LivingSteel 626 Classic Chef LS235 - Pass around (OPEN)

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Hey Folks,

I'm lucky enough to be able to offer a pass around for a beautiful LivingSteel LS235 gyuto. This is Abe's doing and I'm openly grateful for his willingness to let this pass around happen. I'm going to be coordinating the pass around, but to be clear, Abe is behind making this a reality. I'm in possession of the blade currently, and using it quite happily. I'll post a write up on my views once I get a chance to sharpen it and use it a bit more. So far, I quite like it.

Rules:
  1. Folks are allowed to use the knife for up to 1 week, then ship it out to the next user. Shipping cost is on the user, each person pays for shipping and full insurance ($850).
  2. CONUS only - too risky shipping international currently (sorry friends in far away places)
  3. Everyone takes responsibility for damage - you break it, you buy it
  4. Limited to 10-12 people (which should take it three to four months to make the rounds)
  5. Last user sends it back to me
  6. If you sharpen it, please make sure you know what you are doing
  7. It is the responsibility of the current user to reach out to and coordinate with the next user and make sure they have address/etc.

Details on the knife can be found here.

Please DM me if interested and I'll post the handles below for the order.

Cheers!

Current Pass Around List:
1. @thebradleycrew
2. @Chang
3. @Ryan Adkins
 
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Hey Folks, wanted to share my write up of the pass around knife, now that I've had some time to use it and gather my though. It's heading off to the next user and the pass around is open to anyone who still wants in.

Knife:
LivingSteel 626 Classic Chef Knife, LS235


BLUF:
I really love this knife and will get one for my collection; it's simple, classy and works really well as an all around blade. Much nicer than I thought it would be.

Summary:

Overall:
This is sort of a classic blade. A blend of a French style chefs knife blended with the benefits of a Japanese knife. It borrows characteristics from each, in my view, and does so really nicely. The blade is mid-weight overall, and a bit handle heavy with balance at or just behind the heel. Some might consider it neutral, but generally I feel it to be slightly rear balance given that I'm used to blade-forward Japanese knives.

Steel:
Uddeholm UHB20C, which is a relative to 1095. It's an easy steel to use and easy steel to maintain. Nope, it's not a fancy super steel in any capacity, but is tried true among knife makers worldwide. In the use case on the LS235, I found it to be really easy to sharpen. I used it on a 1K Vitrified Diamond (which sharpened it up crazy fast), Aizu natural (which was a perfect finishing stone) and I stropped it on loaded balsa and loaded leather. I only used each sharpening medium once, and it was a fast process. I love simple steels for how easy they are to sharpen and the edge they take. Nope, it didn't hold it forever, but I always would take something easy to tune and have to re-touch it more often than something I dreaded taking to the stones.

Grind:
50/50 convex. Good distal taper starting with the ~3.0mm width at the spine/heel intersection. I would call this nicely convex for a relatively thin overall blade. It's pretty clear this is not forged to shape, a-la Raquin, Kamon, or others. Think of this more as blank cut to size and then ground to a very nice profile. Food release is better than I expected and I think could be aided by the belt finish on it. That belt finish makes the knife a little more sticky in really dense foods (think sweet potatoes), but it really flies through lighter fare. Overall, I liked the grind a lot and found it near ideal for my home-cooking everyday needs.

Fit/Finish:
Really solid spot for this knife. It's just polished top to bottom. A lot of finishing work went into the blade. Rounded/polished spine and choil, though I'd love to have seen the choil slightly more rounded on the edge, just for smoothing out the blade/choil intersection. Bakelite and brass is beautifully done. I love the forced patina on the blade, and the darker hue, and I have been enjoying watching it wear off a little and naturally patina with use. Nicely done on that.

Cutting Performance:
This knife performs really well, as you'd guess from my notes above on the grind and fit/finish. Thin, fast tip. Great for garlic, etc. Nice flat spot along the heel, but reasonable rise to the tip. I like the profile. Pretty classic feeling in hand, no adjustment required this after using my Shi.Hans, Raquins, TF's, etc., etc. I pushed it through some spaghetti squash (please don't try that at home) just to see how it handled and it made it through unscathed in any capacity. Blade feels more durable than the thinness would leave you to believe (thanks UBH20C). Thin enough behind the edge, but not Takada style. Great balance of characteristics such that it led me to using it more than I expected. Pleased!

