Sakai Takayuki Syousin honyaki gyuto, sanmai gyuto, and kiritsuke ryoba preview
It's been about a couple of months since I received a custom order Sakai Takayuki blue #1 honyaki gyuto from James of knivesandstones.com, our local Aussie vendor here.
James has also been giving me some preview guys for a play, for which, two will be available for sale, namely, Syousin blue #2 sanmai guy, and Syousin blue #2 double bevel kiritsuke.
First of, let's see two group pictures.
In the above pictures, from top to bottom, a Carter KU white #1, Chef's armoury Kuro Kuma stainless cladded white #1, Syusin honyaki blue #1, Syusin sanmai blue #2, and Syusin sanmai blue #2 kiritsuke ryoba. Apart from the honyaki gyuto, all of the rest are of wide bevel san mai design. Carter is probably a forth hand, if not higher, via (Tom), (Huw, and Jessie.
Lengthwise, they are between 225-230mm. For Heel height, honyaki is at 52mm, Kuro Kuma 48mm, Syusin sanmai gyuto 50mm, and Syusin ryuoba kiritsuke 46mm. Spine width at heel, honyaki is 3mm, Syusin sanmai ~3.5mm, Carter and Kuro Kuma 4mm. Weigh-wise, honyaki is 255g, Carter 195g, and the two Syusin's about 240g if memory serves me well. It is a bit more difficult to compare weight because of different handle design, but Carter and Kurokuma have lighter handle, honyaki has heavier handle, and the two Syusin knives have bigger and heavier James' custom handle.
Next is a series of choil shots, Carter, Kuro Kuma, Syusin honyaki, Syusin samai gyuto, and Syusin sanmai ryoba kiritsuke.
Hopefully you can see what I am trying to convey here where all knives are thin above the edge. The honyaki is the thinnest of all due to how it has been ground. All Syusin knives have rounded, polished choil. Carter as I received the knife a few months ago was a little thicker, but has since got bevel flatten and thinned a fair bit. It probably has lost a little height and length in the process.
Here I would like to show a few of fit and finish pictures. This is where James is trying to achieve from Aoki hamono, to bring out a well finish knife to the market.
Let's see the honyaki gyuto first. It comes with a satin finish and lengthwise grind marks. Hamon line is a little more difficult to see due to blue #1 being a deep hardening steel, but it is there. Underneath the polish, it has a subtle beatiful damascus like pattern, the fame alloy banding to be exact. James also says that this has among the best kanji engraving (on the right hand side of the knife) that he has seen so far.
For Syusin blue #2 sanmai line, fit and finish is very nice. I would put it on par with both Gesshin Hide blue #1 kensaki yanagiba and Hide blue #1 ko deba. They have a very fine polish, that feels smooth, above shinogi line. Bevel is polished very nicely, and you can hardly see any deep coarse grind mark, if any. James' handle is also very nice made of nice solid dark African wood, metal spacer, and horn cap. Handle is also very even, because it is milled by CNC machine.
We have seen that these three Syusin knives all have good specification and have been well finished. A honyaki is mine, so I have had some time with it while I had time to use the two sanmai knives for about two weeks before Christmas. Let's start with how a honyaki feels first.
A honyaki feels very solid, being a tall, stiff, heavy knife, it does feel a bit like my Kato kikuyu (260g) in handling. Spine width at heel is about 3mm, and from choil shot, you can see that it is relatively thin though out. Its grind is a gentle convex from spine to edge. It is a righty bias where right hand side is more convex, and left hand side is relatively flat. This sounds pretty typical so far for the design, and it does cut like how it sounds. Going though onions and making thin slice is a breeze. Food release is fine, and it has some sticking if ingredients is slightly wet.
Edge retention is very good, IMO. Being a home cook, I am not the best person to give an opinion on that, but it does hold fresh of the stone bite for quite some time. Steel is also hard, but not too difficult to sharpen. I have only put a true edge at quite a low angle on it as, OOTB edge was a little bit too robust. You can see from the photo that edge width is about a mm or so wide. For more opinion on this knife, please see a pass around thread.
Two Syosin sanmai is of wide bevel design. Bevel is slightly concaved. OOTB is pretty thin and usable, however, I did give it a tiny primary edge for the actual usage. In the above pictures, kiritsuke ryuba was in brand-new OOTB stage, and gyoto was used for about two weeks and had a tiny primary bevel. In terms of cutting and handling, they are as good as other wide bevel knives that I have tried. Tip is nice and thin, can go through product with ease. Food release is good due to wide bevel design and relatively sharp shinogi line.
Kiritsuke's edge is relatively flat. It is almost dead flat the bottom half. In the sense, that kiritsuke is a cross between an usuba and a yanagiba, this knife is a very good example of the design, in double bevel. For its heel section, I could do katsuramuki easily. Flatter tips allows making ken cut (needle cut) with ease. Dicing with tip is also a fun thing to do. It is also good with yangiba style slicing cuts, hirazukuri and uzuzukuri, despite being slightly short.
With Aussie dollar being down, I hope that some of you will find James' offerings attractive.
The kiritsuke is gorgeous.
Yes, it is gorgeous.
I forgot to put up reference for Syousin Sakura line. They are not on James' web store yet, but please do PM him if you want more info. http://www.kitchenknifeforums.com/sh...akura-Wa-Gyuto .
Nice write up Chanop, thanks for taking the time to put this together.
Im really digging that Sanmai gyuto. thanks for the write up.
Reminds me the wide bevels on a fujiyama
That honyaki (third from bottom) has certainly got my attention!
And that san-mai (second to bottom) is quite the looker as well!
Who needs women with sexy knives like that around???
I also give thanks to good pictures and nice writeup
How do they cut in relation to each other?
Honyaki is generally thinner, and I feel like it cuts better overall at a price of some sticking issue. For the two sanmai, I feel that they cut as well as other wide bevel knives that I have tried including Carter and Kuro Kuma above, as well as some Heiji's that I have.
Just for Kiritsuke edge flatness, although it cuts well, but it does feel a little awkward for me using it as a general purpose knife. I do cut some product with tip down close to the board, and push the knife down and forward at the same time. It is this action that feel most awkward as the edge is a little too flat for that, or tip too low, or too little belly. The knife also feels a little bit tip heavy as well, due to more material at the tip. I think I prefer gyuto shape a little bit better for general purpose task.