Review: Kajibei Nakiri 165 mm Aogami #2

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This is a first impressions review and specs for a newly aquired knife. I hope to come back with more impressions once I have used it more.

The knife in question is the Kajibei 165mm Nakiri with the cutting edge in Aogami #2 steel and with a discreet damascus cladding going over into kurouchi higher up on the blade. It was purchased from Cleancut in Sweden in February 2022 (fully of my own money, I have not gotten any incentives to do this). I paid in swedish currency, but on the international page it's listed at just under 114 EUR at the moment.

International store link here: Nakiri

First off, my qualifications. I have none. I am nothing more than a hobbyist whose outlay on kitchen knives has considerably outpaced his talent to use them. I will say I have owned and sold around 10 high end knives, so I feel like I have a decent baseline for comparison. This is however my first nakiri. This is my first review of this kind and any concrete feedback to make the text or the pictures is welcome. :)

Measurements:

Weight: 152 grams

Total length: 311mm
Handle length: 127 mm
Blade from handle to tip: 184mm
Cutting edge length: 156mm

Spine thickness over the heel: 3,9 mm
Spine thickness at the middle of the blade: 1,7 mm
Spine thickness near the tip: 1,5 mm

Blade thickness 10mm from the edge near the heal: 1,5 mm
Blade thickness 10mm from the edge at the middle of the blade: 1,4 mm
Blade thickness 10mm from the edge near the tip: 1,3 mm

Blade height at heel: 52,5 mm
Blade height at end of cutting edge: 49 mm

My knife:

Kajibei 1.jpg


This knife was purchased on a whim when I saw them available. Kajibei knives (Kaji-bei in some stores it seems) are new to me and at my local dealer (Cleancut) the shirogami versions sells around a hundred Euros and the aogami slightly more.

Once I received the knife, i cleaned the blade of what I think was a protective coat and started using it. The first impression is that is is a really nice, light and nimble knife and out of the box it is really sharp. I have not yet put it on the stones, but as I said I hope to come back with that. The general feeling is of a well built budget knife. The handle of chestnut with a plastic bolster is quite simple but nice to hold. The blade itself gives the impression that the maker has focused on performance, not looks. The tone in the kurouchi is not very even, and there was a couple of small scratches and other marks in the damascus part of the blade. The edge itself is however flawless and it cuts like a dream.

The profile is quite flat and even though I failed to take a picture of it it is almost totaly flat from close to the heel to about 2/3 of the way to the tip. When placing a light source behind the blade, I can see that there is a small leak of light in the middle of this flat part, perhals 0,25mm or so, but I have yet to discover any problems when cutting despite this. I assume that I will fix or make this worse in upcoming sharpening sessions.

The spine of the blade shows a tapering from 4mm at the heel to just under 2 mm for most of the blade:

Kajibei 2.jpg


To me, the knife feels almost like a laser, it glides through veggies thick and thin without problem and no wedging so far even on thicker carrots. I have noticed some food sticktion when cutting thin and thereby light slices of e.g. carrot or tomato, but it's not worse than the average knife. I tried taking a coil shot too:

Kajibei 3.jpg


As the heel is significantly thicker than most of the blade, I don't think this is really representative of the geometry but it's the best I can do.

On the whole and this far, I'm quite satisfied with the purchase. Cleancut was a joy to shop from as always and the knife itself seems well worth the money so far. A few more pics:

Kajibei 4.jpg

Kajibei 5.jpg

Kajibei 6.jpg
 
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I've seen these at a few vendors and have been curious about them, so thanks for the review.

How are you finding the reactivity of the damsacus?
 
A bit of my experience with the Shiro 2 version of these knives - similar experience, feels great in hand for the cost of the knife. Steel gets wonderfully sharp and the cladding (soft iron, not suminagashi) and core polish up quite easily. Geometry seems thick but a small thinning & bevel evening and the blade cuts extremely well, even through denser veg. The shiro2 is a bit chippy though, and the handle is about the quality you'd expect for <$100. Great value pick though, and I find myself reaching for it more than I'd expect.
 
I’d really, really love to see a side-by-side comparison between the Kajibei and Kyohei Shindo nakiris. My finger has hovered above the buy button for both knives on multiple occasions. (Add a Sasanoka or Shiro Kamo Shinko Seilan for additional interest…)
 
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