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Bryan Raquin Passaround

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Jaszer13

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Hi All,

As some of you may have noticed @DoubleJJ scored BIG and won a slot in @bryan03 custom order raffle (BIG Congrats you lucky MFer)

Do to the stipulated rules he would no longer be eligible for this passaround, so in fairness to the non-Raquin owners in this passaround he has agreed to opt out.

We also had another person opt out as well, so I have updated the list below. I do not plan on getting subs. I will eat the cost and still continue to pay for the knife "refresh" at the end of this passaround before it goes to a lucky winner.

Hope you are all enjoying it.

#User:StatePaid:Received:
1@MikeadunneCAX
24-Aug​
2@Malcolm JohnsonCAX
2-Sep​
3@pleueORX
16-Sep​
4@NagakinWAX
28-Sep​
5@SolidSnake03NEX
6-Oct​
6@LostHighwayMNX
16-Oct​
7@RyndunkMIX
26-Oct​
8@mise_en_placeILX
6-Nov​
9@tincentMOX
10@TwiggINX
11@KeatTNX
12@banzai_burritoTXX
13@ColinTX
14@BodineFLX
15@UnstoppaboNYX
16@ExistentialHeroMAX
17@Hz_zzzzzzCTX
18@ma_sha1CTX
 
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Nagakin

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Did some test cuts with it, who ever sharpened it last, what edge is this/what progression was used? It's hot damn sharp and I love it.
I went natsuya>red aoto>cardboard :)

Been sorting out what I think about the knife because I really like it, but more for how useful it is over how it excels at any particular thing. The length and heel height are perfect with the KT grind to me for both general prep and butchery. I'd choose something else for either in a professional environment, but at home it covers all of my needs. Thin enough behind the edge to enjoy cutting veggies and durable enough to take apart a few chickens or salmon. I enjoyed the tip profile in particular for this.

The only trade-off is that it does hesitate (not wedge) on taller items as others have said. I didn't notice much difference with density. It's not enough to care about compared to what you're gaining in return. I'd probably prefer his regular grind on anything larger. This is a sweet spot, I think.

For a home or travel knife this is basically all you should want. I've spoken on my preference for all-rounders before and in these environments this fits the bill well. Still, if I had my choice of Raquin it would be a shorter Meat Killer. This would be my second.
 

SolidSnake03

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Thanks for the write up! Ah figured it may be some naturals. Has a very nice feel to the edge and the way it cuts into food immediately is reminiscent of that. Thanks!

Red aotos are certainly getting harder to find so congrats on having one :)
 

SolidSnake03

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Hey All!

Wanted to give an update with a review of sorts and let everyone know that I'll be shipping it out tomorrow with USPS insured and tracked for the $700.00 to the next user in line LostHighway.

Review/Thoughts:
The knife is real, it is visceral and has a feeling of strength and confidence to it. I used the knife to prep a few weeks worth of meals as well as a variety of daily chores and it never once let me down. This is a knife that rewards you for using a little more force, a little more oomph and seemed to prefer a bit of a rock to the cutting motion (like a good French Sab does). To avoid repeating what some others have said, yes it's a bit thick...more than a bit thick but in that it has excellent separation and food release. I did get some slight wedging and halting in some foods but that went 99.9% away by using a bit of a rock/glide and using a little more confidence when cutting. I found that if I treated it lightly and used a really delicate touch I had more problems than if I gave it a little more moxie, then it really shone. The knife grew on me, it really did, it felt like something I've held in my hand for years and done 1000's and 1000's of covers with. The balance, height, length, everything felt perfect and natural. The wa handle had the most grip I've ever experienced and I want this type of handle for all my wa knives now. The feeling actually was a lot like Heiji, a direct from the maker Heiji is a little thicker than it needs to be (like this knife) but performs well, takes a wicked edge, feels natural in the hand and prefers a little more force/confidence in use. The knife could be thinned a bit and the shoulders eased but it would loose a hint of that magic then. Same with Heiji to me, the slight idiosyncratic aspects like this make it feel more real. Is it the best cutter I've ever used? No, it's top tier for sure, but the best? Nope. Does it have the best food release and separation? Nope, not that either but it's real close. Is it the best finished? Nope, not that, a little more artistic and rustic than high art. Do I care that it isn't first in any one thing? Absolutely not, I miss it already and I'd rather have it than my best cutter, my best food release or my nicest finish.

