View Full Version : Marko Tsourkan 225mm. Sujihiki "Practice Knife" Initial Review

05-16-2012, 09:33 AM
I received this knife about 10 days ago from Marko. While I do not have exact measurements, it is a 225mm sujihiki with an ebony handle, black buffalo horn ferrule, and nickel silver spacer. The profile as Marko designed it allows the knife to do the work of a short slicer as well as a long, nimble petty, and I have used it in both capacities. The knife shows a nice taper from heel to tip, and thins dramatically from about 15mm above the edge to the edge itself. This provides for easy cutting and great food release. For a more detailed and competent review of Marko's grind, see Darkhoek's review of the 240mm gyuto a few posts back.

The knife arrived sharp but without a final edge. On Marko's advice I finished it with a 90/10 right handed edge on a Takenoko 6000/8000 and deburred it on a felt strop. The 52100 steel formed a smooth, easily visible, and even burr even at this high grit, and deburring was easy.


Background: I am a home cook who enjoys a variety of cuisines from French to modern American to sushi. My frame of reference for comparing this knife's properties includes extensive use of a Dave Martell modified Hiromoto AS gyuto, a Henckels Cermax 8" gyuto, a Global G-18 flexible fillet knife, and a Shun 4" parer, which comprise my regular kit. I've also had a chance to play with Pierre Rodrigue's passaround and various models of Shun "upgrade" lines. Bear in mind that this is the first individually made knife I have ever owned.

Fit and Finish: The knife arrived and, after I tore through the package, simply blew me away. Most of you will know what to expect from Marko handles since he made his name first as a purveyor of top quality handles and sayas, but even his great reputation could not prepare me for the thrill of opening the knife. Every surface on the handle was flush with no perceptible gap between handle, spacer, or ferrule. The macassar ebony feels wonderful in the hand, and the handle as a whole was finished to a smooth consistency--just what we've come to expect from Marko. The blade matched the handle in terms of finish, as Marko had brought it to a uniform finish with a barely visible and perfectly even horizontal scratch pattern that reminds me of a Shigefusa kasumi.

Balance: The knife balances at or just in front of the ferrule and feels like it was crafted to feel like an extension of the user's arm--not hand. By this I mean that the balance is so intuitive that the knife feels like it needs very little guidance and permits the user to adopt a very gentle grip. This allows the arm and not the hand to do most of the work, making for smoother slicing action.

Geometry: Marko has been fiddling with his geometry for some time, trying to achieve the perfect balance between ease of cutting and food release. Based on this knife, I think he has found it. In cutting vegetables, this proved particularly useful. The knife easily small diced shallots without struggling on either the horizontal or vertical cuts, and when cutting mangoes that were soft, ripe, and sticky, the knife was able to make even cuts without mangling the fruit or moving it out of position.




Tomatoes are a popular test item for both geometry and the edge taking quality of steel. While I didn't have any Roma tomatoes lying around for a horizontal cut test, I was able to slice a few large tomatoes using only the weight of the knife with no downward pressure.


Slicing: I bought this knife primarily for slicing work and saw the ability to use it as a petty as an added bonus. 225mm is just long enough to slice raw tuna and salmon fillets for portioning or for sashimi in one long, continuous stroke. (No pics of this, sorry). Food separation was excellent with raw fish as well as cooked pork, and the fish had the fresh look that one associates with sushi that has been properly cut. While a dedicated yanagi would doubtless perform better, Marko's suji more than meets my needs.


Overall impressions/Value for Money: I bought this knife as part of Marko's practice knife sale, and one user (Aphex perhaps?) described it as "one hell of a deal." He was right. I would happily have paid twice what I paid for this knife to receive this level of quality, attention to detail, and utility. I will use this knife for years to come for a variety of portioning, slicing, and small prep tasks. It even brunoises garlic with ease, though I will probably stick to a gyuto for that. Mattrud and Karring (MrDrinky) have both ordered 250mm sujis, which may prove a slightly more useful length for slicing bigger proteins, but I have had no issues slicing through either raw or cooked protein in a single stroke. Darkhoek said this knife was close to perfect, and I can't help but agree. Thanks, Marko!

Heath Besch
05-16-2012, 09:50 AM
Great job on the review. And congrats on a new member of the family, you look like a proud father in the pics!!

05-16-2012, 10:41 AM
Thanks for the review! :) So you didn't get any discoloration at all peeling mangos with that thing?

El Pescador
05-16-2012, 11:32 AM
Wow! Great review. I also am in line for one of his practice knives and hope my experience will be as great as yours!


05-16-2012, 01:09 PM
There is a line?:biggrin: I would love to get in line for any 270-300mm if there is one.

05-16-2012, 01:21 PM
Nice review. Looked like you had fun making it.:thumbsup:

Marko Tsourkan
05-16-2012, 01:46 PM
I am glad you have been enjoying the knife.



05-16-2012, 08:15 PM

I used a peeler on the mangoes before taking them apart with the knife. I forced a patina with some pork blood for about an hour and then let additional layers develop naturally.