Watanabe Honyaki Gyuto 270mm(10.6")
Japanese Kitchen Knife Review

Page 2
Tweet ThisShare On FacebookStumbleUponDigg itShare on Del.icio.us

Home > Knives > Kitchen Knives > Kitchen Knife Reviews > Watanabe
Watanabe Honyaki Gyuto 270mm(10.6")


 - This honyaki gyuto features 270mm long, mirror polished blade. I've already had two 240mm gyuto knives, before I've ordered honyaki: Kumagoro Hammer Finished Gyuto and Akifusa Gyuto. based on my experience with those two, I've decided that I would probably, be better off with the longer chef's knife. Which is why, I ordered a new gyuto with 30mm longer blade. This may not seem much, but does make difference, especially with rocking motion cuts. I don't have to raise my shoulder with larger items. Another customization that Watanabe made at my request was the blade thickness. My guess, based on my previous knowledge of Shinishi's knives, was that by default the knife of that size would come with at least 4mm thick spine. I was confident that I could handle it with the proper care, so I requested 3mm thick spine. Another request was to have the blade mirror polished. I was assuming the food would stick less and it'd be easier to wash. Both assumptions were correct, however what I didn't really think of, was the patina, or the surface oxidation. Carbon steel knives take patina pretty much immediately, during first use. So, if you want mirror polished blade, it better be stain-resistant steel. Otherwise, it will tarnish very quickly. I don't really care about the looks of patina on the gyuto, lots of people prefer it that way too. Just something for you to keep in mind, when you order your custom dream knife ;)

That's pretty much all the customizations I made for the knife, except for the handle, which as I already said above, was made by Stefan Keller, again, by my specifications. So, in the end, pretty much everything in this knife ended up customized to my taste ;) Well, that's the advantage of working with custom makers. You get what you really want.

As for the blade geometry, as you can see on the pictures linked on this page, this is a typical gyuto - Japanese chef's knife. May be, the blade width at the heel is little bit atypical, but this definitely is a pro of this knife, not a con. Easier and safer for guide hand fingers, gives more support, even when I have to cut through larger pieces, which in turn means I can work faster, and not worry about my fingertips ;)

As for the steel, it is Hitachi Aogami (Blue) steel. Aogami, or Ao-Ko steel is the standard in Watanabe's pro line knives. Also very popular with many other Japanese knife makers. More about that in Kitchen Knife Steel FAQ.


 - Pretty much all of my high end Japanese kitchen knives have WA type handle. That is the name of traditional Japanese handle style. There are some exceptions, like the same Akifusa Gyuto or Sanetsu Gyuto in ZDP-189 steel, the rest have WA handles. And most of those original handles were either already replaced by the new handles from Stefan, or that work is in progress as I write this. Like I said in my other reviews many times, Stefan has a real talent for this, and besides his craftsmanship skills, he's a good designer too. The honyaki gyuto handle is made of the African blackwood, and the red spacer is stabilized Amboyna Burl. Frankly, I've never even heard of those woods :) However, what is really important - the handle fits the blade (and my hands) very well, as it is now, I really like the whole knife/handle combo. Balance is perfect for me, and the feel of the handle is very nice. No complaints about either, handle comfort or overall ergonomics. Not even after 4.5 hour long, non-stop cutting session. In short, A+.


 - Out of the box, Watanabe Honyaki could whittle the hair, let alone shaving. Edge was, according to Shinichi - 2 coins. I.e. the blade is raised to the height of 2 coins from the sharpening surface. In case of this gyuto, that'd roughly be 3°-5° per side! That gives the total, or included angle of 8°-10° at most. Compare that to standard 45°-50° edges ground on average kitchen knife in your local mall and imagine the difference in cutting power ;) What is also true is that not every knife can take and hold the edge that thin. However, the cutting performance is just astonishing, can't really describe that in words. You have to feel it. So, that's what honyaki blades are about - super thin, strong edges that are really useable in the kitchen. Doesn't mean you have to whack bones or split lobster with them though. Those are the jobs for different knives, like Kobayashi Hontan Seikon Dojo Deba, or for even harsher stuff Busse Paul's Hatchet will help you, but not the thin edged (and bladed) gyuto. Anyhow, later on I've sharpened gyuto couple times. Actually, scratch that. In first 4 months I've had it, I never had to sharpen it so far. Stropping and steeling is all I need for it. Still hair whittling sharp. Sharpening I was referring, was stropping the blade on 0.25µm diamond crystal loaded leather strop. That's all it needed so far. Not much for the sharpening, but the blade did respond to stropping very well.

Prev.    Next

Last updated - 05/19/19