Full Review: Mazaki Migaki 210mm

Kitchen Knife Forums

Help Support Kitchen Knife Forums:

ModRQC

« Say… that’s a fun looking knife! »
Supporting Member
Joined
Oct 16, 2019
Messages
2,855
Reaction score
2,902
Location
QC, CA
This is my last full review as per the actual formula. At least until a specific knife calls for my full endeavors, and even there I’m guessing it will evolve into something else.

I’m still all for sharing as much info as I can, which kept me going with the last few. But it needs to be simpler and funnier. I mean, I never took really good pictures, but I don’t even really
try anymore. I guess it’s what happens with any formula: it leads to repetition, and that’s boring.

At first making the process automatic helped me being more efficient, and of course I liked the consistency it provided between reviews. But it has become a dead end to me, and probably to anyone following my reviews as well to some extent.

A recent review from a KKF member enlightened me very much: on the one hand he felt free to discuss whatever he wanted however he wanted, and I liked the overall relaxed tone and personal stance; on the other hand, I would have liked it if he published more pictures, which helped me in determining those I usually include myself and thought would have complimented his review well.

There are indeed good things I want to keep going. This Mazaki review will be a personal exercise in determining also what still triggers me within my canvas – and I never really reviewed the Mazaki Nakiri I had more than a year ago, so at least there’s novelty here.

__.jpg


I have one more knife to review still in the actual rotation, and it’s going to be repetitive since it’s a maker I’ve reviewed twice already. Unless I start doing things otherwise. I do have something in my arsenal that would make for a nice break… Something I already toyed with when reviewing on a different subject here. Next knife review is already drafted that way and it’s indeed much lighter to read and much funnier to write.
 

ModRQC

« Say… that’s a fun looking knife! »
Supporting Member
Joined
Oct 16, 2019
Messages
2,855
Reaction score
2,902
Location
QC, CA
Pictures/discussion of related experiences… those were a good implementation. Let’s do a full post out of pictures I have of my former Mazaki Nakiri 190mm first, then.

0000000000.JPG
000000000.JPG
00000000.JPG
0000000.JPG
000000.JPG
00000.JPG
0000.JPG
000.JPG
00.JPG
0.JPG


I’d like to add, because it’s important with Mazaki, that this Nakiri was bought end of April 2020. I would figure the vendor that had it, which I had discovered a month before or so, had these stock only for a couple months at best – Nakiri was amongst the last few remaining and they didn’t linger there much longer. Let’s call it “Winter 2020” batch. I know he stocked the actual Migaki in March 2021 – so let’s call it “Winter 2021” batch.
 

ModRQC

« Say… that’s a fun looking knife! »
Supporting Member
Joined
Oct 16, 2019
Messages
2,855
Reaction score
2,902
Location
QC, CA
001_Start.jpg


MAKER
Naoki Mazaki
TYPE & LENGTH
Gyuto 210mm
STEEL & BLADE
Shirogami #2 Iron Clad
FINISH
Migaki
WEIGHT / BALANCE
157g / +20
HANDLE MATERIAL
Magnolia/Walnut
TOTAL LENGTH​
359​
BLADE LENGTH​
225​
EDGE LENGTH​
216
HEIGHT AT HEEL​
50
HEIGHT AT MID BLADE​
38​
HEIGHT 35mm TO TIP​
21​
SPINE THICKNESS
(5.3mm out of handle)
HEEL​
4.8
MID BLADE​
2​
35mm TO TIP​
1.5​
10mm TO TIP​
0.5
WIDE BEVEL EDGE THICKNESS
@ 19-25 (Shinogi) / 10 / 5 / 1mm
Average
1.7 / 1 / 0.5 / < 0.1​


Handle: 0/1

002_Handle.jpg


Ok, balance works well indeed for me, but it can’t make up for anything with this handle – the worst Wa I ever encountered. It’s just cheap and God ugly. It actually put me off from buying this unit for a long time. And it’s worse than I thought in person because it really feels crappy and is not fitted very well.

003_Handle.jpg


Handles are a bad way to start a review, and can most often be dispatched with as a side note anyhow... So the score stands for the sample at hand as much as the criterion in itself I guess.