Overall....how did I feel and how do I like it in not so many words? I feel like I'm losing a friend sending it away, it was never mine but damn I'll miss it and you know I'll be counting my stars hoping to win it.

Thanks for the experience, it's been great, really really great.
 

SolidSnake03

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Just a quick update, this is in the mail with USPS insured for $700.00 to LostHighway who is next in line. Should arrive with him on Saturday. Thanks all, was an amazing experience and keeping my fingers crossed hard for this one :D
 

LostHighway

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Raquin arrived in Minnesota early this evening. Kudos to my predecessors on the list as the knife is in fine shape and looks well cared for in marked contrast to the torture some other passarounds have suffered.
Initial observations: It isn't quite as much of a beast as I anticipated. At 181.4g it definitely has some heft for a 210 but not enough to feel unwieldy so far. Balance is at the pinch. The handle feels oversize, but given the weight of the blade that, or going to a denser wood, is probably required to maintain the balance point.
 

SolidSnake03

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Glad you got it! Yup I found the same with the handle, definitely sized for balance otherwise with a more normal size wa handle you would be very blade heavy
 

LostHighway

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First, my thanks to @Jaszer13 for putting together this passaround. Also, credit to the prior users as the knife arrived looking very carefully cared for, in marked contrasts to some other passarounds. My comments will be brief both because I'm pressed for time and because the knife has already been ably reviewed and there isn't much else to add.
Appearance-wise I loved the knife. Bryan Raquin's command of his craft is obvious and I can understand why his knives are sought after. I've never even seen a photo of Bryan but post using the knife I'm picturing a big guy. I'm far from tall, about 166cm, and the knife felt built for a larger person. The handle is markedly oversize for 210 gyuto, both in length and girth. It looks like it belongs on a 270 WH. I am guessing that it is this oversize because it was necessary not to make the knife super nose heavy (it balances at the pinch) given the choice of handle material. While I like the chosen wood, personally I probably would have gone for a denser species or put a tungsten slug in the handle to keep the balance but reduce the handle to a more conventional size. That said, the wood of the handle (oak?) felt really nice.
The edge profile also suggests to me that it is intended for a taller user. It functioned quite well for tip work although the high nose forced my elbow up a bit too far. For long push cuts the last few cm of the edge felt a little too flat/abrupt with more board contact "thunk" or drag than I'm used to although I have experienced that with other knives, my Isasmedjan has this quality but to a lesser extent, and I've used a few that were worse in this regard than the Raquin. @pleue didn't find this to be true so maybe it is just me or again a matter of stature/geometry. Chopping and draw cuts were issue free.
The wedging in taller, firmer produce was not as bad as I had feared it might be but there was a definite increase in required effort. Again less than I've experienced in a few knives but a bit more than in the knives I've kept. Food release was very good but not absolutely exceptional. I would place the release toward the bottom of the top quartile among gyutos of my experience.
The knife reached me perhaps not totally fresh off the stones razor sharp but certainly with a good working edge. I used it exclusively on my Hi-Soft board which I consider the most edge friendly of my boards, but never-the-less there was some obvious loss of sharpness after about four vegetarian meals (peppers, cauliflower, onions, garlic, potatoes, tomatoes, ginger, a few herbs...) - this kind of surprised me but there are too many uncontrolled variable to draw any firm conclusions.
Overall my reaction is nice knife but probably not for me. I might have slightly preferred the standard, not KT, version - hard to say not having tried one. Personally, I would not trade my HSC/// or Kippingtons for this knife (only one of the Kippingtons is close to the same size) but those knives were made for me and the product of protracted discussion as to my preferences.
 

mise_en_place

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Just got a chance to use this to make a quick squash soup. Knife didn't wedge at all in the smaller honeynut squash, but wedged slightly in the bell bottom of the butternut.

