HSC3 pass around gyuto

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SilverSwarfer

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This Passaround hit a significant snag when I had my turn. Harbeer came in like a hero and rescued the situation so the rest of the folks in the Passaround can still get a chance to test out the Zwear as rendered by HSC///.

I broke the original knife for this Passaround. Many years I’ve worked long hours with a Gyuto or Yanagiba in my hand. I have never been responsible for putting a knife out of service before now. This was a sad day for me and an unfortunate situation; until I had a meaningful and constructive conversation with Harbeer. In my hands, a knife has a soul. A story. A purpose. A past. A future. It’s a spiritual experience for me to use and to sharpen handmade knives. I seek a connection with each blade I handle. Having a knife break in my custody is an awful thing; but yet it happened, and I’m not too proud to take the responsibility and tell the story.

I’m sure anyone who’s read this far is intrigued to know what happened... and especially to see some pics... Here’s the deal:

Making guacamole one evening and I was using the spine to macerate some tomato guts together with garlic, cilantro, jalapeño. I was bruising the product with the spine. Tapping away for a very short time and suddenly “tinggg!” My heart skipped a beats and the handle went super light whilst the blade lay headless on my board.
I often use my spines to scrape and smash product on my boards. Whatever happened here I don’t know. I have speculated, but speculation doesn’t change the reality of a broken blade on my board and a blade-less handle in my hand. I did it. I admit it and I own it. I’ll answer questions best I can or take any feedback if anyone has such inclinations.

First thing I did when this happened was find my phone and snap some pics. 2nd thing was to contact Alex and Harbeer. I told my story and shared my pics. Harbeer stepped up immediately with an immediate solution. I had a replacement in my hands 3 days later. Amazing.
Here’s the pics of the unfortunate disaster on my board. I’ll post my thoughts on these knives soon; I wanted to precede that post with this info for clarity and full disclosure.

The replacement knife has been shaped-up, polished, sharpened, packed, and sent on to @McMan today. Onward!
 

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soigne_west

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That’s too bad. Awesome Harbeer for coming up with a solution so quickly. How did the two knives differ?
 

SilverSwarfer

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I’m pretty sure the replacement is the one Harbeer posted earlier in this thread... with the Lacewood handle.
 

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daveb

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SilverSwarfer

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Pics above show the new Passaround blade. It’s a beauty! I understand it’s been put through it’s paces over in Paris before it got to me. It definitely showed some wear when it first arrived. I did my best to shape it up... I think it turned out great! Performance was awesome. I’ll post detailed thoughts soon.
 

M1k3

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If I remember correctly, that looks like it snapped right at the tiny crack it had.
 

SilverSwarfer

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This Passaround was an excellent, if dramatic experience for me. Thanks to Harbeer I was able to recover from a bit of a scary experience (explained above). In the process I had the opportunity to test 2 HSC/// Gyutos, in Zwear steel.

The first was my preferred piece, given it was a longer a taller blade. I never had the chance to take this knife to the stones but I’m sure it would have been the same as the 2nd. Before the accident, I had but little chance to cut much product, but from what I was able to take away, the knife had a very natural feel and performance was exactly in line with my expectations from the example’s profile. The real star of the show for both these blades is the steel.

Given the short notice and quick response from Harbeer, the replacement blade was sent in a heavily used condition. There was a chip in the heel, a recurve about 1.5” forward from the chip, and beginning of a bird’s beak at the tip. I understand this particular knife spent a few weeks in a pro kitchen over in Paris. Feeling indebted to Harbeer and the remaining Passaround participants, I put in several hours’ worth of work in reshaping, polishing, thinning, and sharpening this knife.

I started with my Sigma Select ii 220 and 400 stones. Once I got the profile reshaped, I thinned the bevel as if it were my own. I was able to gain some insight into the original grind and what I noticed was very much the same as I’ve seen in my Toyama and Watanabe blades. Though this knife is significantly shorter at the heel, the proportions of the bevel are similar. I followed the existing tapering and removed as much material as was appropriate in my estimation. After the 400 I followed with SSii 1k and 3k. At this point I stepped away from the stones and proceeded working with sandpaper. I use a padded wooden block to work knives with sandpaper. I also add Autosol to aid in the cutting and polishing. I find this speeds up the process and brings excellent results. Based on what I observed from both knives I decided to work with 320 and 400 grits. I worked one direction only for each set: spine to edge with the 400 and then worked heel to tip with the 320. This is not a normal progression but I found this gave a nice finish.

