Wakui Grinds

Discussion in 'The Kitchen Knife' started by dan, Apr 14, 2019.

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  1. Apr 14, 2019 #1

    dan

    dan

    dan

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    Before I say anything further, please correct any errors in my terminology. I'm still new to the knife game and happy to learn as much as I can from you gurus.

    I go through phases of looking at different knives, and Wakui has caught my eye lately. It seems like Wakui gets good rep in various knife communities. Most (all?) of the knives are stainless-clad shirogami 2. However, it seems like there are a few different grinds... more about that below. Which grind(s) do people like? Or is it less about the grind and more about the quality of the grind? Or heat treat? Or profile?

    One is seen at Knives and Stones:
    [​IMG]
    This is a picture of the 210mm hammered W2 gyuto at Knives & Stones. If my novice eyes are accurate, it shows a distinct 'S-grind'. I chose the 210 for the picture because I thought the grind was more obvious than in the 240mm picture.

    Say you visit TOGO to peek through their Wakuis. Pretty different looking choil.. Looks either convex or wide-bevel-like, right?
    https://images.yswcdn.com/-6709878151531560371-ql-85/451/454/aah/**************/wakui-custom-white-2-gyuto-210mm-26.png

    Well what if I visit CleanCut and look at their Wakui. This one seems more wide-bevel than the others:
    [​IMG]

    But what about the Wakui at Bernal or Epic Edge - the Migaki version. Is it an S-grind? hard to tell, looks like it could be anything. Picture from Bernal:
    [​IMG]

    Cleancut has a different picture for a Migaki Wakui choil:[​IMG]
     
  2. Apr 14, 2019 #2

    refcast

    refcast

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    That first picture with the "S" grind might actually be more similar to the other ones below it. When I see the choil smoothed and rounded like on the Wakui, discerning the choil shot is more difficult. The silhouette isn't as sharp. We can see that especially in the first picture with the glare and reflection.

    Even if it is an S grind there, it could be different further up on the blade. Could be, but I don't know.

    The advantage of the hollow on the blade face is that large or tall pieces of food form an air pocket and fall off instead of sticking. It also makes the knife lighter, though some like the consistency of the convex blade face. The convex face makes the knife feel more consistent and have more weight and stiffness. Food falls off differently. Slices only contact one part of the curve that is formed by the convexity. Your choice. I like and appreciate both.

    But really, the important part of the grind is:
    (1) is it thin right behind the edge?
    (2) is it smooth enough higher up the blade, without a gigantic shoulder, so it doesn't wedge horrifically?

    The wakui successfully fulfills both these criteria, in pretty much every choil shot I've seen on the forums. Though note! I haven't owned one.

    These are wide-bevel knives, which I tend to like more than non-wide bevel. With wide bevel, we can put as much steel as possible behind as thin an edge as possible, which makes that thin edge feel less fragile . . . though not saying that is necessarily a good idea for a particular usage.

    With regard to heat treat, profile, and grind quality, all matter because they each contribute something particular and distinct to the knife and its use. Heat treat matters the least . . . I say that because there are some exotic or higher labor heat treat, construction methods, and steel out there that cost a lot, and aren't the first in line to a friendly-to-use knife.

    (1) Profile must fit your cutting style
    (2) Grind must be fit the criteria I said above, and be consistent and maintable, or if not, purposeful along the blade.
    (3) Steel and heat treat must match your sharpening, toughness, and edge retention needs. There are wants, likes and needs. Needs must be met first, and many steels and heat treats I've seen discussed on the forums do indeed meet that bar.

