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 Post subject: Re: Yoshiaki Fujiwara (Kato) 210 Gyuto W#2
PostPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2014 6:49 pm 

Joined: Thu May 29, 2014 8:38 pm
Posts: 1210
Lepus wrote:Honestly, Chip, it might just not be the right knife for you whereas the Shig is. And maybe the Shig isn't quite perfect, either, and your dream knife is waiting out there. I have no doubt you'll be picking up or trading for some American knives in the near future. I would be surprised indeed if, reading your review, there isn't someone for whom the Kato is a perfect tool.



Yeah, see I did not mean to suggest it wasn't the right knife for me and not sure I did a good job clarifying that. I absolutely love this knife (love it so much I had to have it in 240 as well) and really don't pick up any of my others for the most part when using it. But, as these knives run on the pricier side of things, I was trying to illustrate where I think the shortcomings of it may be so that a prospective buyer, without having the ability to play with it, gets a complete picture before making the investment. Personally, for me, I put a high premium on versatility which is why i like the Shigefusa and Masakage Shimo so much. Many folks put a premium on laser-like performance, and I'm sure given the opportunity, many would gravitate to the characteristics of the Kato above a laser or middle-weight athlete.
The knife is always going to have a place in my block and see plenty of duty, but just wanted to round out the picture a bit given my proclivities.

I'm really looking forward to having you and Todd (and perhaps Joe if he's interested) spend some time with it as the knife is so unique, and seems to occupy it's own category in the performance spectrum, that I can't wait to see what you guys think.



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 Post subject: Re: Yoshiaki Fujiwara (Kato) 210 Gyuto W#2
PostPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2014 9:16 pm 

Joined: Sun Jul 29, 2012 1:36 pm
Posts: 270
Location: NY, NY; New Haven, CT
I'd certainly be interested in trying the knife out a bit. :) I struggle to think what I'd give you to play with in return!

I really appreciate your efforts to articulate the personality of the knife. It is true that, given the price, the buyer will probably have oversized expectations—not because this is "appropriate," but because it is just hard to avoid. I imagine myself saving up and buying a really nice Yanagi someday, and I'll probably budget north of $500. I'll expect the knife to be extraordinary in many ways, but I wouldn't expect it to do things a gyuto does well, or even a double-bevel suji, for that matter. My point is this: the problem with the "gyuto" is that it is such a catch-all term for so many sizes, profiles, geometries, etc. It makes it difficult, when the time comes, to articulate that one gyuto, while truly exceptional, is really a certain type of gyuto. I like that you're trying to get to the bottom of this. I, for one, am ready and willing to admit that spending more on a "gyuto" means that I subconsciously expect it to do more – better – than lots of the competition, regardless of grind. But just because I know I feel this way doesn't mean I think this is appropriate. I think your approach – and Lepus's comment – speak well to this: if it somehow becomes the ultimate, do-everything knife for someone, it will probably have more to do with what they expect the knife to do, and not the fact that they will be able to get the knife to do things you can't. It is worth keeping our expectations in check about such things, and I look forward to hearing more from you and others about squeezing more and more from the knife, as well as trying to define its limits.

Of course, I also like that you love it so much, even while articulating its unique character. "But don't change a hair for me, not if you care for me; stay, funny valentine, stay."



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Ownership experience: Konosuke, Masamoto, Tojiro, Wusthof, Henckels, etc.
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 Post subject: Re: Yoshiaki Fujiwara (Kato) 210 Gyuto W#2
PostPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2014 10:09 pm 

Joined: Thu May 29, 2014 8:38 pm
Posts: 1210
Joe, tremendous job articulating what I was unable to in terms of expectations and roles that knives end up playing. Is a 210mm Yoshiaki Fujiwara gyuto worth $500? I tend to think so but, in my estimation, it is important to know what you are paying for in a knife like this. As you illustrated, I think there is often a tendency to make leaps in logic as it relates to discussing gyuto purchases. During my very abbreviated time participating in knife discussions, I've found that as a result of the pattern's versatility, gyutos are often discussed as if there is some platonic ideal that is achieved by various smiths etc.
While it has been over a short period of time, I've been able to use a pretty broad cross section of gyuto styles. Sharpening is still muddied waters for me, but performance is much clearer. What I've found is that each knife has its own personality, strengths and weaknesses. Like you, I assume as price escalates, so should performance. In my selections to date, it usually does, but not in any kind of uniform way. I.E. with the Kato, the enhanced performance comes from the knife's ability to cut with supreme authority and separate produce with little effort. With the Shigefusa, it comes from the ability to do many things quite well. That said, the Shig can not compete with the Kato in certain applications and the Kato is unable to match the breadth of tasks that the Shig does well.
It is a result of recognizing that nothing I've used so far, or likely ever will use, will be the perfect blade, that I recommended a pairing with a laser. Many times the phrase "if you will only own one knife" pops up, and in this case, I was basically saying "if you only own two knives", a Kato and laser would be a pretty awesome pair.

