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 Post subject: Takamura Migaki 210mm Pass Around
PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2014 9:10 am 

Joined: Sat Mar 01, 2014 7:15 am
Posts: 1177
Location: Raleigh, NC
Courtesy of NMiller, my thoughts on the Takamura in R-2.

I have had the luck to use this knife to some great degree for the past week. Considering how beloved this knife is, my exceptions were very high.

To begin, the knife is attractive. The cladding line is as artistic as any I have seen and the stamped kanji are delicate. The handle, in particular, is a deep, rich rosewood that suits the knife well. While it is not a new look, this knife is definitely attractive.

My first impressions in hand were pretty favorable. The knife is light to an extreme degree, especially for a yo handle. This is in large part due to the partial tang that only runs through the rear half of the handle. The handle is comfortable in size and shape and facilitates a good pinch grip. Those with very large hands might need to beware, but my average sized hands had no trouble with it.

The blade is thin and featherlight. Since my pinch grip falls a bit above the balance point, as many would, the knife is dextrous, allowing for easy delicate work. This is not a knife that is raring to hammer through product on its own accord; it requires some effort to move into the cut. The cut itself, though, is superb. I particularly enjoyed using it for onions, which it ghosts through. In fact a server watched me cut onions with it for a good two minutes, mystified that it could be that easy. As with all thin blades there is some sticking, but I did not find the knife as stick prone as I had expected. The blade geometry meets my personal specifications almost to a T. It's not a tall knife, coming in around 45mm, and it has a long, subtle curve starting near the base that runs very gradually to the tip. It's excellent for rocking short ingredients and push cuts well with good technique. Though it is light in the hand, compared to some other 210mm knives it has plenty of useful blade length for any given use.

In the end, I wanted the knife to move through produce a little more aggressively, but it largely makes up for that lack of weight by moving through product so well. This same knife in a 240mm format (hint hint) would be an absolute monster, particularly if the balance was closer to the pinch grip.

Finally, I wish to address my biggest praise. The edge retention of Takamura's R-2 is magnificent. I started the week with a sharp knife. I used it for dozens of fairly large prep tasks such as chopping in excess of 30 pounds of mirepoix and slicing three gallons of mushrooms. I did not treat this knife with kid gloves. As a test near the end of the week I used it to slice portioned tuna for an appetizer. No stropping. No honing. No return to the stone. The knife had discernibly lost some sharpness, but it was minimal at worst. It went through the tuna cleanly, giving me lovely slices. That this knife lasted an entire week is the strongest praise I can offer.

All in all, the Takamura gets a solid thumbs up. In particular it meets every criteria one might have for a restaurant knife; it has comfortable ergonomics, good multipurpose geometry, and takes a great durable edge. I don't know how much the durability would help a home cook, but would still be worthwhile on its other merits as a lightweight and efficient cutter. I will recommend this ad nauseam to professionals looking for a 210mm knife.


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 Post subject: Re: Takamura Migaki 210mm Pass Around
PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2014 11:26 am 

Joined: Wed Jun 11, 2014 9:53 pm
Posts: 104
Hey Lepus thank you for great review and detailed description. I love my Takamura R-2 that was my first purchase on CKTG. If you don't have one get one and you won't regret.


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 Post subject: Re: Takamura Migaki 210mm Pass Around
PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2014 1:14 pm 

Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 6:20 am
Posts: 1822
Nice write up!


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 Post subject: Re: Takamura Migaki 210mm Pass Around
PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2014 1:59 pm 

Joined: Sun Jun 01, 2014 12:01 pm
Posts: 120
Lepus,

Is there another knife in 210 that you think is a better cutter than this one? Something in the relative price range that you think is more effortless, smooother and overall more "buttery" in how it cuts and feels?

Just curious


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 Post subject: Re: Takamura Migaki 210mm Pass Around
PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2014 2:15 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2013 6:00 pm
Posts: 2385
Solid, I've used a lot of 210's and thus far, I haven't used anything that beats this knife in the exact cutting description you used. As Lepus mentioned, a knife that's a very good cutter with more weight to the blade might flow through product with help from the extra mass, but in terms of purely gliding through product like onions, this thing is, as Lepus said, "like a ghost".

Other thin lasers like the Kono HD/HH 210 Gyuto also flow extremely well through product, but they're often shorter than 210 at the edge, and are so darn light as to have even less mass than this partial tang Yo Gyuto. They may be as effortless, smooth, etc. but I don't think they exceed the Takamura R-2 210.

Others may disagree - this is just from my experience.


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 Post subject: Re: Takamura Migaki 210mm Pass Around
PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2014 2:51 pm 

Joined: Sun Jun 01, 2014 12:01 pm
Posts: 120
Any experience with the Masakage Yuki 210 or the Anryu hammered 210? Im curious because those are the only other 210s that came to my mind when looking around the website. Considering picking up a new 210mm gyuto that has that effortless feel to it when cutting...


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 Post subject: Re: Takamura Migaki 210mm Pass Around
PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2014 3:02 pm 
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Joined: Wed Sep 18, 2013 11:21 pm
Posts: 657
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Excellent write up I'm glad you put it through the paces with no kid gloves :)
Your descriptor on onions is preciously why I started using it so much at work...