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Then I cut up an onion, shallot, clove of garlic, and a bell pepper. I really liked the performance of the knife. Came with a nice edge and sweet polish job courtesy of @ryandunk . No resistance on the skin of the bell pepper and the tip glided through the onion and shallot.

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After cutting that much veg here is the patina:

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Only downside so far is there was a little bit of rust formation after very minimal prep:

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I removed the rust with a cork and some baking soda slurry.

I'll do a more in depth write-up later but so far the knife is pretty great.
 

tincent

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Knife just arrived. Took a full week in the mail via USPS. Opened the package just to inspect it. Initial impression: small but hefty. Love the large, textured handle. Love the weight, not a fan of the height. Haven't used it yet just wanted to update.
 

Jaszer13

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tincent

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Barely had a chance to use it but I made a point to go through some mirepoix and potatoes. I only cut 2 onions, but unlike others, I thought it was a struggle. The knife didn't have as much distal taper as I expected, but I assume that's a property of the kt grind.

Other than the onion, everything else was blissful. Wonderful food release without wedging. The height initially looked and felt a bit short, but I didn't notice during use.

It never touched the stones. Stropped on bare veg tan leather. I did notice a rolled edge near the heel but it was above the pinch point so I didn't bother doing anything. Didn't feel it on the strop, just saw light reflecting off the edge.

Did not realize how much I'd like the brut de forge finish with a burnt oak handle.
 

Twigg

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Just received the knife today. USPS sucks! I will try it over the weekend and get it out to the next person early next week.
 

tincent

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Yeah USPS has been consistently inconsistent. You have any big meal or prep planned? I did but it arrived late and I missed out on my big baby food prep sesh.
 

Twigg

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Nothing major planned this weekend. I will pick up some things and come up with a plan though.
 

mise_en_place

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I still plan to do a full review but with Thanksgiving and now Xmas around the corner, it'll probably have to be after the new year. Glad the knife is moving along.
 

Twigg

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I had the opportunity to try out the Raquin for a few days last weekend and had an enjoyable experience. It arrived in great shape and well packed. This particular example is handle-heavy which, for me, made the blade feel nimble and more controllable. The KU finish is less pitted/creviced than my Mazaki and was easier to clean. This is a very small point, but I felt more confident that the blade was completely dry after washing. I really liked the handle. It had a good heft to it and it was just the right size for me.

I decided to pretend that this was my only knife and put it to use in a variety of situations over the weekend. First, I needed to debone a leg of lamb. I erred on the side of caution and did not go up against the bone, but did get close. While not my first choice for this role, it did well enough. In addition, I trimmed the fat and silver skin from the meat. The Raquin did better than I thought it would. The last 2 inches at the tip was thin and short enough to glide along and easily remove the silver skin. I imagine it would have been more difficult if the meat was smaller with less flat areas. Finally, it sliced the lamb well enough.

I received a thawed ham as well this week. I was able to trim the skin and fat from it and deboned it too. As before, I avoided going up against the bone. This left me with 2 pieces of bone with some meat to slow cook beans with later this winter. Also, I sliced up most of the ham into sandwich meat. I was easily able to slice at 1/8” in thickness when desired. The remainder went to ham salad.

I was able to slice a variety of veggies. I harvested some radishes from the garden and cut them into chunks. There was some cracking from wedging, but I didn’t expect it to fall through them. I ended up making garlic butter roasted radishes as a side for the lamb.

Other uses over the weekend involved slicing onions, cauliflower, broccoli and green peppers. These were simple tasks for the knife and I experienced very good food release on the onions and peppers.

