Toyama AND Watanabe Gyuto—Redundant?

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EShin

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Yoshi has a flat profile. Like really flat. They also tend to be shorter at the heel around 50mm or so. Toyama has more of a curve in the profile and are closer to 55mm at the heel for the 240.
If anything, the “better Yoshikane” komorebi might be closer to a Toyama, though I suspect the two are more different than the specs would suggest. Any thoughts on the two?
 

tostadas

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If anything, the “better Yoshikane” komorebi might be closer to a Toyama, though I suspect the two are more different than the specs would suggest. Any thoughts on the two?
They share similarities in the height, weight and the taper. However they differ greatly in the grind. The watoyama has a fully convex grind compared to the very thin wide bevel style of the komorebi. The komorebi is much thinner behind the edge than the watoyama.
 

tostadas

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If anything, the “better Yoshikane” komorebi might be closer to a Toyama, though I suspect the two are more different than the specs would suggest. Any thoughts on the two?
And one more thing, the Komorebi has a sort of "machi" style neck compared to the thin straight neck of the toyama. It's a bit taller in that area, but not as adjustable. If you want to install the handle with less of a gap to the choil, then you will have to grind some of the machi steel (hope I'm using that term correctly) before reinstalling. For the toyama, all you would need to do is simply make the tang hole deeper because the tang of the knife doesnt have the machi notch. This probably doesn't matter to the majority of people, but I'm very particular about these kind of things when deciding which knives I want to keep.
 
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Just got a Watanabe SS from trading, pretty good so far, really want to try a iron clad.
I get the sense that a lot of folks here have a preference for iron clad over SS clad (Takeda classic vs. NAS another example). Can anyone explain why? I don't see how the cladding has an iota of impact on the cutting proficiency.
 

kpham12

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I get the sense that a lot of folks here have a preference for iron clad over SS clad (Takeda classic vs. NAS another example). Can anyone explain why? I don't see how the cladding has an iota of impact on the cutting proficiency.
Patina and aesthetics for a lot of people. Iron cladding is also much easier to thin and refinish. But, in addition to that, in the case of Watanabes and Toyamas, the iron clad ones tend to have a little more weight and convexity to them and their grinds were geared a little more towards food release while the stainless ones are a little thinner throughout and behind the edge. IMO, the stainless ones are better pure cutters, but the iron clad ones just feel a little more special to me.

In the case of Takedas, the classic Takedas have a reputation of being better cutters than the NAS which a lot of people found to wedge too much. From what I’ve seen, a lot of the newer NAS Takedas have nicer grinds, but for a while, a lot of them had huge shoulders and the bevels were really low, even for a Takeda, so they would crack any remotely dense or hard food.
 

kpham12

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My early 2019 240 Wat Migaki gyuto has the same specs as the current versions in stainless clad. I have an older Kurouchi 270 that is a beast. I really like the 240, but it is not as distinctive as the older one. I'm not sure exactly when they switched to stainless. If I'm not mistaken, it has happened before. The more recent shift must have been around 2021.
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From reading a bunch of old threads, I found Watanabes got progressively thinner over the years. 240s used to be around 250 grams and up and slowly crept down in weight to around 220-230 grams. Toyamas tended to be in a similar range, sometimes a few grams lighter. KU Wats are a whole different animal though.

@daveb, above are two choil shots of iron clad Wat 270s, the top one is from almost 10 years ago, the bottom one is my new one which MTC said they received from Shinichi right before the pandemic. Hard to judge based solely on choils, but you can see how the older one has a much more prominent “shoulder” and is likely more of a food release beast. You can still feel the shoulder on my newer one, but it’s a lot smaller. Even though it’s “slimmed down” a bit, it’s still 278 grams. And food release is still great, especially after you get a solid patina. When you’re plowing through a lot of stuff really quickly like a big Wat is designed to do, not much sticks to it.
 

Naftoor

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I just got a 240 iron clad Toyama @216g
less distal taper than my 240 ss clad - still friken awesome

Can confirm. Have what is supposed to be one of the last non-custom iron clads, it’s a hair over 200 grams at 225mm. Too light to be a workhorse going by grams/mm in my book. That being said, it’s by far the best cutter in my stable and even out cuts my 210 takamura chromax which is nothing if not a laser.

