Masamoto HC

Discussion in 'Cooking Knife Reviews' started by luis j, Nov 14, 2012.

  1. luis j

    luis j

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    Damned... I did it again! Just bought a knife that I don't need !.

    I just ordered a 21 Cm. Masamoto HC. I was going to order the 24 but I already have a Mac professional and the Konosuke HD (Along some Germans of the same lenght that now just lay in the drawer) 24 is a lenght that fits me very well, but I couldn't justify the expense and I doubt that something can replace the "Kono" for prep, and for the harsher cutting I already have the MAC.

    I tried to find some kind of excuse and I got the perfect one... I don't have a good Petty... So an HC Petty is a good choice, right?... Not found!, seems like you can't get a Masamoto HC Petty.

    Ok, a 21 Cms Gyuto is kinda too long to be a petty... But what the heck!!!... Instead of thinking that I'm a consumist that wastes his hard earned money in something that I don't need...I convinced myself that I really need a good petty and that a 21 Cms. Knife is not an small gyuto...It's a long petty!... And I don't have a petty...Right??...Ok, There you have my pathetic, lame and less than perfect excuse... But maybe it wasn't that bad...It convinced me, and that was the point after all !

    Whatever... I just did it. I'm sure that I'm going to enjoy it.

    I ordered a few days ago a Gesshin 8000 stone, and after placing the order... I tought... The only knife "worthy" of that kind of high polishing is the Konosuke, why not getting something else?. So, I just did it.

    The knife has intrigued me since long time ago and I think that the only way to satisfy such curiosity is to experiment it personally.

    I'll keep you posted as soon as I get it, I'll give you all an honest point of view and all my impressions on the "mythical" asimetric bevel Yo gyuto.

    Best regards.

    Luis
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2012
  2. dreamwrx

    dreamwrx

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    I feel your pain... yet congratulations..
     
  3. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    Great knife. 

    BDL
     
  4. luis j

    luis j

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    Ok guys, here it is... I'm in a rush, still out of my town but I had to kep you all posted.

    On a quick note, Mark's service was great, neatly packed, it arrived on time and the knife looks great, it has a little "crack" on the handle, wich for me is no biggie at all, so far I can't review it, but the handle feels a bit thiner than my 21 Cm. Mac, but not bad either. We'll see once it hits the cutting board.

    Regards to everybody!

    Luis
     
  5. luis j

    luis j

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    First experience with the knife: Today the knife saw action by the first time. I got extremely busy because I'm returning from a one week vacation and as you can imagine, I had a ton of issues to solve, kitchen related but not cooking related, wich was frustrating because I wanted to try the knife,and by the time that I had the chance of doing some prep, the whole mise en place was ready, but when I saw some bell peppers on the grill to make the "grilled ratatouille" that we serve as a side dish, I told everybody that I was going to do the dicing, and I did it.

    And I couldn't resist the temptation of slicing a tomato too, wich was OK... Nothing remarkable but not bad.

    My first impressions...

    Fit... Perfect, handle felt very nice and the profile of the knife felt very good too (remember, it was something easy to cut, and not that much quantity, so, don't take my words as gospel, it's a just a very quick note).

    Sharpness OOTB: Average, not bad for a new knife but very far from what a sharpening aficionado wants and needs.

    Reactiveness: High. After only 20 minutes of dicing and despite of having being washed with an sponge INMEDIATELY  after finishing the dicing, it got stained, but this time instead of freaking out I just washed it rinsed it and enjoyed the ride, I'm going to let this knife take his own patina for a period of time, maybe it will age gracefully and develop a "personality" of it's own, I'm not into patinas but I'll not be anal about it and let's see how the knife evolves, if I don't like it or just can't stand it, I'll get some baking soda and I'll do some  hard scrubbing, but time will tell. I'll try to enjoy the knife's own nature.

    Sharpening:  After the initial cutting, it went to the stones and it took a wicked edge, it went to the bester 1200 (I didn't want to use the beston 500), the Suehiro Rika 5000 and finally the Gesshin 8000 (More on my new stone later, now just a clue: EXCELLENT) and it got SHARP.

