Battle of the 240's. Wakui vs Nakagawa vs Hado

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Hello there fellow knife enthousiasts!

Not too long ago I opened a topic where I asked for some advice because I wanted to get a new Gyuto. Long story short, I ended up buying three knives. 😅 It's those three knives that I will be reviewing today!

1): Wakui 240 Gyuto in V2 steel Pictures
2): Nakagawa 240 Kiritsuke in Aogami #1 steel Pictures
3): Hado Sumi 240 Gyuto in Shirogami #2 steel Pictures

Today I wanted to make some coleslaw and a beef/lentil soup. The perfect day for a review of these knives! I graded the knives in terms of how well they performed in comparison with the others. The maximum score they could get per section was 5 points. In the end I will give the average score per knife and write a little verdict. So Get yourself a snack or pour yourself a dram and enjoy the read. :D

Stats per knife:

Wakui
Blacksmith: Toshihiro Wakui
Sharpener: ?
Core steel: Takefu V2 @ 62/63 HRC
Cladding: Iron (very reactive)
Edge Length: 240 mm
Height at heel: 49 mm
Weight: 171 grams
Spine thickness root: 4,5 mm
Spine thickness mid: 2 mm
Grind: Slight convex, thin behind the edge
OOTB edge: Very sharp. 4/5 (does not count towards the final score)

Nakagawa
Blacksmith: Satoshi Nakagawa
Sharpener: Morihiro san
Core steel: Aogami #1 @ 63 HRC
Cladding: Iron (reactive)
Edge Length: 243 mm
Height at heel: 50 mm
Weight: 267 grams
Spine thickness root: 3,5 mm
Spine thickness mid: 2,5 mm
Grind: Flat grind with pronounced shinogi, thin behind the edge
OOTB edge: Sharpest of the three 4.5/5 (does not count towards the final score)

Hado
Blacksmith: Yoshikazu Tanaka
Sharpener: Tadataka Maruyama
Core steel: Shirogami #2 @ 62 HRC
Cladding: Stainless
Edge Length: 228 mm
Height at heel: 49,5 mm
Weight: 195 grams
Spine thickness root: 3 mm
Spine thickness mid: 2,5 mm
Grind: Full flat, very thin behind the edge
OOTB edge: Very sharp 4/5 (does not count towards the final score)

Now we've got that out the way, let's get on with the first section, namely:

1: Fit & Finish:
The Wakui has a good F&F. Rounded choil and relieved spine, but not polished. No sharp edges and feels good in the hand. The handle looks great and the feeling of the wood is awesome. Too bad there's a small ridge between the wood and ferrule, noticable when you run your finger over it. Thankfully this doesn't really bother me in use. 4/5

The Nakagawa looks amazing! A stunning knife when you take it out of the box. The handle is beautiful and well made. Sadly, upon closer inspection there were a few little bits that weren't amazing. Some light scratches near the kanji, only visable in certain light. And the scratch pattern of the thinned K-tip looks a bit different on both sides. It also had a slight bend in the edge near the heel. Thankfully that was easily fixed. 4/5

The Hado just blew my socks off in terms of F&F. Rounded and polished choil and spine. A beautiful onepiece handle. The small strip of KU with the kasumi cladding line underneath looks very well done. No scratches, dents or anything. 5/5

2: Nimbleness/Balance:
The Wakui is the lightest knife of the three, but is the most balanced forward. Just in front of the pinchgrip. It has a good nimble feel to it as well. 4/5

The Nakagawa is the heaviest knife of the three. The balance is absolutely perfect, right at the pinchgrip. Because of it's weight and rigidness, it is not very nimble. 4/5

The Hado is a great midweight knife. The balance is a tad further back than I'd like, just behind the pinchgrip. Still feels very balanced in the hand though. It is the most nimble feeling knife of the three. 4.5/5

3: Sharpenability:
Now before I started the test, I wanted them all to have an equal edge. Otherwise it wouldn't be fair to compare them. Sadly I didn't have an awful lot of time so I only took out two stones. That said, I made sure to give each knife the proper attention making them all about equally sharp when they got off the stones.

I set the bevel and removed the burr on a Naniwa pro 400. Increasingly lighter pressure until I could cut paper towel.
Then on to the Naniwa pro 3000. First formed a bit of a slurry with a JNAT Nagura for some light passes. Then rinsed the stone and polished the edge with very light pressure.
Finally some light stropping on denim.

All three knives had a great all-round kitchen edge for the tasks at hand.

