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 Post subject: Takayuki Damascus (Yamatsuka) 240 Gyoto
PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2014 6:09 am 
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Joined: Thu Aug 14, 2014 9:05 pm
Posts: 147
I just received the Takayuki Damascus 240 Gyoto (the Yamatsuka version) and thought I'd do a write up. I've only used it once so my impressions may change over time.

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Mr. Knife Fanatic did a great video review of this knife so there's a lot of information about all the specs in his review. Overall, I think the video does a great job of conveying what this knife is like but you can only get a good sense by using it. Since the video covers so much, I think I will organize this post by things that the video conveys well and things that only were apparent after using the knife.

Things about the knife that the video conveys well:

- Fantastic grind
- Beautiful damascus finish
- Laser-like performance through ingredients
- Great convex profile but very thin behind the edge. Hopefully this will give you some idea of the profile.

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- Very good non-stick properties

Things about the knife that I did not realize until I used the knife:

- The handle is a bit oversized. I like the larger handle but didn't expect it. Below is a picture of the Takayuki handle (above) compared to a Konosuke handle (below):

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- The overall fit and finish is great but the choil is a bit sharp and wasn't ground down. It hasn't bothered me in usage but it's a surprising oversight at the price point. I'm not sure if you can tell from the image below:

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- The handle is a basic ho wood octagonal with buffalo horn ferule and the fit and finish is very even and tight. But the handle material doesn't seem to be well polished or sealed so the surface of the wood feels slightly rough, especially after it gets wet. That raises the wood a little. I would prefer a nicer wood handle at this price point. In addition, I'd prefer a heavier wood for the handle to move the balance point back a little.

- The knife is a bit blade heavy. I think that was in the video but it felt a little more blade heavy than I expected. I got used to it very quickly when using it and didn't even notice much but I think I'd prefer to have a balance point a little closer to the pinch grip, which I believe would also make the knife feel a little more nimble.

- The knife feels heavier than I expected in the best possible way. Based on the video, I kind of expected a more laser-like feel to the knife. The knife does laser through ingredients but it doesn't feel like a laser. The knife is a mid-weight knife but feels heavier to me than other knives of similar weight. I believe it's the way that the weight is distributed. It's a little blade heavy and has a great convex in the middle part of the blade before getting very thin behind the edge. So it feels like there is more weight that is in the blade and lower down in the blade. It's a feel that I wasn't expecting but I really love it. It doesn't make the knife feel slow or unbalanced. The balance is terrific. It's hard to describe. Maybe another way to describe it is that the knife feels like the steel is denser than the steel in other knives. To use a car analogy, I think this knife is a bit like a BMW M3. It's not a lightweight car and has a good deal of heft but it also handles very well and is nimble. A Lotus might be very lightweight and nimble like a laser but the M3 manages to handle very well despite weighing much more.

General Thoughts:

- The grind and damascus finish are every bit as good as Mr. Knife Fanatic described. Here are two pictures of the damascus finish:

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- A few surprising things that I wouldn't expect at this price point - i.e., sharp choil and ordinary (but well done) handle. Here's a photo of the pretty generic (but well done) handle:

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- The OOTB edge is pretty good. I'd give it a 7. I haven't handled a Masakage or T-F but I don't think this edge is up there with that type of OOTB edge.

- I love this knife. It is well worth the money. I have an Anryu hammered as well, which I like a lot, and this does feel twice as good in my opinion.


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 Post subject: Re: Takayuki Damascus (Yamatsuka) 240 Gyoto
PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2014 11:20 am 

Joined: Thu May 29, 2014 8:38 pm
Posts: 1343
Great initial write up Josh. I've always been interested in these knives and they do get recommended, but not necessarily discussed in detail. Look forward to your thoughts as you continue to use the knife.



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 Post subject: Re: Takayuki Damascus (Yamatsuka) 240 Gyoto
PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2014 12:22 pm 

Joined: Sun Jul 13, 2014 12:34 am
Posts: 19
I too bought this knife recently and love it. It is silky smooth through food and I like the weight and balance a lot. I'm a fan of it's middle weight character whilst still having the edge thinness to glide through food. I would have liked the choil eased a bit as the OP suggested. I have read that damascus finishes can be a bit sticky but I have not noticed it.

Here's mine next to the Anryu's.


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 Post subject: Re: Takayuki Damascus (Yamatsuka) 240 Gyoto
PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2014 12:24 pm 

Joined: Sun Jul 13, 2014 12:34 am
Posts: 19
p.s I used a combo of orange and tung oil and it's made the handle nicely water resistant but still with grip enhancing texture.


