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aikon2020

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Whats the word on this steel? As good or better than SG2/R2? Edge retention? Sharpening?

I was interested about the Akifusa 240 gyuto in SRS15. Apparently HRC 64-65.

Worth it? Its a bit pricy, but I love the Akifusa AS which looks pretty much the same but different steel, so I'm already familiar with the knife shape/form/pattern.
 

Helicon

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My experience with SRS15 steel is very positive. I own the Akifusa 240 wa-gyuto you mention, and its edge retention and (somewhat surprisingly) toughness are exemplary. It can also hold and maintain a pretty narrow edge bevel. Mine is usually set at about 12° per side, 24° inclusive, with a small microbevel, as well. It can handle an even narrower edge bevel, but for the sake of longevity this is my preferred approach.

From what I've read SRS15 is as fine-grained as SG2 and possibly tougher, which jibes with my experience. It's also not terribly difficult to sharpen. Probably SRS15 and HAP40 are my favorite HS/powdered steels, given their combination of edge retention, low reactivity, toughness and ease of sharpening. The only real downsides to the knife itself are the relatively short blade height, which isn't optimal if you have large hands; it's also fairly laser-y, with sub-par food release.

Worth reading this review from many years ago if you haven't already: Akifusa(Ikeda) Gyuto 240mm(9.5
 

aikon2020

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Thanks for the opinions!

I still haven't decided what next knife will be, maybe I just go for another Takamura R2, but it would be fun to try something else as well! And the SRS15 Akifusa looks really nice!
 

aikon2020

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The only thing that is meking me question the Akifusa is the height of the blade, on the other hand, the height on the Takamura is also very narrow for it's size imo, that being said, I do enjoy the AS version of the knife, and I suppose that its pretty much the same knife but in SRS15 instead and the hardness of 64-65 probably make it last for many decades for me. Hmmm... But I do enjoy the laserness of the Takamura immensely...
Hmm...

Anything anyone can say about sharpening the SRS15 at such hardness?

Its a hard call.
 

Nemo

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Buy a maker, not a steel.

IME, SRS15 performs fairly similarly to R2 despite being harder. I'm not convinced that I could tell the difference in sharpening or in use, except that the cladding if SRS15 is very soft. So soft that it will scratch in normal use.

I have never chipped an R2 or SRS15 knife but I have tipped an Akifusa. Having said that, I dropped the Akifusa 1.5m and have never repeated the experiment with an R2 knife.

I'd be surprised if SRS15 is tougher given its softer cladding but in normal use both are adequately tough. Dropping a knife does not constitute normal use IMO, even though I strongly advocate never trying to catch one that has neen dropped. No knife is worth your fingers.

TLDR: Buy which ever of these you like best. SRS15 is a good steel but so is R2. They perfom reasonably similarly.

Akifusa is a decent knife as well. Moderate curve to the profile. My 210 is not super tall, not sure about the 240. Thin but not a laser. Slightly convexed grind. Spine and choil are completely un-eased. Not difficult to fix with some W&D sandpaper and about 10 minutes (obviously being superncareful not to cut yourself while performing this upgrade).
 
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chiffonodd

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I have an akifusa srs15 and the steel feels crazy surgical, if that makes sense. A bit "cold" or "bloodless" and very hard at ~64HrC. But not difficult to sharpen. Takes and holds a wicked edge and can accommodate fairly extreme edge geometries. I haven't had any microchipping since the initial factory edge.
 

Helicon

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Buy a maker, not a steel.
This is an unusual argument to make in this particular instance if for no other reason than that there's only one maker of SRS15 kitchen knives. They may be branded Akifusa or Ikeda or Harukaze or Kagero, but it's still the same manufacturer.

If you want a knife with SRS15 steel, there is only one option of "maker".

Further, I think SRS15 does have some demonstrable advantages over SG2/R2, particularly in terms of *not* microchipping as readily, which is likely a consequence of the steel itself being tougher despite having comparable/higher HRC.
 

