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Kikuichi TKC 210MM

Wed Jun 11, 2014 9:40 am

So, after purchasing a Haruyuki 240, I couldn't resist and grabbed a TKC as well based on all the tremendous reviews of the knife. Given, I bought it in 210 (240s are out until Sep.) so it isn't a perfect comp to a 240 and I think some of the things I enjoy more about the Haruyuki can be attributed to size of blade and the factory edge (which, hopefully becomes less important when I become adept at sharpening).

OK, back to the TKC and where I think this knife really excels. Hands down, the most comfortable knife I've ever held (given, I've held far fewer top quality knives than most on this forum). For my grip, hand size and preference in point of balance, this knife hits all the right notes. As I've written previously, it just feels so natural that you almost don't realize your holding it. Fit and finish are superb and there is something about a mono-steel blade that feels more alive and raw that a clad knife. I know that is vague, but it is hard to articulate that point of differentiation in feel. Out of the box the blade was very sharp though doesn't come with a highly refined finish. The edge definitely has noticeable toothiness to it and did get very, very, very sharp after some draws across a ceramic rod. Finally, I love the geometry of the blade (very close to a traditional french chef's) with just the right amount of height for a 210.

Now for the negatives that I attribute to blade size and my inability to sharpen: The flat portion of the blade is pretty small. Probably only about 1.5 inches at the heal. This has caused some accordion cutting for me. It really isn't all that much of a problem, but I tend to do a lot of cooking with scallions, and the softer outer layer of a scallion towards the green tends to need very solid blade contact and the TKC just seems to slightly miss it without having to noticeably slow down my cut and over emphasize the push. I do have a suspicion that a larger blade with a long flat and greater height might solve this issue though. Also, I've found the knife requires a bit more action/force to get through ingredients than the Haruyuki/Akifusa which results in quicker fatigue in my forearm. I attribute this to size and weight of the blade as well. Also, the balance point is about an inch further back than I like which makes the blade feel super nimble, but not as much help on the cut. I think in a 240MM, the additional weight and forward blance may also resolve this problem. My third minor criticism is with the edge. It just wasn't in the same class of refinement as the Haruyuki out of the box. As a result, the Haruyuki feels far smoother through ingredients. Again, this issue is likely overcome with a quality sharpening job with high grit stones. As I mentioned earlier though, the knife takes to ceramic really, really well. Far better than the Akifusa actually. I can see how this probably translates to ease of sharpening and look forward to eventually putting it to stone.

Overall, this knife has the makings of something really exceptional, though I think for it to be just right I would want it in 240MM and need to be decent with sharpening stones.

Re: Kikuichi TKC 210MM

Wed Jun 11, 2014 1:59 pm

So, to see if a professional sharpening would take the blade up a notch, I brought the TKC in to Korin today for a post-factory tune up. The only problem is, they only sharpen to 8K grit then strop. I'm not sure that is going to be fine enough to match the Haruyuki. We'll see I guess. Will update post when I get it back

Re: Kikuichi TKC 210MM

Wed Jun 11, 2014 3:30 pm

8k, if well done, will be as fine as you ever need on a kitchen knife. And, though I haven't used a haryuki, I truly doubt they sharpen all that much finer.

Re: Kikuichi TKC 210MM

Wed Jun 11, 2014 3:33 pm

Thanks Luca, good to know as I'm completely clueless on the sharpening front. I was basing my assumption on grit on Mr. Fernandez's review of the Haruyuki 210 where he estimated a 16K grit out of the box. I will say, the difference in blade refinement post-factory between the two was noticeable...

Re: Kikuichi TKC 210MM

Wed Jun 11, 2014 3:43 pm

First, a proper 8k edge is going to be far beyond any factory edge I've ever seen. The finest I've ever seen is something akin to a 3,000 grit edge and that was on a knife that was hand sharpened before it left the factory. My guess is the edge on the Haruyuki is maybe 1,500 grit...maybe....unless it was hand sharpened by someone before it was sent to you.

That the TKC was not very sharp doesn't surprise me.....if Korin does even a half assed job of sharpening it, it will come out nice....and Korin does better than a half assed job.

To your negatives about the TKC.....two of them (small flat spot and balance point) are the same anyone would have with any 210mm gyuto when comparing to a 240mm gyuto. A 240mm version will likely appease both of these.

The others ("action/force to get through ingredients" and the OEM edge) are not going to get resolved with a 240mm but will be with a proper sharpening. The obvious one is the OEM edge.....it's been too long since I've seen a factory edge on a TKC to say where they come....but like the Haruyuki, it'll probably be in that 1,000 grit range. Should be sharp....but nothing super special. Even a well done 2,000 grit edge, with a slight shoulder thinning perhaps, will make the TKC sing. Get crazy with it....thin the shoulder a touch, and take it up to 8,000 grit and it'll fall through a tomato.

Re: Kikuichi TKC 210MM

Wed Jun 11, 2014 3:52 pm

Awesome, thanks for the response Adam! Too much to like about the knife so far to not try it in 240. Will update on the action/force issue once I get the knife back from Korin.

Re: Kikuichi TKC 210MM

Wed Jun 11, 2014 9:37 pm

Sounds like you might have a 210mm TKC to unload. Just remember the classified page.

In regard to the final grit used to sharpen a knife, it's generally agreed that an edge beyond around 5k degrades fast enough that it's inefficient. I keep my Western knives at 2k and take my Japanese knives up to 6k, and I do see a degradation of edge fairly quickly. Quite a few people here endorse the Suehiro Rika, a 5k stone, as a good finishing point.

Re: Kikuichi TKC 210MM

Thu Jun 12, 2014 5:14 am

Indeed, will probably be letting go of the 210. Not sure yet though as the knife is seriously so nimble that it could get use as a petty or utility despite its size.
Really good info on the sharpening front. That piece of advice probably saved me a couple hundred bucks in stone purchases!

Re: Kikuichi TKC 210MM

Thu Jun 12, 2014 11:42 am

Yeah, most of those finer stones are for razors or to use as toys. The other option is to get into natural stones, which work subtlety differently from the synthetics. They're very costly, but I have no trouble believing they give some slightly better results.

Re: Kikuichi TKC 210MM

Fri Jun 20, 2014 1:56 pm

So, picked up my TKC from Korin today and have to say I definitely missed this little blade. And holy baby jebus did they put a sharp edge on this and it does indeed make a noticeable difference in the performance vs. OOTB. After playing around with Haru and the Masakage while this guy was in the shop, it was a real pleasure picking it up. Yet again, I was instantly struck with just how natural this knife feels. For the size, I think the weighting and ergonomics are just brilliant. I wouldn't mind a taller heal, but will get that with the 240MM when it comes in stock (which I am buying for sure). Put it through an onion and did some tip work on a few scallions. Certainly with smaller produce, this blade is a rock star. Playing with it for a bit, I realized that there is certainly a generous flat portion at the heel (not as big as the Masakage, but certainly long enough). Think my initial comments about accordion cutting on the outer skin of the green on a scallion probably was a result of the shorter heel and consequently I wasn't finishing my cuts. Making a mental note of that, I had no such problems today.
I really love the playful personality this blade has and will definitely be keeping it in my block even when the 240 comes around.
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