Mutsumi Hinoura or Wakui 270?

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Sep 25, 2021
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I wanna join the big boy club and I was thinking of grabbing a Hinoura or a Wakui 270 Gyuto.
Specifically I am thinking about those knives:
I've got 2 Yoshikanes, which are a bit similar to Wakui? Even tho I like my Yoshis, buying another Yoshi in disguise isn't something that I consider a plus. Experiencing different grinds and makers is something that intrigues me. From what I've seen online, Hinoura is hollow ground. I've read somewhere that it's nicely executed, but I guess polishing with stones will be a no go for a while.

How's the heat treatment on those? I don't believe it's on the harder side of white #2, like Mazaki's.

I am sure that I won't be disappointed with either of them, but I would love to hear your thoughts. Also, if you some other recommendations for EU customers (I don't wanna mess with imports, customs can be a PITA and I don't wanna deal with that) I would like to hear them.

I don’t own any Yoshikane knives, but I do have a Wakui gyuto from the same series that you linked, and I also have a few knives from Mutsumi Hinoura. Based on pictures, it does seem like a Yoshikane would be more similar to that Wakui than one of those Hinoura knives. Knives from Yoshikane and Wakui both seem to have higher bevels than knives from Mutsumi Hinoura. With the lower bevels on my M. Hinoura knives, I feel like they offer better food release and slightly worse wedging when compared to my Wakui. I think that either of the M. Hinoura knives that you linked above will be a nice contrast to the Yoshikane knives that you have. I can send some choil shots (or anything else) tomorrow if you think that would be helpful. The grind on M. Hinoura knives seem to vary a bit. Some are close to flat, while others are clearly hollow. I have done a stone finish on one of my M. Hinoura knives, and getting the low spots was a bit of work, but it wasn’t bad. I hope that this was helpful, and if I got something wrong, another more experienced forum member can correct me.
From what I've seen, Hinoura tends to be thicker higher up the grind. For the most part they were relatively flat grind up to a shinogi around 15mm from the edge. The spine doesnt taper nearly as much as Wakui or Yoshikane. I really like the taller "neck" in the Hinoura compared to Wakui as I feel it's really comfortable for me.

Wakui grinds behind the edge are similar for the KU versions. However, with more taper on the spine, it also means less thickness as you go up the blade compared to Hinoura. The migaki versions of Wakui have very different grinds which are overall thinner and more convex. Wakui tends to have nicer rounding of the spine/choil area for their models.

Both makers are generally very forward balanced. I think the Wakui profile is one of the best out there with a perfect balance of flat and curve. Hinoura has a bit more belly. But I really dig the hammered finish Hinoura (regular KU I'm less crazy about). Wakui grind on the KU is also not my favorite, despite really enjoying the profile. So if I had to choose from the ones you selected, it would be the Hinoura hammered, but just take some time to round out the spine and choil yourself.
I didn't jibe with Hinoura, but there's no doubt it's a very nice knife. Also quite different from Wakui.

Hammered Hinoura is a sort of S-grind--there's a forged hollow on the bladeface and, if memory serves, a slight concave grind at the bladeroad. Notable asymmetry. Noticeable shoulders. Thicker where the tang enters the handle, then a relatively linear distal taper, then stronger taper late to a very thin tip. Excellent balance. Very thin BTE. Hard, and IME a tad micro-chippy. I had two--and I'd swear that both were ground for lefties because the flatter side of the knife was on the right not the left, and the sharper shoulder was on the right too.

Wakui is in the Yoshikane vein, but I think sometimes this can be over-stated (Yoshi has a pretty distinctive profile and Wakui tends to go a bit taller and with a bit less flat spot). The pedigree is clear but there are differences too. I can't comment on the one you linked since I haven't tried his wide-bevel stuff. But rest assured Wakui makes very good, very consistent stuff at an excellent value.
As always, thank you! Your insights were very helpful. I've sent a couple of DMs to Cleancut for a Hinoura choil shot, but they seem to be busy and haven't replied yet. Now that asymmetry was mentioned I want even more to check out the choil shot before I decide on which to grab. I've seen some choil shots that are really concave ground and pretty thin, but some others that are a bit thicker. I guess I have to wait for Cleancut's reply to clarify things about Hinoura's grind.

Honestly, Wakui seems like a safe bet. Worst case scenario the KU version isn't as thin as the migaki and needs some thinning, but I would do some bevel work sooner or later.

The fact that Hinoura is on the harder side like Mazaki, is a pro in my books. Also the fact about the existence of a lot of banding seems really appealing.

Once again, thanks everyone for taking the time to share your thoughts with me!
One more thing, if you want to polish, note that the Hinoura has iron cladding while the Wakui has stainless.
One more thing, if you want to polish, note that the Hinoura has iron cladding while the Wakui has stainless.
Oh damn, for some reason I assumed that Wakui was iron clad. Thanks for pointing that out. Haven't tried to polish stainless and I have no idea how that's gonna go.