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Goko White #1 240mm Gyuto

Mon Jan 27, 2014 5:38 pm

So here is the Goko White #1 Gyuto that I got from Mark's forum sale this month. I'll put up some pictures and comparative thoughts.


The finish, in person, is excellent: upscale yet rustic--a beautiful melding of elegance and a down-to-business functional aesthetic. It is much more interesting and nuanced than seems to come through in photographs.


Here are the measurements from mine: 245mm on the edge, 52mm tall. I don't have its weight or calipered spine measurements, but I'd call the width around 3mm out of the handle.


Note that the fit-and-finish is not as spotless as on the Kajihara I posted about recently: the epoxy job around the tang-handle junction is slightly rough, with some gaps and spillover in other areas. I also noticed that this particular knife has a slight depression in the hagane right where the blade comes out of the handle. It looked like it might have had a spot of rust in it when I recieved it so I cleaned it out with BKF and a tooth pick and will keep an eye on it.


The chestnut handle actually has a great feel in the hand, and seems like it would remain grippy even while wet. The plastic ferrule is well fitted and doesn't feel too cheap--of course a natural material would be preferred, but I will be in no rush to replace the handle. Note that the junction between handle and ferrule is not smooth, however. And though the handle is slightly larger in diameter than some others, it somehow feels simultaneously less substantial, maybe due to the density or grain of the wood compared to a rosewood/ebony combination (my only wa-handled comparison).

I eased choil and spine, which were a little sharp OOTB. But speaking of the choil, here it is:


As you can see, the knife is fairly thin (more on that in a moment) with most of its width achieved by the bottom of the finish. The grind seems functional, with a good amount of convexity to it. It is worth noting however that the sort of rustic aesthetic is preserved in the grind and sharpening job. The out-of-the-box edge was fantastic, unprecedented in my experience, but less clean that many other knives I have seen, with a less smooth surface of the grind and more scratching at intervals along the edge.

Though the knife has a relatively tame line between hagane and jigane, I am sure it will look quite nice with a patina.


The profile is appropriate for a knife of this height, with a decent flat spot and a nice curve into the tip. I don't rock much but this would certainly be better for rocking than the Kajihara.


It is worth noting that the white #1 steel in the Goko was not very reactive; only garlic affected it, and gave the tip a brassy yellow sheen. I did not notice any issues with onions during a night of home use. As far as cutting goes, the performance was interesting, and not quite what I expected. The blade exhibited almost no sticking on potatoes or onions. Food just falls off the finish. So far so good. But I was surprised to find that the out-of-the-box performance was about even with that of the Kajihara, despite the latter's much thicker spine and less refined, though still sharp, OOTB edge. That knife has been my go-to for the past week, and sharpened up to 5K the Kajihara's lead has only increased. The Goko exhibits slightly less sticking, and cuts through onions just slightly easier, but seems to wedge more seriously and more often in taller ingredients (dicing potatoes in this case), and actually feels a bit thicker behind the edge in the way that it cuts.

At the forum special price the knife was a steal, and I think it is a good deal at full price if you are interested in a product that has some rustic flair without a full lacquer kurouchi finish. But after looking at and feeling its edge, I expected the Goko would cut more effortlessly than I experienced. I don't want to be too hard on the Goko, because I like it. I'm just a bit perplexed by how it felt. I expected it to be more of a "laser" than the Kajihara, but, subjectively, that wasn't the case. The difference is small in absolute terms, but still perceptible.

Re: Goko White #1 240mm Gyuto

Mon Jan 27, 2014 6:47 pm

Great review! I enjoyed it.

I too think the aesthetic is more interesting in person and that pictures don't so it justice.

Reactivity is very low. I have been using mine for about 6 weeks and while I can see it is discolored, but the transition has been slow and subtle.

I have found non-stick is notably impressive as well.

I have not handled the Kajihara, but the Goko is no laser. In my hands it feels like a high performance workhorse.

Wedging it has not been too much a problem for me, but I have been battling with another knife that is giving me some fits, so this always feels great by comparison.

Love your feedback on fit-and-finish, I'm not blind, but I just don't tend to notice it unless its egregious. In this case, not perfect, but fully functional.

Thanks again.