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I have the Gesshin version of the Akifusa 240. It used to be my daily driver on the prep board. I hadnt used it in a while because I have been rotating in some new knives. Coincidentally I picked it up yesterday for the first time in several months. I had touched it up before I put it in my bag, but not taking it through a whole progression. As soon as I cut my first onion it brought a smile to my face. It takes a great edge, and pretty easily. It falls through food. I was even working with some beets yesterday (caught me red handed) and it didnt feel the slightest bit wedgy. I have nothing but great things to say about this steel, and that knife.
 

dafox

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I have the Epic Edge version of this knife, the Akifusa, in 210 and 240, I also have the Takamura red handle in 180 and 210, I find myself reaching for the Takamuras more often than the Akifusas. The A 210 seems small, short, I like the height of the T 210 more. I do like the undersized feel of the A 240 tho, I'm a 210 guy but when I want a 240 for doing larger jobs like a gallon of salsa I'm glad to have it.
The Akifusa is one of those rare Japanese knives that is western handled, thicker at the bolster, and has a very pronounced distal taper, the Ryusen Blazen is another knife like that. I looked around at all of the available versions of the knives similar to the Akifusa but it is the only one I found that has that thicker spine near the bolster, and I believe it's no longer being made.
 

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This is an unusual argument to make in this particular instance if for no other reason than that there's only one maker of SRS15 kitchen knives. They may be branded Akifusa or Ikeda or Harukaze or Kagero, but it's still the same manufacturer.

If you want a knife with SRS15 steel, there is only one option of "maker".

Further, I think SRS15 does have some demonstrable advantages over SG2/R2, particularly in terms of *not* microchipping as readily, which is likely a consequence of the steel itself being tougher despite having comparable/higher HRC.
I think what Nemo is saying between the 2 knives buy the one that works better for you or seems better and don't worry that one is srs15 and the other sg2, since they are similar enough. Of course if you just want to try srs15 then like you correctly pointed out you basically have one option. In theory and maybe in practice srs15 should be tougher, but sg2 is used by many makers and srs15 by only one. There might be cases that someone heat treats sg2 to be tougher, who would know.
 

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I think what Nemo is saying between the 2 knives buy the one that works better for you or seems better and don't worry that one is srs15 and the other sg2, since they are similar enough.
Perhaps this is what he meant to write, but it's not what he wrote. And I think it's important to emphasize distinctions between steels, rather than glossing over them. There are vast differences between ZDP-189 and HAP40, as well, and I would never encourage someone to pretend they're equivalent or "similar enough." It's also an odd stance to take when many posters on this forum would happily (and have) spent ages debating the relative merits of W#2 from different makers, never mind comparing W#2 with B#2.
 

Barmoley

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Perhaps this is what he meant to write, but it's not what he wrote. And I think it's important to emphasize distinctions between steels, rather than glossing over them. There are vast differences between ZDP-189 and HAP40, as well, and I would never encourage someone to pretend they're equivalent or "similar enough." It's also an odd stance to take when many posters on this forum would happily (and have) spent ages debating the relative merits of W#2 from different makers, never mind comparing W#2 with B#2.
Interesting paradigm isn't it to argue over different heat treats of wh2 and then also say that most steels are the same and most users won't be able to tell the difference..... We are guilty of this around here, no doubt. There is a point to what Nemo is saying though. Knife, especially a kitchen knife is more than the steel. Other attributes of a knife can play a more significant role than the steel. Steel is easy in a sense that in most cases you know what it is. The rest of it is much harder, so people new to kitchen knives concentrate too much on the steel and miss the forest for the trees so to speak. It is a valid advice to pick the maker/knife and not the steel. Once a steel is good enough it is good, you can play with different steels once you figure out what you like.
 

Nemo

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This is an unusual argument to make in this particular instance if for no other reason than that there's only one maker of SRS15 kitchen knives. They may be branded Akifusa or Ikeda or Harukaze or Kagero, but it's still the same manufacturer.

If you want a knife with SRS15 steel, there is only one option of "maker".
Not at all.

OP was musing on whether to buy another Takamura Pro in R2 or an Akifusa in SRS15. As outlined later in my post:

TLDR: Buy which ever of these you like best. SRS15 is a good steel but so is R2. They perfom reasonably similarly.
The point of my comment, as Barmoley has said, is that there are many things beyond the steel composition that makes a great knife. Geometry, profile, taper, fit and finish, not to mention heat treatment are all determined by the knifemaker(s). Given that the steels perform similarly well, my point was that the OP should take those into consideration more than precise steel type/ composition.

There is not only one "Maker" of SRS15. Takeshi Saji and possibly others at Takefu use SRS15 and SRS13. A lot of people assume that all other SRS15 knives in the Akifusa bullnose shape come from the same factory. Possibly this is true but possibly not. I have never seen convincing proof, even though the profiles and grinds appear quite similar. Perhaps you have some inside knowledge about the Japanese knifemaking industry to enlighten us with?