    To have a comparison, I went to my mum's house and asked her to lend me her 21 Cms. Mac professional (My gift to her long ago). To my surprise, the Masamoto had some kind of "hardness" feeling similar to the stainless steel of the Mac, not as soft and easy to "burr" as the Konosuke (Maybe the thinness of the kono helps) or the Tojiros ITK,  but not bad.

    The asymmetric bevel was no problem since I sharpen my Mac that way, exactly the same, and to my surprise, the edge of the Masamoto OOTB looked pretty much as the edge of my old Mac (wich was not originally asymmetric, but based on the advice and comments from this forum, I changed the profile to give it a different bevel...Wich BTW works awesome).

    Edge retention: No idea, I'll let you know in some weeks.

    So far very happy with the new toy, I feel like I got myself a very nice piece that is going to give me lots of satisfactions.

    Here are the pics of the knife after his first use, you can see the patina:



    Best regards.

    Luis
     
  6. franzb69

    franzb69

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    great review. looking forward to reading about the edge retention.
     
  7. t-bj

    t-bj

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    Yes, really looking forward, to hear from you.
     
  8. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    The Masamoto HC is as good as a mass-produced, western handled, carbon chef's knife gets.  The only drawback is that it's so good it can get a little boring.  Felicidades.  Mazel Tov.  Whatever. 

    There are perhaps a couple of knives in the HC's (admittedly narrow) category which compare equally; but I'd rate the Misono Sweden and Sabatier Nogent at a heartbeat less; and the Masamoto CT, and K-Sab and T-I au carbones at another half step behind. 

    The real action in the mass produced, western handled chef's knives is in stainless and semi stainless -- especially with yo-lasers.  It seems though, that nearly all of the exciting chef's knives currently on the market are yo-gyuto.  

    BDL
     
  9. t-bj

    t-bj

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    Some knives, seem to have little or no personality, so i can
    only agree to much on that perspective. I am a great
    fan of the carbon sabs, the only argument i have on
    those, is that the spine tend to be a little to wide, which
    can create some trouble, when cutting big onions, never-
    theless, they are exellent when cutting meat. I think it
    has something to do, with the perfect "v" shape of The
    blade, did i mention, that i have a couple of carbon sabs
    myself. Nevertheless i think that japaneese knives, tend
    to be more convex from the spine to the edge, and that
    could make them more suitable for cutting vegetables,and not
    sticking that much to it. So i guess that all perfect knife
    just might not exist, we all know that, but the nogents
    might come close. Thanks to BDL for his tecnical know-
    how and his willingness to share.
    TBJ
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2012
  10. luis j

    luis j

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    Update after almost a couple of weeks of use...

    As I mentioned earlier in this post, the knife left a lot to be desired on the OOTB edge... Wich I solved right away "retouching it" with my bester 1200, suehiro rika 5000 and finally the Gesshin 8000. I worked on it thinking on respecting the original edge, and I rised a small burr, I didn't want to change anything on the knife profile.

    On my first cut, I felt the magic... Cool knife, sharp and very reactive, I cutted those grilled peppers and the first impression was good.

    The next time I had the chance of doing something more substantial... I took some tomatoes that needed to be sliced, and everything went fine...With the first tomato, with the second I started getting the feeling of a dull knife... Sad thing...I honed it a little with the Idahone 1200 rod and it worked fine again...For a couple of tomatoes more...WTF???/img/vbsmilies/smilies/frown.gif

    Is this the mythical Masamoto HC?... I can't believe it... There must be something wrong, this can't be happening, was my first tought.

    Was the 8000 stone  too much for the knife?...Was I getting an "slippery" edge?...To me it felt dull, but I wanted to think that there must be something that I was doing wrong.

    The next day I paid a visit to my mum's house and asked for her 21 Cm Mac to get a fair comparison. I sharpened both at the same time, same progression starting from 1200, same angles (I gave to my mac and to my mum's mac an asimetrical edge that looks pretty much like the one that the Masamoto has originally) and checked them with my 20x magnification glass to see if I was doing something wrong, but nothing, everything looked fine.

