Posted By: Rian
- verified customerThis was my first Japanese knife and I can already tell I will likely never find another deal this good. The first cut out of the box was quite literally jaw-dropping: it effortlessly fell through a bunch of box choy without making a sound and left a beautiful, waxy finish on the cuts. I found myself laughing over my cutting board and mumbling strings of religiously-tinged profanity to myself in disbelief.
Then, once I DID get around to sharpening it myself I was able to put a terrifying edge on it in minutes. It's true what they say about white steel making you feel like a master sharpener. I felt like Hephaestus himself after I was done, and I still have no idea what I'm doing. Edge retention leaves something to be desired, but that's actually working in my favor since I currently want all the sharpening practice I can get. I can imagine that would be less than ideal for someone in a pro kitchen, but I'm merely an avid home cook who finds sharpening enjoyable and meditative.
Reactivity was an issue at first (some discolored onions and garlic in the first week) but I quickly learned to wipe between ingredients and not let acidic ingredients stack up on the blade. It also developed a really beautiful patina within the first month and now I don't even think about the reactivity. What little care this knife requires is infinitesimal compared to how well it cuts for the price.
There are some sizable but surmountable caveats: the handle OOTB was sloppy, the blade had a really gnarly high spot in the flat section near the heel (an area of considerable interest for me as I'm primarily a push-cutter and chopper) which resulted in a lot of accordion cuts at first, and the spine and choil were very uncomfortable. But after sanding down the transition from the ferrule, softening the D profile, finishing the handle at 400 grit, and treating the handle with mineral oil and beeswax, I can now report that the handle is INCREDIBLY comfortable and just to my liking. I've even grown to love the plastic ferrule since it's really grippy until it gets greasy (pakka and horn get just as slick when they're greasy, but are less grippy when dry IME). Regarding the high spot, I've only sharpened the knife three times and it has already leveled out to the point where it's not affecting cutting anymore. The spine and choil got a quick progression of 220/400/1000 grit sandpaper and are now super comfortable and just as shiny as the rest of the knife.
Since getting to know this knife I have bought other, much more expensive knives and this humble santoku performs right up there with the best of them. I am astounded by the price to performance ratio on this knife, and as long as you have reasonable expectations for a knife that costs less than $50 you will be similarly blown away.
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