What Would I Improve?
A few small things would move this from an excellent all around knife to one that really shines and stands out for me. Yes, I'll keep one as I liked it that much, but if these changes got implemented in another version of this blade, I'd surely get that too and it'd see regular use on my knife block.

1. Taper the heel of the full tang to lighten the back end and bring balance point 1-3cm forward of the heel. Yes, tapering tangs takes time and skill, but for a nice knife, I think it's important for both aesthetics and for performance. Could also consider different or lighter handle materials, but I'd prefer tang tapering first and then materials second. I like the sturdy feel of the materials as it exists.

2. Slightly more rounding/polishing of the spine and choil, just to negate the (less than) 90 degree transition edge from blade to choile or blade to spine.

3. Include a saya. Leather would be awesome for this knife stylistically, I think. But for the price, and overall profile, this knife begs to have a nice, if classic/rustic, saya.

4. Consider a different steel to appeal to different audiences. Magnacut for stainless and monosteel White 1 for carbon? Or 52100? Lots of great options.

Specifications (from LivingSteel website):

SIZE

235mm / 9.25" Blade Length. 48mm / 1.9" Blade Height. 2.9mm Spine Width at Handle. 1mm Spine Width 1" from Tip. 360mm / 14.1" Overall Length. 7.2 oz / 204 g Total Weight.

MATERIAL

Blade of Uddelholms UHB20C carbon steel with forced patina finish. Handle of polished black Bakelite with polished solid brass bolsters and brass pins.
 

Chang

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Not gonna write as much as Jamie but here are my thoughts:

1) Grind is good. Sturdy, thin where it counts. Tip is a needle baby.

2.) Taper is good as well. Great weight and balance.

3) No problems with the fit and finish. Everything was flush.

4) Steel is heat treated properly. Nice bite and hardness in the edge. Easy to sharpen.

Now for the biggest con to me

It is waaaaay overpriced for what it is. $850 for a monosteel 1095 clone and a roughly etched finish? I’d pay like 300 max for something like this.

All in all, goodish knife, too much munnies.
 

ch_br

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The eagle has landed... safe and sound.

However, somewhere along the way the box took a bit of a beating. 🤕

20221117_144141.jpg
 
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Oh no! I added some packing materials in just to prevent it from moving around and probably tore it a bit when sliding the lid down on the box 😅 Knife is hopefully safe and sound inside with a shiny new cardboard saya.

Good to see it was delivered.
 
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Gregmega

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I just finished a slice of pizza with @ch_br and was serendipitously passed the knife just in time for thanksgiving prep. Looking forward to giving it a test run & wanted to extend a thank you to @thebradleycrew for your generosity on this pass around and C for driving across LA to hand deliver it. Thoughts will be posted in the coming days. 😊
 

ch_br

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@thebradleycrew .... Yes, thank you very much for putting this all together. Not only did you allow us to experience one of the knives from your vast stable, but you continually set a fine example as a distinguished and generous statesman for the community. 🧐

As @Gregmega mentioned I did hand off the knife directly in person and managed to beef up the packaging for future shipping.

I had a great hang with @Gregmega talking steel and forum stories. Perfect timing as I know he will put the knife through its paces, since I'm not making Thanksgiving for the first time in almost 10 years...

Lucky me, instead of making delicious Turkey day meal I get to help a family member move on Black Friday! 😒
 
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ch_br

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Now for my test drive and $.02 of the :
LivingSteel 626 Classic Chef Knife, LS235

When first holding the knife you instantly know its quality. Its built like a solid tank and it continually reminds you with the weight in the handle. Upon closer inspection you can see why with its construction: full tang with a solid brass bolster and pins.

The handle and spine were comfortable in use. The F&F is very nice, as you would expect.

