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Product Testing - Playin' with Knives

Fri Apr 04, 2014 12:39 pm

This has photos, but I'm going to post this in the General Discussion section.

Cut up a bunch of mushrooms and about 20 pounds of onions (large & small) and some lotus root for some side by side comparisons of a bunch of knives.

I did a medium dice on the onions and used the lotus root, cutting thin slices to determine the knives' tendency to wedge and steer. I sharpened most of these to a Rika 5K + leather strop level to even the playing field a bit and at least get them as sharp as my current skill level allows.

Note: that's my new Jones 12x18 Walnut/Cherry cutting board - my first end grain board, very nice!

Kohetsu HAP40 210 Gyuto & Nakiri, Blue #2 210 Gyuto

Kikuichi Warikomi Damascus 210 Gyuto & HHH AEB-L 240 Gyuto

Random thoughts thus far, in no particular order:

The Kohetsu Blue #2 Gyuto: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/kohetsublue1.html is one helluva performer. It goes though an onion dice as well as any knife I've ever used, especially the horizontal cuts - it was silly easy, even on large, tough onions. It also did extremely well on the lotus root test. The Blue #2 sharpens up easily, quickly, and just wants to get damn sharp. Handle is so-so, but I totally forgot about that once I started blowing though onions so easily. It's light, lighter than the HAP40 210. The edge profile is a little more of a continuous curve, the HAP40 210 has more of a real flat spot towards the heel.

The Kohetsu HAP40 210 Gyuto and the Nakiri are very nicely done, with good F&F and a nice feel to them. HAP40 is more wear resistant on the stones, but sharpened up better than I thought it would. IMO the 210 has a pretty nice sized flat area at the heel, with just a touch of curve at the very heel so you don't hit a wall when rocking.

The Gassan 210 Gyuto is really designed like a 210+ Santoku. It's a pretty tall blade at almost 55mm at the heel. The Gassan's (all three) are very nice performers. The 210 did very, very well on all my tests. They sharpen stupid easy with their carbon core and get really sharp. I really like this line of knives.

The HHH AEB-L 240 production knife has the most comfortable Western handle I've tried yet - very nicely shaped and finished. This same knife has a dead flat heel area that covers at least half the blade - I mean pool table flat :-). If you want a flat profile for chopping, check this one out.

AEB-L really is an easy to sharpen stainless steel that likes to get sharp. I sharpened 4 different AEB-L knives and they all responded well to the stones.

The Kaneshige Wa stainless steel is pretty wear resistant and did not want to get sharp for me. It took a lot of work to re-grind the OOTB edge from 90/10 to about 50/50. It's still not as sharp as I'd like. The Blue #2 knives were ridiculously easy to sharpen by comparison.

Do I dare even try out the Masakage Kujira 210? I haven't decided yet ;-). BTW, my sample was 220mm on the edge and 51mm tall. Quite different from the site specs. I guess there is much dimensional variation on these.

Masakage Koishi's just look bad-ass, like they mean business :-).

The Fujiwara FKH 210 Carbon Gyuto comes REALLY sharp OOTB, with a highly right hand biased edge bevel. It steered quite a bit on lotus root, but did very well on the onions - nice knife! The embossed Kanji/Logo on the FKH line is so much cooler than the screened info on the FKM line - old school look to it.

More thought to come as they come to mind.


Re: Product Testing - Playin' with Knives

Fri Apr 04, 2014 1:02 pm

Fantastic feedback! Thanks Steve.

I look forward to you mailing me all those to try :mrgreen:

Re: Product Testing - Playin' with Knives

Fri Apr 04, 2014 1:20 pm

Very nice write up Steve, the photos look great too. Congrats on the new cutting board, I'm sure it will last a long time it's very nice.

Re: Product Testing - Playin' with Knives

Fri Apr 04, 2014 1:25 pm

Steve, thanks for taking the time and effort in your review. Knifes aside for a second, what was your drink of choice? I can't quite read it in the picture. Great job and can't wait to hear about your follow ups.

Re: Product Testing - Playin' with Knives

Sat Apr 05, 2014 12:17 am

And what kind of beer is that?

Re: Product Testing - Playin' with Knives

Sat Apr 05, 2014 6:54 am

Thanks Steve. Just a quick question. Does the Kohetsu blue #2 get as sharp or sharper than AEB-L and/or hap40? Thanks again.
Last edited by rayong on Sat Apr 05, 2014 8:56 am, edited 1 time in total.

Re: Product Testing - Playin' with Knives

Sat Apr 05, 2014 7:02 am

Nice review Steve. I have a couple of the steels you reviewed, always good to learn a little more about them.

Re: Product Testing - Playin' with Knives

Sat Apr 05, 2014 8:45 am

Steve, thank you for a "quick look". Speaking of which, will you be doing videos for any of these knives?

Re: Product Testing - Playin' with Knives

Sat Apr 05, 2014 10:14 am

really informative :D

Re: Product Testing - Playin' with Knives

Sun Apr 06, 2014 10:22 am

Thanks everyone for the kind words.

Totoro - Yes videos on all of them. I have a batch of 21 to do, plus 2 of Tim Johnson's custom handled Gyutos with some sanding work on the spine/choil/neck. I should be shooting video on Monday and Tuesday evenings.

Coach and Umberto - the beer is from a local place about 1.5 hours south of St. Louis, tucked away down a gravel road in Ste. Genevieve, MO wine country. It's Charleville Winery & Microbrewery: http://www.charlevillevineyard.com/. They did wine for a number of years, then the owner started brewing, now his son is the brew master, I believe. They make some really good beer, occasionally with some slightly different takes on classic styles. This beer is called "Tripel-Wit" - it's a combination of a Belgian Trippel and a Wit beer at 9% ABV. It's my current favorite - just a great, flavorful, easy to drink example of the brewers art :-). It's a seasonal from them and lucky for me, they stock it locally in a few stores.

Rayong - IMO, I don't have the experience or skills yet to determine how sharp a steel can get relative to others, but this Aogami #2 just seemed to get sharp super quick - very sharp. I'm finding after sharpening numerous different knives and steels, that good carbon steel really does sharpen up quickly and easily. I just sharpened an Ikeda 250 AS Gyuto and it took just a little more work than the Aogami #2, but not much, and also got stinkin' sharp quickly. I can see why people who sharpen love Shirogami, Aogami, AS, and 52100 steels - they make edge maintenance easy. To me, with my limited experience, AEB-L sharpens quickly and easily as well for a stainless steel, as does the Ginsan steels I've sharpened.
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