Blade: 1/1

004_Blade.jpg


Here I can’t take much out of Mazaki’s work. The blade is acutely forged, cut and ground to shape, well rounded at the spine and chamfered smoothly enough at the choil, yet some leftover roughness combined with the finish pointedly reclaim its artisan makings. Well-deserved full marks, some minor improvements since the Winter 2020 batch as I experienced it – and they were quite good. Being so nice a blade, for sure, makes the handle even worse somehow to me.

Once upon a time I used a general F&F criterion regrouping such observations with others – like about the handle for example. It was probably better.


Finish: 1/1

005_Finish.jpg


What first and foremost draws attention is the almost crude “home sharpened and DIY finish” looks. It’s quite deliberate and one could read a lot into it – see Personal Notes. Yet this unit is quite well groomed when considering the finer details. Kudos to Mazaki for devising a progression to achieve such results in a few minutes, for it wouldn’t make sense for the price otherwise.

A surprising feat is very little food discoloration for such a usually highly reactive construction, which in my head from other experiences tends to resonate with “freak show” particularly where any W#2 iron clad is concerned. Also, lately it’s been horribly humid and stagnant around here, and I have no air conditioning nor much means to even move air around, still I’ve found very little perturbation with this one contrarily to my Ittetsu (iron clad W#1) which dirty patina took a turn towards almost rust in a few days while it was stored. The final high polish to almost mirror Mazaki gives these has good effect.

Reading reports from other members, YMMV…

Obviously, this criterion was once at the heart of the larger F&F criterion. I remember it was buying into higher end knives that had me compartment it into specifics, as I felt they demanded more critical focus and less personal bias there. But the former approach was much more flexible and enjoyable to write.


Grind: 1.5/2


The new profile…

006_Profile.jpg


I like it. It has more of a flat spot than most 210mm, but not exaggeratedly so as I felt with a Yoshikane unit of the same length, which honestly felt “dead” to me. It also has much more decent height and knuckles clearance. I think it’s possibly my favorite OOTB edge profile of all so far, if not my favorite overall profile. Admittedly the tip took some adjustment to work with at first: I’m used to compensate for higher tips. Less compensation becomes more natural though, as it should… given a little more time with it.

As to how that tip affects performance, I’d say it lands so and so. In some cuts like tip chopping mushrooms I get some elevated kicks with it, but in general use I don’t see any finer point to it – pun intended. It’s not inferior but it’s somewhat weird for eye-to-produce metrics. I don’t know how to explain it otherwise. Once accustomed to it, and once tested enough that I knew it wasn’t any kind of fragile – which is a feat, narrow and thin as it is – I have nothing to say against it in my use. But it just doesn’t enhance much of anything for what it presents of… aaah cognitive dissonance in early use? And then I guess you take to it like I obviously did, or you don’t – but like, not at all. Otherwise, it might also prove rather limiting with some cutting motions.

007_Choil.jpg


Grind is neat and does seem to follow a specific idea pretty similar to the “Winter 2020” grind in form, just noticeably leaner. Performance confirms this thinner geometry of Mazaki almost feels like anything-but-Mazaki. Or since it’s rather hard to pinpoint what a Mazaki is supposed to feel like in the end over a significant enough timeline, one way to put it is it feels anything-but-Sanjo. You sure have that generously thick spine… that insane spinal taper… there’s even still a quite forward balance. But in cutting, it feels like a 3mm thick midweight.

008_GrindRS.jpg


However, looking at it for what it is intrinsically, viewing it out-of-the-Sanjo-box that is, the latest Maz works very well. The thicker heel region feels righteously solid and hefty, yet food separation is rather laser-ish onward, with the Shinogi transition almost imperceptible, but with just that nice amount of tangible feedback and strength into the cut. I wouldn’t buy one immediately thinking of a workhorse use – if only for the tip limiting any rocking technique – like I guess you could buy the older Mazakis for, but it definitely isn’t delicate neither and is quite a splendid midweight in that powerful nimbleness it has. The last 15-20mm to tip or so is noticeably thinner, where my measurements dropped by 0.2mm at 5mm and 10mm BTE. Long before there, the Shinogi is slowly getting erased with the grind.

