Wusthof Crafter Review: Best Knife Yet? (2022)

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The Wusthof Crafter made a big splash when it was first introduced in 2018. A knife just like the flagship Classic in design but with many of the common points of complaint addressed. The Crafter product family is ultra premium– almost double the price of the already high-end Wusthof Classic and comparable to the Wusthof Ikon. However, for the right person, upgrading to the Crafter is well worth it. In this Wusthof Crafter review I’ll break down the key features and why I think the Crafter is the best knife Wusthof’s ever made.

The Wusthof Crafter family is among the most premium families of knives Wusthof offers. It’s above the Classic and Gourmet lines but below the Ikon, Performer and Amici lines. It’s fair to call it a an enhanced version of the Classic. While the other ultra high end lines like the Ikon or Performer have totally unique designs with substantially different blade molds and handle shapes, the Crafter’s design is almost identical to the Classic’s. The two knife families are identical in handle and blade dimensions. The big differences with the Wusthof Crafter are it’s brass rivets, all wood handle and half bolster blade.

Wusthof Classic vs Wusthof Crafter Comparison

Wusthof Classic

Wusthof Crafter

Handle Design

Black, triple riveted, traditional

Brown wood, triple riveted, traditional 

Bolster

Full

Half

Handle Material

Polyoxymethylene

Smoked Oak

Rivets

3, stainless steel

3, brass

Tang

Full tang, exposed

Full tang, exposed

Blade Material

High-Carbon Stainless Steel

High-Carbon Stainless Steel

Edge Angle

14° per side

14° per side

Where It's Made

Germany

Germany

Warranty

Limited Lifetime

Limited Lifetime

Number of Sets

33

1

Price

$$$

$$$$

What I like about the Wusthof Crafter

Half Bolster Blade

The half bolster is the biggest selling point about this knife. The bolster is the thick, dull knuckle on the back of the knife blade near the handle that. On a full bolster knife, this extends the full height of the blade down to its sharp edge while a half bolster extends only half way down. It seems like an insignificant difference but the full bolster makes a knife much harder to sharpen.

The sharpening process works by grinding down the blade’s dull edge and stripping away a thin sliver of metal. Each knife sharpening decreases the blade height by a tiny amount which over time can be quite noticeable. While the blade keeps getting shorter, the bolster is not adjusted during the sharpening causing it to stick out beyond the blade. This makes the knife awkward to handle. Some knife sharpening services offer “bolster reduction” which is a more involved and expensive process than traditional knife sharpening where they use power tools to grind down the forged steel of the bolster until it’s flush with the blade edge.

You get basically nothing for all of this hassle. I’ve found no benefits to having the full bolster on my Wusthof Classic knife. Some people suggest that it improves the balance of the knife or that it helps avoid accidental cuts but I found both claims to be suspect. If you have the choice, I would always opt for the half bolster knife all else equal.

Handle Material

Expectations are high for knives in this price range. I want everything to be made to the highest possible standards which is why I was always a bit disappointed that the Wusthof Classic knives use a plastic material for the knife handles. The Wusthof Crafter’s new smoked oak knife handle material both looks and feels more luxurious than the synthetic Polyoxymethylene Classic handle.

Of course, you may prefer the simple black handle on the classic line to the Crafter’s smoked oak look. The Polyoxmethylene handle may also be easier to clean, as sometimes wood gets damaged or stained from water. So in this case, the handle material may be a personal preference.

Brass Rivets

The brass rivets on the handle look great and are more expensive than the stainless steel of the Classic. Brass is a significantly less corrosive metal which is an especially nice property for the rivets which I don’t often think to dry. The tiny space between the rivets and the handle can trap water and cause corrosion to develop along the outside circle. My Wusthof Classic knives have stood up well over time but the parts of the knife that show signs of corrosion are the parts that I don’t or can’t dry well after each wash.

Aesthetics

In my (very subjective) opinion, the Crafter is the best looking of all the Wusthof product lines. In this price range, you’re not just buying for pure utility; this is a knife that will last you a lifetime or more so it’s it important that you actually like the way it looks. The brass and smoked oak make for a much more elegant knife than the Classic while looking more traditional than the Wusthof Ikon.

Is the Wusthof Crafter Worth the Price?

High-end knives like these have a high upfront cost but with good care will not need to be replaced in a lifetime. The effective cost may actually be less than cheap knives that you replace every few years. In this sense, the difference in price between the Crafter and a cheaper Wusthof knife like the Classic is almost insignificant over the 50+ years you’ll be owning it. Plus, with the Crafter you will never have to pay for expensive bolster reductions every few years– that alone can cover the cost. If you prefer the the design of the Crafter or don’t want to bother with the full bolster blade then yes, the Crafter is well worth the extra cost.

Check the current prices of Wusthof Classic knives on Amazon.

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