After about three months with my Billipp gyuto, I feel it's finally time I take a couple minutes to give you guys the lowdown on a relatively unknown (for now) maker. I first was connected with Andy through our good friend John Sinclair. John had been using some of Andy's early pieces and probably a year ago now, he sent me a picture to show off his new toy. I immediately fell for the look of it, with its refined rustic and artistic appearance, yet obvious quality and well thought out design (profile, handle, steel type, etc). After a bit of talking to Andy, I finally talked him into letting me buy one of his knives, and right off the bat, I knew it was worth my patience. To Andy's credit, he wanted to sell only when he was confident that his pieces were worthy of being purchased. Funny, because he'd quietly been at the knife-making game for a few years, yet he didn't want to rush out and sell something that others might not be happy with. In other words, he is a guy who has tons of pride in his work, and talent coming out of everywhere.
Here's the beautiful 240mm gyuto, made with Maidou Burl, and brass for the handle and 52100 hardened to about 61-62.
This knife is one of those pieces that looks amazing in pictures, but really blows you away once it's in hand, and better yet, in use. The overall feel of this knife makes you understand why kurouchi and tsuchime finishes are so well loved. The big difference with Andy's KU and hammered finish is that they are real effects of his knife-making process. The marks look beautiful and add to the handmade feel of his knives.
In terms of cutting, this gyuto cuts like a Harner, or a Carter. If you know anything about me and my regard for those two makers, you'll know that by this, I mean it is one of the flat-out best cutting gyutos I've ever used. That's saying a lot...period. There is minor sticktion, as you'll find with any pure cutter, but I've never gotten stuck as a result of it. Essentially, product falls off or slides up and off the blade face. Honestly, this is more than acceptable, in my books and pretty much the only way to have food fall off much easier is through extensive convexing at the edge which hurts cutting performance. Here's a choil shot to show you a bit of the grind:
The fit and finish on this gyuto is beautiful! Andy manages to balance that fine line of rustic and polished perfectly. The handle is smooth and sexy, the KU isn't going anywhere any time soon, the joints are clean and precise...what more can I say?
I can honestly say that this knife would be a serious contender for "my only knife". I expect to hand this down to my son one day, and it will dutifully make delicious meals with him for years and years after that. I love carbon steel, and this one is aging wonderfully, as they should. I can't wait to see what it looks like in 5 years....
If you guys are smart, you'll go and track this man down to make you a knife. This is another one of those cases in which I feel lucky to have gotten to know the maker, and managed to get a knife early, before his work gets to be virtually unattainable.