Oh, and more than happy to send the knife your way. No worries on sending anything my way as I've got a lot of of knives to learn as is and a serious hill to climb when it comes to sharpening. I think for knives, this is basically as close as it can get to sharing a nice bottle of wine with someone else and simply happy to have others enjoy what I've enjoyed and learning more about the knife from the diversity of use/greater experience. Since we are in each other's backyard, so to speak, may have it sent your way last as it will be easy enough to meet up and grab a drink or coffee next time your in the city.



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 Post subject: Re: Yoshiaki Fujiwara (Kato) 210 Gyuto W#2
PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2014 8:20 pm 

Joined: Thu May 29, 2014 8:38 pm
Posts: 1210
So, I have to say I haven't been all that thrilled with the use of White#2 in this knife. I find the edge to be a little chippy/brittle, not the easiest to sharpen, with retention issues as well. Sort of crazy to find all of those things together I guess, but there it is. For reference, Kurosaki's use of W#2 in his Shimo line was far, far better in virtually each instance.
Apparently Kato treats his knives by sight in the pre-dawn hours to best detect nuances in blade color. Maybe with this knife he'd had a bit too much sake the night before, who knows. We'll see how the 240 compares once I get it back in.
As a side note, I've experimented with edge angles a bit, so having gotten away from the original edge bevel could be causing some of the problems.



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 Post subject: Re: Yoshiaki Fujiwara (Kato) 210 Gyuto W#2
PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2014 8:45 pm 

Joined: Thu May 29, 2014 8:38 pm
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As much as it pains me to say, I can see why a certain retailer requested different heat treatment for his "workhorse" line. My guess is that Kato said that his treatment is perfect for W#2, so offered to use a different steel which is why the weight and dimensions are so different from the smith's standard line.



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 Post subject: Re: Yoshiaki Fujiwara (Kato) 210 Gyuto W#2
PostPosted: Fri Aug 15, 2014 10:23 pm 

Joined: Thu May 29, 2014 8:38 pm
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Update on the 210 edgewise: I ended up putting a micro bevel on the edge and so far this has solved the delicacy issues I'd experienced. For some reference, I'd taken the edge too thin altogether and believe I interfered with the smith's grind as a result and it has caused some performance issues as a result. I verified that it is certainly something I did with the edge angle that is causing it once I got the 240 back in which, while not as sharp, is performing the way the 210 was before I dicked around with the edge. I'm not skilled enough to return the grind/edge to original state, so going to be paying a visit to Korin's resident sharpening guru to see if he can reproduce the grind using the 240 as a reference. Once that's done, I'll be sending the 210 out to a few folks to play with.



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 Post subject: Re: Yoshiaki Fujiwara (Kato) 210 Gyuto W#2
PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2014 4:43 am 

Joined: Sun Jul 29, 2012 1:36 pm
Posts: 270
Location: NY, NY; New Haven, CT
Any positive updates? I hope a bit of touch-up work has restored the performance to tip-top shape.



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Ownership experience: Konosuke, Masamoto, Tojiro, Wusthof, Henckels, etc.
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 Post subject: Re: Yoshiaki Fujiwara (Kato) 210 Gyuto W#2
PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2014 6:43 pm 

Joined: Thu May 29, 2014 8:38 pm
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Picking the 210 up from Korin today. The grind isn't as difficult as the Shig behind the edge so didn't think it needed a visit to Ken. Brought the 240 in along with it so their sharpener could see what I wanted. He thought the edge I had on it was good and would add durability, but I explained what was going on performance-wise. Think he got it, but we'll see I suppose. It it's back in shape, I should have it in the mail shortly.



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 Post subject: Re: Yoshiaki Fujiwara (Kato) 210 Gyuto W#2
PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2014 8:17 pm 

Joined: Thu May 29, 2014 8:38 pm
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So, Korin did a pretty good job. I.E. returned the grind behind the edge to its convex for, but now it is still to thick behind the edge and a slight shoulder is still detectable. Performing better than when I sent it in, but looks like this guy is going to go for a visit to Ken as well before sending it out



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 Post subject: Re: Yoshiaki Fujiwara (Kato) 210 Gyuto W#2
PostPosted: Thu Aug 21, 2014 3:54 am 

Joined: Sat Jan 04, 2014 8:57 pm
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Well hopefully you get it sorted pretty quickly by Ken and have it back in action. It has been a while since it was performing the way you wanted it to.


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