The distal taper, paired with the grind, is a thing of beauty as the point terminates in thinness commonly seen in petty's. This needle like point allowed me to easily do some quick fine detail work with garlic and fine mincing of herbs for light Tuscan inspired egg breakfast after unboxing.

The next day the steel quickly pillaged through a small village of Yukon gold potatoes, leaving only thin translucent pieces of what used to be full root veg behind, in preparation for a nice tortilla España with Saturday morning coffee.

Next up, the juice bar. The blade and I whacked through veggies as if I was cutting my way through the jungles of the amazon on my quest to make some dark green juice.

Thick carrots, deep ruby beets, crisp celery, sharp fuyu persimmon, fresh yuzu, fragrant mint, ripe cucumber, and sharp apples all fell under the blade of the LS235. Admittedly, I well over-processed everything to give the steel more time in-hand. I mean, c'mon it's required to have thin translucent carrot medallions, julienned cucumber, and diced beets for perfect juicing practices... Riiight? 🤔🤔🤔

Don't worry all you devoted cornivores out there, the blade tasted blood, getting its Dexter Morgan on 🔪🔪🔪 when prepping and then slicing perfect medium rare medallions of Santa Maria Tri Tip dinner... Accompanied with a side of Balsamic, honey, Serrano, and smoked garlic Brussels, and some Yukon gold baked spuds.

20221118_191823.jpg


20221118_185050.jpg


Next day lunch, again the blade was the main suspect in allegedly removing some nice thin flesh medallions from the Tri-tip carcass for a lovely cold steak sandwich.

The crime scene was laid out over a rustic French baguette, with mandoline-thin style yellow onion and jalepeno slices, mayo, garlic mustard, and horseradish. It was a delicious mess.

20221119_112141.jpg


Overall the LivingSteel LS235 performed well in its daily driving adventures in my kitchen. I am a big fan of thin blades and this was fun to use as a versatile do it all steel.

Would I buy it for the price? Honestly, not likely. But, I can see why people might consider it, due to its one-knife-to-rule-them-all appeal for gen pop, along with its aesthetic appeal and ability to be a centerpiece of a kitchen, sparking conversation from visitors.

I am truly thankful for Jaime's @thebradleycrew generosity, time, and genuine interest in arranging this pass around. 🤟🤟🤟

I would love to be considered for any of your future passarounds. And next time I will take more/better pics. 📸

I had a crazy busy work week and scrambled to spend as much time with the blade as I could. Unfortunately though, time for pictures wasn't in the cards since I was prioritizing test driving time.

Enjoy the steel @Gregmega, I'm looking forward to your feedback🤙
 
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Now for my test drive and $.02 of the :
LivingSteel 626 Classic Chef Knife, LS235

When first holding the knife you instantly know its quality. Its built like a solid tank and it continually reminds you with the weight in the handle. Upon closer inspection you can see why with its construction: full tang with a solid brass bolster and pins.

The handle and spine were comfortable in use. The F&F is very nice, as you would expect.

The distal taper, paired with the grind, is a thing of beauty as the point terminates in thinness commonly seen in petty's. This needle like point allowed me to easily do some quick fine detail work with garlic and fine mincing of herbs for light Tuscan inspired egg breakfast after unboxing.

The next day the steel quickly pillaged through a small village of Yukon gold potatoes, leaving only thin translucent pieces of what used to be full root veg behind, in preparation for a nice tortilla España with Saturday morning coffee.

Next up, the juice bar. The blade and I whacked through veggies as if I was cutting my way through the jungles of the amazon on my quest to make some dark green juice.

Thick carrots, deep ruby beets, crisp celery, sharp fuyu persimmon, fresh yuzu, fragrant mint, ripe cucumber, and sharp apples all fell under the blade of the LS235. Admittedly, I well over-processed everything to give the steel more time in-hand. I mean, c'mon it's required to have thin translucent carrot medallions, julienned cucumber, and diced beets for perfect juicing practices... Riiight? 🤔🤔🤔

Don't worry all you devoted cornivores out there, the blade tasted blood, getting its Dexter Morgan on 🔪🔪🔪 when prepping and then slicing perfect medium rare medallions of Santa Maria Tri Tip dinner... Accompanied with a side of Balsamic, honey, Serrano, and smoked garlic Brussels, and some Yukon gold baked spuds.

