Luke Snyder- 205mm Gyuto
Saw-blade 63 HRC- Spalted Maple Wood Handle
When I first received the box I was super excited like a kid opening presents for his birthday. The packaging was simple but effective. The handle on this blade is amazing! Some of the best handle work I have seen, there is no seem between the ferrule and handle itself, just perfectly flush. The blade itself has a very sturdy feel to it. Most knives I own can take some abuse, but this one just seems like It can go the extra mile. The spine is fairly thick, it does taper, but slightly toward the tip.. The spine has a unique feature which its almost like dipped down a bit at the first 1/4 of the blade then resumes. You can really tell this knife is hand forged and that quality Is like no other.
Now on to the edge; I could feel it was very sharp from touch. I examined it, and was very consistent all the way along the edge. Luke mentioned it was an 80/20 grind and very asymmetric. I cut some onion and ginger and it cut them like butter. Overall first impression on this blade were very good. Not a thing on the knife I didn’t like or wished were different.
DSC_0562 by jgraeff2, on Flickr
I was amazed at the skill on this handle. I have had some nice handles before, and this is at the top of them. Its so simple but looks elegant and feels great in hand. Luke left it a bit rougher sand than IM used to however it work well in the kitchen. Often my hands will be wet or have flour and I can pick this up and have a great grip, and not worry about losing control over the knife. A feature I really like whether it was intended for that purpose or not. I also like that the ferrule is wood and not horn, it feels better in hand to me and the contrast of the same wood dyed looks great. Its just the right size for this knife and adds the perfect balance to it. The end of the handle is nicely rounded along the octagonal shape, and the corners on the handle are all rounded, therefor there are not sharp edges digging into my skin. Luke really did a great job on this part of the knife, I think some makers underestimate the importance of a good handle.
DSC_0554 by jgraeff2, on Flickr
Luke hand forges his blades which is something I admire, and enjoy having something truly handmade. The profile is a funyaki type blade in gyuto form. This particular knife reminds me of a santoku I guess you could say. It is 48 mm at the heel and 205 mm on the edge. The spine tapers a bit but not like a normal qyuto, from fairly thick to thinner at tip, but I like it, because its not as delicate. With the spine being so thick I was worried how it would perform. There is a convex grind on the right side with a flat grind on the back.
The blades geometry is also very good, the convex grind should contribute to good food release, but Luke also ground the knife very thin behind the edge which is a prominent sign of a good cutter.
Luke took great care to round the spine completely as well as the choil. It looks as if the choil is polished as well quite a nice touch. I believe the final polish on the knife was around 600-800 grit, not mirror but shiny. Many people talk about hand forged knives to be rather thick at spine, yet cut extremely well and become tremendous workhorses; I can say with confidence that I absolutely have no doubt that this knife will perform.
The knife is made out of sawblade, not exactly sure what steel, but a carbon steel. I found that the first day it did discolor onions, however no bad smell was given off. The blade took a beautiful blue-purplish patina very quickly. The blade does darken but doesn’t grey over like some so still can see blue patina on the knife.. I always keep my knives dry, but I think the knife would resist rusting for a decent amount of time. The reactiveness of this blade has not really been a huge concern overall. It also has the coolest patina I have ever gotten on a knife before.
IMG_1818 by jgraeff2, on Flickr
This is the category I think everyone is most interested in. My first trip to work was a good experience. The blade was extremely sharp and handled everything with ease. My main concern with knives is horizontal cutting ability; that you would need on onions and precise cuts. To my relief it cut like there was nothing there, no drag or sticking at all. Although I did find that if cutting something thats quite hard and tall I would get sticking on the upper blade for instance carrots. You will also notice in the video that on a tall potato it is difficult to make push cuts. As far as slicing onions, celery, apples, and bell peppers I found little to no sticking at all.
The profile of the knife is very good, flat with enough curve for rocking if needed and a very usable tip. This knife is perfect for the line and I have almost exclusively reserved it for that purpose altogether. Now thats not to say this knife is not capable of handling large amounts of prep. The only thing I find that handicaps this blade is the length compared to a standard Gyuto, but most items I do not notice a difference. With the highly asymmetric edge I found that precise cuts are a breeze; such as taking skin off a mango, bruniose, removing pith from zest, and horizontal cuts. The other feature that I really enjoy about this blade is the weight and thickness at the spine. She feels extremely durable and that is a quality I do miss about French knives as I often grab my sab to cut lobster tails or hard dense items. I decided to take a chance with this knife and it did not chip or microchip at all which was a relief.
The knife performs slicing with ease on almost everything, push cuts are pretty good, unless the item is tall and hard. I tried to change the direction of the teeth while sharpening to see if it improved push cuts, I did notice that is was easier to cut, however still with taller hard food push cutting is difficult.
This is a feature I look for most in a knife than any other. With being a professional I use my knives 6 sometimes 7 days a week, and I need to be able to get the job done, if the edge does not hold up then that affects my ability to produce food.
I was rather shocked my second day at work with this knife when I realized the first cuts were hard to make and I could not slice a ripe tomato. I thought to myself maybe theres a burr on the edge so I lightly drew it through some wood and yet to no avail. Felt the edge and I could feel it was dull. When I put the knife away yesterday it was still razor sharp, I though maybe there was acid on the edge, but theres no rust. Maybe the cardboard sheath is dulling the edge? Anyway I remember reading that the first edge on a knife can be brittle or chippy so I thought maybe it needed a fresh edge. After sharpening, the edge had lasted longer about 3 days.
This steel is comparable to white steel in that it gets unbelievably sharp but loses that edge rather quickly. I was hoping with the extra hardness it would hold longer than it did. I found the knife responded very well to the diamond strop which is great when im at work and need a touch up. Although this is the only thing I felt disappointed with the knife. Its so good in other ways I want to use it everyday, however I don’t have time to sharpen everyday either. The solution is to use another gyuto for prep and keep this knife as my line knife which gave me close to a week of a good sharp edge.
This steel is pretty hard at 63HRC but it sharpens up very easily. I used the gesshin 2k- 4k the first time, these stones cut very fast and I was done with both in just a couple passes. The second sharpening I choose my natural stones, binsui, red aoto, and Taksashima. The knife took a little longer to get a burr but not by much. Burr removal is very easy as well. I would say sharpening experience reminded me of a Masamoto KS.
Summary and Random Thoughts-
My overall conclusion of the knife is that its very good and well made. I really appreciate Luke's efforts to produce a good blade and I think he succeeded. As I have mentioned this steel continues to remind me of white steel and a wide variety of people really enjoy that. For me personally I look for better edge retention, because I use them everyday for extended periods of time. Apart from the edge retention this knife is more than I could have asked for. It has a great profile, feels completely rugged yet refined.
Simply from a performance aspect I think the convex grind could be improved upon. At the top of the blade you do get sticking that is hard to remove and affects cuts on tall-hard items.
If I had the choice again I would get the same knife in a different steel for hopes of better edge retention.
Luke’s style is what brought me to order a knife, and he delivered a great piece to me. Handcrafted from scratch, its really impressive overall. This blade shows his skill and artistic abilities. I really like the dip in the spine of the blade, its truly unique and adds character. His handle-work was simply amazing and made the complete package.