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Old 07-30-2010, 12:56 PM  
Saccopoo Saccopoo is online now
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Knife Fight - Shun vs. Miyabi!

I was inspired by the "Kitchen Knives for my wife" thread, and the new knife bug bit me. After a bit of on-line research, I headed down to Sur La Table and picked up a Miyabi 600D Fusion 7" Santoku, which was at a nice introductory price of $90.00. (The Miyabi Fusion line was just released in June '10.) The Miyabi products are a high-end Japanese manufactured line of knives by Zwilling J.A. Henckels.

Upon pickup, I was initially surprised at the heft/weight of the knife. It had substantially more "substance" to it than I anticipated, especially when I compared it to the Wusthof Classic Ikon Santoku at the store. Fit and finish is excellent. Tang to handle integration is very good. There are two red accents that run the length of the handle/tang that compliment the "Rising Sun"/Miyabi logo on the blade. A nice, subtle aesthetic touch that gives the blade a bit of personality and individuality.

The handle itself is something that you'd expect on a Solingen (German epicenter of knife production) product versus a Seki (Japanese city renowned for blade crafting) unit. Three evenly spaced steel rivets mark the handle, much as you would find in Henckels Classic product line. It is also slightly contoured so that it fits comfortably in the hand in either a pinch grip or full handle grip. This contrasts versus the standard Japanese "D" handle that is used on the Shun Classic line. (Though the top of the line Miyabi 7000MC series uses the D handle.) The Miyabi Fusion in-store marketing touts the "East meets West" concept and this is exactly what is achieved. Western handle ergonomics coupled to Japanese blade design. It's really comfortable and functional.

The blade sports a "watered" Damascus style pattern versus the Shun's "layered" style. The Miyabi purportedly has 64 layers of Carbon steel on top of the central VG-10 steel core/edge versus the Shun's 32 layers (the Shun Classic also uses the VG-10 steel on the core/edge). I don't know if it makes a difference or not. Initial testing seemed negligent in terms of food sticking to the blades. Granton "scallops" are well integrated into the blade.

Knife balance is near perfect in terms of the blade to handle median, just like the Shun Classic 8" Chef's.

The edge is scalpel sharp, which should be expected from a hollow ground 10 degree edge angle. Softer vegetables got sliced with equal ease between the Miyabi and Shun. On fresh peppers and onions, the Miyabi blade had slightly less resistance than the Shun. Both knives were able to produce paper thin onion slices. Chopping was nearly effortless. (However, I should add that during my demo cutting at the store, I looked up and noticed that they had the Miyabi 7000MC series in the case. Using the 7000MC Santoku was, in a word, amazing. Absolutely no resistance against the blade in any of the vegetables, but the 7000 is using ZDP-189 steel, which is crazy hard and holds a sick edge. However, the 7000 was also twice the price of the Fusion.)

The most noticeable difference was slicing through a soft tomato. The thinner hollow edge grind and the tighter blade angle of the santoku came into play here as the Shun pushed down the tomato skin, and required a longer drag of the blade to get through the skin, where the Miyabi went right through it with just a very slight blade drag. (The Miyabi purportedly has a 9 to 12 degree edge, where the Shun is 16 degrees - both are very tight, but to get a 10 degree angle is unheard of on a production knife.) The Miyabi held the edge (no pun intended) against the Shun with most of the items I cut up this week.

The blade heel on the Miyabi has a smooth, concave "notch" which provides a little more space for fingers in a pinch grip. Considering the scalloped grantons, superb handle, near perfect balance, outstanding build quality and razor sharp blade right out of the box, it's obvious that Henckels put a lot of thought and effort into making a knife that could go toe to toe with the likes of Shun and Global. It's a really well-thought out, well manufactured knife and well worth the asking price. You'd be hard pressed to find a better knife for the money.
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Old 07-30-2010, 12:58 PM   #2
Phobia Phobia is offline
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Nice. I want one.
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Old 07-30-2010, 02:25 PM   #3
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I have a Spyderco Delica in ZDP, great stuff downside of course is its not the easiest knife to sharpen.
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Old 07-30-2010, 03:00 PM   #4
Fried Meat Ball! Fried Meat Ball! is offline
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Handmade Japanese here - I've got 6 of his knives and they are the best ones I own. I absolutely love them.

http://www.watanabeblade.com/english/

Here's a fair review of Watanabe Blades.
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Old 07-30-2010, 04:25 PM   #5
googlegoogle googlegoogle is offline
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Originally Posted by Fire Me Boy! View Post
Handmade Japanese here - I've got 6 of his knives and they are the best ones I own. I absolutely love them.

http://www.watanabeblade.com/english/

Here's a fair review of Watanabe Blades.
expensive as hell.
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Old 07-30-2010, 04:53 PM   #6
Fried Meat Ball! Fried Meat Ball! is offline
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Originally Posted by googlegoogle View Post
expensive as hell.
Some are very expensive. You can get some damn fine knives from him in the $100-$200 range.
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Old 07-30-2010, 05:25 PM   #7
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yes, very nice.
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Old 08-01-2010, 06:00 PM   #8
Saccopoo Saccopoo is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fire Me Boy! View Post
Handmade Japanese here - I've got 6 of his knives and they are the best ones I own. I absolutely love them.

http://www.watanabeblade.com/english/

Here's a fair review of Watanabe Blades.
I might go that route with a specialty blade (the Takeda knives look promising), but with a general purpose blade like a santoku, I wanted as much in a blade as I could get while still maintaining a high level of maintenance-free operations.

The high carbon content of the Watanabe blades meant a higher degree of upkeep and worry in terms of sharpening and oiling.

After a couple of more days, I'm even more impressed with the Miyabi 600D. The handle is the best I've ever used on a knife, and the rounded spine and notched heel are a very welcome editions in terms of comfort. And it's maintaining it's edge exceptionally well.
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Old 08-02-2010, 05:53 AM   #9
Fried Meat Ball! Fried Meat Ball! is offline
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Originally Posted by Saccopoo View Post
I might go that route with a specialty blade (the Takeda knives look promising), but with a general purpose blade like a santoku, I wanted as much in a blade as I could get while still maintaining a high level of maintenance-free operations.

The high carbon content of the Watanabe blades meant a higher degree of upkeep and worry in terms of sharpening and oiling.

After a couple of more days, I'm even more impressed with the Miyabi 600D. The handle is the best I've ever used on a knife, and the rounded spine and notched heel are a very welcome editions in terms of comfort. And it's maintaining it's edge exceptionally well.
Yeah, don't go with the Watanabe if you want a maintenance-free blade. The edge actually is very rugged, but you have to be religious about cleaning it immediately after use.
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