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Yamabushi

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Here's my attempt at a comparative choil shot with the old SS knife on the left and new carbon on the right. Again, my old knife has been a great performer, no wedging issues or anything like that, but the new knife is comparatively a laser!
IMG_20230209_115627.jpg
 

Yamabushi

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Yeah, the ho wood has really stood the test of time well. FWIW, I oiled it quite a bit the first few months and then only once every year or so thereafter. As a point of reference, it has been used multiple times every day since I've had it and given a minimum of maintenance other than wiping it off when needed.

As for my new knife, I only requested a light color handle not any specific wood type. Subconsciously, I think I expected another ho wood handle. FWIW, in person this chestnut is quite attractive. I'm very happy with it!
 

Yamabushi

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This afternoon took the new knife to the stones (Suehiro Debado #1000, Ai-Iwatani J-nat, Shapton Pro #12000, leather strop) to put my own edge on it. It was very sharp out of the box, but I knew it could be sharper. Then had a chance to cut a bit of product (pineapple, onion, carrots, paprika, celery, cilantro, etc.) preparing dinner this evening. It performed amazingly well! There was some very moderate reactivity not much really, but this thing just glided through everything I threw in front of it. I found the new profile even suited my cutting style better than my now nearly 10 year old original Heiji which I am very very comfortable with. I am very happy with this new knife!
IMG_20230209_194216.jpg
 
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This afternoon took the new knife to the stones (Suehiro Debado #1000, Ai-Iwatani J-nat, Shapton Pro #12000, leather strop) to put my own edge on it. It was very sharp out of the box, but I knew it could be sharper. Then had a chance to cut a bit of product (pineapple, onion, carrots, paprika, celery, cilantro, etc.) preparing dinner this evening. It performed amazingly well! There was some very moderate reactivity not much really, but this thing just glided through everything I threw in front of it. I found the new profile even suited my cutting style better than my now nearly 10 year old original Heiji which I am very very comfortable with. I am very happy with this new knife! View attachment 224693
Thanks for these posts! I had no idea about the profile change, that's curious...

Do you feel its too flat in any way? Like that dead flat area at the heel where it stops abruptly...
 

Yamabushi

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I'm not sure that overall there is a profile change. @MrHiggins knives shown on the previous page look to me very much like the classic Heiji profile. They look very much the same as my old knife from 9 or 10 years ago. My new knife's profile and additional height thus far seems to be an anomaly? Has anyone else seen this profile from Heiji? One other thing I noticed that others may have well already been aware of is that the 3 dots below the Nakayaheiji kanji seem to denote the semi-stainless offerings. They are not on his carbon steel knives.

As far as how do I like the flatter profile... I have to say that thus far, which is only one evening's worth of food prep, I love it! It very well suits my cutting style.
 

deskjockey

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Do you feel its too flat in any way? Like that dead flat area at the heel where it stops abruptly...

For what he listed for meal prep, I prefer a relatively flat profile personally. Thin leafy things like Cilantro are less fatiguing on my wrist when I don't have to "rock" my knife to cut them. Bell Peppers (Paprika?) and celery also take extra effort with curved blade sections.

After 3 decades of repetitive stress on my hands and wrists, little things like this are a lot more important to me than were even a decade back! Really dead flat knives through me off at first, sticking into my poly board if you will versus cutting. Once I figured out the profile and blade height, cutting leafy things and those with 'hard' ribs or skins became so much easier on my hands and wrists!

I think this is why I am migrating to large Nakiri versus my old standby Santoku for most cutting tasks in my home kitchen. When I rock cut with a really large Gyuto, a dead flat heel that comes to an abrupt STOP is something I avoid.
 
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deskjockey

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... Then had a chance to cut a bit of product (pineapple, onion, carrots, paprika, celery, cilantro, etc.) preparing dinner this evening. It performed amazingly well! There was some very moderate reactivity not much really, but this thing just glided through everything I threw in front of it. I found the new profile even suited my cutting style better than my now nearly 10 year old original Heiji which I am very very comfortable with. I am very happy with this new knife!

Your older knife looks like it has a more "German" tip to it than the classic "French" tip of a Gyuto to me. I really like what I see in the overall profile of your new knife.

How much thinner is your new knife versus your older one? I always thought of this maker as being a "workhorse" maker but, the newer one looks more laser-like. A thicker and heavier Gyuto doesn't have to be thick Behind The Edge so, I was thinking this maker would be a good choice for things like hard Winter Squash and larger things like Watermelons.
 

deskjockey

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Are Heiji gyuto thinner today than in the past? Pre-COVID I was watching JNS for a Kaeru 'workhorse series' 240mm Gyuto to come in stock but, these days it seems like only the thinner versions are available.

