Been extremely busy as of late. Have some energy to post, so here were my initial observations. Saji out of the box
Came with a polished spine & choil, which are squared. Handle is rosewood octagonal, very smooth with little grain. Ferrule junction is perfectly inline. Corners and edges on both the ferrule and handle are eased beautifully and had excellent feel in hand. Handle F&F is some of the best I’ve seen.
Edge profile was relatively flat, but without a true flat spot. The sweep is continual and smooth leading towards a tip that is low in relation to the handle. It did not thud at the heel when rocking. Profile and slight forward weight distribution made for an excellent push, draw, pull cutter. Rocking motion is very smooth, although rocking height is low and not as quick in comparison with the Tanaka R2 210mm, which has more belly towards a much higher tip. Although it has a 6mm edge advantage over the Tanaka, it’s profile and extended neck does make it feel a lot like a short 240.
The grind is asymmetrical, but just slightly. Very effortless through dense ingredients without any steering issues. The knife didn’t display the suction issues that some lasers can have or ingredient pushing issues that some thicker workhorse type knives exibit. Excellent compromise with the grind of the knife. Very delicate feel in use in comparison to the Tanaka. This profile I feel excels at 210 better, although the Tanaka’s profile at 240mm is close to perfection. Would have love to try this knife at 240mm in the future.
Matte(?) polished face with a bead-blasted kasumi finish. The wide-bevel is tall, but unlike the Kono Fuji B2, the grind does not actually doesn’t start until a few ticks down from the polish, which is purely aesthetic(similar to the Richmond AS Laser IIRC). It can be seen in Steve’s Quick Look video if you look closely.On the stones
Ginsanko steels was put on the Chosera 1k, Naniwa 4k. Generally, not as fine grain as quality PM & carbon counterparts, so it won’t retain the same bite at finer levels, 4k seemed most appropriate. This was after a convo I had with Jon over at JKI when I received the knife, so who am I to disagree. I've sharpened only a few Ginsanko steel knives, this one definitely de-burred the easiest in comparison to Kanehiro & Tanaka's offerings. Not carbon-like by any means, but easy enough. Tremendous bite off the stone. Excelled at slicing cooked proteins extremely well. It didn’t ghost through softer ingredients, but the feedback and level of bite the final edge provided is what I typically look for in gyutos.
The Naniwa IE-0300 is very hard, but doesn’t have quite the same density of the Choseras or Snow White. There is the slightest porosity, so it needs a minute of soak time and splashes as you sharpen. Pleasurable grab and still silky smooth. Very comparable to the Rika 5k. I generally prefer stones that work fast without mud, this one definitely benefits greatly with it, as it doesn’t have quite the speed of my other stones in this range(Gesshin 4k, Chosera 5k). Fast enough, just not as fast in comparison. I’d still very much recommend this stone for the price. As will most Naniwas, refinement/polish levels is a bit higher than the number indicated on the box. Issues with the knife
Some residue on the choil, not sure what it was. On the product pages, it shows up on all the choil shots IIRC. Spine and choil definitely needed some easing. The time I spent with the knife was limited, but the issue was readily apparent. Still prefer the more squared neck/choil junction over it’s curved and rounded one, but that’s just me.
This one is with Mark already and should be in the CloseOuts soon enough. For those interested in the knife, this one was only used at home, and has zero imperfections. I’ve scratched up the last few knives Mark has sent me so I didn’t want to bring this one in. So consider it new at a discounted price.
Thanks for reading.
I just blazed through this review, so any questions, clarifications, etc., please let me know.
Some knife porn
(L to R) Kono HD 240 Western, Saji 210, Kono White 2 270mm