Love having it, love using it. Still wish I could get one of those old Ku monsters since there doesn’t exist a knife that’s too heavy for me and the old wats sound like magic.
 

pgugger

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Anyone know how current Toyama Damascus specs and grind compare to old Toyama/Watanabe iron clad? I have a recent 240 mm Toyama Damascus (not stainless) that is 237 g, notably more substantial and better food release than my 240 mm stainless clad Toyama that is 209 g.

Regarding recent Watanabe and Toyama stainless, I agree with others. Same knife as far as I can tell. I have a Toyama stainless and held the Watanabe iron clads that MTC Kitchen had until recently.
 

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I’m kind interested in how old Watanabe would compare to Shi.Han KU, both monsters of a knife, and with the price increase they are close to each other now.
 

Naftoor

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Also would like to hear from someone with both, my understanding is that shihans ku line is more of a middle weight knife similar to the wats of recent years, versus the super heavy that wat was known for back in the days of myth.

Looking at the ku shihans on BST of the last year or so, they mostly seem to be under 1g/mm, whereas I’ve read about folks with ku wats in the 1.25 g/mm range.

That being said, that metric doesn’t take grind or height into account so maybe not worth anything 🤷‍♂️
 

kpham12

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I’m kind interested in how old Watanabe would compare to Shi.Han KU, both monsters of a knife, and with the price increase they are close to each other now.
Also would like to hear from someone with both, my understanding is that shihans ku line is more of a middle weight knife similar to the wats of recent years, versus the super heavy that wat was known for back in the days of myth.

Looking at the ku shihans on BST of the last year or so, they mostly seem to be under 1g/mm, whereas I’ve read about folks with ku wats in the 1.25 g/mm range.

That being said, that metric doesn’t take grind or height into account so maybe not worth anything 🤷‍♂️

Shihans have a nice gentle convex from the KU finish down to the edge with a slight righty bias throughout the grind, or at least mine does. Although some can be more symmetrical and I know he takes orders for lefty grinds. Iron Watanabes are flat from the spine down about 1/3rd the face of the blade where a KU finish would be, then a really gentle convex in the mid 3rd, then a strong righty biased asymmetric the last third down to the edge which is the biggest difference.

Wats also come with that fragile zero grind so they are better cutters OOTB. Shihans have a more conservative edge bevel, so still cut very smoothly, but less of a “fall through food” feeling, although they also feel a lot easier to control and maneuver while Wats can be a bit too forward feeling initially. Although my Shihan is from his first A2 batch from a couple years ago and some of the newer ones I’ve seen on here look thinner behind the edge just going by the eye test.

Wat is also on the brittler side (high hardness+nail flexing edge+blue 2 isn’t the toughest steel) while my A2 gyuto has proved very tough and Shihan’s 52100 is known to be pretty bulletproof. I’d feel much better about loaning about my Shihan to someone I know will abuse it a bit (within reason of course).

I can see a Shihan as being more user friendly, while a iron Wat takes more getting used to before you get proficient at using it, but once you get it, it’s very efficient, like a vegetable cleaver.
 

timebard

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Shihans have a nice gentle convex from the KU finish down to the edge with a slight righty bias throughout the grind, or at least mine does. Although some can be more symmetrical and I know he takes orders for lefty grinds. Iron Watanabes are flat from the spine down about 1/3rd the face of the blade where a KU finish would be, then a really gentle convex in the mid 3rd, then a strong righty biased asymmetric the last third down to the edge which is the biggest difference.

Wats also come with that fragile zero grind so they are better cutters OOTB. Shihans have a more conservative edge bevel, so still cut very smoothly, but less of a “fall through food” feeling, although they also feel a lot easier to control and maneuver while Wats can be a bit too forward feeling initially. Although my Shihan is from his first A2 batch from a couple years ago and some of the newer ones I’ve seen on here look thinner behind the edge just going by the eye test.

