I bought this knife after using a friends and being a bit confused about the grind and the coresteel. I was also interested to check out the handle, which is clearly Rader-inspired.
The knife was lightly used when I got it and had been responsibly maintained with thinning. However, I've thinned and blended the bevels into a continuous convex to bring out what I felt was the full potential of the knife without changing is fundamental "Katoness."
It's also, IMO one of the trickiest core steels to get super-absurdly sharp (think shun SG2 but even more glass-hard) but I feel like I finally figured out how to achieve the right balance between hair-popping keenness, bite, and retention.
I found the stock handle on the other Kato that I used to be a bit light for the blade. I don't mind blade-heavy at all, but I felt that the balance point did not line up with the profile in terms of where it naturally "wanted" to make contact. I think that the slightly heavier and larger custom handle made an improvement in balance and contact point while still maintaining the benefits of blade-heavy balance.
I'm a pretty vocal critic of handle designs and there are many that look cool, but I feel lack a basic understanding of kitchen knife ergonomics, and it's very difficult to improve on a good WA design. This is one of the few exceptions for me. It makes me think of a cross between a large Rader handle and a half-octagonal WA. I really like it and I think it looks even better in person.
It took me several months to fully understand the knife and then a few more of carefully tweaking to get it where I think it's at it's best. Now I'm ready to let it go on to it's next home. I think that most of the difficult work is already done with this knife, but it will still require some skill to sharpen, thin, and maintain. It is not for the novice owner, but for a fellow jaded knut who is looking for something unique and a little challenging.
I also hand polished and then etched the blade using Dave's method. I think it looks great with the black handle.
The finish is a bit faded and has a few minor blemishes from normal use so, I will either re-etch or hand polish (or do nothing) as per the buyer's request.
Asking $525 inc shipping and ins. to USA
International shipping is fine, but you pay the additional (not full) shipping cost.
I'll take more pics and get full specs for anyone with serious interest that wants them: