So I recieved this knife in the mail from CKTG on this snowy New England day, just in time for dinner (prompt shipping as always, thank you!). I will update this thread with more specifics once I get to use it more, but for now let me get some pictures while it is brand new and provide my first impressions. Hopefully these cellphone photos will do.
The blade is about 214mm on the edge, with a bit of belly (which I was expecting) but not too much for my tastes. The last few millimeters at the heel curve up just a hair, reducing the length of the flat spot, but it isn't so pronounced as it looks in the picture as I didn't line the ruler up properly.
The spine is thick right at its base. I don't have an exact measurement right now, but it does taper down to a more reasonable width. The knife is heavy, at least it feels it, and I don't have a scale but could well believe 7.5 to 8 oz. The balance point is in front of a pinch grip. I would normally get a 240 but I think I bet correctly that, at that length, a blade with this much spine would feel a bit unwieldy, at least to me.
Fit and finish on the handle is nice. The joint between the rosewood handle and ebony ferrule is mostly smooth, both woods have a nice finished feel, the D shape feels excellent in the hand, and as you can see the joint between handle and blade is fairly tight. There are two little gaps I will have to deal with, but the copper reinforcement is a nice touch.
The knife feels fairly thin behind the edge, and so far the grind seems good. It was relatively non-stick with potatoes. You can tell while cutting that it has some thickness to it, so it doesn't slide through food like a laser. But you really don't have to exert much effort besides what is required to move 7-8oz of knife around. The OOTB edge was good, and would push cut paper without a problem, but I can tell there is more to get out of it.
The knife is quite pretty, and it certainly feels like a hand-made article. You can tell that human beings had a hand in its creation. So far it does not seem overly reactive, but I will have to chop some onions and report back.
So far the verdict is positive. I think I will enjoy using this knife a lot (and thanks again Mark for your prompt service and great products). However, I will certainly not recommend it as an introduction to Japanese knives unless someone is looking for that thick-spined solidity and weighty feel. I get the sense that it doesn't have the easily understood appeal of a thinner, lighter knife---it seems to perform well, but you have to want to love it; you have to want to feel a big hunk of metal in your hand, and I think a longer length would exacerbate this.
Don't get me wrong, I am a fan. And I don't anticipate further use will change that. But let me put it this way: despite being only a 210, I think the sheer mass of the Kajihara will function to ward off the other people I cook with.