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yamashin 165mm naikiri initial impresions

Tue Jan 07, 2014 5:06 am

So I received my naikiri earlier today and instantly started on some basic vegetable prep. I filmed a video but it turned out rather poorly.

First thing you notice is that when you pick up the handle, it's unfinished. the handle is sanded to maybe 120 grit with no oil or seal applied. This isn't a problem as it probably shaved some dollars off the final price tag, it also gives me the option to seal it myself.

The OOTB edge was very nice quite sharp and I'd say around 8k as it was a more polished finish than my 5k stone.

I wasn't overly impressed by the grind at first, it was decent at chopping due to the amount of weight for how short the knife was but lacked a certain luster. However being white #1 this was an easy and rewarding task to undertake.

To elaborate on the edge I was finding the tip wedging when dicing onions, specifically on the vertical cuts. This is expected as it has no distal taper (well it has no tip at all)

I began to thin behind the edge, I didn't take a large amount off but made sure I was evenly grinding, using a sharpie. After than I resharpened the blade and then refined it with a 5k stone.

The blade is now stellar, drops through potatoes like no one's business along with chopping like a dream, never had a knife that chops veg so well. Green onions are comical to chop along with leaks and celery, it's just effortless and fun!

Also the Kurouchi finish was nice, smoother and more polished than I expected but adds a nice rustic looks to your knife bag compared to the other shiny ones.

Definitely a great pick up for someone wanting to know how to sharpen as it produces results FAST! I finished sharpening the blade start to finish quicker than my Shun. The time was about double for the Shun and the results are close but not on the same level.

For 60 dollars you can't really go wrong, even if you're sticking with the OOTB edge for a while you would still enjoy the hell out of this blade. :D

Re: yamashin 165mm naikiri initial impresions

Tue Jan 07, 2014 7:23 am

Japanese wood handles in Ho or Magnolia are rarely sealed/oiled/finished. The wood is OK in dealing with water and the grain stands up when it gets wet, providing more traction on the handle. This is how those handles are supposed to be :) Western customers are used to nicely oiled, slick, sanded smooth and polished handles.

Re: yamashin 165mm naikiri initial impresions

Tue Jan 07, 2014 3:00 pm

Yeah, I figured it was just the ho wood handles with my Yamashin santoku and ko bocho. The magnolia wood on my Goko damascus isn't finished either but it has a tighter grain or was sanded smoother. I will say that the ho wood on the Yamashins feels "soft" because of the openness of the grain if that makes sense. The handles were very comfortable when I tried them with a racket grip.

Are you a lefty or righty, Lunatic? Did you chop with it? If you are a righty did the blade being a lefty bias affect you at all? I almost never chop, preferring to push cut, rock, or slice instead so the bias doesn't bother me. I just wanted to see if you had any deflection issues at all.

I agree that the Yamashin is nice out of the box compared to many western knives, but after my next couple of purchases involving Japanese knives it became very obvious they needed some work. lol Fortunately they are excellent knives to work with and have a great steel. ;)

The only bad thing now is that after getting the Goko damascus, I think I need to thin down the Yamashin santoku again... LOL

Re: yamashin 165mm naikiri initial impresions

Tue Jan 07, 2014 4:42 pm

DefMunky wrote:Yeah, I figured it was just the ho wood handles with my Yamashin santoku and ko bocho. The magnolia wood on my Goko damascus isn't finished either but it has a tighter grain or was sanded smoother. I will say that the ho wood on the Yamashins feels "soft" because of the openness of the grain if that makes sense. The handles were very comfortable when I tried them with a racket grip.

Are you a lefty or righty, Lunatic? Did you chop with it? If you are a righty did the blade being a lefty bias affect you at all? I almost never chop, preferring to push cut, rock, or slice instead so the bias doesn't bother me. I just wanted to see if you had any deflection issues at all.

I agree that the Yamashin is nice out of the box compared to many western knives, but after my next couple of purchases involving Japanese knives it became very obvious they needed some work. lol Fortunately they are excellent knives to work with and have a great steel. ;)

The only bad thing now is that after getting the Goko damascus, I think I need to thin down the Yamashin santoku again... LOL



I've worked with wood for a number of years, I'm currently building a log cabin at my cottage actually. So something not being sanded to at least 180 just is odd to me, it's screams unfinished although I love the grip it gives. I'm going to sand it to 210 then apply a seal that raises the grain, from there sand to 400 and stain. Grain is still present for grip and traction however the handle has a more finished look to it. Thinking a nice cherry stain or honey

I'm a righty, I didn't notice anything odd. With the re-grind I did it doesn't stick to anything, potatoes are stupid fun to cut as nothing sticks.

OOTB was great compared to western knives like you said, but I bought this knife knowing you can improve it, I believe it's been improved :)
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