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Takagi Gyuto First Impressions

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James

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So after ordering my takagi honyaki 240 mm gyuto from JWW, it arrived today. The packing from JWW was pretty interesting; pages from their catalog crumbled up. After a few seconds of digging within the box, I found the light green box with my knife in it. The knife itself was wrapped in a cardboard saya and some anti corrosion paper (?).

Handle: typical D handle with plastic ferrule. The blade is burnt into the handle, and where the handle meets the blade, there's decently sized gap, which I will later need to fill in with epoxy...I may just get a rehandle.

Blade: honyaki aogami #1. The blade is pretty darn thick, the edge isn't evenly ground, and isn't up to my standard for sharpness; the blade could not shave cleanly in both directions or whittle hair. This left me with a few problems, as the steel is extremely abrasion resistant. Starting with the togiharu 1k/4k combo stone and finishing on the arashiyama 6k, bringing just the edge up to scratch took a good 1/2 hr. Thinning this knife scares me a bit.

I used the knife briefly (10-15 min today) to whip up a corn chowder. The knife discolored onions for a few cuts and failed to react after those initial slices; I also noticed some wedging issues with whole potatoes, but otherwise, it did a decent job.

Side note for those interested: The knife balances about 3-4" in front of the ferrule.

Next step: THINNING...I wonder if I can send this off to Dave; I can see getting returned the knife with a note saying "thanks, but I don't want carpal tunnel".
 

memorael

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Could you post some pics of this baby? I think someone some where else did the whole refinishing of this knife and ended up with some sexy knives. They don't appear to have a hamon which is weird btw. Getting it rehandled is a must dude. The kuro finish with some exotic wood makes it look sexy. I hear it is a beast when it comes to thining.
 

jannend

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Yep, it took me a long while to thin this, went through a bester 700 and like months of countless session... it end up like this


And the choil shot


And the extremely harmon line...


Well, it's actually a almost mirror finish though



It's really a work in progress...
I think I paid for the steel and have to do all the work to make it cut fine.
 

James

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WOW that's epic; and I'll get some pics up as soon as possible. I don't have a camera at school so I'll go see if I can borrow the gf's.

Jannend, did you manage to put in some distal taper? This knife, in the condition it's in now, has absolutely none. I talked to Fred about the hamon, and he said that he asked Takagi and said that there was none?
 

memorael

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So I am kinda confused now, does this knife have a hamon or not? Not like it matters seems to be a steal for the quality of steel if all the rumors are true.
 

jannend

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TK,

I started thinning that like more than a year ago, finally getting there. You can ask Jon about this knife, he saw it twice...
By the way, I did most of the thinning with stone and elbow grease...

James, if you look carefully, I left most of the scale on the spine intact, just have a distal taper an inch from the tip!
Besides, I don't think doing a full distal taper will work on this. It's a kinda thin knife 2.17mm at the choil and stay that way to the tip.

To me, it's still a work of progress, there are still some overgrind here and there. And looking for a better handle too.
 

James

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Here's Fred's response to my inquiry about a hamon -

"According to him, since honyaki knives are made from one piece of Hagane, there is no hamon line and the blade can be sharpened repeatedly and will last for generations."

Ahh I see the taper now; looks great. I'll try starting this on a 300-500 grit stone and see how it goes; if it's really tough, korin is only a train ride away and they have some cheap 120 grit stones
 

jannend

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James,

A word of advice, it will take countless session with a beston 700 or bester 500 to get there. I tried using a omura too, it did nothing to the knife after 3 half hour session:eek2: (and alnost half the stone:eek2::eek2:)

In the end, I think I shaved off almost 30 grams of metal. It clock at 142 grams now. I think it's about 170 or more OTB.
 

tk59

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jannend: Sounds like my A-type. I'm still tinkering with it after almost two years. Looks good though. :)
James: Whoever "Fred" is, he doesn't seem to know what the hell he's talking about. On another note, are these supposed to be "honyaki?"
 

memorael

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So dialing this one in to the desired state is a job for some serious grits... maybe a belt sander?
 

welshstar

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Im new guys but looking at this knife it seems to be pretty expensive.

Based on OP it came with a crappy handle, packed like crap, not sharp and needing some serious work.