The Wakui was great to sharpen. The feedback was nice and apexing was pretty easy. The burr was a little bit tenacious though. 4.5/5

The Nakagawa was good to sharpen. The feedback wasn't great on the 400, but very good on the 3000. The burr forming took a little more time than the Wakui. The burr was also more tenacious to remove. I spend the most time sharpening this knife. Making sure I had a clean crisp edge over the entire length of the blade was a bit of a hassle compared to the others. It's still carbon steel though, so nothing too bad. 4/5

The Hado was an absolute dream to sharpen. Took no time at all to apex and burr removal was easy. I was done in no time and had a super sharp and clean edge. 5/5

4: Overall cutting feel:
The Wakui has a very very good cutting feel. It eases through pretty much everything you throw at it. I love using this knife! 4.5/5

The Nakagawa has a very good cutting feel. It eases through soft products and products that aren't too high where the shoulders of the blade become a problem. Larger and dense products can be a problem 4/5

The Hado is the craziest knife I've tried in my life. It just glides through everything with absolute ease. You can feel it is the thinnest behind the edge of the three knives 5/5

5: Food Release:
The Wakui wins this one thanks to the light convex grind. Some products like carrots are still a bit of a problem 4/5

The Nakagawa is slightly behind the Wakui. On some products the shoulders help push away the freshly cut pieces, on other products it just sticks to the blade. The migaki finish doesn't help. 3.5/5

Hado is the worst of the three in this aspect. The full flat grind is the issue. That said, it's not terrible and I've used knives that are worse. 3/5

6: Performance:
The Wakui is an amazing allrounder who does well on all products and struggles with nothing. 4.45/5

The Nakagawa is impeccable at some tasks and terrible at others. 4,35/5

The Hado steals the show. phenomal performance. 4,55/5

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Results:

The 6 points above, devided by six nets us the following results:

Wakui: 4,24
Nakagawa: 3,98
Hado: 4,51

Wait, but what about edge retention?

I simply haven't had these knives long enough to give a good score for this. I'd imagine it would be Nakagawa > Wakui > Hado. They all did not seem to loose 'the off the stone sharpness' fast though. Heat treats on all 3 knives seems really good. I might comment on this in the future :)

Verdict:
Let's start with the Wakui. I am very pleased with this knife. It performed very well on every single task and is just a great allrounder. If you're looking to have just one gyuto and you don't mind handling the reactivity. This is the knife for you. I also imagine it would do well in a pro environment where you have to cut cases of vegies.

The Nakagawa is an odd one. It is heavy and rigid and has some pronounced shoulders. This makes it the worst performing when it comes to tall and hard ingredients like with the carrots and cabbages I tested. That said, it performed really well on softer products and the added weight can absolutely help if you have to chop through a ton of stuff. Where it really shined however, was on the meats. This is an amazing knife for cutting meats! When cutting the chicken breast, I also compared it to my Anryu Blue #2 hammered 270 suji, and it was just better! So much smoother and easily cutting all the way through. Lovely

And lasty we have the Hado Sumi. I love this knife. It's such an amazing knife, especially for home cooks. The white #2 steel is very easy to sharpen and takes a super sharp edge! The cutting feel is the best I've experienced. Eventhough it's a carbon core, it's not very reactive so easy maintenance. It performs at a super high level at basically every task. Also had the best F&F. The only downside was the food release, making it less useful in a pro environment.
 
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Great review👍 thanks.

Did you Notice any difference in edge retention? I assume those in shirogami ain't impressive?
 
Tough to say, cause I switch the knives I use often. At the moment I'd say the Wakui lost the most sharpness, then the Hado then the Nakagawa. All three knives are still really sharp though and have great edge retention in a home environment.
 
Tough to say, cause I switch the knives I use often. At the moment I'd say the Wakui lost the most sharpness, then the Hado then the Nakagawa. All three knives are still really sharp though and have great edge retention in a home environment.
Sounds great. Can I ask if you've come across more good or bad discoveries with the knives now that you've owned them for some time?

I'm pretty close to pulling the trigger on the Hado. 🙂
 
Sounds great. Can I ask if you've come across more good or bad discoveries with the knives now that you've owned them for some time?

I'm pretty close to pulling the trigger on the Hado. 🙂
Gotta come back on the wakui sharpness. Just used it and still screaming sharp.

In regards to the Hado, I really love it. The only thing is that the profile is a little less flat than the other two. This can result in some accordion cuts if you chop with the middle to tip part of the knife. Back part of the knife has a flat spot and is fine.

Otherwise no new discoveries so far. Still like 'm all 3 :)
 
Gotta come back on the wakui sharpness. Just used it and still screaming sharp.

In regards to the Hado, I really love it. The only thing is that the profile is a little less flat than the other two. This can result in some accordion cuts if you chop with the middle to tip part of the knife. Back part of the knife has a flat spot and is fine.

Otherwise no new discoveries so far. Still like 'm all 3 :)
Sounds good. I appreciate your feedback.

I can see the Hado is sharpened really thin..some even mention edge flex when pressed against a fingernail.

Have you noticed the Hado being delicate and maybe chipping? Can it handle hard vegetables?

Forgive me for asking so many questions 😅
 
No worries!

For me, I have no problems with it. In my opinion, the steel is forgiving and not as prone to microchipping as say SG2 steel.

That said, it is very thin! So you want to get it straight up and down on the cutting board, no lateral pressure. Also when you cut harder ingredients like a squash, no twisting or using lateral force whatsoever. And ofcourse no frozen foods, bones, very hard stems, etc. As long as you keep these rules, you'll be fine. I don't baby it.
 
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