My big takeaway from my time with these knives is I am a huge fan of this steel. Zwear for me was a showstopper. It was extremely difficult to remove material. But surprisingly, it’s relatively easy to sharpen. Much easier than I expected using the resistance I experienced in thinning and sanding as a gauge. I started sharpening with 220 Sigma Select ii, which is aggressive among 220 stones. I was really happy with the bevel I set and quickly moved to the 400. I sharpened on the 400 long enough to build a crisp apex. Moving on to the 1k I formed a burr on both sides after I was confident I had removed the deep scratches from the 220. I went back and forth 6-7 times reducing the burr and then moved on to the 3k. I formed a very slight burr here on both sides then worked on reduction 4-5 sets and then focused on refining the edge. Once I was happy with a crisp apex I moved to a Hakka. Sweeping strokes only, I sharpened maybe 5min until I had what might have been the most crisp, bitey apex I’ve ever made. I was amazed. Either I had an epic sharpening session or this steel is a bona fide standout.

I prepped a couple meals with the 2nd knife after I finished with my overhaul. This knife just wants to fall through veg. My Yanagibas are the only knives before now, that fall through veg like this Zwear does. It’s a very intentional cut... no skips or missed strokes. The knife followed the apex exactly and deliberately every time. Speed and confidence were outstanding for me. Feedback was fine. Not outstanding in the sense that I noticed a particularly different or better feedback profile. Just a confidence inspiring, comfortable feel on my olive wood board.

The edge profile is not typical for me in my experience. I’m not a picky user and I enjoy trying and using different knives at home and at work. I’m not used to anything except in the world of sashimi slicers and I use Sujihiki and Gyuto interchangeably at work. Different heel and tip heights, bellies, flats are all interesting variety for me. I’m comfortable and happy with most anything. Adjusting to the short heel and low tip was not a problem at all. This knife felt like a short Suji to me.

I was not able to identify any area that this knife was an extreme standout. Except the steel! More specifically and likely more fairly stated: The HSC/// treatment of Zwear is outstanding. The edges I was able to put on the knife I used was beyond impressive. Never mind HHT; I was able to cut hanging toilet paper with this edge. Whatever Harbeer is doing to this stuff, I don’t care- I just want some. I’m working on stepping in line to get on his books for something to call my own. This steel is truly good enough to motivate me to buy another gyuto. But this knife will be much more than just another Gyuto.

Edge retention was almost as impressive as the keenness and relative ease of sharpening. Maintenance of the keenness was as easy as 4-5 passes on my favorite stripping medium of late: cBN loaded balsa. Sticky fingers again quickly.

A few months back I came across a Hunter Valley and a Kamon. Purported to be 64 and 65 HRC respectively, both these knives are 52100 and on my house, I call them elite performers: especially re: keenness and edge retention. I need a few weeks with my own HRC/// Zwear to call a winner but I suspect the Zwear by Harbeer could be a nose ahead of the aforementioned pair.

Anyone who especially appreciates freakish keenness and retention capabilities should try this steel. I can’t speak to comparisons with REX.* or Maxamet or other exotic super steels. Some of the options are not practical in my eyes. I’ve got to be able to maintain my blades. I’ve had or used ZDP189 and HAP40, maybe one or 2 others I can’t think of at the moment. IME, this Zwear is at the top end of practical ability to be sharpened and thinned yet perform among the elites.
 

tgfencer

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@SilverSwarfer Yet another interesting write-up! I kind of want to send more knives to you just so I can read more of your elegantly expressed opinions. But you missed out on one important part...how is this hakka you speak of? ;)
 

SilverSwarfer

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The Hakka I mentioned above is a new acquisition. A reward to myself for undisclosed triumphs. I feel lucky just being in the same room with it!