I have been thinking some about a Heiji semi-stainless (SLD?) 240mm/270mm Gyuto but, the newer ones seem a bit thinner than in the past. With Watermelon, Cantelope, Winter Squash, and similar items, a heavier knife helps me with the cut and reduces stress on my rebuilt shoulder, wrist, and hand.
 

Yamabushi

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For what he listed for meal prep, I prefer a relatively flat profile personally. Thin leafy things like Cilantro are less fatiguing on my wrist when I don't have to "rock" my knife to cut them. Bell Peppers (Paprika?) and celery also take extra effort with curved blade sections.

After 3 decades of repetitive stress on my hands and wrists, little things like this are a lot more important to me than were even a decade back! Really dead flat knives through me off at first, sticking into my poly board if you will versus cutting. Once I figured out the profile and blade height, cutting leafy things and those with 'hard' ribs or skins became so much easier on my hands and wrists!

I think this is why I am migrating to large Nakiri versus my old standby Santoku for most cutting tasks in my home kitchen. When I rock cut with a really large Gyuto, a dead flat heel that comes to an abrupt STOP is something I avoid.

What you said here really sums it up well for me, and really interesting that you mentioned a nakiri! I had that in mind when I was thinking about trying to describe the way I most often cut. Fortunately, I don't have any repetitive motion injuries, but FWIW, I rarely ever use a rocking cut. And yes, when I said paprika, I was referring to what we Americans call a Bell pepper. I've been living in Japan now for 23 years now and that's what they call it here.

As for how much thinner the new knife is... I don't have any calipers, but I feel my choil shot photo above gives a good sense of the difference. Tomorrow I will weigh the two knives to get a more objective idea of what the comparative mass of them are. Without currently knowing the number, I'm feeling that although the new knife's blade is actually 15mm longer it may actually weigh the same or even slightly less than the old one.

At this point, I really have no idea if my particular knife is some sort of one off anomaly or is part of a change in direction of Heiji? I actually sent them a message noting the differences from my old knife just to see if they would offer any feedback as to where my knife falls into the scheme of things for them and where they may be going in the future. Of course, I will report back on that.
 

binsed

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What you said here really sums it up well for me, and really interesting that you mentioned a nakiri! I had that in mind when I was thinking about trying to describe the way I most often cut. Fortunately, I don't have any repetitive motion injuries, but FWIW, I rarely ever use a rocking cut. And yes, when I said paprika, I was referring to what we Americans call a Bell pepper. I've been living in Japan now for 23 years now and that's what they call it here.

As for how much thinner the new knife is... I don't have any calipers, but I feel my choil shot photo above gives a good sense of the difference. Tomorrow I will weigh the two knives to get a more objective idea of what the comparative mass of them are. Without currently knowing the number, I'm feeling that although the new knife's blade is actually 15mm longer it may actually weigh the same or even slightly less than the old one.

At this point, I really have no idea if my particular knife is some sort of one off anomaly or is part of a change in direction of Heiji? I actually sent them a message noting the differences from my old knife just to see if they would offer any feedback as to where my knife falls into the scheme of things for them and where they may be going in the future. Of course, I will report back on that.

Very interested to hear about this possible profile change. I had thought it was a custom request. Although, Heiji isn’t known for custom orders like this…or custom anything.
 

Yamabushi

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Very interested to hear about this possible profile change. I had thought it was a custom request. Although, Heiji isn’t known for custom orders like this…or custom anything.

My only special requests were basically the exact same as when I ordered my first knife. Both times I asked for 250-255mm length, my first knife came back at 250mm, this one at 265mm. I asked for an eased spine and choil, and asked for a light color handle. The only difference in my requests was the steel, the first time was semi-stainless and this time carbon.
 

deskjockey

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being that a i see quite a few of these, often made in batches, I will say that they are not particularly consistent from knife to knife. There are changes in length, weight, grind, etc from knife to knife.

I always wonder about the effects of COVID on knifemakers like this whether it is supply chain related or family issues with sickness-related stresses or concerns.

I am also under the impression that this particular knifemaker is getting pretty old so, repetitive stress and other health-related issues could be at work causing day-to-day or month-to-month differences.
 

jaydee

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I do wonder about his profiles too as I´d love to get a stainless from him one day.
This shop has some old stock left and got some new in which reflects in the price and the profiles.
The old ones have much more belly:
Japan Messer shop
There are exceptions though with at least one gyuto from the old stock being flatter. (Art.Nr.: HMG 21)
If I was to order directly I´d try to give him some profile examples from his own knives ;-)
 

Yamabushi

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So just weighed my two Heiji's. My old semi-stainless is 242.5g, my new carbon is 251.5g. Points to consider, the new knife is 15mm longer, is significantly taller 53mm vs 47mm, and likely has a heavier handle. I have zero complaints about my old knife, but subjectively in hand the new bigger knife feels more nimble and svelte.