009_GrindLS.jpg


Half a point was still removed because something important (to me) is indeed lost in translation from older Mazakis: food release is not this knife’s strongest suit. I would barely call it average, almost call it poor. I don’t think it’s related with the finish, as there isn’t real stickiness to speak of; rather it behaves like a geometry thing. It hasn’t been overly bothering in real world use, but a natural fall off is not to be expected much at any rate. Choil would have suggested better release to my eyes, so there’s a good deal of grinding going on forward. Perhaps a bit too much for its own good and that’s the worst thing I can say about an otherwise superb performance and rather unique experience.

It also sharpens very well, as easy and keen as I expect out of White #2 and possibly the best edge retention I’ve seen to date with it. Which wouldn’t mean much of anything, it’s impossible to reciprocate circumstances of use, and sharpening skills were sort of idling back when I had a nice W#2 at hand (Y. Tanaka) as I had just started dedicating myself to switching hands. But I’m still quite impressed with the Maz all things weighed in.

This criterion is okay. A few food prep pics would suit it well. Always tried to limit myself to a single post and 10 pics limit, but I guess we could all make do without the two grind shots – and sometimes useless handle pictures – I usually provide in favor of livelier pics.


Overall Score: 3.5/4 …
(…just being consistent with the uselessness of a dedicated handle criterion; 3.5/5 if we must…)

010_End.jpg
 

ModRQC

« Say… that’s a fun looking knife! »
Supporting Member
Joined
Oct 16, 2019
Messages
2,855
Reaction score
2,902
Location
QC, CA
Personal Notes

The Mazaki didn’t immediately come off as a favorite knife of mine, yet I find myself bringing it to the cutting board much more often than I expected. A lot of things work for it, and there’s very little to hold against it. Did I say that Ho/Walnut handle was aggravating?

Looking at his ever evolving profile and grind, the most terrible thing someone could say about Mazaki’s motives, or the results of such, wouldn’t change a single thing to the obvious truth: this guy could have sat on his success, doing nothing much to improve, and even driving prices up. He’d still sell plenty. Fact is he’s taking risks instead with experimenting where he’s the most liable to lose some ground.


211.jpg


Nevertheless, it’s not done haphazardly. His grind is still his grind even thinner, just look at the Nakiri’s against this one and you can recognize his hand very well. And towards this new profile of his, I don’t think grind modifications happened without a good reason. I think he toyed around with this profile quite a lot before coming down with the actual batch. From the profile to the grind, I think it blends things nicely together.

212.jpg


Where the basic lines are concerned, the finish is professing the utmost simplicity for the customer and the knife: it is a tool, ready with a long-term maintenance guideline built-in, most important feature being well set bevels. A KU is a KU, making iron clad maintenance less complicated and certainly quite the basic finish, but I think the Migaki line better embodies just how essentially Mazaki looks at a finish: form is function, and the knife a balancing act of doing more with less, and less with more.


213.jpg


Achieving that Migaki is actually more work than most finishes at similar price points and many beyond, especially where the bluntness of it in fact hides a very high level of polish. But the DIY looks of it is to me the central argument: where the user, by force of things, realizes the knife’s ultimate function, then the user also realizes its ultimate form. Migaki here straight looks like a fair few knives I refinished with sandpaper myself taping off the bevel, without much but noob skills needed be involved. For whoever feels inclined to take form towards highly aesthetical levels, it’s a perfect canvas. And where I can get the deception towards price paid, I wasn’t surprised at all to see Mazaki’s Honyaki very blunt finish, and that sure is taking the statement to a whole new level.

But what I like even more is to see that Mazaki is not static, even where everything would be easier and less time consuming for him if he was. I like the idea that going to work in his shop in the morning to “manufacture success” is not how he wants to do things. I’d guess five years working at Yoshikane might impart such a sense in a free-spirited individual. It doesn’t prove or mean anything over any other maker. I just like the idea, and it’s all just my interpretation.
 

ModRQC

« Say… that’s a fun looking knife! »
Supporting Member
Joined
Oct 16, 2019
Messages
2,855
Reaction score
2,902
Location
QC, CA
Report on experimenting for the first time with burning a handle.

So… the handle was thinned out a good deal and converted into a rounded octagonal (love that shape – and has the additional benefit that I can camouflage the handle offset install a bit doing it) until really I found it perfect… and then burnt.

