I'll be getting this in the mail to heldentenor tomorrow.
I spent two days with it. Don't have a lot of comments. it's very similar to my masamoto VG gyuto. Very similar profile, grind, steel, handle, and performance. I'd have been just as happy with the togiharu as an introduction to jknives as the masamoto....and think it would make a great workhorse for either home or the line (not that I've ever worked one).
Could use a rounded spine though....just like the masamoto
Remember: You're a unique individual...just like everybody else.
Knife arrived today safe-and-sound (thanks, Zwiefel!). Haven't cut anything with it, but the fit and finish is better than the other knives in its class that I've used (Kikuichi TKC and various strains of Fujiwara). It also feels heftier and more substantial--but by no means heavy. I'll give a more full report once I've cut some stuff with it, but my initial impressions are positive.
Review of Togiharu G-1 210mm Gyuto
This knife is on its way to the West Coast, where tk59 can give it a much more thorough review that I could. I did put it through all of the tasks for which I usually use a gyuto, and compared it to a Hiromoto AS and a Marko Tsourkan 225mm suji. Where applicable, I'll also compare it to what I view as its close competitors, the Fujiwara and the Kikuichi/Ichimonji TKC. I've used both of these knives for substantial stretches, but do not own either at the moment, so I couldn't pit these head-to-head.
Out of the box: The Togiharu came with what appeared to be an 80/20 right handed edge. Fit and finish were solid (no gaps in the handle, nice satin finish on the blade) but not spectacular--the spine was not eased in the slightest and I could feel it putting pressure on my hand after a bit of cutting. The dimensions of this knife were also markedly different from its competitors, both of which I have used at 210mm. The edge itself was consistently ground, even, and very toothy--a better OOTB edge by a noticeable margin than either the TKC or Fujiwara (both of which I've used out of the box). While the Togiharu feels light and nicely balanced in the hand, it measured at 225 on the edge and had a much higher heel than either the TKC or the Fujiwara, both of which feel like small knives. Overall, this knife looked and felt well balanced and well designed.
In use: I used this knife to cut mirepoix, brunoise garlic, dice potatoes, and (just for fun) sliced some Roma tomatoes with it, trying to use as little pressure as possible. Alongside the Hiromoto, the Togiharu really shone on carrots and celery, where its thinner profile led to less wedging and more contolled, feedback-driven cutting. The extra height of the Togiharu--the Hiro is one of the shorter gyutos out there--makes a noticeable difference on longer push cuts and would help people who rock chop with the heel (I don't). In contrast, the Hiro releases food much better, and it outperformed the Togiharu in fine tip work (the garlic) and annihilated it in the potato cuts. The potatoes--and to a lesser extent the garlic--reveal that the Togiharu really struggles with food release, but I recall the same frustration about the Fujiwara and TKC. The Togiharu did surprisingly well in the tomato cuts, not quite passing the pierce test but cutting with no downward pressure and only the slightest of forward movement. I only used it for a week, but I did not notice appreciable edge diminution and did not touch it up--so tk59 is getting the factory edge, reduced by two users' worth of wear.
As a reference, the Tsourkan practice suji destroyed all of these tests. It does not stick or wedge at all, has excellent food release, and a great grind that makes it thin behind the edge and yet easy to maneuver with no stiction. Then again, a Tsourkan requires you to wait and pay more than twice as much--sometimes, you do get what you pay for.
Bottom line: I really liked this knife and would be curious to see how its lower priced Inox and Moly siblings performed. Since those are more directly competitive price-wise with a TKC, CarboNext, or Fujiwara, that comparison would tell us a lot about who is making the best entry level gyuto for people who want something better made than a Tojiro. The problem that the G-1 line faces is that it's competing directly in price with JKI's Gesshin Ginga (the Gesshins are a bit more expensive) and bluewayjapan's Sakai Yusuke lines--both of which come with higher hardness and with geometry that many users really love. That said, this is a well made knife, I enjoyed using it, and would certainly recommend it to people looking for a western handled starter gyuto or to people looking for a travel knife when they want to leave their customs/higher priced factory knives at home.
Thanks, Mari, for the chance to play with this for awhile!
No worries, Crothcipt--the knife hasn't gone out yet! PM sent.
Yes, I tend to recommend the Togiharu G-1 to customers who like the feel of the Masamoto VG line. They are pretty similar, but according to Mr. Sugai the Togiharu line is made a little thinner. Both are great knives, but the Masamoto knives tend to be better for grunt work and volume. The Togiharu is slightly better for precision.
May I ask what you mean by geometry though? Do you mean the shape and bevel?
You might actually be able to use the Inox and compare the two. I'm going to see if I can passaround a few more things, so I will keep you posted. Again, thank you so much for you review!