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 Post subject: Re: Konosuke Damascus W#1 240mm First Impression
PostPosted: Fri Aug 08, 2014 10:13 pm 

Joined: Sat Jul 05, 2014 4:06 pm
Posts: 191
Love that with the flat finish the "white" steel is actually white. Very handsome. I went with HD over white, because I wanted the thinness, but I think I might end up going with the fujiyama W#2 deba. Put that thing to work, and let us know what you think of the edge holding capacity of the steel.


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 Post subject: Re: Konosuke Damascus W#1 240mm First Impression
PostPosted: Sat Aug 09, 2014 12:12 am 

Joined: Sun Jul 29, 2012 1:36 pm
Posts: 263
Location: NY, NY; New Haven, CT
I'm new to carbon and to patinas, but I'll say that the early patina on my Kono produced extra drag at first, and was unbalanced between the finish on the large primary bevel and the rest of the knife. After a few months of use and some random cleanings along the way (with Flitz and Bar Keepers), the patina gets more layers and richer as it develops and produces less and less drag. Obviously, damascus will be different, but (as we've already discussed) I think that the more the patina ages, the better the performance will be.



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Ownership experience: Konosuke, Masamoto, Tojiro, Wusthof, Henckels, etc.
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 Post subject: Re: Konosuke Damascus W#1 240mm First Impression
PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2014 12:23 am 

Joined: Thu May 29, 2014 8:38 pm
Posts: 1140
JourneymanDoug wrote:Love that with the flat finish the "white" steel is actually white. Very handsome. I went with HD over white, because I wanted the thinness, but I think I might end up going with the fujiyama W#2 deba. Put that thing to work, and let us know what you think of the edge holding capacity of the steel.


I know more experienced guys than myself don't find much difference between W#1 and W#2 in terms of ease of sharpening, edge character or retention, but the treatment of this W#1 by the smith that crafted the blade is really something special. As this is the first W#1 knife I've owned/used, I don't have much to compare it to, but it's been a singular experience vs. any W#2, or really any other steel I've used so far. As I mentioned earlier, sharpening this knife was the fastest, most satisfying experience I've had to date. Over the weekend I dicked around with a few pounds of onions, potatoes and some lighter prep work across various ingredients. Every knife I've owned with the exception of the Haru, would exhibit a bit of deterioration from that post-sharpening keenness with similar duty and that much board contact. The Kono is still ballsack shaving sharp with an incredibly silky edge.

Still saving more detailed discussion for a few weeks out, but I will say I'm still learning this knife. With things like scallions or produce that requires contact from a long section of the edge, I am noticing accordion cuts pretty frequently. That said, this is b/c my natural cutting style lends itself better to knives with a bit less curvature along the edge. Joe had a chance to handle my Shig this weekend and commented that the blade exhibited qualities that would require learning to bring out the best in the knife. I think that is very, very true. He also mentioned that while completely different, he felt the same way about his Fujiyama knives. Indeed, I think that comparison is apt. This is one hell of a knife that will be demanding some discovery and development of other techniques. Look forward to that process and updating accordingly.


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 Post subject: Re: Konosuke Damascus W#1 240mm First Impression
PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2014 12:51 am 

Joined: Thu May 29, 2014 8:38 pm
Posts: 1140
Here's a pic of the knife after use through ingredients that usually react violently to iron cladding, but also produce a nasty looking patina. As you can see, the cladding has barely developed a patina at all and the W#1 core is developing a gorgeous blue-toned natural patina.

Image


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 Post subject: Re: Konosuke Damascus W#1 240mm First Impression
PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2014 8:03 am 

Joined: Sat Mar 01, 2014 7:15 am
Posts: 1059
Location: Raleigh, NC
Sheesh. That's a gorgeous knife.


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 Post subject: Re: Konosuke Damascus W#1 240mm First Impression
PostPosted: Tue Sep 02, 2014 2:50 pm 

Joined: Thu May 29, 2014 8:38 pm
Posts: 1140
It's been about a month since I purchased this knife so thought it would be a nice time to update this review. Since most of the specs were covered in the first impression, I'm not going to talk too much about the construction and focus a bit more on the performance, steel and feel.

For the past month or so I've been using this knife alone or side-by-side with a Yoshiaki Fujiwara (Kato) 240mm. What an absolutely fantastic pair! The contrast that these knives provide when used over periods of time together is a fantastic way to drill down into the relative merits of each. Anyway enough of the preamble.

