Saturday, June 26, 2010

TC Blades 240 Gyuto

I recently took a 240 gyuto out for one of my late night sharpening and cutting sessions. (I don't have my camera available to me but will post photos soon.)

Tsil from TC Blades asked my opinion. Below was my response. Followed by his.

Hi TC,

Very interesting knife. The first thing that drew me to the knife was the appearance. That is one sexy looking knife. I love the rustic hammer finish and the matte black back. However I have a question, I noticed the grind marks in the transition between the mirrored bevel and the hammered finish. Were they left intentionally to enhance the rustic look? Just curious.

At first I gave it my usual sharpening progression. I was amazed how large a burr I raised on my two lower grit stones. I had no trouble removing the burr and the knife seemed to sharpen nicely.

I did my usual tests, push cut paper, tomato slice, onion dice and potato slice. The knife felt very sharp to the finger but I had difficulty push cutting paper. Despite this it worked very efficiently on the vegetables. You mentioned you leave a little extra material on the blade so the user can "train" the knife. With this in mind I went back to the stones and tried to thin out the edge a bit more and then re-tested the knife. It still wouldn't push cut paper but worked even better on the vegetables. I was a little confused because it worked so well "cutting" but couldn't cut the paper. I believe edge thickness may be why.

I understand some of the forum members weren't crazy about your knives. I think the reason is because they have tunnel vision. They are obsessed with "thin" and believe every knife should be a "lazer". This knife may have a thicker edge initially but over time this knife will keep improving. It is a very good knife for general kitchen production. Especially in a pro kitchen. It's thick and heavy which makes it ideal for an adverse environment. The blade is thin enough to prep darn near anything yet thick enough to prep many things I wouldn't normally use a gyuto for. If I were breaking down chickens, this would be the first knife I would reach for. It's stout enough to handle squash, root vegetables etc. It's an excellent "all around" knife. It may not be a great tuna slicer but anything else would be no problem. Including bone-in meats.

One thing I was particularly impressed with was how it handled potatoes. It sliced them thinly and consistently without the potato slices sticking to the blade. Food doesn't seem to want to stick to the KU finish. That also increases efficiency. (I've posted a video on my youtube channel, saltydog55252)

I'd say most chefs would be in good shape with one of your gyutos and a thinner knife for more delicate work. There would be no need for any other gyutos. You would have everything covered. I would also use it for tasks I might use a deba on.

In summary, it's a unique knife that is a workhorse and a pretty one at that. I love the saya the detailed pin and the satchel it comes with. It's a bit blade heavy but that's a matter of personal preferance. When I look at knives I try to keep my subjective opinions neutral. Not everyone cuts like me. The other criticism which isn't too big of a deal is the length of the machi. It does serve the purpose of allowing the user to "choke-up" their grip nearer the blade which is helpful with the heavy knife. The balance point is about an inch blade side of the choil which again is a personal preference. It is after all a heavy blade and darn near indestructible.

I've been using knives professionally for 35 years. I am not tainted by popular opinion or fads. I recognize knives and their potential uses. I immediately recognize a knife's strong points and tailor it's use accordingly. There are many tasks this knife would be well suited for.

Thanks for making it.

Scott

TC response:

Hi Scott,

I appreciate you taking the time to write to me. I think you have a great way with words, and I think you pin pointed exactly what these knives are all about.

The grind marks are simply a product of the hand making process. Of course the blade could have been "super finished" and left spotless - but then it would loose a lot of it's external character - as well as that extra material I was talking about. Many of our knives show various marks associated with the making process, but we don't find these to detract from the aesthetic value of the piece. If anything, we feel it gives the blade it's unique character. Naturally, if we where ever asked to produce a blade that was completely mirror finished, we would most probably rise to the challenge - but it would be somewhat "against the grain" as far as our philosophy goes.

Regarding push cutting the paper, I would suggest stropping the knife on leather - just like you would a straight razor. I think you will be pleasantly surprised with the results.

Please feel free to share your notes about this knife with others in your field - I think there is far too much confusion about what TC Blades are all about at this point - and so many people out there simply don't know enough about knives to make an educated assessment.

Again, thank you for your input. I hope you enjoy this knife for many years to come.

Best wishes,

TC

4 comments:

riderdie said...

Hi,

I just ordered a TC Blades 240mm Kiritsuke and found your blog to be very reassuring. After reading this and TcBlades blog I am confident in my decision to purchase one of their knives. Thanks a million.

Kulin

Scott Sebastian said...

Remember, it's a heavy blade with a thicker edge. Good for general prep and small butchery.

riderdie said...

ummm... the knife is sick.

Anonymous said...

I have two TC Blades. One is a 240 Gyuto, and the other is a 270 Western style. I like both of them, but I have to admit, the Gyuto simply rocks.