Further, I think SRS15 does have some demonstrable advantages over SG2/R2, particularly in terms of *not* microchipping as readily, which is likely a consequence of the steel itself being tougher despite having comparable/higher HRC.
Your experience with these steels is noted and is a valuable data point, even if it differs a little from mine. I will reiterate that I think that SRS15 can be a very good knife steel.

Try as I might, I can't seen to find spec sheets or experiments outlining toughness at various HRC. I'm interested about where you found the data that SRS15 at 65 HRC is tougher than R2 at 63?
 
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DavidPF

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the steel feels crazy surgical, if that makes sense. A bit "cold" or "bloodless"
When I read this, I get the impression that you might be saying the knife was stiffer and less flexible than you'd expect just from looking at it. ? Like, stiff even when not that thick.
 

Nemo

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Perhaps this is what he meant to write, but it's not what he wrote.
Respectfully disagree. In the context of choosing between knives from different makers in diffierent steels (albeit with similar properties), saying "buy a maker, not a steel" and later saying "TLDR: Buy which ever of these you like best. SRS15 is a good steel but so is R2. They perfom reasonably similarly" means 'choose based on how much you like the other things the knife has to offer. Both steels are good'.

And I think it's important to emphasize distinctions between steels, rather than glossing over them. There are vast differences between ZDP-189 and HAP40, as well, and I would never encourage someone to pretend they're equivalent or "similar enough." It's also an odd stance to take when many posters on this forum would happily (and have) spent ages debating the relative merits of W#2 from different makers, never mind comparing W#2 with B#2.
Yes. And we should put those distinctions in context as well.

SRS15 and R2 are not ZDP189 and HAP40. I have not sharpened ZDP189, but IME, HAP40 is not as easy to get very sharp as either SRS15 or R2, which are pretty similar in this regard.

I don't think it's an odd stance to take to pay more attention to the maker than the steel when the maker's heat treatment of the steel has such an important effect on the steel's properties.
 

chiffonodd

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When I read this, I get the impression that you might be saying the knife was stiffer and less flexible than you'd expect just from looking at it. ? Like, stiff even when not that thick.
@DavidPF I was referring to how the steel feels when sharpening and on the board. For whatever reason, it just feels like a surgical instrument. In contrast, something like w#2 has kinda a warm, more organic feel. Hard to explain but that's how it feels to me! 🤷‍♂️🤷‍♂️
 

DavidPF

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@DavidPF I was referring to how the steel feels when sharpening and on the board. For whatever reason, it just feels like a surgical instrument. In contrast, something like w#2 has kinda a warm, more organic feel. Hard to explain but that's how it feels to me! 🤷‍♂️🤷‍♂️
👍 Sometimes that's just how it is, I get that. We notice a lot that we don't exactly realize we're noticing.
 

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There is not only one "Maker" of SRS15. Takeshi Saji and possibly others at Takefu use SRS15 and SRS13. A lot of people assume that all other SRS15 knives in the Akifusa bullnose shape come from the same factory. Possibly this is true but possibly not. I have never seen convincing proof, even though the profiles and grinds appear quite similar. Perhaps you have some inside knowledge about the Japanese knifemaking industry to enlighten us with?
Unless you have new information, everything I've read suggests there is a single maker of SRS15 kitchen knives – it's proprietary/exclusive. Other makers such as Saji and Nigara may use SRS13, but it's about as similar to SRS15 as White #2 is to White #1. SRS15 contains 1.5% carbon, while SRS13 contains 1.3% carbon – not an insignificant difference. To elide these differences with PM steels but emphasize them with Hitachi steels seems somewhat simplistic, no?
Given that the steels perform similarly well
This is a dubious claim at best, considering most experts (including Jon at JKI) agree that SRS15 is less chippy than SG2/R2 at similar or even higher HRC.
 
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Helicon

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buy a maker, not a steel
This mantra gets repeated fairly often, and perhaps it's valid when considering the various bladesmiths using Hitachi high carbon steels, different grinds/profiles, etc. But when PM and HSS are discussed more often than not the differences between steels themselves are downplayed or dismissed. I'm not sure why this should be the case, and it's somewhat baffling. Few people, for example, would likely claim that White #1 and Blue #2 are nearly identical in performance, even if forged by the same smith.

