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Miyabi 240mm Birchwood Gyuto

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JohnnyChance

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Miyabi Birchwood 5000 MCD 240mm Gyuto/9.5" Chef's Knife
MSRP at Sur La Table is $299.95. After employee discount: $179.97

I have been using this knife at home and work for a few weeks now, and I really really like it. I have previously used a 10" Miyabi Fusion Morimoto as a line knife and loved that one as well. I know Miyabis don't get as much street cred because they are sold at SLT and owned by Zwilling J.A. Henckels, but they have treated me well. They may not be the tremendous value of some knives you can order, but their value is leaps and bounds ahead of any other SLT or Williams-Sonoma knife line. You get the additional benefit of being able to see and handle them in person if you have a store near you. And SLT has a ridiculous return policy. If for any reason, at any time, you no longer care for something they sold you, they will take it back. Often without a receipt (if it is clearly an SLT exclusive). Okay, enough about Miyabi/SLT on to the pictures.

Comes in a nice box:


Hand wash? Good thing they put that sticker there, I was planning on washing it with my feet.


Steel is SG2. Handle is Birchwood (obviously). The birchwood is NOT stabilized, so you should treat it with oil or wax or KY or whatever you like to use on raw wood.


Her measurements:


Top to Bottom: DT ITK 270mm, Sakai Yusuke 240mm, Miyabi Birchwood 240mm:


I am a 270 guy myself, so I didn't have many other 240s to compare to. But it is a true 240mm along the edge. The profile is also flatter than it appears in the pictures. It looks curved all the way from tip to heel, but there is a good 3" or so of flat starting about 1" from the heel. And the heel comes up just under 1mm in that last inch. I push cut and rock, especially at work where boards aren't always dead flat.

Some shots of the blade and edge:









From the measurements, you can see the spine has a gradual taper for the from the handle and up about 3/4 of the blade and then a more dramatic one in the last quarter to tip.



Choil:


I really like the handle. Like I said before, it is untreated birchwood, in a slightly modified D shape. It has more taper than most D handles, and I would say easily the most comfortable D handle I have used. And it doesn't look too shabby either.





Fit and Finish was quite good. I have heard of people having issues with theirs, but mine had no flaws. And luckily, if you do have issues, SLT will return or exchange it no problem.



Interestingly, the spine and choil were not quite fully rounded, unlike the cheaper Fusion/Morimoto line. I used some emory cloth to round them a bit more in a few minutes (my DT ITK has spoiled me).

Performance wise, I have had no problems. Takes a very nice edge, and seems to hold it pretty well. At work I use this knife and my DT ITK equally, about 90% of the time, and a 300mm Hiro AS Suji the other 10% of the time. I sharpen all 3 on my days off. I rarely feel the need to strop or hone (Mac Black Ceramic Rod) the Miyabi or DT during the week.

Of the three, I think this one experiences the least amount of wedging when it comes to sweet potatoes (and similar items), which I have been cutting frequently. Hiro by far is the most, the DT almost indistinguishably worse than the Miyabi. Overall, I enjoy using it nearly as much as my DT.

At $300, it isn't the most affordable gyuto out there, and it certainly puts it at or above the price of several heavyweights and forum favorites. It is a crowded price point for sure, and may not be the best value, but I think should be considered none-the-less. At least you can check it out in person and/or return it. And for me, at $180, it is pretty hard to beat.
 

99Limited

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I saw these knives when they first came out and I thought they were pretty handsome looking. Do you think the handle will be prone to staining over the course of a year's worth of use?
 

JohnnyChance

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I saw these knives when they first came out and I thought they were pretty handsome looking. Do you think the handle will be prone to staining over the course of a year's worth of use?
The first week using it at work I didn't treat it with anything and it didn't stain. Since then I have been using Boos Block Mineral Oil on it and it has just felt or seemed more resistant. If you take care of it and are a bit careful, like the care you would take with a carbon blade, I don't think you would have a problem with staining. If you were careless and stirred your tomato sauce with the handle, I am sure you could stain it.
 

Flounce

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Beautiful. Handle looks infinitely better than the 240mm Miyabi 7000MC, which I just ordered from cutleryandmore.com for $179.

My interest is mainly in the ZDP-189. These days, if i was gonna drop $300 on a gyuto, I'd be getting the Konosuke Fujiyama in White #2.
 

Jim

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Very nice write up! Thank you.
 

Lefty

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Great info. Thanks a lot!
I'm one of those weirdos who actually still likes Henckels very much. You can't argue with their HT or F and F. They've really hit the nail on the head with Miyabi (if you ask me).
SG2 at $179 is a very nice treat, if it cooperates.
My only question is, have you had any issue with chipping? I know many worry about it with SG2 (which is one hell of a "stainless")
As far as stains on the handle are concerned, I personally like when grips, handles, equipment gets personalized through usage. You should see the handle on my putter...a thing of beauty!
 

JohnnyChance

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Great info. Thanks a lot!
I'm one of those weirdos who actually still likes Henckels very much. You can't argue with their HT or F and F. They've really hit the nail on the head with Miyabi (if you ask me).
SG2 at $179 is a very nice treat, if it cooperates.
My only question is, have you had any issue with chipping? I know many worry about it with SG2 (which is one hell of a "stainless")
As far as stains on the handle are concerned, I personally like when grips, handles, equipment gets personalized through usage. You should see the handle on my putter...a thing of beauty!
I haven't had any chipping with it at all. I haven't broke down chickens or beef with it, but I did break down a few whole fluke with it. It came from the factory with about an 18 degree edge.