It’s an awesome performer. I have not done any single bevel work with it yet.... being out of work my sashimi blades are temporarily mothballed, so I’ve been rocking double bevels liberally. The stone was a perfect selection considering my current inventory. It does something’s different than anything else. There’s a Shobu Iromono that comes kinda close but this Hakka handles way way way better.

These past few weeks I’ve been working on my razors and that’s kept the rocks wet for me plenty!

I don’t think I could be happier with this particular stone overall and spending time working the high resistance Zwear steel on it proved well that certain steels do not defeat natural stones. I’d interested to see some more scientific analysis showing micro images of the scratch patterns from stone to stone or slurry to stone, etc.

Maybe the JNAT did some unique carbide tear-out to give such an aggressive edge?

I did not mention above that I experimented with some hard finishing stones too. I can’t help myself when it comes to fine finishers. I just like the feedback and in my mind I think I can feel the apex getting more keen and crisp. I don’t know.
 

HSC /// Knives

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@SilverSwarfer thanks much for a detailed review

a few words on this situation -

The replacement knife I made in early December, its 225 x 46, Slightly flatter profile, with the tip lower, shorter heel height. I made it to specifications that I like for myself. It also has a thinner taper towards the tip than the original knife. It was still available when I went to France mid Dec so I took it with me. I gave it to Mathieu Silvestre of La Table de Cassan (north of Paris) to try out. Mathieu owns a small restaurant and is a customer friend. The knife came back to me mid March when my g/f visited. Thus I had something readily available.

About the broken knife. the original knife was known to have a small crack defect beginning at the spine. That the knife would break is still pretty shocking to me and certainly a first. The origin of the crack remains a mystery, I'm not convinced that it is related to the maker mark stamping.

Anyway, the broken knife gains a new life as a 7.25" funayuki.

As mentioned in the review, the steel is difficult to thin as it is so wear resistant, it's also difficult as a maker to grind and costly. But it's performance really makes up for this.
@SilverSwarfer did you have any comments about the corrosion resistance of the Z wear steel?

Harbeer

 

SilverSwarfer

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I thought corrosion resistance was well covered earlier in the thread with @daveb and @labor of love feedback from their time with the knife. It’s basically handling like a “semi-stainless” in terms of patina and rust. I had only a couple tiny spots beginning when I checked using lime juice. I put corrosion resistance for this Zwear above the 52100 knives I mentioned above.

It might be interesting to see the patina patterns these knives develop... for those among us who appreciate that.
 

daveb

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I recall a 10 minute session with semi-chrome before shipping. I've now got a petty in Zwear and it just don't rust. Did manage to dull the blade considerably - turned a pork butt into a charcoal lump and used the petty to get the "bark" off.
 

Barmoley

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Not to be stickler, but Kamon is 1.2519 not 52100. Thanks for all the reviews and discussion. Very glad that Harbeer had a quick solution to continue the passaround. My other option was to send a similar knife that I have, but it is at a friends' house for a test run and would be a little more difficult to get a hold of under current conditions.
 

marc4pt0

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So I am looooong overdue to share my thoughts on what is now the original pass around knife. I just caught up with this thread and I must say Holy Schnickies!!

I will say kudos to Harbeer for the quick replacement, and I'm really digging the new life of the original knife! Seriously, that looks awesome. I wonder how tall that is now...

Anyway, my impressions for the original Pass Around knife are pretty much on point with what everybody else has concluded. It's a fantastic performer.
When the knife arrived to me it was a little bit messy. Some schmutz on the handle and the blade had a few crustys. Even with that I was instantly impressed with the blade, felt great in the hand with good weight. Edge was still very toothy and sharp from what I understand was refreshed a few participants back? It had a few scuffs on it, so it looked a lot like my well used blades in that sense. After cleaning it up a bit I put it to work. Very impressive performance in the cutting onions, apples, carrots dept. Potatoes it did well, but not as fall through with ease as I like. Not a lot of food suction/sticking, in fact fantastic food release in my opinion. For me I much prefer ease of cutting over food release, I'd say 60/40. And the ease of falling through foods like onions and carrots was pretty impressive.
The tip of the blade I would have preferred to be more thinner in geometry which would have only improved tip work like mince shallots and horizontal swipes on onions (if that's your thing). The blade and grind felt remarkably robust given how thin the spine was. Not that it was laser thin, but I don't think it was even 3mm thick.