View attachment 209987

View attachment 209989

Next day lunch, again the blade was the main suspect in allegedly removing some nice thin flesh medallions from the Tri-tip carcass for a lovely cold steak sandwich.

The crime scene was laid out over a rustic French baguette, with mandoline-thin style yellow onion and jalepeno slices, mayo, garlic mustard, and horseradish. It was a delicious mess.

View attachment 209986

Overall the LivingSteel LS235 performed well in is daily driving adventures in my kitchen. I am a big fan of thin blades and this was fun to use as a versatile do it all steel.

Would I buy it for the price? Honestlt, not likely. But I can see why people might consider it, due to its one-knife-to-rule-them-all appeal for gen pop, along with its aesthetic appeal and ability to be a centerpiece of a kitchen, sparking conversation from visitors.

I am truly thankful for Jaime's @thebradleycrew generosity, time, and genuine interest in arranging this pass around. 🤟🤟🤟

I would love to be considered for any of your future passarounds. And next time I will take more/better pics. 📸

I had a crazy busy work week and scrambled to spend as much time with the blade as I could. Unfortunately though, time for pictures wasn't in the cards since I was prioritizing test driving time.

Enjoy the steel @Gregmega, I'm looking forward to your feedback🤙
Awesome review!
 

Jovidah

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It's a shame the price is high; otherwise it looks like it could be an interesting 'western laser KS' judging by the profile / measurements. But the price will be quite a stretch for most.
 

Gregmega

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There’s no way my review is gonna match that one 😂😂😂. Starting some prep tomorrow so I’ll chime in…

Gotta say from first peek, it has a serious presence in hand. I believe I’m also seeing banding under the patina and machine finish- I bet this would polish up insanely well given its mono-steel composition.
 

Gregmega

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Hey y’all-

Looks like the Living Steel arrives tomorrow in Chicago to @kman94 on it’s next leg of the journey. I was very lucky to get the knife a couple days before thanksgiving and had a fairly good go of it over the course of two days… a few thoughts:

My first impression was rather warm- it’s a very well made knife, clearly its design has been toiled over as the details are all mostly well addressed. The craftsmanship appears at a high level at first glance, but there’s a few details that kept me from being completely won over by this knife.

Firstly and maybe most importantly- it came with a fresh edge courtesy of my previous pass-around colleague, and it cut well. I mostly slayed through mirepoix and herbs, and it performed well. Some light butchery- which the thin tip made easy work of- makes it feel fairly agile for a blade of its length. I didn’t spend enough time with it to know how the edge retention was, though it did feel like it degrades in a way like Sabs do- which is a kind of numb dulling. I imagine as a note of conjecture that this knife would love a honing rod.

The overall construction elements are what left me unconvinced. It’s a thin blade overall, a rather unimaginative grind that reminds me of a diet KS. It’s machine finished, though I’m willing to bet with a higher polish, you could pull an obscene amount of banding out as it’s a mono-steel, and I’m sure I saw some hiding in plain sight under the crude finish. The patina was reminiscent of a Sab, gray with blue purple clouds, very nice. The handle- while very well finished- is beautiful, but again rather uninspired, square-ish and heavy for the thin nature of the blade. The balance also had me thrown, heavier handles tend to require more effort and create fatigue as time goes on in my experience. The choil and spine are also left untouched and as such a bit sharp for longer prep sessions, they become more obvious the longer you use the knife. Fundamental and foundational details that just missed the mark for me.

I’d say my critique of this knife is peppered mostly with the perspective of its price tag- I did not intend to write a negative review, though as I read it back, I recognize it may seem that way. To be more clear, I think this knife is built for a different market- this is great knife for someone with a sizable discretionary spending budget and a desire to impress the uninitiated. Or perhaps one that hasn’t owned & obsessed over several hundred knives from top makers across the four corners. It does however feel like a knife that’s 10% away from being nearly prefect- if that makes any sense.

