"Thicker" Manaka Hamono Blue #1 240mm Gyuto

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OkLobster

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I was about to post a mini-review in the new knife day (NKD) thread since I'm lazy but here's to doing a service for the community.

Introduction:

A rabbit hole in a rabbit hole. This started with browsing BST one day when I noted a Manaka 210mm Gyuto was up for sale. I wasn’t quite a fan of Manaka at first (with the tsuchime finish being a turn off for me) but something intrigued me and I checked out a few vendors. I’m a sucker for “workhorse” knives and when I learned that Miura stocked a “thicker” variant of the 240 well… that’s how this review was born.

Measurements:

I would probably get dogged to death for posting a review without measurements so I finally procured the tools.

Overall Length: 405mm
Blade Length: 240mm
Blade Height: 55.5mm
Blade Thickness: 5mm
Weight: 305g

F&F:

The spine isn't mirror polished but it is smooth and has a unique iridescent sheen which I haven't seen in any other knife. There is a bit of "wabi sabi" on the spine (and I would be annoyed with other knives) but it adds to the character of the finish. The choil is well finished and doesn't have any points that would pose an issue with extended use. In terms of the handle installation, the job is well done with flush adhesive (opposed to some makers e.g. Watanabe, TF who will do a sloppy job). The handle itself is good and I'm all but certain this is the same maker that Takada no Hamono uses — feel and looks are both the same from memory.

Cutting performance:

I am no expert on grinds etc. so I will leave the photos to do the talking. This knife has a similar character IMO to my old TF Denka where it simply wants to cut through everything. I found the cutting feedback to be great and this has taken over daily duties for the most part. Other knives will cut better (e.g. Denka albeit it is much thinner) but make no mistake, the Manaka is still good.

Takeaway:

Who is the Manaka for? I would say that it is for someone who values fit and finish with good cutting ability. This sounds rather cliche, but there’s only so many ways you can describe a knife. A similar knife in this price range off my head is the Watanabe/Toyama “duo”. I actually briefly owned a Toyanabe which cut well but I wasn’t sure where it’d fit in my rotation. It cut well but I owned other knives that were just as good and the fit and finish was simply OK. For the price, I would actually recommend the Manaka over the Watayama. There are definitely other knives which I have left out (from not having tried them) but workhorse wise… the Manaka is the clear winner in my book.
 

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