The Handle wood, I wasn't a huge fan of it originally. It felt very rough and even more dry. Probably wasn't supposed to do this, but I buffed it and oiled it as well. The grippy texture was still intact, it just had a new sheen and a not so dry feeling anymore.

Overall the knife has definitely put HSC /// on my list of knives to buy once this whole pandemic and financial fiasco blows through.
Thank you all for including me on this pass around.
 

mise_en_place

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Overall the knife has definitely put HSC /// on my list of knives to buy once this whole pandemic and financial fiasco blows through.
Thank you all for including me on this pass around.
I am loving the Zwear gyuto Harbeer made for me. It is post #39 in this thread. It's a tremendous performer and easily top 5 for knives I've used. I have purchased 4 of his knives, and handled one other. I can't recommend his work enough. He is also very easy to work with.
 

HSC /// Knives

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... and I'm really digging the new life of the original knife! Seriously, that looks awesome. I wonder how tall that is now...


The tip of the blade I would have preferred to be more thinner in geometry which would have only improved tip work like mince shallots and horizontal swipes on onions (if that's your thing). The blade and grind felt remarkably robust given how thin the spine was. Not that it was laser thin, but I don't think it was even 3mm thick.

The Handle wood, I wasn't a huge fan of it originally. It felt very rough and even more dry. Probably wasn't supposed to do this, but I buffed it and oiled it as well. The grippy texture was still intact, it just had a new sheen and a not so dry feeling anymore.
The new life knife is 51 mm at the heel, that will get a thinner regrind and a new handle and goes off to Europe to a Michelin star chef to try out.

The replacement knife has a thinner tip and more taper

thanks for feedback
 

McMan

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Just the facts, ma’am:
220mm edge length
45mm tall
183g weight

2.5mm at the handle and above the heel
2.4mm midway and till 50-60mm from tip
2.0mm 40mm from tip
1.4mm 20mm from tip
Balance point just a tad in front of choil—right at the “III” in the “HSCIII” mark.

Fun little knife--nimble/whippy. It’s funny that it came from France because it’s got that 60s Sab profile going on, which was my first thought when it. It feels lighter than it weighs, in part because the balance-point is just a smidge in front of the choil (the blade is rather thin/light plus the handle brings the balance point rearward). Grind is clean—mild-convex at about mid-bladeface; it's a thinner knife, skinny-midweight territory, so the convex is noticeable but not too pronounced. A pretty piece of lacewood for the handle too! Shoutout to @SilverSwarfer, this if the sharpest I’ve received a passaround knife—stick in maple endgrain sharp :)

I agree with all the positives said thus far, so no need to echo those. Harbeer makes good knives!

By way of constructive points… For my tastes, a bit more taper over the last 40-50mm towards the tip might be nice. Also, I prefer the balance-point a bit more into the blade. I hesitate even mentioning this because at 45mm tall--two-thirds gyuto, one third line knife--the knife shouldn’t be very blade heavy and the mid-engine balance point really does help the knife to be pleasantly whippy. Maybe thinning the handle a bit, as this would push the balance up just a tad? Anyhow, these are just personal preferences, as opposed to things I found to be ‘issues’ with the knife.

Note, the knife is not the ho-wood handle one in Harbeer's pic. The handle is made from nicely figured lacewood. I should've taken a picture, but I packed the knife before I realized there wasn't one... Going forward, somebody should take a pic so everyone can see what the new passaround knife looks like.

Thanks to @Barmoley for putting this together!
And keep up the good work Harbeer!
 
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HSC /// Knives

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Just the facts, ma’am:
220mm edge length
45mm tall
183g weight

2.5mm at the handle and above the heel
2.4mm midway and till 50-60mm from tip
2.0mm 40mm from tip
1.4mm 20mm from tip
Balance point just a tad in front of choil—right at the “III” in the “HSCIII” mark.


