Had the opportunity to break down some butternut squash tonight....don't worry, used a german knife to do the hard work. After it was peeled and in reasonable shape I started comparing all the knives I have....I let my wife try the Wustohof (freshly sharpened but still a little thick) on the inside. Hard to cut. Then I let her try the Kato. She doesn't often swear but the first two words out of her mouth was "HOLY ****". That big of a difference! I then used all the Haburns, a Catcheside, and a Shigifusa. Kato was the best so I'll rate it a 10. Shig was second, 9.5. Other makers were unfortunately not so well placed. Haburn performance grind (freshly sharpened) was pretty good, maybe 9.2. Haburn release grind maybe a 9.1 but I give that one an advantage since I think the steel (damascus) was able to take a REALLY sharp edge, much better than the 52100 steel. I've also got a Haburn monosteel 52100 with an unknown grind that cuts well but wasn't in the running (I still really like it). Catcheside was right up there but wasn't freshly sharpened so I will give it some slack....I think it probably performed at about 9.3 as it was but if I touched it up I think it would have held it's own.
I think I am going to do a series of shootouts.....similar knives on a variety of tasks, easy to hard. I was totally floored by the Kato. It's not a super attractive knife....But Dang! can it cut. I've got a number of knives and I'm willing to take suggestions on the tasks to compare. The Kato's performance was so markedly better I'm starting to wonder about what I want....
If you have a Kato you want to sell.....let me know!!! The one I have is only 180mm but dang...
Of note, on edge retention...the Kato is really good as is the shig. The 52100's are a distant second. Ian's damascus blades are way up there but I haven't
really stressed them....more to follow. I think I have finally figured out how to sharpen the tips of knives (thanks Jon) so I don't mind putting them on the stones and don't mind stressing the damascus (expensive) knives so much.
I'll throw my (actually my wife's) Carter funayuki in the mix....not so good edge retention but darn will it get sharp.
Laptop battery getting low.....more to follow.
Bottom Line - Kato is magic.
Well, and of course if you have a Shigefusa Kitaeji Gyuto in 240 or 270 in good shape (with or without handle) (wa handle preferred) ... have paypal, will travel......
PPS - my Kato is the most vicious knife I own.....I've bled more with it than any other....they are thirsty for blood....three bandaids and one should have had a couple of stitches....love super glue.