I'd additionally note that while these two knives are of pretty equivalent thickness at the spine, the old Heiji's sides are pretty near perfectly parallel from the spine down to the shinogi. The old knife is very slab sided. The new knife immediately begins to taper down from the spine to the shinogi. Apart from the profile change, that tapering from the spine down to the shinogi is the biggest difference between the two knives.
 
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Yamabushi

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In a reply I recently received from Nakayaheiji-san, he indicated that they are definitely taking into account customer feedback and requests. Additionally, he said that they do intend to continue in the direction of a flatter profile, taller, and thinner behind the edge as can be seen with my new knife above. That being said, IMHO, this will obviously be a slow moving evolutionary process. I would NOT expect any immediate dramatic changes or changing anything too much to accommodate any special requests that deviate too far from where they are currently at.
 

binsed

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In a reply I recently received from Nakayaheiji-san, he indicated that they are definitely taking into account customer feedback and requests. Additionally, he said that they do intend to continue in the direction of a flatter profile, taller, and thinner behind the edge as can be seen with my new knife above. That being said, IMHO, this will obviously be a slow moving evolutionary process. I would NOT expect any immediate dramatic changes or changing anything too much to accommodate any special requests that deviate too far from where they are currently at.
We've finally did it, all those orders from us asking for 'as tall as possible'.
 

Jovidah

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Yeah there might be  some people who prefer taller and they might be vocal about it but it's far from universal.
 

binsed

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Oh I’m referring specifically for Heiji orders as for heiji tall as possible is max 53, maybe 54 anyway.
 

MrHiggins

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I received my Heiji yesterday: 245 x 55.5 (and 260gr). I special ordered a tall one, and paid extra. Having used it last night, I can assure you that the profile worked quite nicely! Maybe the others are right, and 55+mm is overkill, but I love a tall heel!

Also, aside from the profile, whatever Heiji uses for final edge sharpening is super course and bites really well. As a guy that likes 1000 grit edges, it worked well.

PS: the tip came with the two little chips you MIGHT be able to see. They'll sharpen out soon, but it's always a bit of a bummer when the knife doesn't get to you in pristine condition.

Heiji 245.jpg
 

binsed

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I received my Heiji yesterday: 245 x 55.5 (and 260gr). I special ordered a tall one, and paid extra. Having used it last night, I can assure you that the profile worked quite nicely! Maybe the others are right, and 55+mm is overkill, but I love a tall heel!

Also, aside from the profile, whatever Heiji uses for final edge sharpening is super course and bites really well. As a guy that likes 1000 grit edges, it worked well.

PS: the tip came with the two little chips you MIGHT be able to see. They'll sharpen out soon, but it's always a bit of a bummer when the knife doesn't get to you in pristine condition.

View attachment 226187

That looks really nice…I also noticed the excellent toothiness out of the box for my order.
 

Yamabushi

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@MrHiggins, beautiful knife! Let's see that choil shot, please!

I believe Heiji primarily uses Ai-iwatani natural stones as his finisher. I actually bought a very nice Ai-iwatani from him a year or so after I bought my first knife. It is a great stone that is still in very active use here at home! As for his edges, I'm of the mind that they are usually toothy but a bit to the brittle side of the spectrum. I'd say that that is more common than not with Japanese makers, they generally expect you to put your own edge on it, so don't go too crazy with what they give you out of the box. Because of that, you don't really see the full quality of Heiji's steel and heat treatment till you get a few sharpenings in and abraid away some metal.
 

kpham12

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I received my Heiji yesterday: 245 x 55.5 (and 260gr). I special ordered a tall one, and paid extra. Having used it last night, I can assure you that the profile worked quite nicely! Maybe the others are right, and 55+mm is overkill, but I love a tall heel!

Also, aside from the profile, whatever Heiji uses for final edge sharpening is super course and bites really well. As a guy that likes 1000 grit edges, it worked well.

PS: the tip came with the two little chips you MIGHT be able to see. They'll sharpen out soon, but it's always a bit of a bummer when the knife doesn't get to you in pristine condition.

View attachment 226187
Great specs, I love 260 grams for an oversized 240.
 

MrHiggins

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Great specs, I love 260 grams for an oversized 240.
I understand the honeymoon period, but I'm seriously impressed with this knife. It's hefty, but the balance is perfect. The food release is stellar. It just feels so right for my style!
 

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