It is currently Mon Apr 27, 2015 4:11 am

All times are UTC



Welcome
Welcome to chefknivestogo

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest, which gives you limited access to view most discussions and access our other features. By joining our free community, you will have access to post topics, communicate privately with other members (PM), respond to polls, upload content, and access many other special features. In addition, registered members also see less advertisements. Registration is fast, simple, and absolutely free, so please, join our community today!





 Page 1 of 2 [ 13 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: Loaner Review: Masakage Yuki 210mm
PostPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2015 3:08 pm 

Joined: Sun Jul 29, 2012 1:36 pm
Posts: 602
Location: NY, NY; New Haven, CT
I have had the delightful pleasure, thanks to the generosity of a fellow forum member, to try out a Masakage Yuki for a couple of weeks. I have not used the knife much (it has been a busy couple of weeks!), but I have had the opportunity to use it on several different occasions, and in direct comparison with a number of different knives. What follows are some specific impressions of the knife. It should be noted that this is NOT meant as a general overview, but rather as a “quick response” of sorts to a knife that already has a strong reputation, but differs from my own personal tastes. Despite my comments, getting to know the knife was a real pleasure, and I write this candid review of our respect and gratefulness to its owner.

1) Fit and Finish, Look and Feel
I received the Yuki at work, which means that I opened it and examined it about five different times before I could fully unbox it and play around with it at home. Point is, the Yuki made a very strong visual and material impression away from the board—I just couldn’t get enough of it. I fully expected that this knife would change many of my thoughts about JKs in general, and that, despite my expectations to find the knife wanting, I would rather find myself playing the part of the idiot with too many Konos.

The Yuki has a hefty feel that draws attention to itself as a material object. At first, this gives it a strong character, body, and sense of being, or perhaps “soul,” if you prefer. But really, in this case at least, it means the knife is a bit heavy and a bit off balance in the hand, such that if you are examining it, you constantly check your grip to make sure it doesn’t slip out of your hand and fall with deliberate haste to the floor. It wants to be on the board because, rather than disappearing in the hand, it feels weighted, as if it has its own gravity—an impressive feat for a 210mm, and one that makes me wonder what the 240 must feel like (!). I’ll compare it to a diver’s watch with a metal band: some people really want to feel the weight on their wrist and find it conveys quality and durability; other people prefer Skagens for their svelteness (I’m actually the former when it comes to watches). Put another way, this isn’t about positive or negative weight, it is about feeling the weight in a particular way, especially “in the hand” versus “on the board.”

As you probably guessed, my first “unboxing” impressions were fleeting. The more I handled the knife, the more I felt as if it handle was too small and light, and that the weight of the blade didn’t convert to performance for me because I couldn’t tell where the weight was directed. Furthermore, while the blade itself is simply gorgeous, I began to feel that the handle was a bit of a mis-match. Stylistically, it works (the red is a nice touch, and the shape works well with the blade). However, the feel of the wood and ferrule, the size, and the balance just didn’t match the quality of the blade. It is not a matter of nicer materials, it is a matter of attention to detail. And, despite the fact that proponents of the curved machi to choil transition speak up often, I have to express that this is NOT for everyone, certainly not for me. I find that it actually upsets my pinch grip rather than aiding it, probably because I use my middle finger as a fulcrum in my grip and I like having somewhere for it to go. With the Yuki, it kept wanting to roll up or down that smooth transition, upsetting my grip, where as a “normal” transition provides just the type of nook I need for a good fulcrum.

Summary: Great looking blade exuding terrific quality for the price, but the physical feel of the blade and other aspects of the fit and finish did not resonate with me for practical AND aesthetic reasons.

2) Performance
I received a blade that had a very sharp, very highly polished edge (the latter of which I am not used to). This means that the edge itself was exquisitely smooth…but just the edge! I’m used to a bit more bite, and I’m used to edges that seamlessly transition into the rest of the knife. This edge was different. Despite the degree of polish and passing the usual sharpness tests, it did not feel sharp to me through food…at all.