Re: Goko White #1 240mm Gyuto

Mon Jan 27, 2014 7:24 pm

Definitely looks better in person as the pics dont do it justice. Cant wait to knock out some prep

Re: Goko White #1 240mm Gyuto

Mon Jan 27, 2014 10:04 pm

Great review on the Goko
I got one also, unfortunately, mine is still sitting in the box. :(
I plan on doing a comparison review of the Goko Vs. my 1960's vintage Wearever Professional chef knife.
Pictures are posted in the photo section.
I know I will be cooking a stir fry later this week. I plan on using both knives during my prep, and see how they handle the vegetables and protein.
Personally I am glad the Goko is more of a workhorse, exactly what I wanted. I already own a Richmond Laser, so I was really looking for a J knife
with some more power behind the blade.

Re: Goko White #1 240mm Gyuto

Tue Jan 28, 2014 4:01 pm

I'll be putting one of these through the paces Friday / Saturday at a high end resort... on a stage. Should have a good review with it by then.

Re: Goko White #1 240mm Gyuto

Tue Jan 28, 2014 4:08 pm

Nice...knock 'em dead!

Re: Goko White #1 240mm Gyuto

Tue Jan 28, 2014 8:12 pm

cedarhouse wrote:I have not handled the Kajihara, but the Goko is no laser. In my hands it feels like a high performance workhorse.

Yeah, I would say high-performance for sure. I didn't expect a laser in absolute terms, and it performs as expected compared to my thinner Kagayaki VG-10 with similar length/profile. I was just really surprised by the feel compared to the Kajihara, which I expected to feel thicker but didn't. I don't think it is necessarily a negative for the Goko (which I am loving when used with a little more grunt/muscle), but more a surprise positive for the Kajihara.

Thanks all. Glad you enjoyed the review.

Re: Goko White #1 240mm Gyuto

Tue Jan 28, 2014 8:57 pm

Out of curiosity, assuming someone were looking for a workhorse, would you be more inclined to recommend the Goko or Kajihara?

Re: Goko White #1 240mm Gyuto

Tue Jan 28, 2014 9:46 pm

I used mine tonight to cut up some veggies to use tomorrow (it was driving me crazy to not use this knife! lol) and mine didn't wedge at all with potatoes. It sailed through them effortlessly, almost as well as my Goko damascus. Of course the Goko damascus cuts taller stuff much easier in general (like a whole onion which took considerably more force with the white #1), but the potatoes offered no resistance. Once I had the onion cut in half it had no issues with dicing it easily either. Certainly better than my Tojiro and WAY better than my Yamashin santoku out of the box. I'm curious if it has to do with these blades being hand made and ground. Maybe some are slightly thinner than others?

The only thing mine had any issue with was cutting a carrot that was about an inch in diameter in half lengthwise. There was also a little breakage at the end of the cut when I was cutting off the top and a few "test rings" as well on that one. The other smaller carrots it had no issues with whatsoever, cutting clean to the board with little to no signs of breakage on the rings and split them easily. I also had a few issues with dicing a very (almost overly) ripe tomato. I am thinking this had to do with the level of refinement on the edge (it is near mirror polished, lol) so it had a tougher time biting into the skin with the very soft flesh underneath. Once through the skin it fell right through though. On a firmer tomato Sunday the knife had no issues whatsoever with the skin and went straight through.

I also noticed VERY little if any patina forming after cutting onions, tomatoes, and garlic as well. I even left it unwiped and purposely left it sitting for a few minutes after each item. No change in the edge except MAYBE a little coloration or just a slight tarnish on the shine. It is definitely behaving like it is less reactive than the Yamashins. Then again the Yamashins are fully reactive blades. lol

I'm trying to avoid it, but I'll probably end up just sending the blade over a 1k stone a couple of passes just to put some teeth on there... I just like the look of the shiny edge! lol

Re: Goko White #1 240mm Gyuto

Tue Jan 28, 2014 11:52 pm

Interesting. Thanks for sharing DefMunky! I haven't experienced breakage with carrots of that size, and thought it did quite well on them. Just potatoes, for me, (and halving onions, as you say). I'll have to hit the stones this weekend and see if I can improve on the edge.

Cedarhouse: I guess I'd like to sharpen the Goko myself before I say for sure, but speaking specifically I'd put my money on my Kajihara over my Goko in current form. Two caveats are 1) the Kajihara is a 210 vs. the Goko's 240, so a Kajihara of comparable length might be thicker and cut less well, and 2) the Kajihara is heavier so it is more weight to move around which might really take a toll over a long shift. But on the plus side I've found the Kajihara's weight works to its advantage and that aspect is really growing on me (it seems to cut a lot of stuff itself). Let me get back to you this weekend when I can try to control as many variables as possible, before I run my mouth too long and find out things totally change once I play with the edge on the Goko.
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