I just got around to taking a good look at this knife. I see some minor fit and finish issues that have been pointed out and there are some gaps where the scales don't quite mate with the tang perfectly. Aside from that, it seems well constructed. There is some minor corrosion/staining which I'm sure is from it's short stint in a pro kitchen. At 52.5 mm at the heel, it is on the tall side of the spectrum. The average for a gyuto being right around 50 mm. The blade remains on the tall side all the way through leading to the somewhat stubby tip. The tip profile reminds me of the Masamoto VG amonng others. The grind is thinner than average with a nicer distal taper than most. It is thinner near the edge and at the tip than any of the "lasers." I have no doubt it is a very nice cutter. The handle is like a somewhat nicer version of the Tojiro handle in terms of contour and size.
I know this isn't exactly the stock edge anymore but it is still interesting. There is some obvious refinement from a loaded strop on some parts of the edge. Most of the edge is finished on the equivalent of 300-ish grit waterstone. That would explain the awesome tomato-cutting performance. This edge is a saw by KKF standards. There is some microchipping along most of the edge and especially in the tip area. I'm gonna go sharpen now and I'll do some cutting tests tomorrow.
Sharpening went very well. I rather quickly removed the chipping on a Gesshin 1k and then refined on a Gesshin 5k. There was very little residual burr to speak of but I gave it a couple of clean-up swipes with Dave's strop loaded with 1 micron diamond. At this point, it easily passed Salty's tomato test. The factory bevels were set at around 15-20 deg, clean and easy to follow. There was a small, insignificant overground section of the bevel at the heel which is common and expected at pretty much any price point. I'll make dinner with it tonight.
Just a quick update: The corrosion came off with a little BKF. You can hardly tell it was there to begin with. On the performance side, I cut several pounds of onions, potatoes and various greens, butternut squash and some cooked meats side by side with a TKC. It performed very favorably for the most part although it feel a bit short on the harder stuff. I didn't think there'd be quite as much resistance as I experienced. I varied angles of approach and my technique but the result was consistent. I then examined the edge where I observed significant microchipping. I think I didn't raise enough of a burr when I sharpened it and left a fair amount of weakened metal. This knife is going back to Korin for resharpening on Monday, per Mari's request.
Sharpening: I sharpened this knife twice. This steel is easy to abrade and the burr is easy to remove. The edge it takes isnít as nice as carbon steel but as far as inexpensive stainless knives go, itís on the nicer, keener side of the spectrum. Touch-ups on a ceramic rod, 5k stone or a loaded strop were very quick and effective.
Cutting: This knife has a fairly flat profile, tall, with a somewhat snub-nosed tip relative to most others. It is thin, in general with a dramatic taper and very thin behind the edge for a factory made knife. It cuts through objects with a small cross section (carrots, leafy greens, celery, bell peppers, etc.) very, very smoothly and easily. On larger objects I experienced more-than-typical ďsticktionĒ and drag on both sides of the blade making tip use a bit clumsy and causing food to jam against the hand while push-cutting in a pinch grip. In side by side comparisons, unmodified TKC and Gesshin Uraku/Yoshihiro gyutos far outperformed the Togiharu in this respect. I think this knife is an ideal starter knife for a pro. In my mind, the advantage to such a thin, tall blade is that it doesnít thicken up with sharpening as much as most other knives so it will remain useful after many, many sharpenings without the need for thinning. The sacrifice comes in the relative flatness of it that causes greater than typical amounts of drag and sticktion.
Edge retention: This knife is very average in this respect. I would probably not sharpening above 3-5k and plan for frequent touch-ups.
Fit and finish: This knife is fine in this respect. Spine and choil are sharp, typical for knives in this class. Small gap between scales and tang is also typical. It also has a typical, machine finish.
Aesthetics: This is a nice, clean-looking blade with a fairly even grind and consistent level of polish where scratches wonít scream at you but it still looks somewhat shiny. This knife is also not the most stain resistant knife around. After a week of use where I didnít particularly try to keep it clean I had a few gray-blue blotches here and there.
Korin Sharpening Service: I sent this knife back to Korin for a professional sharpening on Mariís request. As a sharpening knut, I was very curious about the quality of it. The turnaround was fast. The edge that was returned to me was clearly a coarse, machine-ground edge (wheel or belt). A fine stone (~5-6k) had been used to attempt to refine the edge by hand. However the angle used to refine the edge was not consistent with that of the bevel. Thus, the tip had a very refined microbevel, the middle was refined relatively well, and the last few inches leading to the heel had a polished shoulder, leaving the actual cutting edge rough with burr still intact. There was also a ďholeĒ in the edge just in front of the heel. I opted to fix the edge rather than use it.
Conclusions: Overall, I highly recommend the knife at this price point depending on the userís priorities/preferences. Based on the edge provided, I cannot in good conscience recommend Korinís sharpening service.