Akifusa(Ikeda) Gyuto 240mm(9.5")
Japanese Kitchen Knife Review

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Akifusa(Ikeda) 240mm(9.5") Gyuto

Usage, 30° edge

- Since Gyutos are designed as multi-purpose knives I use mine as such. Cutting chores for Akifusa include vegetables, meat, fruits. Occasionally peeling cucumbers, although mainly to practice Katsura Muki style and whatever else comes out as light cutting. Not so sure if cutting pineapples is considered light cutting, but Akifusa gyuto handles that task with flying colors. I try to practice different types of cutting, obviously for some of them gyuto works better, others not so good. Rocking motion(or chopping in the context of kitchen cutting) is pretty much gyuto domain, however forward/backward down cuts are also very easy. Peeling or cutting small items like garlic cloves aren't that easy, but with some practice those become a routine too. Nakiris work much better for vegetables, especially for mincing small ones, but if you don't want to spend extra money on specialized knives then gyuto will do just fine. Pointy tip of gyuto works very well for different types of cuts too. In short it's a very versatile knife.
    Actually that is worth noting separately. After almost 3 months of pretty much daily use I have yet to discover a single chip or roll on the edge. I do maintain my knives very religiously, but still, chips and rolls occur during the use and so far nothing. Very hard steel and 30° angle are pretty resistant to those types of damage for normal kitchen use. Which indeed is a good news.
    Prolonged use - So far the longest I had to use Akifusa gyuto was approximately 3.5 hours of continuous cutting, no breaks actually, I was just cutting various types of vegetables, didn't even have to stop for washing them, I had help :) Considering that I've sharpened the knife day before it was scary sharp to begin with. Cutting with a knife that sharp is a pure joy. Especially when you have to make julienne, chiffonade and other complicated shapes. You'll really appreciate the sharpness during those chores. Cutting translucent slices of tomato or cucumber is trivial too, no more frustrations with rough edges, squashing soft vegetables. Anyway, after those 3.5 hours of use I didn't feel any sore spots on my palms, or muscle pain/cramps in my arms. Bear in mind, I am no pro-chef, and cutting that long isn't something I do on regular bases. In the end the edge degradation was obviously there, however I was unable to determine it by hand. Akifusa still shaved with ease in both directions and hair whittling was also ok. I couldn't tell any difference by cutting free hanging newsprint before and after the session. Overall, I am very impressed with cutting performance and especially edge holding of this knife.

Usage, 24° edge

- As usual, I tend to gradually lower the edge for pretty much all user knives until I hit the low limit for its use and steel properties. Akifusa gyuto was no exception. After using it for a few months at 30° edge (included) I've decided to move on and lower the edge. I felt the steel would hold up. So, I've pulled out my trusty Edge-Pro since i wanted to have precisely 12° angle edge per side, which gives 24° (included). Interestingly, despite blade steel being hardened at 64HRC Akifusa is quite easy to sharpen. For comparison all Aritsugu Knives I have and Phil Wilson's CPM125V semiskinner are hardened around 65HRC or higher, while Phil Wilson's CPM 10V hunter is 64HRC. Those are a bear to grind. All of them have exceptional wear resistance and edge holding, but are very hard to grind. Akifusa is easier, well it's a different steel too and less wear resistant as well, but my feeling is that grindability/edge holding ratio is in favor of the Akifusa gyuto.
    After polishing the edge with edge pro, that was commenced with polishing tape of 2000 grit I proceeded with finer abrasives in usual sequence, 2µm(SiC abrasive film), 1µm(Japanese Waterstone, 12000 grit), 0.5µm(CrO charged leather strop) and finally 0.25µm(Diamond Paste charged leather strop). Of course, all that had to be followed up with mandatory stropping. Needless to say all that sharpening gave blazing sharp edge.
    Total difference in edge angle is 6°. Doesn't look that much at first, but percentage-wise it is significant, that's a 20% decrease from the original angle. Cutting performance improvement was noticeable immediately. Despite of being hi-alloy steel, apparently thanks to its powder metallurgy origins, SRS-15 Steel doesn't have very large carbide grains. In other words, it can get very sharp, with very fine edge. So, low angles have very good benefits with this steel. First serious use came around thanksgiving 2008. Gyuto was used approx 4 hours of continuous, non-stop cutting of various vegetables on the wood(mahogony) board. I didn't even have to stop for washing veggies, I had help ;) Also, I've used it to clean fat from meat closer to the end, rather messy task, requiring sharp knife and gyuto handled it with flying colors. Obviously the knife ended up duller compared to initial edge, but it wasn't something I could notice neither by using it on veggies, nor by testing hair whittling ability or performing the paper slicing test. All tests passed just fine.
    Being conservative, or alternatively, lazy, I will keep this edge for another month or two and the if all works out well I'll lower it further, around 9°-10 ° per side. That's another 20% decrease :) So far it's been couple weeks I've had 24° edge on Akifusa gyuto and it's been superb. I'm very pleased with the results and clearly it was a good decision and time well spent lowering the edge angle.

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