Knife for a birthday gift- Takamura Migaki R2 Gyuto?

Joined Sep 11, 2015
Hey guys,

I have a buddy who is also a home cook. While at my house one day he was commenting on how much better my knives seemed than what he has (I have a mix of Forschner and wusthoff, I have not gotten nicer ones because after 11 years of marriage I just now feel my wife is trained enough to not put them in the sink, I'm going to start replacing/upgrading mine soon) and how he would like to get nice knives. 

I was looking at the Mac Pro knives and came here to find out if MH-80 or BK-85 were better. Then I came here and started reading and saw the Takamura recommended. I just wanted to see if I'm thinking right and ask a question before purchasing from ck2go.

My buddy: meat, vegetables, occasional cooking. right handed. Has a good butcher block (enough room to move around). I figured as an all around an @8" knife would be good for him. He will not sharpen himself (he works 60-80 hours a week) so that will get done professionally. 

Any reason not to go with the Takamura? is the Gyuto 210 not the right size model for all around? I figured if I get him a chef knife now and he likes it I can always gift him a petty later. 

Last question, buying the knife from chefknivestogo will it come sharp or do I need to have it sharpened? I noticed on another knife website they offer sharpening at the time of purchase. I want it to come frightening sharp to begin with.

Thanks guys. I look forward to many hours of reading before I start getting any knives for myself. 

Joined May 29, 2013
Hello Dago Red.  Welcome to ChefTalk!

I don't have any experience with R2 steel or Takamura knives, so I can't give any good information on them.  But, ChefKnivesToGo is a firm I and many other people on this forum have dealt with as customers without problems (though there are other forums where CKTG is seen as a site of Satan).

I am presuming you are referring to the MAC MTH-80 (with "dimples" - more accurately referred to as "Kullenschliff", or as "kullens") and the MAC MBK-85.  There is also a MAC BK-80 knife, which is the same steel, but with a non-bolstered handle.  Sorry to get so picky about model numbers, but it really pays out in the discussion to have everyone knowing what knife and model are being talked about.

The MTH-80 is a case of where you either think that kullens work, or you don't.  Personally, I don't think they do.  And yes, I have a MTH-80.  I also have a MBK-95 and I don't think the kullens are something that makes much performance difference between the two knives.

I have also just recently acquired some of the MAC "Chef" series knives, including a BK-100.  The BK knives have just plain wood composite handles and no bolster, but I don't feel any difference in the edge performance (the same steel is used in both the MBK-95 and MBK-85, as is used in the BK-100, MAC's "Original" steel; the MTH-80 uses "Superior" steel, which from my reading of the MAC web sites seems to suggest a different heat treatment process of the same source steel for the vast majority of MAC knives) and the blade thickness is the same in all of the knives being discussed - 2.5 mm blade thickness along the spine.  Of course, no bolster can mean lesser prestige

The one real concern I have is about your friend not being able to take the time to sharpen the knives personally.  Invariably, that will mean the knife edges will just get duller over time.  Unfortunately, there are just no magic knives which will not get duller with use.

A lot of sharpening issues deal with the question of the learning curve and time spent on that.  If that's the case, you might instead consider a sharpening jig, such as the Edge Pro.  The learning curve is MUCH faster, and the ability to have a consistent angle along the entire length of the edge is much easier for the newer user than with freehanding with stones.

I'm probably going to get absolutely "Trolled" for the following suggestion, but if the $165 price for the Edge Pro Apex 1 kit is sticker shock, then a $35 "Edge Faux" (a cheap Chinese knock-off copy sold on eBay), provided that you buy real Edge Pro stones (which are available from CKTG).  CKTG sells a 2 stone set - the 220 grit and 240 grit stones - for $18, which makes the total cost of the equivalent of Edge Faux plus real stones less than 1/3rd the cost of the real thing.  You can also add other stones as well.  Just be sure you soak the stones before each use session in water for at least 15 to 20 minutes.

Mind you - there are no guarantees on the Edge Faux, and the cheap set has stones which are garbage and probably should just be thrown away as fast as possible.  But, the patent on the real Edge Pro ran out a few years ago, so it's now public domain for the design.

Hope that helps.

Galley Swiller
Joined Sep 11, 2015
Thanks for the reply!

He'd never get around to sharpening but he'd have it done professionally. As much as he'd use it I don't think he'd need more than twice a year.

That said I'm gonna be getting stones at some point in the next few months and starting to sharpen my own. It's been a long time since I used regular stones, I'll practice on my forschners :)

Joined Sep 11, 2015
That was part of what I wanted to find out, does cktg do sharpening? If not is there a place that sells this knife that does or somewhere I can send it?

I have a lansky diamond set but am not sure it's good enough to finish such a fine knife. I plan to get a set of stones good enough to do my straight razors as well. But budget says that's maybe a Christmas gift to myself

Joined Nov 15, 2012
Takamura is an excellent choice, but you have to understand that it is a delicate knife in comparison to a Forschener.  It will be very sharp OTB, but as Benuser states the factory edge will likely not hold up long, often takes several sharpenings for the real edge properties to show themselves.  And your friend will need to find a sharpener who uses waterstones.

Most diamond stones will leave undesireably deep scratches on your edge, that includes Lansky.  The Takamura itself will do nicely with a good 1K6K combi for general sharpening, of course you'd want a coarse stone for thinning, but straight razors demand high grits for finishing and I hesitate to recommend a set for you here as I have ZERO experience with them. 

Joined Sep 11, 2015
There's a professional sharpener that supposedly does knives all over CA, comes to the farmers market. He uses ceramic abrasives on a machine. Do you think that would be ok for this knife?

I haven't decided the stones I'll get yet. Probably the inexpensive 200 and 1/6k then spend more on finishing stones for the straights. Thanks for the input guys

Joined Aug 21, 2004
Professional sharpeners are just like every other profession. Some are know what they are doing. Some don't. There is a professional sharpener that does most of the restaurants in my area. Everyone at work utilizes him...except me. I wouldn't let him anywhere near my knives. He does a terrible job. Yes the knives feel sharp when he is done, but you can see the damage he does. Just goes to show that even professional cooks don't always know from shinola.

Ask to see a knife that they have done and know what to look for before giving him a knife. Even then, give him a beater knife at first. Buyer beware (and knowledgeable) is always a wise practice. Recommendations are nice but... I remember when i was in culinary school and taking Chinese cuisine, we were on a walking tour in SF Chinatown with our instructor. He pointed out a restaurant and said "See how crowded the restaurant is? See all the Chinese people eating there? Doesn't mean mean that the restaurant is good, Chinese people are no different than anyone else, they don't always know quality cuisine. That particular restaurant is not good. Don't waste your time and your money." Still sticks with me 30 years later.
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