I was using the comparison between ZDP-189 vs HAP40 as an extreme case. They are often mentioned as alternatives to one another, but I find them quite different in practice – both to sharpen and to use. And FWIW I vastly prefer the latter, as well.
 
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DavidPF

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Buy a maker, not a steel.
Both are wrong. Don't buy a steel, because any steel can be used poorly. Don't buy a maker, because every maker fails sometimes. Buy a knife. Buy what you're buying, not something else.

If you can't judge the knife directly and need to use other criteria, then it's just as wrong to exclude the steel from consideration as it is to exclude the maker, the retailer, or anything else.

"Buy a maker, not a steel" is always just empty words - at best. At worst, it's misleading.
 

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It's not that you guys are totally incorrect, but you are sort of missing the good advice you were given. A knife is more than the sum of its parts. You can have an amazing knife in wh2 and a crappy one in rex121. Yes the later will hold it's edge longer if sharpened correctly, but it wouldn't matter and you won't care. If you could get exactly the same knife in different steels then steel would be the most important differentiator. With kitchen knives you rarely can get 2 exactly same knives in different steels. So srs15 and SG2 are not the same steel, but since only one type of gyuto comes in srs15, unless you like that knife you are out of luck. So srs15 is good steel and if you like the knife made in it go for it. SG2 is good steel and if you like a knife in it go for that. SRS15 and SG2 don't intersect in the same knife so when making a knife buying decision, steel should not be the main reason to buy one over the other. For example, Sukenari exists in YXR7, HAP40, ZDP-189 and some others. Since some of these are very similar knives, now you can make a decision purely based on the steel that you prefer.
 

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I'm not certain we're missing anything. David's point above is apt. The whole knife must be considered – the steel, heat treatment, grind, profile, handle, fit & finish, etc. Focusing on one aspect above all others is pure silliness. It's as bizarrely reductive to say, "buy the steel, not the maker" as it is to say, "buy a maker, not a steel."

But if you weigh the options and discover that you like the knife with SRS15 as much as the knife with SG2, it's perfectly reasonable to let the steel be the deciding factor.
 

chiffonodd

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By the way if this thread is piquing anyone's curiosity, there are several SRS15 gyutos under the sakon ryuga line in stock right now at bluewayjapan on a certain well known auction site. That vendor's been trusted around these parts for a long time. Just a heads up!
 

Barmoley

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By the way if this thread is piquing anyone's curiosity, there are several SRS15 gyutos under the sakon ryuga line in stock right now at bluewayjapan on a certain well known auction site. That vendor's been trusted around these parts for a long time. Just a heads up!
Looks to be the same knife just different name and markings. No I don't know 100%, just looks that way.
 

chiffonodd

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Looks to be the same knife just different name and markings. No I don't know 100%, just looks that way.
Definitely looks to be the same basic pattern. I suppose it's possible that authorized retailers with their own brands could request tweaks like a rounded spine/choil, more refined factory sharpening, etc., and I know certain brands that have been rumored to request those sort of upgrades. But bottom line these various SRS15 knives look so similar across brands that I would be quite surprised to learn that they are truly different knives.
 

Barmoley

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I'm not certain we're missing anything. David's point above is apt. The whole knife must be considered – the steel, heat treatment, grind, profile, handle, fit & finish, etc. Focusing on one aspect above all others is pure silliness. It's as bizarrely reductive to say, "buy the steel, not the maker" as it is to say, "buy a maker, not a steel."

But if you weigh the options and discover that you like the knife with SRS15 as much as the knife with SG2, it's perfectly reasonable to let the steel be the deciding factor.
Maker is the whole thing, steel is 1 attribute. Would be more correct if you said it is like saying "buy the grind not the steel". In any case good steel good knives, I bought and recommended a few for friends and family. I wish it was used more, but I also wish we had more choices in all sorts of modern steels. Have to go custom for that and even then lots of limitations. Larrin designed new steel looks very promising DT even made a beautiful knife with it. That would be a dream of mine, I am a fan of both.
 

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The Sakon Ryuga's spine doesn't have the same thick and pronounced distal taper that the Akifusa has.
 

Barmoley

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I've only seen a few akifausa srs15 and a few kagero, 5 or 6 in all, so not sure. Didn't think any had thick and pronounced distal taper.
 
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