The Yuki has a low grind with a strong convex that features a rather fast, thick transition from a very thin edge to a rather beefy blade. (I provide a picture below—the only picture I took of the knife as it was not mine.) Note how, at the bottom portion of the blade, the grind is actually concave: the edge is super-thin and goes high enough to arch into the upper portion of the blade, especially on the right side in the image, where a visual “dip” or “dig” can be seen; then the grind convexes so that a swell or hill is seen above this dip on the thicker part of the grind/geometry. Remember, of course, that this is all just at the heel—the rest of the grind could vary quite a bit from this image.

Image

As Ryan (cedarhouse) mentioned in his thread on the knife, this means it exhibits certain properties of a very thin edge with rather thick shoulders. So, the knife performed admirably on very shallow ingredients, but it also lagged behind every other knife in my kit in virtually every application with taller ingredients except cutting the softest, most forgiving ones (such as a tomato). While the knife theoretically "pushed” ingredients away, the shape of the edge and its finish meant that mincing garlic was a real chore: the garlic stuck to the blade as badly as anything I’ve ever used. The same was true for most ingredients, including julienne cuts. The pear finish on the blade and the sand-blasted primary grind actually caused shallow/short food to stick to the blade more than several other knives. Meanwhile, cutting things like carrots was embarrassing—the accelerated transition from the thin edge to the convex grind meant the knife just wanted to STOP about 1/8 to 1/4 of the way into the cut. (Read: wedge!) I should add that a friend of mine tried this first on a carrot and his disbelief was loud and surprised enough that I immediately grabbed the knife to prove him wrong…and then turned white.

Now, I’m used to Konos and to wholly different grinds. And, realistically, it has been a while since I have used a blade on a regular basis that is in the same class as the Yuki (~$200). Then again, I recently tried out a Takamura 210, and I own a Masamoto 210, and both dramatically outperformed the Yuki in most applications, at least when paired with my rather gentle technique. While the edge on the Yuki was pristine and very silky/impressive, I just couldn’t get over the awkwardness of the grind, and I found myself wishing the knife was my own so that I could try to “tweak” the edge rather than live with its inherent qualities. Put another way, it would beat other knives in sharpness tests and "feel," and maybe even "retention," but it did not beat them in real-world performance when paired with my technique in my kitchen. It was not nearly as fun to use, either.

Finally, I did not appreciate the combination of thick spine/very thin edge. I found that slicing ingredients thinly with a lot of accuracy was far more difficult than with knives with thinner spines (or different grinds). I haven’t used the knife on potatoes (where I expect its convex would really shine), but on apples, the grind did more harm than good, and even on onions, the Yuki performed well, but remained outpaced by every other knife I had around (most more expensive, some less).

As I mentioned elsewhere, the Yuki really started to make me think of my old Henckels and Wusthofs.. In fact, the spine/edge relationship and the general unpredictability or lack of confidence that I feel with a larger, heavier German knives and their particular profiles was very similar to what I experienced with the Yuki, despite the fact that the Yuki is so very different in so many ways. It made me realize how appealing this knife would be to someone like my brother-in-law, who actually really likes German knives but wants something with better steel, a better profile, and a thinner, "wow" edge.

These impressions of the knife changed, however, when I let loose with the chopping. If I got really aggressive with the knife, using a bit more of a downward swing and a more percussive action on the board (think Mr, Knife Fanatic during his favorite chops), the Yuki shined. With this specific motion, the weight and balance made sense: like an axe, I felt the weight extending outward, aiding the cut and getting the most out of the thinnest, sharpest front third of the blade. The affect felt like centrifugal force, and was in fact distinctly different from the "downward" force that I felt with the similarly heavy Takayuki Wa-Ginsan. Since I don’t cut like that normally, the Yuki didn’t feel right to me. (FYI, I’m a push-cutter, and my chopping speed, while plenty fast when necessary, is usually combined with a subtle forward motion rather than a hammer motion with no push and a steady fulcrum at the wrist.) But if you do like to chop with some aggressive downward force and a lot of board sound, the Yuki can do a lot for you. Furthermore, with that extra force, the convex also came to life and didn’t have as many issues with slowing or roughing up the cut. At last, I was able to get a sense of what audience this knife serves.

