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Thread: Terayasu Fujiwara Maboroshi 210 mm gyuto

  1. #1
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    Terayasu Fujiwara Maboroshi 210 mm gyuto

    I saw my first Teruyasu Fujiwara knives in a shop nearby. I was immediately impressed by their rustic look and then already decided I wanted one of these knives. However, I also noticed that rustic in this case also meant badly finished. The handles were ok, but the blades were so rough you could even cut yourself on the spines.

    Teruyasu Fujiwara makes three lines of knives: Nashiji, Maboroshi and Denka. I decided on a Maboroshi, since this was finished a bit better than the Nashiji (and it had a hammered finish, rather than nashiji–pear skin–finish). The Denka looked a lot like the Maboroshi, but it had a core of Aogami Supersteel, rather than Shirogami. I'd prefer Aogami Supersteel for its better edge retention, but the Denka is twice as expensive as the Maboroshi, so that was a bit too much.

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    I ordered the knife directly from Japan. This was an interesting experience. After I had ordered from the Teruyasu Fujiwara website I heard nothing from them anymore. I sent them a couple of emails asking about the order status, but they didn't reply. In the end I managed to find their telephone number and decided to give them a call. To my huge surprise the phone was answered and I got someone on the line who spoke a little English. He was even able to give me the tracking number for my package. A week later my Maboroshi arrived.

    Looks

    The Maboroshi is, like the other Teruyasu Fujiwara knives, a project knife. At the very least you have to ease the spine and the choil. I decided to properly round them. The grind on the knife was also very uneven, as you can see in the picture at the top of this page. However, since it was very sharp already (shirogami steel can take a wickedly sharp edge), I decided to wait before taking this knife to the stones.

    From what I have read on the Internet there also seems to be a lot of variance between the individual Teruyasu Fujiware knives. This may not be surprising, since it is a hand-made knife, but the difference seems to be larger (and usually not for the good) than with other hand-made knives. I've read many reports of chipped edges out of the box, for example. This went so far that a major dealer of J-knives decided not to sell Teruyasu Fujiware knives any longer, since he couldn't guarantee their quality. That said, I feel I was lucky and I got a pretty good copy.

    Although the handle was ok, I asked Mikey Riggen to put a new handle on this knife. He made a beautiful handle out of snakewood with an African blackwood ferrule and a muskox/copper spacer.

    So this was the Maboroshi I could finally use.

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    Profile and geometry

    The knife is pretty high at the heel: 51 mm. This is a couple of millimeters more than on the average 21 cm gyuto.

    The knife has a proper flat "spot" and gently curves upward towards the tip. One thing that is hardly visible in the profile picture below is that the transition from the flat spot to the curved part is not smooth. If you rock the knife on the board from the tip to the heel, you'll feel a bump where the transition is. The impacts cutting performance in a big way. At first I thought I'd get this out with a few sharpenings, but the problem appeared more difficult. In the end I needed professional help to resolve this problem and I wrote a separate blog post on this.

    One thing you may notice is that the blade has what Teruyasu Fujiwara calls a "finger choil". These knives are sold with and without such a finger choil and I hesitated a bit whether I would like it. But now I've used the knife I can say it is very comfortable and it gives you just a little more control over the knife when using a pinch grip. I wonder why not more makers of Japanese knives implement such a finger choil.

    Above the heel the spine of the knife is pretty wide, 3.1 mm, but it tapers nicely. At one centimeter from the tip the spine is 1.2 mm wide, which makes the tip relatively thick.

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    Just above the edge the knife is not the thinnest I've ever seen, but I wouldn't call it thick either. It did not need any thinning out of the box. The odd deviations in the choil shot at about one third of the height of the blade are not the result of a bad grind, but due to the hammered finish.

    Cutting performance

    The knife did well on all ingredients I threw at it: from tomatoes to carrots and white winter radish and everything in between. Only on onions this knife was not a great performer, because of its relatively wide tip.

    Food separation was excellent on this knife. Its geometry and its hammered finish certainly help in this.

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    The previous knives I reviewed were a Masakage Koishi and a Masakage Zero, which were both crazy thin just above the edge. The Maboroshi required a little more force to go through harder ingredients. Don't get me wrong: the Maboroshi is still not too thick behind the edge and it hardly ever wedged, but this simply shows that the thinner a knife is just above the edge, the easier it cuts. It is not a bad thing if a knife is a little thicker above the edge, since this makes it less fragile.

    [b]Conclusion[b]

    The Teruyasa Fujiware Maboroshi is not just a rustic knife, but also a knife that is not finished well. It is a project knife and you definitely have to spend some time yourself to get it into a good condition.

    If you are prepared to do this, however, you get a very nice rustic looking knife that is robust (some would call it a workhorse) and that cuts very well.

    You do have to be aware, however, that there can be larger differences between the individual knives regarding quality, also within the same line of Teruyasu Fujiwara. So particularly if you order the knife directly from Japan, it may be a bit of a gamble what you get.

    Factsheet

    The numbers in the factsheets refer to the knife with the original handle.

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  2. #2
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    I have no clue how the two photographs at the bottom of the review got there.

    As always: all questions and remarks welcome! You can also read this review, much better formatted, and with some extra information on how I transformed this project knife into a knife as it should be, on my blog: https://japaneseknifereviews.wordpre...-210-mm-gyuto/


  3. #3
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    Fine review. I have a 240 direct ordered that is being rehandled with Koa. I considered snakewood. Looks good. Mine has an overgrind near the heal but is otherwise in very good condition. My last TF, a 210, had some odd indentations but performed like a demon. So, hit and miss. But damn does it cut great.

  4. #4

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    Jun 2015
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    Good review, i ordered my Denka also direct in Japan and got a knife whit an unready finish.
    The cutting performance is incredible but the finish could Be better.

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