111.jpg

112.jpg


That’s when I realized that I didn’t like the resulting slippery texture much with the Ho wood, despite taking precautions to leave it sanded quite coarse beforehand. I also realized the burning had shrunk the handle some at a few odd places.

113.jpg


So I sanded it again until form stood corrected and texture was nice. It’s now too lean to be entirely satisfying visually. I prefer a leaner ferrule area in use so to me it’s pretty nice as a function, but force is to admit that where once before bulk was ungainly to my eyes, now it is bordering anorexia and no better. On the plus side, it’s now almost a full machi which I also prefer. As for the resulting “burnt looks”, they sure are bearing the unmistakable attributes of failure, yet I’m still relieved: I dig the results much more than the original. It was that bad…

115.jpg
116.jpg
 

Lakeshow

Member
Joined
Nov 25, 2020
Messages
10
Reaction score
9
Location
SoCal
Great write-up. I got the same knife, except 240 and really like it. Agreed that it's got a great profile and great W2 steel and a bit worse food release than I expected. But, really enjoy cutting with it and the one I currently reach for most.
 

ModRQC

« Say… that’s a fun looking knife! »
Supporting Member
Joined
Oct 16, 2019
Messages
2,855
Reaction score
2,902
Location
QC, CA
How many times do I have to say this: you guys don’t have no right resuming ten pages of review in one paragraph. 🙄🤷🏻‍♂️😂

Seriously though… Thanks for, in so few words, abunding with the gist of it!😊
 

WiriWiri

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 15, 2021
Messages
455
Reaction score
924
Location
London, UK
Excellent review that I’m in thorough agreement with. I picked up 240 Migaki from the same batch (Aug 21, from Cutting Edge in the UK) and it remains the only knife that I’ve sent back unused.

Not because it was a bad knife - seemed a good Maz grind if anything - but because it just felt too damn similar to the very agreeable 210 Ku Mazaki I picked up from the preceding batch. I had in mind that the 240 would feel more hefty, give a bit more authority… plus would likely have a very different profile given Mazaki’s almost legendary inconsistency/restlessness.

In fact it just felt very much more of the same. The 210 benefited from pretty much the same forward balance, particularly given the 240 was thinner at the tip and a bit more svelte to begin with. The 240 felt more light-midweight and less workhorse than the 210 if anything, which really what I wasn’t expecting.

Add in that handle - horrible to the extent that I still shudder slightly at the memory of that blocky abomination, shrink from the recollection of the truly cheap ‘in hand’ feeling. - and it’s just felt too hard to justify hanging onto given my other knives.

I suspect the 240 would have proved an excellent cutter had I held onto it mind. And I’m very aware that my comments are from the perspective of a knife nerd rather than a verdict on Mazaki’s newer work - it’s difficult to criticise a smith for making (what seem to be increasingly gradual) improvements to their profile and output.
 

daniel_il

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 5, 2021
Messages
173
Reaction score
248
Location
NYC,US/TLV-ISR
I had the migaki 240, sold it last month here BST.

i had a beautiful upgraded teak&buffalo handle, so cant share a comment on the stock handle.

totally agree with you about the profile and steel. profile is great. good flat spot and high thin tip (kind of KS style). the blade itself is very beautiful a look like someone put a lot of effort to make it

steel felt hard but with nice feedback on the stones, its get razor sharp easily but the problem mine was wedging and i thinned it for hours and still needed more work to do.

personally i much prefer blue steel so i sold it.

thank you for the review!
 

Jovidah

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2016
Messages
1,915
Reaction score
1,150
Location
Netherlands
How does the profile work in practise? It always looks to me on those newer ones that the heel is almost...sticking out. As it's going to be a clunker where the heel constantly slaps on the board. Or is it not a problem at all in practise?
 

daniel_il

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 5, 2021
Messages
173
Reaction score
248
Location
NYC,US/TLV-ISR
How does the profile work in practise? It always looks to me on those newer ones that the heel is almost...sticking out. As it's going to be a clunker where the heel constantly slaps on the board. Or is it not a problem at all in practise?
For me it was very versatile for chopping and rocking, also very good tip for finer work.
 