This is, admittedly, a contrarian review given the overwhelming support for this knife just a few months ago, but I promise this is not on purpose. The real issue here is that I’ve tried knives more and less expensive that the Yuki that all outperform it…unquestionably…when combined by my particular technique. Despite the fact that other people love this knife, I don’t. However, as I said above, I WANTED to love it when I unwrapped it. It is a beautiful knife, a stunning knife, a knife that makes you want it to be the best at everything because it is a knife you want to covet. So, if you smell a Kono bias, you’re right: my Konos have shaped my technique, and that has caused me to appreciate certain things in certain types of knives. However, this is based on my technique and my use of the board, and not out of any desire to dislike the Yuki or to knock its grind. As many of you will see elsewhere, I handed a Takayuki Ginsan Wa 240 alongside the Yuki for a number of weeks. While it has a VERY similar style of grind and a similar forward balance, I really, genuinely fell in love with the Takayuki, and found myself trying to change and adapt my technique to get the most out of it. This is what a great knife should do: it brings you along to new experiences to share in the fun of showing itself off. The Yuki never did this for me, so I found myself continuously picking the other kids on the playground first, leaving the Yuki to warm the bench with its resonant looks rather than hammer the board to chopping applause.



_________________
~Joe
Ownership experience: Konosuke, Masamoto, Tojiro, Wusthof, Henckels, etc.
Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Loaner Review: Masakage Yuki 210mm
PostPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2015 7:38 pm 

Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 6:20 am
Posts: 2759
I just reread my review of the Yuki to recall what I thought of it. I certainly had a more charitable view of the knife.

Have you used the Kanehiro? I am curious what your thoughts on that knife are.

Two things strike me as interesting. First, I am new to Konos, relatively speaking, so I am still very much at home with the Anryus, AS Lasers, Tanaka Sekisos, etc, and I do feel the Yuki plays well in that company. I wonder if overtime I will become more biased away from these mainstays as I use higher end knives. Second, I wonder how much of your impressions are a function of technique. I typically use a draw cut. I even draw lightly in chopping. I wonder if the knife works better in that application because the weight works for you as you draw the knife down and back.

Regardless, thanks for taking the time to offer up your observations. It is always interesting to see different perspectives.


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Loaner Review: Masakage Yuki 210mm
PostPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2015 9:11 pm 

Joined: Sun Jul 29, 2012 1:36 pm
Posts: 602
Location: NY, NY; New Haven, CT
Thanks for the comments, Ryan.

I tried to bring lots of attention to the fact that it IS due to my technique, probably more than anything else, and that is worth reiterating several times over. But that doesn't mean that the issues I had with the knife are irrelevant (I'm not saying you are making this claim in the slightest, of course!). On the contrary, had I bought the knife based on the reviews I saw of it on the site, especially prior to yours, I would have assumed (overwhelmingly) that if I like knives that are "laseresque," I will love the Yuki. That was clearly not the case! I also don't think it would be the case for lots of other people, just like I don't think (and try to constantly remind everyone) that most people would share my weird obsession with the highly idiosyncratic Kono Ginsan. :)

I have a friend who "draw" cuts, in the sense that, where I move forward in a chop, he pivots backward, very much like CGuarin in some of his videos, in fact (I know CG has a very versatile technique and has other ways of chopping, but the point still stands). I think the knife would work better for this type of action...and my friend happens to use a heavy, vintage SAB with its infamous distal taper, so it makes good sense to me that you would draw the parallel. With a knife like the Yuki, there is the thin tip, and there is a much beefier back end (like the SAB). I found these to be the two sweet spots of the knife, whereas I really like to use the front mid-point or front third of the knife. I also use a pinch. All of these contribute to how I like or don't like certain aspects of knives, of course. I have not used a Kanehiro or an Anryu, but I own an AS laser petty and have held a gyuto. I would agree that these fit into a "category" or type of knife that I am 1) less familiar with, and 2) also less disposed to like. I do not think, after spending months with the Takayuki and Yuki, that my technique would adapt to these knives over time like it has to some lasers. I started with a very different technique, and my current experience has allowed me to open up to where I am in a particular way. While I know I will continue to develop my technique, I think I strongly prefer a sense of precision, lightness, and balance up off the board, so knives that really like to interact with the board in a strong way are less appealing, regardless of price. The real test will be handling some Katos for a while, if that happens. If any knife can/should change my opinion in this regard, it might be them. Then again, perhaps I'll find a way to appreciate them without using their weight so much as their balance.

