Best blacksmiths for blue #2 heavy workhorses

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josemartinlopez

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My Toyama 240 damascus (with stock handle) had about the same weight as my Kato WH 240, so I did not use the damascus as the point of reference.

I thought more recent Toyama and Watanabe offerings are more middleweight than heavy.
 

kpham12

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Do Toyama / Watanabe fall under "heavyweight workhorse"?
One of my early knives was a stainless clad 240mm Wat that was about 210 g and so nail flexing thin behind the edge, it was scary. Then I got an iron-clad Toyama from @Hz_zzzzzz that was 222 g and a little thicker behind the edge and in the midsection, but a little less thick out of the handle. And I just picked up an iron clad Wat from 2011 that’s about 252 g and it’s a monster. The iron clad Wat would definitely qualify as heavyweight, the Toyama a little less so and the stainless clad Wat, I would hesitate to call “heavy” even though the spine is relatively thick.

If you go to past BST threads or new knife posts, you can see a crazy amount of variation in Wats and Toyamas over the years, like @spaceconvoy said. Although the trend seems to be them getting lighter and thinner as time passes.
 
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Hz_zzzzzz

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I also let go of a Kurouchi Iron clad Wat 240 which was 270 gram. That’s absolutely a beast. The SS clad Wat I let go was also 210 gram. The dammy toyama I currently keep is about perfect to me in terms of weight and balance. My point is if you want you can find your perfect heavier Toyama/Watanabe.
 

tcmx3

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You guys make me not want a Toyama gyuto anymore after hearing about all of these inconsistencies in weight.
that's your loss mate.

just call the vendor and ask what they have in stock and if they have one that suits go for if not oh well.

the one thing that's constant is Toyamas all cut really well.
 

kpham12

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You guys make me not want a Toyama gyuto anymore after hearing about all of these inconsistencies in weight.
It’s not inconsistencies, the weights of Toyamas have just changed over the years. If you order a Toyama now, the stainless clad or the Damascus, it will be roughly whatever weight the vendor, usually JNS, has listed.
 

Hz_zzzzzz

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I think I'll live with that
It's quite consistent from what I've seen. Most ss-clad toyama in recent years are between 205-215 gram. Most damascus toyama in recent years are between 220 and 240 gram. The range of iron clad could be a little larger because it's no longer available and what you see is variations over a decade. Many makers have changed a lot in recent years.

Most importantly all the toyanabe I've handled are good cutters. I don't have that type of confidence in every maker.
 
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RockyBasel

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Agree with all that has been said. think that there maybe a 10% variation in weight - whether that is inconsistent or not is in the eye of the beholder

Since this is a “one by one” hand made by a 75 year old master craftsman, some variation is to be expected and desirable

For eg - my first 270 Damascus was 290, and my second one was 261

My first 240 Damascus was 220 and second was 205

So roughly a 10% difference

As has been said already, the grind and cutting ability is exceptional.

It has a different feel and experience than other Japanese knives due partly to specs.

Most Japanese knives have heel heights in the 49-52 range. My 270 toyama heel height is 61 and for the 240 it’s 56-57. This is a knife with substantial presence and it makes it, for me, a go to knife.
 

shinyunggyun

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Well if the Toyama is a middleweight like most people here are saying, then I don't need a Toyama. I already have the migoto blue #1, which is an absolutely remarkable middleweight knife that I don't see getting topped by anything of its weight class anytime soon.
 

tomsch

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My Tsourkan 240mm WH is my heavy hitter and seems to hold an amazing edge with the 52100 steel. Hard to find for sure but I was able to pick one up on the forum here.
 

RockyBasel

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The Tanaka blue 1 and Toyama blue 2 are very different knives. I have both. Not the Migoto, but the JNS Tanaka blue 1 and the Tanaka-Yohei blue 1. Also have the Tanaka made Kono FM in blue 1, and the Kaiju blue 1, but let’s keep those out of the consideration for now

The toyoma is more of a heavyweight as compared to the Tanaka - which is thinner.