Fun little knife--nimble/whippy. It’s funny that it came from France because it’s got that 60s Sab profile going on, which was my first thought when I saw the knife. It feels lighter than it weighs, in part because the balance-point back is just a smidge in front of the choil (the blade is rather thin/light plus the handle brings the balance point rearward). Grind is clean—mild-convex at about mid-bladeface; since it's is a thinner knife, skinny-midweight territory, so the convex is noticeable but not too pronounced. A pretty piece of lacewood for the handle too. Shoutout to @SilverSwarfer, this if the sharpest I’ve received a passaround knife—stick in maple endgrain sharp :)

I agree with all the positives said thus far, so no need to echo those. Harbeer makes good knives!

By way of constructive points… For my tastes, a bit more taper over the last 40-50mm towards the tip might be nice. Also, I prefer the balance-point a bit more into the blade. I hesitate even mentioning this because at 45mm tall--two-thirds gyuto, one third line knife--the knife shouldn’t be very blade heavy and the mid-engine balance point really does help the knife to be pleasantly whippy. Maybe thinning the handle a bit, as this would push the balance up just a tad? Anyhow, these are just personal preferences, as opposed to things I found to be ‘issues’ with the knife.

Note, the knife is not the ho-wood handle one in Harbeer's pic. The handle is made from nicely figured lacewood. I should've taken a picture, but I packed the knife before I realized there wasn't one... Going forward, somebody should take a pic so everyone can see what the new passaround knife looks like.

Thanks to @Barmoley for putting this together!
And keep up the good work Harbeer!
Thanks!
I’m pretty sure this is the replacement knife in its original form



 

GorillaGrunt

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This thing is awesome! I’ve tried a few exotic steels, but as I’ve said before I believe I tried them too early in my knife and sharpening journey. While looking up zwear I saw a comment that the high toughness PM steels shine when sharpened to a thinner angle than a simpler steel and that’s when you really see the edge retention difference. I hadn’t done that with my previous ones: I may have been confused with carbide volume versus carbide size, or I may still be confused — but in any case unlike the Kato I took this one to work and put it through some cutting. Definitely observed better performance here. Feels like SLD but better.

On to the actual knife: I do like the profile and the grind. It performs really well on potatoes, onions, and cabbage. Last night I used it on some carrots at home and they were splitting like mad, but today I used it on some carrots at work and it slid right through them. Also it’s sexy! I don’t mind an ugly but high performing knife, but it doesn’t hurt to be pretty.

also I am having trouble finding the pass around list! Can someone send me a link to it so I know where to send it next?
 

Barmoley

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Thank you guys for all the reviews. I am glad you are enjoying the knives and steel. Steel matters, might not be the most important part of a knife, but it doesn't hurt when the steel and heat treat are good. The pass around is almost over the next and the last person is @thebradleycrew.
 

GorillaGrunt

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Steel isn’t the only thing and it isn’t magic but it sure does matter. Like the KS and its crap edge retention. Another good example is the semi stainless in the Heiji and Gengetsu: I’ve since let those knives go but I wish there were more options available in that steel! The grinds are good but the steel is unique.
 

GorillaGrunt

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Shipped it out last Friday; just checked tracking and it hasn’t yet been delivered but should be to @thebradleycrew by Monday. They didn’t say it would take that long; I’m assuming the delay was somehow related to Covid disruption.
 

thebradleycrew

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Shipped it out last Friday; just checked tracking and it hasn’t yet been delivered but should be to @thebradleycrew by Monday. They didn’t say it would take that long; I’m assuming the delay was somehow related to Covid disruption.
Got the knife safe and sound (if not slowly). Thank you @GorillaGrunt.
Out of the box, knife was sharp, looking good, and ready for some work.
@HSC /// Knives - I will use it the next three days and send it off to you this weekend. Will that work or do you need it sooner?
 

HSC /// Knives

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Got the knife safe and sound (if not slowly). Thank you @GorillaGrunt.
Out of the box, knife was sharp, looking good, and ready for some work.
@HSC /// Knives - I will use it the next three days and send it off to you this weekend. Will that work or do you need it sooner?
Yes that’s fine I don’t need it sooner and I will PM you an address Of a customer to ship it to

Thanks
 
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