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 Post subject: Re: Takamura Migaki 210mm Pass Around
PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2014 6:45 pm 

Joined: Sat Mar 01, 2014 7:15 am
Posts: 1177
Location: Raleigh, NC
SolidSnake03 wrote:Lepus,

Is there another knife in 210 that you think is a better cutter than this one? Something in the relative price range that you think is more effortless, smooother and overall more "buttery" in how it cuts and feels?

Just curious


Nothing I have used is this knife's better. I would also compare it to a Konosuke HH/HD in that regard. I have not used either the Anryu or the Yuki, but considering their bulk I think it would nearly impossible to match it short of spellcraft. They would separate product better, though, and might be better for some cutting styles. For onions in particular you would be hard pressed to beat this knife.

Personally, the knife goes through more cleanly than I need, if that's possible. I would have liked marginally more convexing and weight on it. Again, this could be the disparity between 210mm and 240mm knives. Considering the price on the Takamura, it meets a great deal of my preferences. I will seriously consider my own going forward.


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 Post subject: Re: Takamura Migaki 210mm Pass Around
PostPosted: Thu Aug 21, 2014 9:58 am 

Joined: Sun Jun 01, 2014 12:01 pm
Posts: 120
Thanks Lepus for that detailed response. That is the kind of detail and articulation I was looking for regarding what you liked (and would improve or change) about this knife. I'm currently looking for an effortless 210mm gyuto that just slides through food. This definitely helps in my decision making process. Unfortunately, I'm still a bit stubborn and on the fence about things so I will probably make a separate thread regarding this in more detail, don't want to de-rail your review too much.

Again thanks for the advice on this amazing knife! The review was great and this thing really does look like a killer!


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 Post subject: Re: Takamura Migaki 210mm Pass Around
PostPosted: Sun Aug 31, 2014 2:33 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 07, 2013 12:44 am
Posts: 968
My time with the Takamura yielded similar impressions to Lepus.

The appearance of this knife is very pleasing, it is casually beautiful in its simplicity. The handle is one of the nicest western handles I have used. The knife has some of the shiniest cladding of any stainless steel I have encountered. F+F of the knife was very nice, the handle is very well done and installed with no gaps, and the spine and choil, while not totally rounded, are nicely relieved. When first handling the knife, coming from 240mm, the knife may feel weightless, I find that the shear cutting power may suffer a bit for that. However, the great level of thinness to the knife overall aids performance greatly. The knife cut very well through all the ingredients that I encountered through the week, ranging from carrots, celery, and onions, all the way to seared duck breast and beets. I agree that it performs the best on Alliums, having used it to brunoise around 3 pounds of shallots, and slice down many an onion. Through the taller ingredients, you will miss the height and weight of a larger knife. Although the knife as a 210 is, as expected, a little short, I didn't miss the greater board clearance of a 240 as much as I expected. I have fairly large hands, and I prefer my knives around 52mm tall. The smaller handle is helpful for that,and the knife is very comfortable to handle. The lightness and length make this knife very wieldable even for a user not accustomed to a shorter knife. Perhaps even more so for an unaccustomed hand. ( I generally avoid knives shorter than the 9.5 in. format).

The cut itself of the knife is above an average Shun knife or any Euro, but perhaps less than a TKC or Kono HD. I find that it suits well to push and draw cuts as needed and demonstrated a serviceable rock chop despite coming in at about 45mm tall. For the price point of $175.00 USD new, I am a little "meh" about it. Don't let that be discouraging to potential buyers...... If I were to ever want a 210 mm "laser" profile knife, this knife would merit a serious consideration based on the performance of only a week ITK. Most people on the forum know of my bias to the 240 gyuto format, recently having bought, like, 5 of them at one go.



Finally, allow me to address the edge retention.

When I got the knife in, it was serviceable, not really what I would call razor sharp, but it would cut stuff, you know? Following along NMiller21k's bevel I stroped the knife up just a little, I didn't ever even sharpen it, but the strop brought the edge a little more to life. What was really, really impressive was that the single strop session imparted a benefit to the edge, and the knife absolutely maintained the benefit the ENTIRE week that I was using the knife. The edge retention was monstrous in the R-2, and to be honest, a little shocking to me. For being so good at holding the edge, it really didn't require a large investment of time to improve, as I stroped it while I was doing a lunch service at work.

Closing thoughts.....

For a professional kitchen, those needing a true stainless knife for a line station, or those more suitable to a shorter knife, I can't really hesitate at all to recommend that YOU buy a Takamura Migaki 210mm gyuto. The knife has a great aesthetic and function. The knife remains comfortable when space is perhaps at a premium and will take you through a service with an edge that will last.

For those at home, this knife will not look out of place in your kitchen and would provide a simple, attractive item of cutlery for your collection with understated good looks and effortless performance. I can't imagine it needing to be sharpened in home use more than twice a year.

Thanks again to Miller for hosting this pass around, it was a great opportunity to get out of my 240mm box and try a shorter knife



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