The hamon and the lines of the knife are elegant and the finish is handsome, imo. However, the bolster looks sloppy. Bill pulled off two pins very well, but it is well documented that three pins would look better to more people.
Fit and finish C
The bulk of handle is comfortable but it is not very symmetric. Most of the spine is rounded except for the divot two thirds of the way down the blade toward the tip. The choil is not rounded and has what I would characterize as a burr on it. The bolster-blade transition is poorly finished with cracked solder that appeared to leak out of the bolster/tang joint. The bolster also has sharp corners on it that did bother me with certain grips, esp. sharpening. The heel was nearly flat ground and the choil view appears very thin but the knife thickens up near the edge and becomes more convex as it approaches the tip. Other than that, the grind was a little wavy in places but I thought they were within reason and the coarse grinding scratches were clearly visible under all of the polishing. They are closer to gone than what you would see on a Carter but they are there.
The geometry is very good in some places and merely good in other places. The knife is not super thin and the taper isn’t dramatic but it cuts very well without feeling clumsy in spite of the tall heel to spine height. The profile is quite curved which is hard to get used to and the tip is very high. The actual tip work is very good to excellent as long as the cutting surface is low. Heel work is nice but there is a lot of sticking in that part of the blade. The knife felt a little thick toward the middle of the blade. The edge was very nice and stayed nice over limited use.
Bill’s version of 52100 sharpened quickly and easily and took a very nice edge. I didn’t use the knife enough to really get a grip regarding edge retention but I can say I observed no noticeable chipping or deformation in light use over a couple of weeks.
This is a nice knife by most measures. Depending on individual preferences, it may arguably be the best cutting custom gyuto I have used that was NOT made by Murray, Devin, Rottman or someone in Japan. Perhaps I am too picky or a cheapskate but at $850, I find this knife is intolerably uncomfortable and it really shouldn’t be this sloppy.
While these comments are 100% my own opinion, I have made every effort to obtain unbiased feedback from the six other knifeknuts (with considerable experience among them) whose hands and eyes examined and used this knife. The feedback was quite consistent with my own. One person appreciated the extra thin heel and a couple of them were more upset about the bolster than I thought was warranted.
I'll be making an addendum to this review once the knife has made an east coast trip (if it happens) and again once everything with the knife is finalized.