What is more intriguing to me, however (and that I mention above), is just how taken I was by the Takayuki vs. the Yuki. If you look at that other review (which I also posted today), you'll see that, despite having a similar geometry in many ways, I felt that knife performed very, very well – certainly at its price point if not better – despite me not entirely preferring with its lower grind, heavier disposition, and more pronounced convex to other knives I had on hand. I fell in love with that knife in an adulterous way: not something I'd want to come home to every night, but something that really pushed all sorts of the right buttons from time to time. The Yuki was a very different experience...



_________________
~Joe
Ownership experience: Konosuke, Masamoto, Tojiro, Wusthof, Henckels, etc.
Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Loaner Review: Masakage Yuki 210mm
PostPosted: Fri Jan 23, 2015 2:16 pm 

Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 6:20 am
Posts: 2759
"I fell in love with that knife in an adulterous way: not something I'd want to come home to every night, but something that really pushed all sorts of the right buttons from time to time."

I have a few of these. :roll:

"On the contrary, had I bought the knife based on the reviews I saw of it on the site, especially prior to yours, I would have assumed (overwhelmingly) that if I like knives that are "laseresque," I will love the Yuki."

This bothers me a lot. The distinction between a laser and knife that is laser thin at the edge is a big one. It is especially annoying to me because I would rather a knife with a low grind to one that is laserish at the edge and thicker up top. Lasers tend to be self evidently good performers. Knives with low grinds bring more power to the party and they telegraph wedging better giving the user more feedback to direct the cut, IMHO. The knives that are very thin at the edge, with a mid to high grind can sneak up on you in tall/hard ingredients. I think a lot of people enjoy the heft of the mid/high ground knives and the performance they give in soft, short ingredients well enough that they forgive their shortcomings. I guess I prefer a different set of compromises.

As to technique. I know that the lion's share of work on my board uses a pull/draw motion, but I too try to be adaptable. The problem is I tend to fall into autopilot and expect the knife to perform well the way I use it. I totally get what you are saying.


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Loaner Review: Masakage Yuki 210mm
PostPosted: Sat Jan 24, 2015 6:05 pm 

Joined: Wed Apr 16, 2014 3:45 am
Posts: 30
Thicker knives with pronounced shinogi are tough to get just right. Pushing the shinogi a millimeter up or down the blade height can have a rather dramatic impact on how well the knife balances on the stick-wedge continuum. If the kireba is concave or even dead-flat, both wedging and sticking can be exacerbated, especially when not hammering fast.

I had seriously considered a Yuki several times but wasn't sure about the reviews. Looks like it could be a very promising knife for folks with specific technique, or perhaps as a project knife to reset the shinogi and clean up the bevel to optimize its performance.


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Loaner Review: Masakage Yuki 210mm
PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2015 6:29 am 

Joined: Tue Jan 21, 2014 8:58 pm
Posts: 246
I definitely agree with parts of the review.... particularly the unbalanced feel of the Yuki. I haven't handled the 210, but I always need a little time to adjust back to my 240 Yuki after using other knives. The weight distribution is a little odd somehow. Not just that it is blade heavy (mine balances about an inch in front of my pinch on the 240), but it is somehow unbalanced in relation to the dimensions and shape of the blade. For me this isn't a big deal and I get comfortable pretty quickly, but I do know what SalemJ is talking about.

I also agree that I've found the curved choil/neck area to be a bit odd in use. I find myself slipping forward sometimes in my grip. I like the extra room in general but I have realized I prefer the locked-in feel of a more squared or gently curved choil/neck.