Thanks again to @thebradleycrew for his generosity, this one was a big question mark in my book that were it not for him, I’d likely have never crossed off.

97B9B697-97AB-486C-ABF2-B0C8746E9B17.jpeg
 
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Hey y’all-

Looks like the Living Steel arrives tomorrow in Chicago to @kman94 on it’s next leg of the journey. I was very lucky to get the knife a couple days before thanksgiving and had a fairly good go of it over the course of two days… a few thoughts:

My first impression was rather warm- it’s a very well made knife, clearly its design has been toiled over as the details are all mostly well addressed. The craftsmanship appears at a high level at first glance, but there’s a few details that kept me from being completely won over by this knife.

Firstly and maybe most importantly- it came with a fresh edge courtesy of my previous pass-around colleague, and it cut well. I mostly slayed through mirepoix and herbs, and it performed well. Some light butchery- which the thin tip made easy work of- makes it feel fairly agile for a blade of its length. I didn’t spend enough time with it to know how the edge retention was, though it did feel like it degrades in a way like Sabs do- which is a kind of numb dulling. I imagine as a note of conjecture that this knife would love a honing rod.

The overall construction elements are what left me unconvinced. It’s a thin blade overall, a rather unimaginative grind that reminds me of a diet KS. It’s machine finished, though I’m willing to bet with a higher polish, you could pull an obscene amount of banding out as it’s a mono-steel, and I’m sure I saw some hiding in plain sight under the crude finish. The patina was reminiscent of a Sab, gray with blue purple clouds, very nice. The handle- while very well finished- is beautiful, but again rather uninspired, square-ish and heavy for the thin nature of the blade. The balance also had me thrown, heavier handles tend to require more effort and create fatigue as time goes on in my experience. The choil and spine are also left untouched and as such a bit sharp for longer prep sessions, they become more obvious the longer you use the knife. Fundamental and foundational details that just missed the mark for me.

I’d say my critique of this knife is peppered mostly with the perspective of its price tag- I did not intend to write a negative review, though as I read it back, I recognize it may seem that way. To be more clear, I think this knife is built for a different market- this is great knife for someone with a sizable discretionary spending budget and a desire to impress the uninitiated. Or perhaps one that hasn’t owned & obsessed over several hundred knives from top makers across the four corners. It does however feel like a knife that’s 10% away from being nearly prefect- if that makes any sense.

Thanks again to @thebradleycrew for his generosity, this one was a big question mark in my book that were it not for him, I’d likely have never crossed off.

View attachment 211858
Thanks for the great write up @Gregmega - this was awesome.
 

Hockey3081

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Hey y’all-

The choil and spine are also left untouched and as such a bit sharp for longer prep sessions, they become more obvious the longer you use the knife. Fundamental and foundational details that just missed the mark for me.

I’d say my critique of this knife is peppered mostly with the perspective of its price tag- I did not intend to write a negative review, though as I read it back, I recognize it may seem that way. To be more clear, I think this knife is built for a different market- this is great knife for someone with a sizable discretionary spending budget and a desire to impress the uninitiated. Or perhaps one that hasn’t owned & obsessed over several hundred knives from top makers across the four corners. It does however feel like a knife that’s 10% away from being nearly prefect- if that makes any sense.

I will never understand this miss, especially at this price point. Simplistically speaking, rounding off a choil and spine takes 2-3 minutes on a 220 belt so I’ve never understood why this is something some makers refuse to do.
 
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MowgFace

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I will never understand this miss, especially at this price point. Simplistically speaking, sounding off a choil and spine takes 2-3 minutes on a 220 belt so I’ve never understood why this is something some makers refuse to do.

I'm with you on this. Seen the entire spine rounding done on a 4x36 scotch brite belt in like 20 seconds.

Though i forgot who said it, but pro status would be to round only the dominant spine corner so you still have the scrape-ablility with the other spine edge.
 
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