Cutting observations

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Well-Known Member
Nov 3, 2019
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United States
I'm well aware this isn't news to most on this form (as I'm quite new to the hobby), but I'm just shocked how much the blade profile, grind, steel, etc. can affect cutting performance. I was making a big batch of stock today and both my wife (who is far less picky than I am) and I ran some trials on carrots, celery, and onions. We had 3 knives Gyuto's
Mazaki 240mm
Tanaka Ginsan 210mm
Shun Classic 8"

All the knives had fresh edges.

Mazaki - just wow. That thing on the carrots in particular - its like they aren't there. As in really didn't feel like they were there. It was freaky. I really didn't understand how good a knife could be. The balance point is just a bit in front of the pinch grip and was a real pleasure.

Tanaka - This is a very different knife - much thinner and lighter. This didn't quite have the effortlessness the Mazaki did, but it was very close. I suspect a lot of it was weight. I'm also left-handed and this knife is a bit more asymmetric (to my untrained eye, at least) than the Maz. This was my wife's favorite.

Shun - This is still a very nice knife, but after I was done, I wanted nothing more than to get the stones out and thin this knife out behind the edge! I didn't realize (and wouldn't have realized) how much of a difference having a very thin profile behind the blade makes. Its also amazing the difference between a good consumer knife and even a middle of the road j-knife.

I was worried about how brittle the edges would be on the Maz and Tanaka, and they really hold up well. That white #2 in particular is something - especially how fast it comes back. I almost want it to dull so I can put it on the stones again. The Ginsan isn't bad at all but its not White #2, ...and then the Shun VG10. Sure, it can take a nice edge, but that burr is a nightmare.

Thanks for all the help so far - I look forward to continuing in the hobby.


Supporting Member
Nov 1, 2019
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San Jose, CA
Same experience! I think as a home cook I don’t get a chance to experience as much immediate feedback on edge retention (even if I start cooking more cutting intensive things!) so I gravitate towards pure cutting performance which is easy to validate, which then has a tendency to move me towards lasers. Heavily thinning a practice Santoku got me better performance than my previous benchmark (Misono UX-10 Santoku) and since then both Kurosaki and Konosuke profiles have been very convincing. Actually the thinned Santoku now has just as good cutting feel and somehow better food release. I’m not at all sure why.

Now that I go back to it, the Misono and even the Wusthof cuts fine at the edge but it’s really about what happens behind the edge. Makes sense in retrospect since the majority of the time the knife traveling through the product, not just at the edge.

Maybe I’ll get past the focus on lasers after a bit more experience but right now, starting out, there’s nothing better than a blade falling through with little resistance. (The relative lightness of lasers also adds to the feeling of agility and frictionless movement.)


Well-Known Member
Mar 10, 2019
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You're having the "bling knives aren't what I was promised" moment. I had it with Yaxell, which is a similar brand to Shun and Miyabi.

They're good knives, in theory. If you've only ever owned Victorinox, Wursthof, Global or a bunch of the cheapo brands, your first Miyshunxell feels like you've graduated. It cuts much better, you feel the difference in the steel and the fit and finish - wow! So you're super into it, enjoying what a really sharp apex feels like, etc.

Then you get your first jknife. And you go - wooot?? The cutting experience is on a totally next level. And then you start learning about geometries and slowly testing different knives to figure out what you want, learn to sharpen etc... the problem you have is that you can never go back. After using japanese knives, going back to a Yaxell Super Gou feels like you're holding a rolling pin.

Oh, and btw, the Mazaki is an MVP. Easily the best non-custom I've ever tried. I haven't tried a Shig or a Kato etc, but it outperforms most things IMHO. (I'm not a laser guy though). It is hellishly reactive though.