Simply, this blade is truly something special. As it has a bias towards the laser end of the performance spectrum, it really shines through softer/looser ingredients. With the larger handle, I find the balance point to be perfect making this one quick blade. The curvature of the edge profile took a bit of getting used to for me, but now finding the sweet spots is second nature and my muscle memory has kicked in a abit on the technique it knife prefers, there is no accordion cutting whatsoever and, indeed, find the profile to add a bit of versatility when it comes to rocking which is quite nice.
Every time I pick this knife up, the fit and finish, quality/refinement of the craftsmanship, and the flawless performance make me literally smile. No matter how many times I use the knife. I still find myself pausing and chuckling and thinking "Man, this is a really great knife". Without belaboring too much on grind, the asymmetry of the knife seems to provide some characteristics of a flat grind, with the ingredient separating potential of a convex grind. It also gets absurdly thin behind the edge. The knife's laser qualities have basically pushed my Haru into a supporting role as I find the Kono to be its match in virtually every application but with some additional versatility due to the knife's geometry. That said, these same qualities are also what define the knife's weaknesses, for lack of a better term. It's very easy to become infatuated with a knife of this calibre and learn how to adjust force of a cut or technique to make it perform through different tasks, but when used next to diametrically different blade like a Kato, one can pick out where the flaws are in performance/design all else equal. With this knife, it is not seamless through denser stuff. It doesn't wedge per-se so much as it simply isn't as fluid as it is with softer produce. For instance, if you julienne a large, young onion which gets fairly dense at the center, you can feel the difference in ease moving from outside in. With a Kato, it won't feel as slick on the looser outer layers, but it handles the dense core with no perceptible change in performance from the outer layers.
That said, what the Kono lacks in separation quality and heft, it more than makes up for in dexterity and a general versatility that ensures while it may not be the best at a certain task/ingredient, it's also not the "wrong" knife for the job either. To-boot, the asymmetrical grind alo makes it a great slicer which is nice, but, as Mel hinted at earlier, you can feel the damascus drag a bit when slicing something like Ahi.
The treatment of the W#1 on this knife is nothing short of outstanding. Edge retention and durability is very, very, very good. It's about the easiest knife to sharpen I've handled so far and the edge just gets downright silky. Really love this stuff. I love it so much, that I'm pretty sure there will be more Kono W#1 knives in my future. I really love this knife. Great work and I would recommended ad nauseam to anyone considering a Kono Fujiyama gyuto. While not cheap, I still think it can be discussed in the context of super high priced blades and as such, I think is a great value.


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 Post subject: Re: Konosuke Damascus W#1 240mm First Impression
PostPosted: Tue Sep 02, 2014 8:27 pm 

Joined: Thu Jun 13, 2013 12:25 pm
Posts: 302
Great write up Chip and you hit on many of the great attributes of the Fujiyama series 240 gyutos. They are stellar all around performers! As you mentioned, " Once you are hooked on the Fuji line you will be buying more of them. " Trust me I have 6 of them in various sizes , steel and knife types. If you are in the market for a Nakiri check out the 180 mm. White#1 Nakiri. It is fantastic blade for vege prep.


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 Post subject: Re: Konosuke Damascus W#1 240mm First Impression
PostPosted: Tue Sep 02, 2014 9:07 pm 

Joined: Thu May 29, 2014 8:38 pm
Posts: 1140
BB, it seriously is an exceptional knife. Was having a conversation with another member about Konosuke in general inre the notion that despite the price, they STILL remain a great value given all the tangibles and intangibles they bring to the table. I'm definitely eyeballing that nakiri. I'm a little torn though as I wouldn't mind sampling another maker and the T.Fujiwara Nashiji nakiri and Harner also look pretty tempting. That said, I've got a couple more Konosukes coming in the mail which is a testament to how much I enjoyed this knife. I like it as much as my Shigs and Katos (for much different reasons), but given the better availability and the multitude of flavors that the Fujiyama series come in, I could easily see them dominating my collection for sure.


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 Post subject: Re: Konosuke Damascus W#1 240mm First Impression
PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2014 5:27 pm 

Joined: Thu Aug 14, 2014 9:05 pm
Posts: 45
Thanks for your awesome write up here and on the "Show Us Your Knives" thread. At first I didn't think I'd be interested in this knife because of the asymmetric grind and damascus finish. But it sounds like the asymmetric grind makes it a better cutter than a 50/50 grind and the finish is actually quite beautiful. And it sounds like the W#1 steel is a dream to sharpen. You mentioned that at first you accordion cut produce but eventually adjusted and got used to the less flat profile of this knife. Was it much of an adjustment in cutting technique?


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 Post subject: Re: Konosuke Damascus W#1 240mm First Impression
PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2014 6:05 pm 

Joined: Thu May 29, 2014 8:38 pm
Posts: 1140
No, not really. It almost happens naturally through daily use of the knife. You begin to intuitively know where the sweet spots are and how the knife wants to cut in a given task. Right now I am enjoying this knife a whole, whole lot. More so than my Shigefusa. Enjoy it for different reasons than the Kato 240, but like it about as much. It's a terrific knife and if you are right handed, I wouldn't hesitate to grab it. From talking to Mark, these were some unsold knives from a particular order that were on the shelves that Kosuke offered to Mark, so not sure that they will be a regular stock item on the site or how long it would be before Mark could get more once these guys sell out so if you are interested in it, I would grab one sooner rather than later.


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