First of all, THANK YOU MARK! I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to sample all these extraordinary knives.
Second of all, this review is based on a single meal prep for a home user so please take this with a grain of salt. Since the itinerary for this pass around gives me five days with five knives I hope to dedicate one night to each knife. Accordingly edge retention is outside the scope of this review and I do not plan to sharpen the knives.
As I have been asked for feedback on this knife I have decided to start with the Hinoura Tamashii 240mm gyuto: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/hita24gy.html
. The knife is a middle weight, kurouchi knife with a White #2 core steel.
Overall the knife is a very good, quality knife that preforms very well.
To begin with I inspected the knife for FnF. Handle quality is good and the aesthetic is classic. The KU is a medium textured matte finish that is very evenly applied. The "blade road" between the KU finish and core steel has a very attractive frosted finish. The core steel arrived with a mirror polish that took on a colorful patina with use. The befuddling thing about the FnF is there is a pronounced grind marks in the side of the blade and some Nashiji type pitting. Generally that does not bother me at all but the overall affect of that plus the relatively high quality FnF is a knife that is North of rustic but South of Refined. I suppose I can appreciate either but both at the same time...don't know what I think
The initial inspection showed the knife to be reasonably heavy (full disclaimer: I have been using Konos and a Takamura almost exclusively for about a month, it is only 6.1oz) with a grind which does not become thin until ~1m from the edge. The relative weight of the knife coupled with the thickness until lower in the blade suggested the knife may be prone to wedging...but I was wrong. In use the knife was no feather weight and I could feel the knife in product but it was no wedge monster. The grind behaved like a good convex knife and created separation rather than wedging.
The profile reminded me a bit of the Sukenari Ginsan that I tested in a previous pass around in that both the Sukenari the Hinoura Tamashii seem to me a bit of a pseudo-KS clone. It is taller than my Ikeda (a KS clone), 49mm vs 46mm. It is shorter than my Ikeda, 237mm vs 250mm. But the spines of the knives shadow each other very closely. The Hinoura Tamashii has considerable more belly in order to make up for the increased height the edge has to cover over a shorter distance, but it retains a fairly sharp and delicate tip. Like the FnF issue, there was some cognitive dissonance here, I am selling my Ikeda because it is not my cup of tea, and the Hinoura Tamashii is like it...but not.
The upshot is the knife is probably not for me, but it is a well made knife and if the right recommendation request came along I could see this meeting somebody's druthers.
Overview of the knife, the streaks are from me wiping the blade down before the picture:
Hinoura Tamashii overlaying the Ikeda spine comparison, you can see the grind mark well here:
Hinoura Tamashii and Ikeda side by side: