Kiyoshi Kato 240 Standard Gyuto Passaround

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Nagakin

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:upsidedownspin:
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This was basically every thread when I looked into entering the katana world. Then I decided I'll just buy the subjectively prettiest one closer to retirement and not tell anybody.
 

labor of love

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I’ll have Kato in the mail a week from today. Ootb impressions: pretty knife, really great roomy handle, killer distal taper, standard Kato profile is sweet.
I’ll likely compare cutting performance of the Kato to Kagekiyo as it’s also my new toy.
Too early to really say much but I preferred kagekiyo for the brussel sprouts I had for dinner last night. But that should be obvious.
 

tgfencer

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I’ll have Kato in the mail a week from today. Ootb impressions: pretty knife, really great roomy handle, killer distal taper, standard Kato profile is sweet.
I’ll likely compare cutting performance of the Kato to Kagekiyo as it’s also my new toy.
Too early to really say much but I preferred kagekiyo for the brussel sprouts I had for dinner last night. But that should be obvious.
Very different knives. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.
 

lemeneid

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I miss the days before this thread when everyone would just crap on Katos while others would buy them for crazy prices on BST. It was so good to feel superior, knowing that I wouldn’t pay that much for a badly performing collector‘s knife. This thread is ruining everything.
Shigs cut like axes, yet they sell for thousands. Anything above 4 digits now you’re going into the realm of collectibles.

Not sh1tting on Shigs, they’re beautiful knives just not my cup of tea, for the amount of time you’ll need to spend to make them good cutters.
 
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valgard

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Shigs cut like axes, yet they sell for thousands. Anything above 4 digits now you’re going into the realm of collectibles.

Not sh1tting on Shigs, they’re beautiful knives just not my cup of tea, for the amount of time you’ll need to spend to make them good cutters.
That's not an entirely informed nugget. I have had at least 4 Shigs now that are good cutters out of the box. Will on the other hand gladly mention that other 5 have not been remotely good cutters out of the box, but the sticking point is that they're all very evenly ground and super easy to work on.
 

labor of love

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I’m a reformed shig hater turned shig lover. Just gotta find the right one that works for you.
 

Barmoley

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I am at 50/50 one was good one not so much. At the prices they are they should all be good, my opinion only. I get that price is more than just performance, but I expect performance when you pay this much.
 

lemeneid

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That's not an entirely informed nugget. I have had at least 4 Shigs now that are good cutters out of the box. Will on the other hand gladly mention that other 5 have not been remotely good cutters out of the box, but the sticking point is that they're all very evenly ground and super easy to work on.
You’ve definitely used your fair share of Shigs, and my sample size isn’t as great. Of the 3 I borrowed, 2 BNIB and one used, they felt very “normal” and nothing amazing. They definitely are very well ground and evenly finished and would easily be thinned and become great knives.

Also, what I’ve heard is western shigs tend to be better performing, would definitely love to locate this unicorn so I can finally try a good one. Then again, I’m definitely western handle biased 🤣
 

M1k3

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I’m a reformed shig hater turned shig lover. Just gotta find the right one that works for you.
Which at the prices they are now, will cost about $10k on the low side to find, unless you get lucky.
 

labor of love

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Which at the prices they are now, will cost about $10k on the low side to find, unless you get lucky.
Mine was a used 270mm(but tuned up by Murray carter). Purchased for $840? I think?
 

valgard

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You’ve definitely used your fair share of Shigs, and my sample size isn’t as great. Of the 3 I borrowed, 2 BNIB and one used, they felt very “normal” and nothing amazing. They definitely are very well ground and evenly finished and would easily be thinned and become great knives.

Also, what I’ve heard is western shigs tend to be better performing, would definitely love to locate this unicorn so I can finally try a good one. Then again, I’m definitely western handle biased 🤣
The WA kitaeji 270 aboynamedsuita had on best recently is one of the best cutting ones I have used if not the best one. Funny we bounced that knife between the two of us a couple times and he's keeping it now I think. But yeah, the 270 yo kitaeji I have is giving it a run for its money, the other two good ones were 180 and a 210 yo kitaeji. The 180 nakiri I have a very good too, but I cleaned it up a bit right out of the box.
 

captaincaed

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My question is, how the heck do you maintain these knives over time? If the cutting ability relies so much on that professionally-executed grind, what happens after a couple years of sharpening?
I know that you can thin a knife, but does it preserve the subtlety of the knife?
 

Luftmensch

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I miss the days before this thread when everyone would just crap on Katos while others would buy them for crazy prices on BST. It was so good to feel superior, knowing that I wouldn’t pay that much for a badly performing collector‘s knife. This thread is ruining everything.
I don't know why they are so popular? They have a ****** garden tool finish... The kanji looks like it was hammed in by a child.... they cut no better than a $10 bargain-bin special... Seriously... the emperor has new clothes. Avoid...

:p

Did that help?

The coolest thing about this thread (and the super generous opportunity from @tgfencer 👍), is that it gives people an opportunity to see what the 'hype' is all about! From there they can make a subjective value judgement on whether the price is worth it to them.



Buying a knife this expensive and having to tune it is nuts.
I see your point. I am mixed.

True - there are so many blacksmiths out there. You can play musical chairs until you find the one who makes everything just the way you like it.

An alternative view is that the primary thing the blacksmith does (that most cant) is forge and heat-treat the metal. With a little bit of work you can change aspects of the grind and profile to suit your preferences more. After all... we all have different preferences right? If a knife has a brilliant heat-treat, superb finish (again personal preference) and great sharpness 'out-the-box' it is an excellent knife. From there you can make it your own...
 
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valgard

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My question is, how the heck do you maintain these knives over time? If the cutting ability relies so much on that professionally-executed grind, what happens after a couple years of sharpening?
I know that you can thin a knife, but does it preserve the subtlety of the knife?
Maintenance is very much doable on stones as long as you respect and follow the grind. Requires some modicum of skill and paying attention to what you're doing but they are convex and can be maintained on stones unlike some more complicated grinds.
 
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labor of love

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Whoever put the edge on this kato did a great job. Kinda curious what stone was used.
Kato is quickly winning me over. Might have to track one down. This specimen is lighter and thinner blade than the older ones I used. Still same grind and everything. Still a workhorse and still cuts with authority. Just feels so smooth when the blade is going through food.
Gotta few more things to test. But I’m enjoying it quite a bit.

I tried not to like it. But I have failed.
 

tgfencer

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Whoever put the edge on this kato did a great job. Kinda curious what stone was used.
Kato is quickly winning me over. Might have to track one down. This specimen is lighter and thinner blade than the older ones I used. Still same grind and everything. Still a workhorse and still cuts with authority. Just feels so smooth when the blade is going through food.
Gotta few more things to test. But I’m enjoying it quite a bit.

I tried not to like it. But I have failed.
@SilverSwarfer put the original edge on it. Not sure who else has touched it up in between, but I’m sure unless it’s gone through a full progression since, most of the base work was his.
 

Cool_charlie

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Whoever put the edge on this kato did a great job. Kinda curious what stone was used.
Kato is quickly winning me over. Might have to track one down. This specimen is lighter and thinner blade than the older ones I used. Still same grind and everything. Still a workhorse and still cuts with authority. Just feels so smooth when the blade is going through food.
Gotta few more things to test. But I’m enjoying it quite a bit.

I tried not to like it. But I have failed.
I gave it a couple passes on an Aizu before I shipped it off.
 

panda

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Whoever put the edge on this kato did a great job. Kinda curious what stone was used.
Kato is quickly winning me over. Might have to track one down. This specimen is lighter and thinner blade than the older ones I used. Still same grind and everything. Still a workhorse and still cuts with authority. Just feels so smooth when the blade is going through food.
Gotta few more things to test. But I’m enjoying it quite a bit.

I tried not to like it. But I have failed.
and the profile doesnt look stupid like the jns workhorses
 

Corradobrit1

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and the profile doesnt look stupid like the jns workhorses
I would agree for the 240. But my 210WH STD and Ku have a great profile. Much less belly in the tip area which suits me.

I just received a couple of new stones from Japan and achieving a super sharp toothy edge is effortless. Not as durable as Denka but so easy to maintain with a quick strop.
 

Luftmensch

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This specimen is lighter and thinner blade than the older ones I used. Still same grind and everything. Still a workhorse and still cuts with authority. Just feels so smooth when the blade is going through food.
Gotta few more things to test. But I’m enjoying it quite a bit.
Glad to hear you are enjoying it! Thanks for posting your thoughts.

Can you remember whether the older ones you used were Kato-Standards or Kato-JNS-Workhorses? I am curious how hefty the workhorse grinds are given that Kato standards are already heavy knives...
 

Luftmensch

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Yeah my kato experience so far was 3 JNS workhorses circa 2012-2014.
Thanks man!

Maybe they take a good thing too far? 🤔

I like tall knives. I wouldn't mind the taller height (I think the workhorses include that). But the standards already have a wicked distal taper. I don't think I'd like to see the spine thicken or be fatter in the middle
 
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danemonji

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Thanks man!

Maybe they take a good thing too far? 🤔

I like tall knives. I wouldn't mind the taller height (I think the workhorses include that). But the standards already have a wicked distal taper. I don't think I'd like to see the spin thicken or be fatter in the middle
Same wicked distal taper is in the wh versions from last year or so. The first 240 wh i bought from jns last year is 245mm long 54 mm high and weight is 236g. Other than the profile with a bit more raised tip, it looks just like an oversized and light standard. On the other hand my second 240 wh has the same length and height but at 260g feels like a different beast.
Some variations are also with KU versions some feel more beefy others more light and nimble. To be honest I find the KU a different and better knife overall: profile ( much more aggressive and pointier), grind( much sharper with no secondary bevel and a bitty feel - these are the sharpest knives I've ever felt), maintainability ( it has an even blade road so you can sharp and thin it on stones and it won't change the scratch pattern like crap and be forced to send it for a proffessional service), overall look after multiple uses ( patina just looks like a shadier kasumi on the blade road after you oil it).
 
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valgard

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Glad to hear you are enjoying it! Thanks for posting your thoughts.

Can you remember whether the older ones you used were Kato-Standards or Kato-JNS-Workhorses? I am curious how hefty the workhorse grinds are given that Kato standards are already heavy knives...
Both models have gotten lighter in general. I have tried a few, and while there's always been variance, the average seems to have dropped weight significantly in the last two years or so.
 
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