equipment Chat


One thing that rubs me the wrong way a little bit is that they are one of these retailers that always have a major sale. I am on their mailing list, so every week I get notified of a major sale. Valentine’s sale, St. Paddy’s day sale, Easter sale, lunar eclipse sale, etc. You need to browse the site regularly and compare to other sites to be clear on what exactly is a sale is and what isn’t. Generally you will find that even if you are not getting the once in a lifetime deal you thought, you can be usually be confident that you aren’t paying any more than you would at any other site.

Moritaka Aogami Super Steel Nakiri

I like reading reviews of kitchen knives, but somewhat paradoxically I find most of them to be of little value. The problem is that when it comes down to it, a kitchen knife is a rather simple object; a piece of steel with a handle. The best topics for reviews are things like food, movies, and books, which are often complex and, more importantly, subjective. Two highly respected film critics, such as Siskel and Ebert, can have wildly different opinions on the quality of a particular movie. The same goes for books and restaurants. A knive’s shape, weight, and the type of steel can all be objectively measured, so there cannot be a great deal of serious debate on the fundamental quality of a knife. So with that disclaimer out of the way, I will now write a knife review. Take from it what you will.

For my first ever knife review, I will of course start with the knife that is pictured on the first page of this website, the Moritaka Hamono Aogami super steel nakiri. Aogami super steel is a high carbon steel that is extremely hard, which means it can take and hold an extremely acute cutting edge. On the downside, because it is so hard, it is also delicate, and can easily chip or even be cracked off if the user is too rough with it. And because it is carbon steel, it will rust if left wet for any amount of time.

Before choosing to buy a knife like this, you first need to decide if you really want a carbon steel knife. Most people would probably prefer a rugged but high quality European style chef knife that you can hack meat off a bone with and then throw in the dishwasher. A carbon steel Japanese knife is best suited to those who want an extremely sharp knife for making precision cuts on vegetables or boneless meats and who are willing to hand wash and immediately dry it every time they use it.

If you decide that you want a Japanese carbon steel knife you have many types of carbon steel to choose from; White (Shirogami) 1 or  2, Blue (Aogami) 1 or 2, or Blue (Aogami) super steel. Of these steels, the Aogami super steel is the hardest and also tends to be the most expensive. If you are going to spend the money on this type of knife, you might as well spend a little more and go with the super steel. Moritaka has options in both Blue #2 and the super steel.

If you decide you want an Aogami super steel knife, you then need to decide what knife maker you want to go with. For Aogami super steel knives, Takeda is widely considered the leader, and is priced accordingly. Moritaka knives, though very expensive in their own right, are still significantly cheaper than Takeda. If Takeda knives are in fact better, and that is very much up to debate, the differences would likely be imperceptible to the average home chef.

Aside from being inexpensive as far as very expensive knives go, Moritaka Hamono is both one of the most interesting and admirable companies you will ever find. Moritaka started out producing samurai swords over 700 years ago before applying their blade making skills to knives once people starting using knives to cut meat and vegetables instead of other people. It is also the most refreshingly earnest company you will ever come across.

Though its knives are as long lasting as anything on the market, the Moritaka website actually has a page that shows how its knives will wear over time under heavy use. For the average home cook, the knives will last several lifetimes, but the people at Moritaka want to make clear that if you use this knife every day in a restaurant and sharpen it frequently, it will wear down over time. The website shows what the knife could like after 8 and 15 years of heavy use and regular sharpening. The knife that they show on the website is one used at the “local lunch centre”.

Speaking from personal experience, I bought my Moritaka nakiri knife almost a year ago and use it almost every day. Though I hone it every time I use it, I have not given it a proper re-sharpening with the stones and it can still shred receipt paper. Except making a few sample cuts on receipt paper in a knife store, the Moritaka is the only carbon steel knife I have really used, so I can hardly say that it is any better or worse than its competitors. I can only say that from personal experience I feel like I have gotten great value for the money I paid for the knife.