I tested two knives for Marko (If I misstate any of the details please correct me Marko). Both were made from 52100. It is also important to note that both were prototypes. The first one did not have the normal handle it would be finished with and the second also came with some slight imperfections that did not affect performance but would not have been sold as 1st quality knives.
The first was around 250mm in blade length. The profile was closer in construction to a Masamoto except it had a bit more curve but still had the flat tip area a la KS model. Using the description of a laser for this knife would be pretty accurate. The knife was very thin and nimble. It cut very well. The steel took a great edge and held it extremely well but I did not find it to out perform some of my other higher quality carbon knives. I very much enjoyed using the knife and most of my nit picking was personal preferences. I like the balance being slightly blade heavy but found that the knife was so light it did not really make much of a difference. I am not a huge laser fan and find that when doing a prolonged amount of cutting or working with more dense products that having a bit of weight will help get through a product or keep your hand/wrist from getting overly fatigued from needing to exert more force to cut through products. As Johnny mentioned the tips were super thin and I did end up ever so slightly chipping the edge on the first knife. But in a professional setting this can happen easily and I have done it on several knives. My other issue was how the blade was finished and that with raw fish and meats there was a bit too much sticking, especially with raw fish. Overall I was very happy with the knife and it would have been a knife I would reach for quite often among my other chef’s knives.
The second knife was 240mm and a bit heavier. The handle was also more of what a finished knife from Marko would be. The blade profile was similar except it did not have as flat of an area near the tip, a little bit more of a curve. This knife was very close in striking the balance I prefer with the weight of the knife and how it is distributed. Despite it being thicker I did not feel like there was a loss in cutting performance. One thing I would of liked is if the handle was a bit lighter so that the balance point would be a bit further up the knife. On this one it was right at the choil, I prefer it to be slightly forward of that. Again I feel it helps fight against discomfort in the wrist when you are cutting for a long period of time that the balance point be a bit more forward. Plus I usually pinch in front of the choil. The finish on the knife was also much better when dealing with proteins. I think it could still be slightly more improved, but it was not much of an issue. I did not feel that the added curve in the tipped was that much of an improvement for rocking the knife, but did find the flat section in the first knife to be more efficient when doing tip work. I also thought this steel performed better then the first. Initial sharpness was similar. But the edge retention was really quite good in the second knife. I cut several hundred pounds of different products with nothing more then a couple touch ups here and there for it to be running at a high level. With a couple more tweaks a knife like this one would easily jump near the top of knives I would most often reach for at work.
Nice reviews . Thanks for sharing. Sounds like this knife will just get better and better.
I'm in the process of reviewing a gyuto of his now, 240mm in 52100. I will post a full review here once I send it back. So far overall I'm impressed and I think he is a great maker to work with. Hopefully will get another to try out as well, pretty excited about that. Also have some videos to post if I get Markos permission.
Nice review. Thanks Jordan.
Thanks was trying to make some edits after posting i realized the profile description is hard to tell what i mean here is the revised version sorry for posting again.
Review of Marko's practice gyuto 240mm in 52100 carbon steel.
First impressions of the knife were the saya and handle work was amazing compared to my other knives. The weight of the knife was quite nice compared to my Kono HD. The profile had me a little skeptical at first, the heel is quite a bit lower than the rest of the blade, there is a sharp angle to the midsection where it flattens out and then a larger curve towards the tip; therefore the midsection is the lowest point on the knife.( will post pictures as hard to explain correctly) Also it had very small bevels almost not noticeable at all.
After some heavy use of this knife i believe that it is great for pro chefs as well as avid home cooks. The steel is very hard but not brittle by any means, and is not very reactive in the slightest. It has the best edge retention of any knife i have used so far and responds very well to stropping. However it is difficult to sharpen, my J-nats won't cut at all with this knife, and i wasn't able to achieve as fine of an edge as i would have liked. Although i have been informed with diamond spray compound and a strop base I'm sure you could.
I slightly widened the bevel on the knife, and thinned right behind the edge and was able to get a much better edge. I did notice this knife wouldn't hold the super fine edge for a long time of heavy use, i got about 1 long shift out of it. Id say it then stayed at about 85-90% of original edge for another 5 shifts without any touch ups or stropping. That is extremely impressive to me. Also I'm not a pro sharpener by any means. Im sure most of you can produce much finer edges as well as more consistent bevels.
The profile works quite well reminds me of a Masamoto KS that has been tweaked for durabiltiy. i would like to see more subtle transition than the sharpish angle from the heel to midsection and i would like to see the midsection gradually curve into to tip rather than the pronounced curve. I would also like to see more convex grind on the blade. I have had quite a bit of food sticking and had to alter some techniques. Also i think it could be thinner behind the edge overall, horizontal slices can be difficult on foods like onions and peppers. The overall weight is nice, although the balancing point is right by the choil, i personally prefer it to be slightly more foreword. After long use it tends to feel handle heavy and i feel as if i have to force some cuts. I like that thickness of the blade and how it tapers towards the tip. The tip is very sturdy yet not thick. Its not very flexible which i love for a gyuto. This knife doesnt need to be babied at all, which for pro chefs is a good characteristic. I purposely left it wet, with acid, and food on the blade for periods of time to see how reactive it was, and it performed amazingly! It develops a patina relatively fast. It will rust if left for a long time while wet although it is very tolerable to being used in a pro kitchen and even better for a home cook.
Overall i love this knife and use it everyday since i received it. I haven't picked up my Kono HD once, actually today took it out of my bag and noticed some rust spots on it…(whoops!!) The edge retention is amazing i have sharpened it twice since i got it and the second time was only for more practice with this steel it didn't need it at all. I have pushed this knife very hard and it has been up to every task and more. There are things i would change about it however most of those are personal preference.
Keep in mind this is a practice knife made by Marko and one of his first practice knives to be sent around. From talking with him i believe some of the comments i made about this particular knife he has already corrected with his current customs.
I will upload some videos i took yesterday while i was messing around with some stuff while doing inventory. It will show the knife after 5 shifts without being stropped or touched up. Just to show how well the edge retention is on the knife.
Thanks again for sending this out to me Marko! You have been a great maker to work with and i like how you take soo much pride in your work. I look forward to trying more of your knives and working with you for a long time to come.
Great review I can't wait to get my hands on one.
Thanks Jordan, Rick, Matt, JC, Steve - everybody who chimed in.
Your reviews are spot on and very much appreciated.
Here is the link to my channel to view the videos of marko's knife.
I pretty much agree with the posts in this thread. Marko's most recent knives have been very good cutters and he seems to have zeroed in on a nice HT. The last few knives I've sharpened have come out blazing sharp with a very reasonable amount of effort that I would daresay is approaching Devin-esque. He's definitely on my "to buy" list for the year.