Wat is also on the brittler side (high hardness+nail flexing edge+blue 2 isn’t the toughest steel) while my A2 gyuto has proved very tough and Shihan’s 52100 is known to be pretty bulletproof. I’d feel much better about loaning about my Shihan to someone I know will abuse it a bit (within reason of course).

I can see a Shihan as being more user friendly, while a iron Wat takes more getting used to before you get proficient at using it, but once you get it, it’s very efficient, like a vegetable cleaver.

Agree generally with this assessment. My old Shihan 52100 was a 210 vs a 240 Toyama and 270 Wat, but I think they're really quite different knives despite both falling in the workhorse category. Most workhorse knives are either authoritative and tough, or authoritative and a great cutter, but hard to really pull off all three. Watoyama migaki leans towards cutting performance, Shihan leans towards sturdiness. I haven't tried a Wat KU but I imagine it's somewhere in between (and with better release than either?).
 
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Patina and aesthetics for a lot of people. Iron cladding is also much easier to thin and refinish. But, in addition to that, in the case of Watanabes and Toyamas, the iron clad ones tend to have a little more weight and convexity to them and their grinds were geared a little more towards food release while the stainless ones are a little thinner throughout and behind the edge. IMO, the stainless ones are better pure cutters, but the iron clad ones just feel a little more special to me.

In the case of Takedas, the classic Takedas have a reputation of being better cutters than the NAS which a lot of people found to wedge too much. From what I’ve seen, a lot of the newer NAS Takedas have nicer grinds, but for a while, a lot of them had huge shoulders and the bevels were really low, even for a Takeda, so they would crack any remotely dense or hard food.
Thanks for the great reply @kpham12. All valid reasons. I think I got lucky with my NAS, it's a wicked cutter with good release, though it is fairly recent.
 

Hanmak17

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Iron Watanabes are flat from the spine down about 1/3rd the face of the blade where a KU finish would be, then a really gentle convex in the mid 3rd, then a strong righty biased asymmetric the last third down to the edge which is the biggest difference.

Wats also come with that fragile zero grind so they are better cutters OOTB.

Wat is also on the brittler side (high hardness+nail flexing edge+blue 2 isn’t the toughest steel) while my A2 gyuto has proved very tough and Shihan’s 52100 is known to be pretty bulletproof. I’d feel much better about loaning about my Shihan to someone I know will abuse it a bit (within reason of course).

I've owned three of them over the years, this pretty much nails my experience of them as well. I'd add that the edges tend to deflect easily off of tough boards, seeds, etc. They get stupid sharp, but are hard to maintain without modifying the edge bevel some, which tends to change the cutting behavior of the knife. If your careful what you cut, the surface and the technique they are really amazing, but not bullet proof by any means. Maybe "Workhorse" is not the best description for them.

I'd also add that the KU finish on the Wats is probably my favorite of all knifes. Almost a bluing effect, that is quite durable and almost completely non reactive.
 

kpham12

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I've owned three of them over the years, this pretty much nails my experience of them as well. I'd add that the edges tend to deflect easily off of tough boards, seeds, etc. They get stupid sharp, but are hard to maintain without modifying the edge bevel some, which tends to change the cutting behavior of the knife. If your careful what you cut, the surface and the technique they are really amazing, but not bullet proof by any means. Maybe "Workhorse" is not the best description for them.

I'd also add that the KU finish on the Wats is probably my favorite of all knifes. Almost a bluing effect, that is quite durable and almost completely non reactive.
Agreed, it takes a bit of fine tuning to balance keeping them thin enough behind the edge while microbeveling or sharpening at a higher angle to maintain the same cutting performance and sharpness while making the knife durable, especially with heavy volume on hard cutting boards. Also good to hear the deflections in edge is more of a common problem. I like my knives to be durable enough to cut through an apple including the seeds and stem and the Watanabe is pretty likely to have some deflections afterwards. They are usually pretty small though and don’t really affect performance, plus they come out after a touch-up or two so I don’t mind too much. Cutting just regular foods at home on an end grain board or something similarly soft like synthetic rubber, you don’t really get these problems.
 
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