Actually, after giving it thought, I decided against 1:1 copy. 270mm Kato is a massive knife - 5.35mm over the heel, convex ground, 300g (probably 275g without a handle). At that thickness, it is guaranteed to wedge on anything denser than a carrot in the heel area and perhaps even in the mid area. To push it through the dense stuff like root vegetables, one would have to apply a considerable pressure - pushing the blade through a half of sweet potato required more than 7lb of pressure (limits on my kitchen scale).
Instead, I would like to solicit some input from Kato users and try to come up with a tweak to existing geometry that would improve the knife heel performance while retaining the current characteristics that make this knife desirable. Two things are going for it - weight and geometry, however, the thick geometry over the heel makes it less than optimal performer.
I think profile could also be tweaked a little bit.
I am going to start a new thread where I will ask Kato users questions to get an idea how they use the knife, what it excels or sucks at cutting, etc, to get a better understanding. Based on the information, will try to come up with geometry that will be an improvement over the current.
Again, this would be my interpretation how this knife can be improved. Making a 1:1 copy would be simply not worth it for me.
My pressure on the Kato to cut a half of sweet potato with the heel area was over what my scale could handle, so I will have to repeat this test on my industrial scale in the shop. I estimate it to be about 20lb or even more.
20Lb might be too much, but definitely over 10. Will measure and report.
IMO this competition, in it's current form, is pretty close to meaningless. You are going to get purely qualitative results (opinions) from 3 people with completely unknown credentials.
I understand that some of the most knowledgeable and skilled members we have here are or where pro chefs, but it is a huge error in logic to assume that pro's have good knife knowledge or, more importantly any kind of analytic ability.
The analogy to crossfit doesn't hold up at all either: many of the exercises in crossfit are very technical and require weeks, months or even years to be able to perform as RX or even at all. Experienced crossfiters are fanatics about technique and have learned great body-awareness and self-analysis. The workouts are also very clearly defined and supervised. So, a WOD is a pretty scientific (measurable and repeatable) thing done by people who know what they are doing, think very carefully about what they are doing, and have some skills to evaluate and describe what they are doing.
What you are proposing in your competition is like grabbing 3 random people that "workout a lot" (unknown if its at a Bally's, triathlon, jazzercize, crossfit, etc) handing them a pair of Air Jordans and a pair of fivefingers and saying "go workout for a couple days wearing each of these and tell me what you think."
I also think that it's silly to think that your testers will be unbiased. Everyone has biases, but not everyone is aware of them. You need testers that are self-aware and disclose their biases, that are honest and reputable, and that are following a testing regimen that has a good mix of standardized, quantitative tests to complement the qualitative assessment. So the idea of trying to keep them from knowing what they knives are is an attempt to control for the wrong kind of bias.
I think that it's perfectly fine to include pro users in the testing, but you should also include non-pro knuts. A recreational user is just as capable of giving a knife 8hrs of use even if that's split over 2 days and feedback from someone that uses a knife just for the joy of doing so is every bit as valuable (if not more so in some cases) as someone that's using a knife "just to get $h1t done." I think that a mix of testers is a good idea.
So as for the quantitative assessments: I don't think that they need to be rocket science. Your idea of using a scale to measure push-cut force is a good one.
I've seen various methods of using rope or cardboard to measure wear-resistance, and I could also imagine a pretty simple rig where the knife is clamped edge-up and a weighted block of hardwood is run back and forth along the edge. A block or hinged board could also be dropped on the edge repeatedly from a measured height.
There are many threads about measuring sharpness both quantitatively, qualitatively, and judging functional sharpness: paper push cut along the entire edge, paper draw-cut, marco photos of edge, tomato and pepper skin tests... whatever is agreed upon could easily be done before and after each type of controlled and"real world" testing.
I think that this competition has the potential to be very interesting and informative, but given that the thousands of hours that went into the development of each of these knives, I think that it's only fair to put some real thought and effort into designing a meaningful assessment. No to muddy the waters, but I'd love to see some other knive in the mix too. I'd offer up my Martell, and I'm sure someone's got a Mario that they'd be willing to throw into the mix...
"I gotta tell ya, this is pretty terrific. Ha hahaha, YEAH!" - Moe (w/ 2 knives). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVt4U...layer_embedded
I have no problem trusting forum members to evaluate. Whatever changes I made were suggested by members. I actually think that forum members are better suited (more exposed) to knives from different makers than a third party and peer pressure would keep the comparison fair.