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 Post subject: Kohetsu AS 210 gyuto review
PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2014 12:18 pm 

Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2014 5:31 pm
Posts: 44
Location: Germany
As I promised in my knife recommendation topic, I’m going to write and update a review for the Kohetsu AS 210 Gyuto I ordered from cktg. I’m a hobby cook, so I’m not going to put it through the same kind of paces a professional cook would do.

My plan for this long-term review is to start with an initial impression, then chime in and update the topic at a regular basis. Let’s say first week, first month, first quarter… can’t guarantee if I end up doing a one year review like some other people did. The pictures will be scaled down to 640px so that the topic will readable on mobile and low resolution devices. I'm also not uploading all the pictures, but here is the the link to the picasa folder where I will store all the images.

I will use the knife with its OOTB edge -only touching it up with some stropping- until I reach the point where the edge is too dull for my liking. Then I will sharpen it using a combination of different stones and see if I get a better or inferior sharpness compared to the OOTB edge. Depending how long the edge lasts, I will either add those findings to one the scheduled updates, or write one out of schedule.

But let’s get started with the review:

Shipping:

I placed my order on Saturday, August 9th 2014. CTKG proceeded the order on Sunday and sent out a notice to USPS, who picked up the parcel on Monday. It arrived in Germany on Thursday and got handed it over to the customs service on Friday, August 15th. With the local customs office being closed on Weekends, I paid my import taxes and picked up the parcel on Monday, August 18th 2014. I would call that great service, given the fact that I already had my USPS tracking number on Sunday, which is a day of rest for most small business I’ve ordered from in the past.

Parcel stuffing was great too. No chance for damage of the content and I approve of the use of paper instead of a ton of bubble plastic foil as the filling material.

Measurements:

The length of the blade from heel to tip is 210 as advocated (it may be 212-213, but it is def. not less than 210) and the height at the heel is approximately 46mm. Spin thickness at the heel is <2.5mm, at least that’s the number I get from my steel ruler (don’t own a calliper), and thickness of over most of the blade length is ~2mm, until it get thinner when it curves down towards the tip.

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As you can see the weight is 126g, which is only a tad heavier than the numbers from the ctkg page and MrKnifeFanatics YT review. Balance point is right between the two big japanese characters.

Initial impressions:

When I opened the box at the customs office the knife felt tiny. Is that really a 210? Yes it is, but that fits with what a lot of people on the board said about the transition from chunky German knives to Japanese knives: they feel small for their size. At home the first thing I did was putting the Kohetsu down on a cutting board next to our 8" Henckels and my lightweight Herder Nakiri.

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The kohetsu has more blade length than the Henckels, but the huge difference in weight and the slicker blade profile gives of the vibe that it's smaller than the Henckels, which it is not. Handling wise its way closer to my Nakiri. Similar weight/length ratio, balance point is a quite a bit in front of the heel. The nakiri has a thinner spine, but that's no big surprise given its smaller size and the fact that it is a mono-carbon knife and not a clad one.

Sharpness out of the box is good enough. Haven't tried to shave my arms, buns or any other body part with it, but it cuts through the skin of tomatoes and bell papers fine enough for me.

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Last edited by Karnstein on Tue Aug 19, 2014 2:21 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Kohetsu AS 210 gyuto review
PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2014 12:47 pm 

Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2014 5:31 pm
Posts: 44
Location: Germany
I also picked up a net of big onions on my way home from the customs office and the knife started to develop a nice patina when I sliced&diced the first two one.

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Coated the edge with mustard for 10-15 minutes and that enforced quite a bit of patina on day one:

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So how does it compare so far to my other knives?


The Blade profile looks good, the grind is superior to both the Henckels 5 Star chef knife and my small 120mm Nakiri (which I do need to thin, after I grinded down some imperfections in the edge profile) and compared to both my nakiris the spine is well rounded too. So I would say that in terms of fit&finish quality it beats all my other knives (3 Herder mono carbon knives, the iron clad Japanese Nakiri) and my families block full of Henckels hands down. Which is not a big surprise, given the price difference... when I take all the import fees into account, I can roughly translate the 170$ price tag 1:1 into a Euros. I paid 35€ for my hand-forged Japanese Nakiri (which explains the pretty rustic F&F) and less than 60 for my 165mm Herder carbon Nakiri. So the Kohetsu is thrice the cost of my nakiri (which imho is quite a bargain if one doesn't mind the 58-59 HRC hardness) and four times the costs of the really rustic Chibi-Nakiri.

Was it worth it? So far I surely think it is well worth the price... I invested similar sums of money in the past into other stuff, without getting similar value compared to a chef knife one will use at least 5 days a week for years to come. And I'm fed up enough with soft SS knives like the Henckels, who are pretty much designed to withstand abuse (opening cans...) no kitchen knife should suffer. Too thick, too heavy and a not fun to sharpen at all...

Kohetsu on the left, Herder Nakiri on the right

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I took some pictures of yesterdays dinner prep (we had grilled tuna&vegis with sushi rice), but I will post them after I prepped today's dinner (either tonight or tomorrow).

We will have a bunch of guests on Saturday, when a friend of our family who lives and runs a hotel&restaurant in Sri Lanka visits and cook for/with us on that day. So with 10+ people and me helping in the kitchen, this will be the first real performance test for the Kohetsu and should give me enough write about in my "first week impressions" posting at the start of next week.

Cheers from Germany!


Last edited by Karnstein on Tue Aug 19, 2014 2:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Kohetsu AS 210 gyuto review
PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2014 1:32 pm 

Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 6:20 am
Posts: 1721
Great write up! Thanks for putting this up.