My overall impressions are very positive. It slices proteins, raw or cooked, well. The food release was very good and it had no trouble with the limited veggies I cut up. On a day-to-day basis, I go between my 240 Doi and a 210 Jiro. I feel that this could easily fit in as an everyday primary knife for home use. In my limited time with it, I was able to comfortably tackle a range of tasks and I never felt lacking. I did not take it to the stones, only stropped it on leather when I first received it.
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Jaszer13

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Hi All,

So @banzai_burrito has opted out for personal reasons. I will refund him and as before, I will just eat the cost. No subs. Next on the list will be @Bodine.
#User:StatePaid:Received:
1@MikeadunneCAX24-Aug
2@Malcolm JohnsonCAX2-Sep
3@pleueORX16-Sep
4@NagakinWAX28-Sep
5@SolidSnake03NEX6-Oct
6@LostHighwayMNX16-Oct
7@RyndunkMIX26-Oct
8@mise_en_placeILX6-Nov
9@tincentMOX20-Nov
10@TwiggINX10-Dec
11@KeatTNX18-Dec
12@BodineFLX
26-Dec​
13@UnstoppaboNYX12 - Jan
14@ExistentialHeroMAX
15@Hz_zzzzzzCTX
16@ma_sha1CTX
17@francoalophotoCAX
 
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Keat

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I’m excited to try it, but haven’t actually received it yet. It’s in transit. I think the received column may be off by a row.
 

Jaszer13

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I’m excited to try it, but haven’t actually received it yet. It’s in transit. I think the received column may be off by a row.

Sorry the original tracking # showed you were supposed to get it the 19th. But the package keeps getting delayed. Maybe it will come by the 26th.

Also, I wasn't going to originally add anyone else to the list but @francoalophoto reached out to me and he is here in Los Angeles. So I will let him use it before it goes to JKI for a Spa day. Hope no one minds.
 

Bodine

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I have cut my usual variety of items I use regularly for meals here. Onions , peppers, carrots , radishes, meat etc.
This knife does very well with no steering it is able to cut onions paper thin.
It is stable in the hand, and looks quite appealing as well.
I used it as it came to me, did not touch a stone, it is now oiled and ready to ship as soon as Unstopabo sends me his contact info.
Thanks for the opportunity to sample this fine piece.
 

Unstoppabo

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Knife is on it's way to @ExistentialHero.

Unfortunately, I decided to move right before my turn with the knife so I didn't get to use it as much as I hoped, but definitely had a blast regardless. Thank you @Jaszer13 and KKF!

Not planning to do a thorough writeup but wanted to share some of my thoughts.

- Definitely a great looking knife. The handle is probably the best part. My hands are pretty average sized but I prefer beefier handles and the burnt oak looks and feels just right. Whoever polished the bevels did a great job and the blacksmith finish looks great. Noticed right away that the finish was almost exactly like the KU on my Watanabe petty.
- Profile was maybe a tad too high at the tip but nice and flat otherwise. I was actually hoping to try something a bit beefier but it's probably right where you want to be for a knife this length. I have a 210 Shigehiro that's around the same thickness at the heel but way thinner at the tip. I always wanted the Shigehiro to be just a bit taller and the Raquin is just happens to be ~5mm taller, which definitely helps performance.
- I always thought the Shigehiro was a midweight so I was expecting the Raquin to be a thicker but they're about the same at the heel. Guess this is just about as thick as you'd want to go on a shorter knife. I would probably thin out the tip but I also enjoyed the relatively well-defined bevel shoulders from heel to tip and it worked way better than I thought It would.
- The knife was used to make a few salads and slice up a porkbelly and it handled everything well. Thin enough to do horizontal cuts on an onion but doesn't breeze through like some others. Food release is good and I got the knife with a nice sharp edge that does plow through whatever you throw at it.

TL:DR - Great looking, well-balanced knife that lives up to the hype. Didn't have time to put it one the stones but the bevels look just about perfect and really hope I can get my hands on a 240!
 

Jaszer13

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