    Grind quality refers to other stuff, too. Though if you want truly nicely polished, convexed (or flat, your choice) bevels, you likely have to do it yourself. The only ones I've seen that do a good job with that are Heiji, Kato, and Hinoura.
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2019
  3. Apr 14, 2019 #3

    labor of love

    labor of love

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    The hairline wakuis I’ve used all had thin grinds,not s grind. But I’ve heard that epicurean edge and others may carry slightly thicker hairline wakuis.
    I’ve used a bunch of nashiji wakuis and I suppose they have what might be considered an s grind.
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2019
  4. Apr 14, 2019 #4

    Nemo

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    Mine is a Tsuchime from KnS. Quite a thick knife. Convex wide bevel. The shinogi line is obvious because of the hammered pattern, but it is not a crisp shoulder. This knife has excellent food release but wedges some, in the manner of a good workhorse. I was surprised about this given all that I had heard about Wakui being thin. Obviously this is a different grind to those thinner knives. It's a very good workhorse.

    I don't think it's an S-grind although the hammered pattern is qiute deep and I guess this may give it a bit of an S-grindish quality (if you only look at the base of the hammer dimples).

    Sharpening is very easy. Edge retention is good for white2 but ordinary conpared to just about any other steel. Edge refreshes very easily with a gentle strop though.
     
  5. Apr 14, 2019 #5

    dan

    dan

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    Thanks for your really detailed response! I think your points in the quote do a really good job summarizing the factors that make somebody like a knife, right? So maybe my question is partly about the grind(s) and partly why people like Wakuis...!
     
  6. Apr 14, 2019 #6

    dan

    dan

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    Sounds like some variation... interesting! Labor, have you used the hairlines? If so, any preference between them?

    I suppose it might look like an S grind if a hammer mark is right near the heel... maybe that's what I was seeing
     
  7. Apr 14, 2019 #7

    labor of love

    labor of love

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    We’re talking about 2 different lines.
     
  8. Apr 14, 2019 #8

    dan

    dan

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    Whoops, I meant between the nashiji & hairline.
     
  9. Apr 14, 2019 #9

    McMan

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    For me, choil shots are most helpful to gauge thinness behind the edge and asymmetry.
    Sometimes choil shots can give a good idea about grind, but they also can be misleading. Wakui have nice distal taper, so all the choil shot gives is an idea of grind at the heal. If the knife's in your hand, you can adjust to sight down the side or edge to get a sense of the grind. If it's just a pic, then the choil can hide what's in front of it and is thinner cross-sectionally.

    This said, I wish Wakui's look like that S-grind in the first pic :) I have a feeling this is a combination of hammer blows and reflections. Otherwise, the 240 would look the same and you mentioned it doesn't. Another possibility... could be an S just at the heel. I've seen knives where the heel will be S or flat and then very quickly progress to a convex grind. This is a way to prevent the heel from being beefy if it's already very thick.

    Regardless, Wakui's are fun knives and a great value.
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2019
  10. Apr 14, 2019 #10

    chinacats

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    S grind is fine until you lose it as you thin the blade. I'll take a convex grind any day as it's easier to maintain.
     
  11. Apr 15, 2019 #11

    RDalman

    RDalman

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    The differences in choil looks in ops post are all down to photography imo. angles and lighting. I believe the knives are all very similar widebevel. I have yet to see one internet retailer post "fair" showing choil shots.? Don't know why. The pics need to be shot straight from behind, with good light background, and in focus. like this as example. https://www.instagram.com/p/Bv0hAVnBNf-/
     
  12. Apr 15, 2019 #12

    daddy yo yo

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    There is a Nashiji on BST btw...
     
  13. Apr 22, 2019 at 7:46 AM #13

    dan

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    First, thanks for the input everyone on the grinds. Sounds like you're all saying the grinds are actually mostly the same/similar.

    This was interesting to me. People pointed out some reasons that the photos could be misleading for various non-photography reasons but I had not even thought much about how the photos could be misleading for photo reasons. I guess this is why it's recommended to get a knife in your hands to really know...

    At some point I'll give the Wakui a go, I'm sure of it. But not yet. Thanks for the drop though, daddy.
     
  14. Apr 22, 2019 at 7:50 AM #14

    labor of love

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    Grind on wakui hairline, wakui nashiji and wakui hammer finish are all different.
     

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