I also have a Shun Kramer 8" Chefs Knife (Western Handle/SLT Version) which I believe also has an SG2 core, and it chipped like crazy, especially out of the box. After putting my own edge on it, it chips less, but still frequently.
 

sel1k1

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:headbang: Great write up, I stumbled across this when I was searching Google for the Sakai Yusuke! Really great review, excellent pics, specs pic is nice. Will you be using mineral or tung oil for the handle? I wanted to ask how do you like your Sakai Yusuke? Is it much lighter and thinner than the Birchwood? I am enjoying mine, now that I found a good one. I don't know why I had such bad luck with the first few.

Crazy, I was searching for the Sakai and found this! :lol2:
 

JohnnyChance

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:headbang: Great write up, I stumbled across this when I was searching Google for the Sakai Yusuke! Really great review, excellent pics, specs pic is nice. Will you be using mineral or tung oil for the handle? I wanted to ask how do you like your Sakai Yusuke? Is it much lighter and thinner than the Birchwood? I am enjoying mine, now that I found a good one. I don't know why I had such bad luck with the first few.

Crazy, I was searching for the Sakai and found this! :lol2:
Glad we could lure you in, even if indirectly. Here is my old review of the Sakai:

I got a few knives from some of the usual eBay sellers that offer some good deals on Japanese knives. This is the first, a Sakai 240mm Wa-Gyuto in white no.2 steel from bluewayjapan. Just some pictures and measurements for anyone else looking into these. And a few comments thrown in for good measure.

Right clicking on photos and clicking open image will open a larger version.



From left to right; Devin Thomas ITK 270mm, Miyabi Fusion 10”, Sakai 240mm. I don't own any other 240mm gyutos:


The usual measurements. Fairly thin:

A link to an ever bigger version of this photo, helps see the text:
https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/Uh-wTW4RUJ7TsNgKmwGn6rgEZvhfvdfZbGipMPp9qzA?feat=directlink

Weight is pretty dainty by my standards. It is also a little blade heavy. The handle feels light and hollow. The fit and finish on the handle is very good, it is smooth, the wood and horn are in good shape, but I find the corners on the octagonal handle too sharp. A few minutes with some medium and fine grit paper on a sanding block should ease them enough to make it nice and comfy:


Some choil shots. The choil is very smooth, nicely rounded. The comparison shot has the 270mm DT ITK on the left, Sakai 240mm on the right:



These next two show where the handle meets the blade and the spine. The spine is like the choil, rounded and smooth. Where the handle meets the blade is also very nice. The transition between horn, wood, and the glue holding it together is perfectly smooth. No voids, no food getting stuck in there:



You might have been able to tell from the measurements that there is a pretty good distal taper, here are some pictures trying to show that:



One of the problems some might have with this knife is the profile. It is not as flat as most of us here prefer. The Miyabi Fusion actually has a slightly flatter profile. If you rock a little, I don't think you would have a problem with it. If you cut straight up and down like you would with a nakiri or cleaver then this wouldn't work for you:



I have not sharpened it yet, but I am not really expecting any surprises, it is white steel after all. It was quite sharp OOTB, one of the best factory edges I have ever seen. You could easily get by just stropping to touch up the edge, and being thin of course helps it feel sharp.
The Sakai is much lighter and thinner than the Birchwood. Mine is also carbon, not stainless. They are really completely different animals. I use the Sakai frequently at home, it is a monster on onions since it is so thin. I am in the process of thinning it and fixing the belly so it is a little flatter.
 

Amon-Rukh

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Nice review/write-up! I took the opportunity to check one of these out the last time I was at slt and I was really pleasantly surprised. Your review seems to echo a lot of my first impressions. Unfortunatly I don't get an employee discount, and since I'm already saving up for some different knives this one will have to wait!
 

sel1k1

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Very nice. The Sakai looks the same and is from the same shop on ebay, but the handle they are putting on it now looks different. I searched for the thread but could not find it. Another epic write up. :thumbsup:
 

bkdc

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Thanks for the review. Please keep us updated on the steel performance I'm definitely interested in this one. I really like the geometry and balance on my Miyabi 7000MC 240 gyuto, so I'm definitely interested in its SG-2 counterpart. All SG-2's are definitely not created equal. Sharpening my Asai SG-2 is not quite as difficult as sharpening ZDP-189, but it's tedious. Thank goodness for the Edge Pro. When I sharpen my Shun Elite, steel comes off fast as if I'm sharpening carbon steel.
 

Crothcipt

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I seemed to have missed this in my trolling through old threads. Great write up, I bought 2 of these from Son in jan. 240 gyuto, and 6" chutoh to give away. I liked them and really didn't want to see them part. But they are off to good homes. I never saw any chipping. I did have a edge roll over at one time, but it was easy to fix.
 

Mr.Magnus

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got the MCD 7000 here. just got them so i havent had time to try them out yet. Powdersteel is calld MC66 and got 132 layers of damascus, ice-hardened at -196°C. HRC 65-67






 

99Limited

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got the MCD 7000 here. just got them so i havent had time to try them out yet. Powdersteel is calld MC66 and got 132 layers of damascus, ice-hardened at -196°C. HRC 65-67
The core steel is actually ZDP-189 which is a really nice steel. Hope you enjoy these two knives. I've been wanting to try the 7000 MCD gyuto. Just never got around to pulling the trigger.
 

Mr.Magnus

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yeah the steel is very hard. Im gonna sharpen it on a low angle and see if the edge holds up nice when i got the time. i payd 250 for them NIB so i could not resist giving them a try since retail is 800 lol. but i must say the handle is not very good cant get a nice ferm gripp on them.thay are to round and almost like holding a babyoild stripper pole when you get some work done.
 
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