ModRQC

« Say… that’s a fun looking knife! »
Supporting Member
Joined
Oct 16, 2019
Messages
2,855
Reaction score
2,902
Location
QC, CA
How does the profile work in practise? It always looks to me on those newer ones that the heel is almost...sticking out. As it's going to be a clunker where the heel constantly slaps on the board. Or is it not a problem at all in practise?
If it was, to me, I would have noted it in the review - like I did with both Yoshikane. But, to me, it doesn't. Pretty much a perfect flowing profile.
 

Lakeshow

Member
Joined
Nov 25, 2020
Messages
10
Reaction score
9
Location
SoCal
How does the profile work in practise? It always looks to me on those newer ones that the heel is almost...sticking out. As it's going to be a clunker where the heel constantly slaps on the board. Or is it not a problem at all in practise?
yeah, as other above mentioned. got just enough heel relief to get smooth cuts without the dead stop. works for push, chop, and rocking styles.
 

Pie

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 24, 2021
Messages
213
Reaction score
310
Location
Edmonton
The migaki 240 is my go to when I don’t need to go all that fast and need to avoid accordion cuts. I love the profile, mostly for that flat spot. Just isn’t really fast chopper for me at the end of the day - others have better weight distribution for that. The grind was also nice, but as others have mention somewhat chunky behind the edge in spots. Not that it wedges a ton, just could use another couple sessions on the stones to take the extra meat off.

I love reading these reviews @ModRQC - bang on presentation and info once again, thank you!
 

ModRQC

« Say… that’s a fun looking knife! »
Supporting Member
Joined
Oct 16, 2019
Messages
2,855
Reaction score
2,902
Location
QC, CA
The migaki 240 is my go to when I don’t need to go all that fast and need to avoid accordion cuts. I love the profile, mostly for that flat spot. Just isn’t really fast chopper for me at the end of the day - others have better weight distribution for that. The grind was also nice, but as others have mention somewhat chunky behind the edge in spots. Not that it wedges a ton, just could use another couple sessions on the stones to take the extra meat off.

I love reading these reviews @ModRQC - bang on presentation and info once again, thank you!
Thank you man! Always appreciate your input here and elsewhere.

Edit: Ah yes, and it's probably lucky to have some extra meat BTE with these. I would make the best I could out of it to improve immediate food release.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Pie

Pie

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 24, 2021
Messages
213
Reaction score
310
Location
Edmonton
Thank you man! Always appreciate your input here and elsewhere.

Edit: Ah yes, and it's probably lucky to have some extra meat BTE with these. I would make the best I could out of it to improve immediate food release.
You know now that you mention it, the food release is actually quite good. I expected it to be sticky but it really isn’t. Another nuance of convex grinds that I have yet to understand. Still, I may chase that laser with a bit of weight feeling

Also I hate the handle with a passion. Used the knife every day for a couple months now and I still can’t get over it.
 

ModRQC

« Say… that’s a fun looking knife! »
Supporting Member
Joined
Oct 16, 2019
Messages
2,855
Reaction score
2,902
Location
QC, CA
I wouldn’t be surprised you get better release if your unit is thicker but also more convexed towards the edge. Choil shot of mine pretty clearly shows that attempt at convexity becomes null last third of the grind towards the edge. It becomes straight and flat there. And many foods suck to it just enough to follow up with a hug when hitting the more convex part and even shinogi. As I said, « barely average almost poor ». Of course the old Nakiri had momentum and heft of its own, but even used lightly it was eons better at food release because basically thicker and more convexed overall. There wasn’t much of a chance for food to stick except for small stuff and foods that always stick some anyhow.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Pie

Pie

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 24, 2021
Messages
213
Reaction score
310
Location
Edmonton
I do feel some convexity in just before the edge. It shows up both on the stone and when pinching the blade. Funny I’m trying to get rid of it while it may have benefitted yours 😬
 

ModRQC

« Say… that’s a fun looking knife! »
Supporting Member
Joined
Oct 16, 2019
Messages
2,855
Reaction score
2,902
Location
QC, CA
I’ve seen 210mm units run a clear 10-15 grams more than mine so, handle variation aside for this ho wood (say…a very few grams), that extra weight would have to be somewhere indeed… 🤔😬
 
Top