Some home cooks are happy with any old knife that does its job. Others, however, want a little extra visual flair. This second group is the target market for the modern trend of “Damascus” knives. We take a look at one of them in this review.
Allwin Houseware sells a series of budget kitchen tools online and through shops like Sears. Their reputation appears rather hit-and-miss overall. That’s not automatically a damning indictment, but it’s worth bearing in mind as you peruse their products.
Allwin Houseware Kitchen Knife Features
“Damascus steel” has become popular in high-end cutlery circles these days. Its beautiful swirling patterns give your blades a special flair. Claims that it is an ancient formula far superior to other modern steels, however, are more myth than truth. Modern “Damascus” steel is mostly high-carbon stainless steel with pretty patterns, and has limited relation with the historical metal.
Simply put, “Damascus” knives may be pretty, but they are not inherently better or worse than others.
Allwin Houseware’s blade boasts of 66 folded forged layers plus a harder core layer to maintain its edge. It’s heat treated to a Rockwell Hardness rating of 62— the highest rating most kitchen knives are willing to go to. This means it should maintain a sharp edge for a long time. The trade-off is that it is easier to chip than a softer blade, and will take more work to sharpen.
Never use such a hard blade to chop through bone or frozen material. It’s not made for those purposes.
The handle of the Allwin Houseware’s knife is made of Pakkawood. This is compressed wood impregnated with epoxy, making it highly resistant to water and oils. The Pakkawood grip should last much longer than an ordinary wooden handle.
This knife is advertised as Japanese, but this refers to the source of the steel. The blade follows the familiar German design. The rounded blade shape allows for a nice, natural rocking motion.
Its edge is finer than most German kitchen knives, though. That’s great for precision cuts, but this also makes it a bit more fragile. Most chefs have no need for such a fine edge, and it mostly serves to shorten the knife’s lifespan. This blade must be handled with care to prevent it from chipping.
Reviews for this knife are a roller coaster of good and bad. That’s not unexpected for a knife that boasts of so much at a price point like this one. And unlike the pricier manufacturers, Allwin does not appear to offer a warranty.
Related post: Cutco 1728 7-5/8″ Petite Chef Knife
Use and Care
All knives should be washed by hand and quickly dried— never put them in the dishwasher. This blade should theoretically keep its edge for months worth of regular use. When the time comes to sharpen, a set of whetstones/oil stones should do the trick.