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 Post subject: Re: Takayuki Damascus (Yamatsuka) 240 Gyoto
PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2014 4:08 pm 
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Joined: Thu Aug 14, 2014 9:05 pm
Posts: 147
Matt, its funny that you have the Anryu also. I really like both but the Takayuki for me is at another level of craftsmanship - at least with the blade. Did you have any problems with the glue coming out of the insertion point on the handle? I forgot to mention that as a flaw as well. Usually with knives at this price point, or even half the price, they clean up the glue and round the choil area.

I'm going to use it a few times and wait for the surface to get rougher. Then I'm going to sand it down and then seal it with tung oil or Danish oil.


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 Post subject: Re: Takayuki Damascus (Yamatsuka) 240 Gyoto
PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2014 4:18 pm 
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Posts: 147
Chip, I think you don't have many (any?) stainless gyotos beside the Akifusa. So if you want something low maintenance and easy to sharpen (based on my general understanding of Ginsan since I haven't sharpened it yet), this might be a good one for you. I haven't handled the Masakage Shimo but based on the videos and your description, I imagine it would have a somewhat similar feel but not exactly the same. Although both knives have a nice convex that is prominent through the center of the blade, the Shimo is a taller blade than the Takayuki so I imagine that the weight will be distributed over a taller area and won't be quite as "dense" feeling as the Takayuki, which I picture to be like a Shimo with the mass concentrated over a smaller area. I would guess that the Shimo is a little thinner behind the edge and sharper OOTB.


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 Post subject: Re: Takayuki Damascus (Yamatsuka) 240 Gyoto
PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2014 10:21 pm 

Joined: Sun Jul 13, 2014 12:34 am
Posts: 19
Hi Josh. we must both have an eye for quality! Re: the glue - no, I didn't have any issues like that but yes it would be nice to have had better fit and finish with that end of the knife especially given the price tag. If only it had an Anryu handle...... The blade is a good one though!


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 Post subject: Re: Takayuki Damascus (Yamatsuka) 240 Gyoto
PostPosted: Tue Sep 16, 2014 4:49 pm 
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Joined: Thu Aug 14, 2014 9:05 pm
Posts: 147
UPDATE #1. I've used the knife a few more times and wanted to provide a short update. Although my impressions haven't changed much since the initial review, I looked at the initial review and realized I could provide a little more detail about the user experience and the knife's personality. I would characterize the knife as having a more laid back personality and that the best way to use the knife is to let the knife do the work. The Takayuki has a very beautiful, organic feel to it. If you pinch the knife at the spine and draw you fingers across the profile toward the edge, you'll feel a very smooth, gradual convex with no hard edges or dramatic changes in thickness. It reminds me of a beautiful stone that you find at the beach or near a river that has been perfectly smoothed out by water over thousands of years. It's a very natural, organic feel - as if the steel were ground away by the elements. I think that's what Mr. Knife Fanatic was referring to when he says that it is a perfectly ground knife and that a lot of skill went into the grind of the knife. I have an Anryu also and it is a great knife. In comparison it is more angular, tends to have sharper edges and more dramatic changes in profile. It feels more engineered to be a great cutter. The Takayuki has the feel that it was created organically.

The Takayuki also feels dense. It's a mid-weight knife but it is slightly undersized for a 240 and medium height with a lighter handle. You can really feel the weight of the knife in the blade - especially if you come from a laser. But compared to my Anryu, which is also mid-weight, it feels noticeably heavier. The Anryu is a little oversized for a 240 and taller - so the weight is spread out over a greater area. The result is that you get a very good sense of where the blade is at all times.

I've found that the knife works best when you let the weight and the perfect grind do it's thing and don't try to do too much. Matt in his earlier comment mentioned that the Takayuki is "silky smooth through food". I would agree. If you let the weight and the smooth grind do what they naturally do, you'll get good results. It's probably not the best knife for doing a "laser show" where you fly through ingredients and create a snow storm of onions. You could do that but it's not the knife's personality. It's a knife where it is best to relax and enjoy the experience.


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 Post subject: Re: Takayuki Damascus (Yamatsuka) 240 Gyoto
PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2014 11:48 am 

Joined: Sun Jul 13, 2014 12:34 am
Posts: 19
I Just touched up the edge with a chosera 3000, king 6000 and strop with 1 micron diamond paste and holy smokes this knife is like a razor...I am surprised it got so sharp...possibly the sharpest I have gotten my knives so far...also after a few gins as well! :?


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 Post subject: Re: Takayuki Damascus (Yamatsuka) 240 Gyoto
PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2014 10:33 pm 
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Joined: Thu Aug 14, 2014 9:05 pm
Posts: 147
A story about booze and knives with a happy ending. I may have to try some Scotch before my next sharpening session. :-)


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