One big difference is the heel height - Toyama is 55-56mm

Tanaka is 50-51mm

That gives the knife a different feel and cutting experience as the Toyama blade is bigger and has far more substantial steel. I also think the weight is also influenced by the handle. Toyama used basic ho wood, but it’s weight could be heavier depending upon the type of handle being used on the Tanaka in comparison

I love my Tanaka blue 1’s. But Toyama is a different knife
 

captaincaed

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My kochi 270 and 240 are only 7g apart but definitely feel like the same knife, just longer. The weight varies a bit (I would guess especially with forged knives), but I do really trust the makers to so their thing and do it well. Unless some really obvious issue crops up over time.
 

LostHighway

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My kochi 270 and 240 are only 7g apart but definitely feel like the same knife, just longer. The weight varies a bit (I would guess especially with forged knives), but I do really trust the makers to so their thing and do it well. Unless some really obvious issue crops up over time.
Which Kochi? Aren't the migaki aogami versions supposed to be the most workhorse-y? I've never touched one but I think @ian has.
 

tcmx3

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Well if the Toyama is a middleweight like most people here are saying, then I don't need a Toyama. I already have the migoto blue #1, which is an absolutely remarkable middleweight knife that I don't see getting topped by anything of its weight class anytime soon.
I mean you dont need any knife because you already have a perfectly fine one.

But you're talking two very distinct styles.

Im not here to sell you on Toyama or anything it's a fine knife and yes I do own one but I wouldnt lose sleep over it if it's not calling your name.

If youre looking to have zero overlap I hate to tell you this but you really only need a single gyuto, period. Most of us are just buying and selling stuff because it's fun tbh.
 

shinyunggyun

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I mean you dont need any knife because you already have a perfectly fine one.

But you're talking two very distinct styles.

Im not here to sell you on Toyama or anything it's a fine knife and yes I do own one but I wouldnt lose sleep over it if it's not calling your name.

If youre looking to have zero overlap I hate to tell you this but you really only need a single gyuto, period. Most of us are just buying and selling stuff because it's fun tbh.
I agree with you 100 percent
 

Hz_zzzzzz

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If we only bought what we really need all of us would have stopped at a cheap Victorinox set. :D
I'll probably just get a single Vic 8" chef's knife instead of a set. Or a Mercer M21020 Chinese chef's knife (cleaver). Maybe plus a Mac black honing steel and a shapton pro 1000.
 

ian

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Which Kochi? Aren't the migaki aogami versions supposed to be the most workhorse-y? I've never touched one but I think @ian has.
I only touched one once at JKI. They seemed more workhorsey to me then, but who knows. I never actually owned one.
 

tcmx3

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All the KU, quite thin bte
to be fair though, workhorse is more about thick spines and significant convexing from tall grinds. at least to my understanding.

my kato workhorse is very thin BTE, whereas my Tsourkan is way thicker, but both probably qualify as workhorses.

also it's not blue 2 but these days Im really favoring Shi.Han for this sort of thing. well north of 200g weights, great grinds, steel feels good on the stones and has immense bite. OP wants blue 2... I think 52100 doesnt lose anything compared to blue 2 but that's just me.
 

MrHiggins

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I've owned a 240 iron clad Toyama, a 270 iron clad Toyama, a 240 blue 2 Kochi, a 270 blue 2 Kochi, a 240 V2 Kochi, and a 210 V2 Kochi. From most workhorse to least workhorse, my samples would range from:
Toyama 270
Toyama 240
Kochi blue 2 240
Kochi V2 240
Kochi blue 2 270
Kochi V2 210

The Toyamas just feel solid, and, like Rocky said, are tall, which adds to the workhorse designation. The steel is indestructible.

I really liked my Kochi blue 2 240, but the 270 was a bit too light (they were both roughly the same weight, despite the 270 being longer and taller). They're convex ground.

I love the V2 versions, but they're not workhorses. They're concave ground, with shinogi.

I still own my Toyama 270 and it ain't going anywhere. I wish I still had my Kochi blue 2 240. The rest I'm okay without.
 

MrHiggins

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also it's not blue 2 but these days Im really favoring Shi.Han for this sort of thing. well north of 200g weights, great grinds, steel feels good on the stones and has immense bite. OP wants blue 2... I think 52100 doesnt lose anything compared to blue 2 but that's just me.
Yep. If I had to choose one knife to keep, it would probably be my Shihan in 52100. (Probably, but please don't make me choose!)
 

tcmx3

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Yep. If I had to choose one knife to keep, it would probably be my Shihan in 52100. (Probably, but please don't make me choose!)
well you know, I have 3 of his knives 🤷‍♂️

he's absolutely killing it.

