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Thread: Yoshiaki Fujiwara gyuto for a beginning freehand sharpener?

  1. #1
    Senior Member gavination's Avatar
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    Yoshiaki Fujiwara gyuto for a beginning freehand sharpener?

    Hey all!

    I was hoping to get your insight on my Kato gyuto. A little backstory, it was a good deal at the time, so I bought one. Thus far, I haven't used it though. I've been using my Zakuri 240 gyuto and practicing my sharpening on that along with my 150 petty. I'm still getting down this whole freehand sharpening hobby. I definitely love it! But I'm also still getting better, day by slow day. Part of the reason I haven't broken out the Kato is because I've done a lot of reading about the Yoshiaki Fujiwara gyutos that make me a bit nervous about owning one. I see that some people have talked about the large amount of thinning that needs to be done for the gyuto to really shine. Also, there's the issue of micro beveling to prevent chipping (which I can't do yet... I hope) I'm sure this is personal preference, but for those of you who own/have used one, what are your thoughts?

    I haven't cut a thing with it yet since I got it and I certainly don't mind storing it away for a while until I'm a adequate sharpener to really take care of it and let it shine. But of course, who doesn't want to use a knife they have in the closet?? Hence my post. What do you folks think is necessary as far as initial thinning and whether or not it really needs micro bevels to perform well? Along with any other insight you might have on what you would do to this knife to make it even more stellar.

    Thank in advance!

    Gavin


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    Senior Member greasedbullet's Avatar
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    I have no experience with this knife so take what I say with a grain of salt.

    If the knife is sharp then it should be fine to use. Just don't be too rough with it, don't twist the knife mid cut, don't hit anything hard. As far as micro beveling: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwnFrjiAA_8

    As far as thinning goes. It could be the case where you have a Lamborghini right now and thinning it could make it a Ferrari. It may be an awesome knife that you are just afraid to use right now.

    But once again I don't know what I am talking about, just my thoughts.

    "Sucking at something is the first step to becoming sorta good at something." -Jake the Dog

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    Senior Member gavination's Avatar
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    Thanks for the reply!

    When I talked to Maksim about it, he mentioned that having a micro bevel on it will help to keep it from chipping, this gyuto in particular since I wanted to use it as a workhorse. He said that he does use it as a workhorse, even for squash, etc. and hasn't had problems as long as he keeps a micro bevel on it. So I'm not too concerned about twisting or being too rough with it; thankfully my knife skills aren't that bad. My concern is less being able to put the micro bevel back on. I suppose I could always send it out or take it to EE or something next time I'm up that way to have it sharpened, but it defeats the purpose of learning freehand sharpening. It's more that while I'm trying to put the micro bevel back on, I may inadvertently mess up the geometry of the blade itself.

    During my copious amounts of reading, I thought I saw a post about someone that didn't keep the original geometry and felt it wasn't as great of a cutter after that. So the micro bevel issue is more that I would just have to practice sharpening knives first. I just have concerns about maintaining the geometry and thinning. Looking back, I guess the people who talked about needing to thin a Kato were also much more discerning individuals with vastly more experience than I to be able to know and tell the difference. So it may be a moot point. Perhaps I'm just nervous and don't want to mess up my beloved Kato! Hah!

    P.S. Jake always has something appropriate to say it seems. Glad someone else digs Adventure Time!

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    Unless you are extremely heavy handed and careless, I would think it would be highly unlikely that you would ruin much less significantly alter the the geometry of your Kato. Like greasedbullet I recommend watching Jon's video, and like greasedbullet, although I have plans to visit Kato-san's workshop in spring, I do not yet own one of his knives, so temper my advice a bit. But, nearly all of the talk that I've read/heard about Katos regarding thinning is the potential challenge of retaining the geometry over time, not about needing thinning or any significant work OOTB.
    Fudoushin Bujinkan Dojo: http://fudoushin.com/

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    Senior Member gavination's Avatar
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    Thanks Yamabushi.

    That makes sense. After what you guys have said, I feel less intimidated about changing the geometry. I'll just have to get the hang of sharpening micro bevels. I suppose I can always have someone thin it for me too since that's something I feel completely uncomfortable doing haha. I feel a lot better about using it now. Thanks to both of you!

    I'm still hoping to hear from someone that has thinned their Kato soon after getting it to see if there is a major difference in knife performance or feel of the knife before and after!

    Also, I'm now ridiculously jealous that you're in Japan with access to all the blacksmiths AND Hatsumi-sensei! I thought about studying Bujinkan and adding it in to the rest of my knowledge base for a while now.

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    No worries, mate! As for a thinning a Kato right away, keeping in mind that I do not yet own one, I would say that that's not a good idea. IMHO, a major part of what makes a Kato a Kato is the grind, and the superior cutting and good product separation that comes from that. Improper/excessive thinning could lead to both a degradation in cutting efficiency and an increase in stiction. From everything that I've read, Kato's are not good value fixer-uppers like the older thicker Hiromoto AS, they are known to be a quality, refined cutters right out of the box. YMMV.

    As for living in Japan, yeah it's great!! And, I was just training and talking with Hatsumi-sensei last night at the Tokyo Budokan... life is good!
    Fudoushin Bujinkan Dojo: http://fudoushin.com/

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    Quote Originally Posted by gavination View Post
    I'm still hoping to hear from someone that has thinned their Kato soon after getting it to see if there is a major difference in knife performance or feel of the knife before and after!
    Why in the name of all that is holy would you want to thin a Kato?
    The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pensacola Tiger View Post
    Why in the name of all that is holy would you want to thin a Kato?
    Hey that's what I just said, albeit slightly more indirectly!
    Fudoushin Bujinkan Dojo: http://fudoushin.com/

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    If you go to the passaround forum you can find a thread where a Kato was improved so much it had to be totaled.
    Older and wider..

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    Senior Member gavination's Avatar
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    Haha! Which is exactly why I asked!

    I had read that a few people thinned theirs and it performed better, but perhaps not OOTB. I'll stop being such a chicken ****. Kato is about to see the light of day!

    Thanks guys!


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