I've been eyeing the Ashi gyuto for some time now. I was wondering what your thoughts were on the knife, ease of sharpening, edge holding, blade geometry and performance, etc. I'm assuming the blade material is AEB-L and considering it's at 58 rockwell I don't what to expect. I assume the maker believes there is some benifit to AEB-L at 58 rockwell, but I still have my reservations.
Thanks for your help!
First, let me say this... we've sold a bunch of Ashi knives and i have yet to hear anything bad from anyone about any of them. Also, i use knives made by Ashi and have for a while... i love mine. Ashi consistently has amazing geometry, a great profile, and very good fit and finish. I will say that the western knives are not as rounded on the spine or choil, but this is something we have addressed and with all subsequent orders, the western handled ones will be the same as the wa-handled ones- which is to say spectacular with regard to fit and finish.
On the Swedish stainless at 58 hrc, i've actually found it to be very good... it sharpens very easily and takes a very good edge (thanks in part to the very fine grain of the steel). Also, at 58 hrc, the steel is tougher than harder steels, so it can take abuse a little bit better than some harder knives without chipping, etc. I've used them in both home and professional environments with no problems at all. Clearly, they arent going to take as acute of an angle as something like a Suisin INOX Honyaki, but they are also more user friendly knives to use.
I think its also worth noting that Ashi is well known in sakai for making some of the best, if not the best, western style knives in sakai. Even when i spoke to other craftsmen there, i could not find one that did not speak highly of Ashi. Having spent time with them, it is easy to understand why... their commitment to their products is way above and beyond... i remember one day looking at different steels and heat treatments under a microscope with Ashi-san and him taking the time to explain what i was looking for and what was good or bad.