SS Toyama isnt that far behind IMO, but then you either have to live with ho or spend even more to get a new handle put on it. really cant go wrong with either though.
 

captaincaed

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to be fair though, workhorse is more about thick spines and significant convexing from tall grinds. at least to my understanding.
For sure, just a comment about weights. Sounds like @MrHiggiMr had a similar pair, maybe intentional. Mine have had convex blade roads, FWIW
 

josemartinlopez

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The toyoma is more of a heavyweight as compared to the Tanaka - which is thinner.

One big difference is the heel height - Toyama is 55-56mm

Tanaka is 50-51mm

That gives the knife a different feel and cutting experience as the Toyama blade is bigger and has far more substantial steel. I also think the weight is also influenced by the handle.
Y Tanaka 240mm is also actually a 225mm, adding to the lighter feel
 

stringer

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to be fair though, workhorse is more about thick spines and significant convexing from tall grinds. at least to my understanding.

my kato workhorse is very thin BTE, whereas my Tsourkan is way thicker, but both probably qualify as workhorses.

also it's not blue 2 but these days Im really favoring Shi.Han for this sort of thing. well north of 200g weights, great grinds, steel feels good on the stones and has immense bite. OP wants blue 2... I think 52100 doesnt lose anything compared to blue 2 but that's just me.
I have a Watanabe 270. It is not a workhorse to me. It's too thin and delicate behind the edge to be an all rounder. Veggie slayer, sure. I love it but my Shi.Han is the reigning workhorse champion of my home knife drawer. Still capable of taking an extremely fine edge but not so sensitive as the Wat to being a little careless with your technique or chopping up that semi-frozen pork butt. The 52100 holds the edge too and touches up very easy. The 52100 mono with kurouchi looks good and never rusts and takes a really nice patina over time. My Wat is pretty reactive every time I do have to sharpen it. Turns into a rust bomb for a few weeks. I haven't tried most of the other knives on this thread but I've held most of them. Shi.han handles fit me like a glove. I do wish he didn't make the necks so long though. It's incompatible with my pinch grip and gets uncomfortable if I'm chopping very large quantities of something slippery. The Wat handle isn't as comfortable but is better at handling a bunch of summer squash slime.
 

Cliff

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Also have the Tanaka made Kono FM in blue 1, and the Kaiju blue 1, but let’s keep those out of the consideration for now
Could you bring the Kaiju back into discussion? I'm curious how that compares. I thought that was more in the mold of Watanabe, in terms of weight and grind.

I'm late to this..., but, I have iron clad Wats, stainless Toyama, and a couple of versions of Y Tanaka (but not Kaiju). The latter really strike me as different beasts: beautiful, perfect in their way, but lighter and thinner than what I would consider a workhorse. Even my relatively new-ish iron-clad Wat is on the delicate side, for me. My iron-clad 270 Wat, on the other hand, is an absolute beast.
 

RockyBasel

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My Tsourkan 240mm WH is my heavy hitter and seems to hold an amazing edge with the 52100 steel. Hard to find for sure but I was able to pick one up on the forum here.
Could you bring the Kaiju back into discussion? I'm curious how that compares. I thought that was more in the mold of Watanabe, in terms of weight and grind.

I'm late to this..., but, I have iron clad Wats, stainless Toyama, and a couple of versions of Y Tanaka (but not Kaiju). The latter really strike me as different beasts: beautiful, perfect in their way, but lighter and thinner than what I would consider a workhorse. Even my relatively new-ish iron-clad Wat is on the delicate side, for me. My iron-clad 270 Wat, on the other hand, is an absolute beast.
The Kaiju blue 1 is spectacular. Absolutely perfect fit and finish - the Kasumi and polished edge is a marvel. So aesthetically incredible. Cutting performance is up there with the best. Thicker and heavier than the Kono FM blue 1. Different animal -‘higher spine as well

it’s too refined and gorgeous to be called a WH - even though at 227 gm, it falls around the weight category of WH

it’s wonderful and rare, so I use it less, while the Toyama, I use every chance i get
 
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