As for the grind... I'd be really curious to compare the 210 to the 240. The 240 is a taller knife and I think the spread between ultra-thin edge, shoulder, and spine is more in proportion. The extra few millimeters in blade height greatly lessen the effects Salem was talking about and relate to the "dramatic impact" xoomg brings up in how the grind performs when it is moved slightly up or down the side of the blade. Basing my impressions on the choil shot in the review as compared to my personal 240, this particular 210 has a thinner edge with a greater concave/hollow grind leading much more rapidly into the shoulder and convex. My 240 appears thinner overall with a more gradual taper down to the edge and a less dramatic switch to the concave/hollow grind. I have felt that transition at the shoulder in some ingredients (mostly large carrots), but for me it hasn't come close to actual wedging.

As a side note, SteveG and others have noted that the tip on the Yuki isn't as thin as some other knives in the same class. He was referring to the 210. My particular 240 is PAPER thin at the tip and actually has the best performing tip of any of the knives I own. I mostly attribute this to the variance that all these handmade knives have from piece to piece, but I also wonder if the tip is a little thicker on the 210s for some reason.

Anyway, thanks for the the great review and continuation of your great series of reviews. :)


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Loaner Review: Masakage Yuki 210mm
PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2015 12:42 pm 

Joined: Sun Jul 29, 2012 1:36 pm
Posts: 602
Location: NY, NY; New Haven, CT
BTM—Thanks for the great feedback, thoughts (and compliment!). This is precisely the kind of information that a thread like this should provoke from other users, since the end goal isn't for me to flout my experience, so much as to give everyone else an opportunity to share comparative experiences, thus giving readers a better sense of the knife overall.

In many ways, I'm very pleased to read the satisfaction you feel with your own knife, as well as you ability to still articulate the issues with weight. It fits exactly with my perception of this knife overall, which is that excellently ground versions must exist and make their users very happy, but there are still a few aspects of the design that are a bit "idiosyncratic" compared to other knives, such as the balance. Whether or not people like or dislike this aspect is a matter of preference, but it needs to be said – and confirmed – that it is a bit unique, even compared to some other blade-heavy designs. Not a cutting criticism at all, given the price!

Thanks again for the additional thoughts. It is always nice when people who have lived with knives for some time and perhaps lost the "first look" excitement to still provide thoughtful reviews and honest critiques of knives they are happy to personally own.



_________________
~Joe
Ownership experience: Konosuke, Masamoto, Tojiro, Wusthof, Henckels, etc.
Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Loaner Review: Masakage Yuki 210mm
PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2015 11:43 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 13, 2013 1:45 am
Posts: 273
Anyone tried this and the Koishi? Any idea how they compare?


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Loaner Review: Masakage Yuki 210mm
PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2015 11:40 am 
User avatar

Joined: Thu Nov 22, 2012 4:17 am
Posts: 5441
Location: Derby City, Kentucky
Every time I see that choil shot I pee my pants just a little. :shock:



_________________
If at first you don't succeed, pay someone that knows what they're doing.
Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Loaner Review: Masakage Yuki 210mm
PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2015 2:58 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jul 08, 2014 2:50 pm
Posts: 312
Joe,
Great review. Reminds me of reading good literary reviews in the new york times. The review is so informative
it's almost like having the real thing in my hands.

We have the Yuki short petty. My wife uses it the most. I was talking to her about the upcoming sale and she
remarked,"I don't know what it is about the knife but I get a lot of confidence from it." My translation is that
if she likes this knife then she'll give thumbs up to getting more of the same line. Yet, I know what you are saying
about the transition between a thin cutting edge to a hefty grind. Certainly, for me, the choil view doesn't say this
as much as I would think. It's just so nicely sculptured! Bottom line is performance in the hand and now I'm rethinking
another yuki that would have more length. I'm definitely partial to either the push/chop or a pull/slice, and I don't see myself adapting to another technique very well. What about the other Masakage line of knives? Do they have a similar geometry of the grind?

As an aside, I would speculate that a push or pull technique works very well on other knives that are thin at the edge, without being
extremely tapered toward the grind road. My TF 210 and Anryu santoku come to mind. Just this morning I used the TF on a pair of butternut squash. Patience helped but I never felt stuck with the wedge, emphasis on "stuck."

Me want to see more such reviews with pictures!


Offline
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
 Page 1 of 2 [ 13 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next

All times are UTC


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  


suspicion-preferred