Why would you accept something like that and not return it ?
 

stevenStefano

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Im new guys but looking at this knife it seems to be pretty expensive.

Based on OP it came with a crappy handle, packed like crap, not sharp and needing some serious work.

Why would you accept something like that and not return it ?
Because it is a blue #1 honyaki for $200. I totally understand why someone would buy such a knife, as someone already said, in a way you're paying for the steel but it is so cheap I can understand why some would want to give it a go
 

aaronsgibson

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I've actually been wondering about these as well. I talked with Dave and I'm still on the fence. For the price it's damn hard to beat. I mean I have a DMT xxc and Gesshin 400 so I'm wondering if that would be enough fire power to properly thin it? Will have to think more and wait.
 

aaronsgibson

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Hmm, no belt sander. haha and I don't think I'd trust myself with the use of one.
 

James

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The packing was actually fine; the knife, however, is in need of a lot of work. My post from before was quoting Fred from JWW and yes, these knives are indeed honyaki. I have no reason to doubt it seeing how it sharpens.
 

EdipisReks

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anybody have a choil picture of the knife in OOTB condition? how much distal taper is there OOTB?
 

Seb

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Do the EE ones have different handles and better finishing? There is a price differential, no?
 

James

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I dug up a few threads before buying the knife. The difference is just in the handle; the one from EE has a buffalo horn ferrule, while JWW has a plastic one.
 

lancep

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I have a Takagi I bought from JWW; clearly a more rustic style , and to be honest I haven't used it enough to form much of an opinion. I've been spoiled by my Shigefusa gyuto.

However, here is some interesting commentary regarding Takagi from the New Yorker article about Bob Kramer:

Japan, of course, has no shortage of expert knifemakers, and Kramer managed to visit several in Niigata, a province north of Tokyo that specializes in a variety of handmade tools, including kitchen cutlery. While most small Japanese bladesmithing shops make knives only in the Japanese style--that is, with a one-sided, "single bevel" edge--Niigata smiths also forge knives with the symmetrical, double bevel that is popular in the West. One is Junichi Takagi, a tiny seventy-one-year-old with soot-black hands who is reputedly Japan's last artisan of carpenter's adzes. He also makes a simple, crude-looking kitchen knife that Kramer was particularly taken with. "I bet it will get sharper the more you use it," Kramer told me. During tests, the behavior of Takagi's steel--its sparks on a grinding wheel, its "toothy" capacity to cut rope again and again--suggested ingredients that Kramer thought would, when combined with his own steels, create a distinctive Damascus edge. "You're getting, basically, three different surfaces," he said. "It's freakishly good cutting material." Takagi, after all, was accustomed to making tools that had to survive hours of slamming through lumber. Sure enough, his steel, which is especially wear-resistant because it contains tungsten, was a kind that Kramer cannot find in the United States. He promptly ordered some.

Before we left, Takagi, who works in a narrow, smoky shop, mentioned, in a moment of classic Japanese humility, that, despite fifty years of experience making tools, he was still learning, still striving "to reach my goal." When I asked what that goal was, he was taken aback. After an awkward pause, he said that his dream was to be classified as a Living National Treasure by the government--an honor currently reserved, in the realm of tools and cutlery, for a select group of samurai-sword makers.
 

heirkb

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So given how much thinning this knife would need, wouldn't it be desirable to do a pretty intense hamaguri shape while thinning? Otherwise it seems like it could make for a pretty damn sticky knife with totally flat sides, no?
 

RRLOVER

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So I am kinda confused now, does this knife have a hamon or not? Not like it matters seems to be a steal for the quality of steel if all the rumors are true.
The knife does have a hamon,and I think my Takagi turned out damn sexy.If you like to tinker on blades this is a fantastic piece of steel:thumbsup:
 

Phip

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FWIW: I sharpened on oil stones for 40 years, then on water stones for a year, then I got a Takagi beast. Now I understand sharpening a little bit--after thinning it (about 7-9 hours as I recall at 400 grit and a little belt sanding).
 

add

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I enjoy "Fred's" reviews.
Don't always agree but I do like them....
 

wenus2

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Mario, do you have pictures somewheres?
thanks
 

James

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:Ooooh:The hamon must be really subtle; I can't even see it:Ooooh:
 
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