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Yamashin 165mm Santoku and 120mm Ko Bocho

Wed Dec 18, 2013 11:55 pm

Santoku: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/yawh1sa16.html

Ko Bocho: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/yawh1kobo12.html

I bought both of these knives a little while back as a first entry into Japanese kitchen knives. Part of my criteria was that I wanted something handmade and these Yamashins fit the bill.

When I first removed them from the boxes, they had very serviceable edges (they would shave and push cut paper) but the santoku had 5 small chips in the edge. These were nothing large enough that affected cutting at all and were gone after sharpening the knife.

The handles are simple, light ho wood handles with a plastic ferrule. I remember when first handling the knives they seemed comically light overall and I don't even notice the weight when using them.

The blades of both knives look to be 50/50 ground on the cutting edge, but they do have a lefty biased primary bevel. This means that the right side of the blade is flat and the blade curves inward on the left side when looking at the profile under the handle. I haven't noticed any issues with this being a righty and my style of cutting, but it is a lefty biased knife. The handle is completely ambidextrous though.

The korouchi finish is nicely done though and is nice and smooth. I haven't felt any drag as a result of the finish. The protective varnish on the blade did have some small bubbles near the edge, but I cleaned off the varnish and got rid of the bubbles. Again, no big deal. These are both handmade knives around the $50-$60 mark made out of white #1 steel after all.

That brings me to the sharpening of the blade. After the first sharpening, the knives started to shine! It doesn't take long at all for these things to get super sharp with the white #1 carbon steel. The only thing to be aware of is that the blade behind the edge may need to be thinned a bit to get them to really perform. I thinned mine a some but it needs to be a little thinner. I primarily use the santoku for pretty much everything and that little sucker is an excellent performer! No it isn't perfect, but it is WAY above my old Farberware santoku and Forschner Fibrox 8" chef's.

All in all these are actually very good knives for the money. For those that read my Tojiro DP review, yes, I feel that out of the box the Tojiro was the better knife. Keep in mind that until I used the Tojiro, the Yamashin knives were the kings of the kitchen and the sharpest knives I owned, and I have owned plenty of knives, all of which shave. lol That being said, I believe that the Yamashins with the white #1 steel house an amazing potential waiting to be unlocked by someone willing to spend a little time with their stones and get to know the knife, and these are definitely worth the time and attention at their price. I expect that once I am finished with mine it will probably run circles around the Tojiro even though it is a shorter knife. ;)

I feel like these would also be good knives for someone wanting to learn how to sharpen or just want a great project knife. Or if all you have used is western style/German knives, the Yamashins will knock your socks off regardless.

They are very nice hand made knives for not a lot of money. And the hand made part adds quite a bit of "cool" factor for me in the first place. :D

Re: Yamashin 165mm Santoku and 120mm Ko Bocho

Sun Jan 05, 2014 6:25 am

Good to hear,

I have a naikiri coming in on Tuesday made by Yamashin. I bought it for the sole purpose of learning how to sharpen and the added benefit of a naikiri when working prep at the restaurant
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