I guess I have never had to deal with international shipping but 9 days seems awesome. I guess most people who talk about it talk about how miserable international is.


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 Post subject: Re: Kohetsu AS 210 gyuto review
PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2014 9:40 pm 

Joined: Thu May 29, 2014 8:38 pm
Posts: 1215
Just bought one of these in 240 for my step-brother. OOTB edge needed work, but that is to be expected. Handle fit and finish was very good, but there were some scratches along the mirror polished core steel which is a bit of a bummer as this is going to be a present. Aside from that, this knife reminds me of an AS version of a Haruyuki and expect it to perform similarly, I.E. really, really well.



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 Post subject: Re: Kohetsu AS 210 gyuto review
PostPosted: Thu Aug 21, 2014 12:44 am 
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Joined: Thu Nov 22, 2012 4:17 am
Posts: 4064
I think they're worth it just for the cool box! :mrgreen: Nice review Karnstein, we love to hear peoples thoughts on the knives they get but you get a "D" for your cutting board care. ;)



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 Post subject: Re: Kohetsu AS 210 gyuto review
PostPosted: Thu Aug 21, 2014 1:25 am 

Joined: Sat Jan 04, 2014 8:57 pm
Posts: 597
Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Looks thicker just behind the edge than I expected for the 210, but also appears very smoothly convexed just before the edge and therefore seems like it should still perform nicely. I'll look forward to the first week impressions.


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 Post subject: Re: Kohetsu AS 210 gyuto review
PostPosted: Thu Aug 21, 2014 1:03 pm 

Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2014 5:31 pm
Posts: 44
Location: Germany
cedarhouse wrote:Great write up! Thanks for putting this up.

I guess I have never had to deal with international shipping but 9 days seems awesome. I guess most people who talk about it talk about how miserable international is.


Yeah, I was impressed too...if they had found the invoice that was tugged onto the parcel, they could have sent it directly to me and have the postal service guy cashier the fees. In that case final delivery would have been on Friday or Saturday and it would have saved me the 30 minutes drive to the customs office. I've had parcels from the UK to Germany with longer delivery times in the past and those don't have to pass customs...

ChipB wrote:Just bought one of these in 240 for my step-brother. OOTB edge needed work, but that is to be expected. Handle fit and finish was very good, but there were some scratches along the mirror polished core steel which is a bit of a bummer as this is going to be a present. Aside from that, this knife reminds me of an AS version of a Haruyuki and expect it to perform similarly, I.E. really, really well.


Yeah, think mine had a minor scratch or two on the SS cladding as well, but the handle finish is really good. Esp. compared to my other knives. There's a noticeable shift between the plastic ferule and the wood on the handle of my D-shaped mini-nakiri. And well made handles are not something Herder (the company who made all my German carbon knives) excels at. Had to touch up all of these with fine sandpaper, because the knives tail didn't sat flat with the handle. Which isn't something that bothers me to be honest, because in the end what really counts for a home cook (who doesn't uses his knives 8 hours straight) is the quality of the blade and I would argue that's it is pretty hard here in Germany to find carbon knives in that price range with a better blades. Think I really need to pick up a cheap caliper to take some measurements and show you guys how well made that <100 bucks Nakiri of mine is. Doesn't pack a 60+ HRC number, but it's not as soft as your average German kitchen knife and the blade geometry it way superior to say a Henckels or Wusthof knive from the same price range.

Jeff B wrote:I think they're worth it just for the cool box! :mrgreen: Nice review Karnstein, we love to hear peoples thoughts on the knives they get but you get a "D" for your cutting board care. ;)


You mean the ton of scratches and the fact that there is a crack in it? Yeah, but that's not mine...it's one of family's boards. Mine doesn't have look as fancy as a photo-background. ;)

And yes, the box the knife came in is really nice. Esp. if you give the knife away as a gift.

estayton wrote:Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Looks thicker just behind the edge than I expected for the 210, but also appears very smoothly convexed just before the edge and therefore seems like it should still perform nicely. I'll look forward to the first week impressions.


Well, I think it isn't as bad as it looks like on the picture. I don't have a good digital camera, so I used my smartphone... which does okay, but surely isn't what you want for good up close pictures. Not to mention that holding the knife one hand and using the phone in the other doesn't give you good control either...

So far it has performed nicely. Tuesdays dinner didn't really involved a lot of cutting tasks meant for a gyuto. Meal for 2 persons, Thai style recipe from a cooking magazine. Chicken breast with string beans, spring onions and rice as the side dish. One chicken breast sliced into small pieces, half a pound of beans and 3 spring onions... that's not a lot of cutting, but the knife went well through all of them. On top of that I cut some tomatoes for sandwiches with over the course of the week and that's pretty much it so far. I worked at my private cooking school yesterday, got a job there today too and on Friday the rest of the family got invited at a friends house. Given that I got some decent tip money yesterday, I will most likely be a lazy guy on Friday and eat some pizza or pasta at my favorite Italian restaurant in the neighborhood. :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: Kohetsu AS 210 gyuto review
PostPosted: Sun Sep 07, 2014 7:58 pm 

Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2014 5:31 pm
Posts: 44
Location: Germany
Just a quick update: We had that big cook-event last week (got rescheduled more than once)... I also finally got my CroOx loades strop. So far the OOTB with some light stroping is still sharp enough to cut through thin newspaper and tomatoes easily. Only hiccup so far are two very tiny nicks (I can hardly pick them out without magnification) on the blade, most likely from some dirt in the leek I push-cut. Since they don't interfere with the performance and the rest of the edge is still strong, I will keep sharpen them out when the OOTB turns dull.


Going to write a bigger update later this week...


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