Mac Cutlery FKW10 10" Yanagi
Kitchen Knife Review

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Mac FKW10 10" Yanagi Knife


 - On Japanese series it's made of stabilized, laminated wood. More or less traditional Japanese style with 3 rivets, which aren't that traditional in Japan, but more European. Nothing fancy in that handle geometry or feature-wise, but comfortable and gets the job done. Not slippery, no hot spots. One thing is, knife of that size in the kitchen warrants some attention to it. So, unlikely that you'll be swinging it like a sword, even if it is almost like a sword. Probably if I was a real sushi chef I'd have better feedback on handle ergonomics, but since I wasn't cutting with it all day, all I can tell you is that for normal kitchen cutting, for home cook, it's just fine.


 - Back then, that was the biggest kitchen knife I've ever. Also, I haven't owned or used yanagi knife before this Mac. So, I was not really sure what to expect from it and whether or not I would keep it at all. Besides, when you're handling 10+ inch long knife in the kitchen's relatively confined space you probably will feel a little different :) I did. Anyway, I got used to it real quick and really loved how well it worked for slicing.
    As I've already stated performance was good even with initial edge and it was very good with 18° edge. Again, didn't do anything crazy with that knife, just whatever it was designed for, slice through various food. Technically, I wasn't using it 100% what it was designed for - fish slicing. Actually, I've used my Mac to slice through all types of food except fish. I'm not really into fish cooking and I'm not into cooking all that much either. Anyway, materials processed by this Mac during its short time with me included mainly various cuts of meat, ham, pineapples (skinned ones), watermelons, melons etc. For experimenting I've also tried to use Mac yanagi as a bread slicer, which worked pretty well due to its sharpness and blade length and lead me to decision that my Global G-9 bread knife isn't good anymore and I need a better and longer bread knife. I've also tried to use yanagi as a vegetable knife, but that didn't work too well, which was pretty obvious even before I've tried it. That's pretty much all I did with it.

Mac Yanagiba vs. Bread and Cheese

- Recently I had to use this Mac knife again. During one of the parties I was honored to cut few things and I've decided to conduct another experiment and see how it would behave with bread and cheese, since those were two things I haven't cut with thin bladed Yanagibas before. It's been few months since I gave out Mac yanagiba as a present, but it wasn't used that often, so the edge was in fairly good condition. After steeling it had no problems shaving hair in both directions effortlessly.
    First up was the homemade bread, with really hard crust. As mentioned, the edge was still at its original 18°. First thing I noticed it was very difficult to make an initial incision on the bread. Due to its hard crust. The polished edge was simply sliding over it, without making any cut. I had to exert significant downwards force to make initial cut and after that it was relatively easy. However, the results were rather disastrous to the edge. After dozen or so cuts, I've examined the edge and it was pretty much ruined. Ripples and dents pretty much on all the edge length. Poking a hole with the tip in the bread and then cutting from there made things a lot easier, but obviously that didn't restore the edge. Mac was due to serious sharpening job.
    Second part of the experiment was with cheese. To be precise three different types of cheese. Two of them pretty hard, no idea what they were though, but the third one was Feta, which is much softer. I've mentioned before in other reviews, that cheese in general is pretty hard on any edge and induces significant drag on the blade thanks to its stickiness. Given that the poor Mac's edge was all but ruined I've decided to cut the cheese with two hands, using vertical push cuts. That worked out surprisingly well. Mac Yanagi is pretty thin, then the edge on it was also quite thin, so everything worked out pretty well. Obviously it would've been even better if I didn't ruin the edge at first place with bread crust, but it has already happened and I didn't have any sharpening equipment or time to fix the edge. In the end I could cut paper thin pieces of cheese with dulled Yanagi. Obviously this isn't the safest knife use technique, since you are pushing down on the blade with two hands, one hand is ok, since you're holding the handle with it, another palm pushing on the blade spine is more of a concern, though nothing dramatic, but still better be safe than sorry ;)


 - It's a good kitchen knife for what it was designed for. if your yanagi comes with 40° angle may be you'll need to lower it too. Although I am sure majority of the non knife folks will be just happy with its performance even at the angle that obtuse, considering that western kitchen knives have edge that is same or even higher than that. Fit and finish are very good also. Price, well depends on your budget, but I figure 145$ for a dedicated slicer is rather expensive for most of the non knife people. Overall, it's a dedicated cutting instrument that does its job very well. Well, based on my later experience and acquired knowledge I can say that it can be amazingly versatile tool too. Unfortunately I can't comment on durability, since I gave mine way in 6 weeks. Either way, it was good enough decide on much more expensive upgrade. Not that it wasn't enough for my kitchen needs, but being a knife collector I am really interested in high performance knives. That is how Aritsugu yanagi with its incredibly hard 65HRC edge purchase decision was made.

Conclusions (Updates)

- So, the only conclusion after that bread crust experiment I have here is that thin edges on hard crust bread is a big no-no. Most likely, a harder knife would've fared better, e.g. if I've used Aritsugu Yanagiba most likely majority of the rolls and dents would've been avoided, because Aritsugu is 65+HRC and Mac is 57-61HRC. That's a huge difference. On the other hand it's not very clear how Aritsugu would've ended up either. Instead of rolling metal that hard can simply chip. Anyway, I'm not planning to subject Aritsugu to that sort of abuse after this experiment and I wouldn't advise you to repeat what I did.
    Part two of the results based on the last experiment is that in the absence of dedicated cheese knife yanagiba does pretty good for slicing cheese real thin. Just be real careful and you should be fine.


  • Blade - 240.00mm(9.45")
  • Thickness - 3.17mm
  • OAL - 381.00mm(15")
  • Steel - Tungsten Stainless at 57-61HRC
  • Handle - Wood
  • Acquired - 04/2008 Price - 140.00$


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Last updated - 05/19/19