    I took both knives to my kitchen in the restaurant, I told my prep guy to help me with some other tasks and I took his position, I divided the scallions, the tomatoes, the onions, the cilantro, the serrano peppers, the bell peppers, and the shallots in two equal parts. I was going to give an equal test to both knives...Long story short...The Mac was the winner by far on the edge retention department...Something had to be wrong, maybe I got a lemon...Who knows? I was puzzled and disappointed.

    I finished the prep with the Mac and I called it a day on testing knives. Later in the service, my salad cook ran short on diced tomatoes and I grabbed the knife again, I tought that it was the Mac, but I took the Masamoto in the rush, I diced the tomato  with the dull knife and just by the feeling of a knife squeezing and torturing the veggie I got upset...That was the straw that broke the camel's back!! /img/vbsmilies/smilies/mad.gif

    When the service finished I took the knife and went back home to give it some badass sharpening...No more caressing or "retouching", my patience plumetted down to zero and that crappy piece was going to get some love from my Beston 500.

    I prepared the stones, took care of having all of them absolutely flattened and propperly soaked and then the harsh treatment started, I went for a HUGE burr on the 500 stone, I didn't want to leave a single square micron of the old edge, it was going to be an absolute new beginning.

    Once I got the edge to my satisfaction with the 500, I went for the bester 1200, after that for the suehiro rika 5000, then the Takenoko 6000 and finally for the gesshin 8000, believe me, this time I was very anal about the whole process and I was looking for the best that I could do with my not so huge experience, but I was going to use all my resources.

    When I finished, I tested the edge, and it was scary sharp (just like on other ocasions just coming from the stone)... I sliced a tomato and it went fine, I passed the knife on my arm and it gave me a clean shave, and finally I did the paper test and it went fine. But I wasn't at ease yet, edge was never a problem...Edge RETENTION  was.

    I went back to the restaurant ready to slice a case of tomatoes, even if we didn't need them. I checked the staff menu for the next day and to my surprise it was "Ceviche" wich means serious dicing...I got the tomatoes, the onions, the serrano chilies, the cilantro and even the limes and I did all the prep in advance.

    First tomato...Perfect...Second tomato...Perfect...Third tomato and still perfect!! Way to go! Very cool, there was light at the end of the tunnel! I finished the 5 pounds of tomato and the knife was just perfect, I continued with all the veggies and paying a lot of attention on the feedback of the knife...Everything went perfect!! /img/vbsmilies/smilies/biggrin.gif  Damned! I was happy...But still to early to call it a victory.

    Next day... A big bunch of cilantro, several scallions bunches, diced shallots, and a couple of tomatoes at the end, just to see if the edge was still there. No problem, second session went with flying colors!

    And so on...Until today, the knife retains a great edge , I haven't used the rod at all and has been almost a week. The knife is not getting a very heavy duty but it's getting his share of work and I'm paying a lot of attention to it's performance. At this point, the edge has been there much longer than the mac...This is exactly what I was expecting from a knife with such high credentials.

    Too early for celebration, but so far, very very satisfied, the edge retention is there, the very sharp edge too, and the fit of the knife overpassed my expectations...I can't explain very well but I don't get fatigued hands at all, it's just a very comfortable knife to work with.

    The patina?... Pics will come soon, but I think that this is what a patina must look like, it doesn't look dirty or ugly... Actually, I think that I'm going to let it age with grace and to get used to like it for his very own nature. Time will tell, but the look of the blade doesn't bother me at all.

    It reacted very fast and drastically on the first use, but from that day, the evolution has been slow and smooth, I think that after the initial use, it starts to settle down. I still rinse it and dry it right inmediately after use, and BTW...I'm cutting a lot of limes with it and the reaction is still very reasonable.

    In a few words...I'm a happy happy man and after the hard sharpening session it became exactly what I was expecting from such knife ! I'll keep you updated.

    Any toughts or input will be more than welcome, I don't understand what was going on at first and if there are ideas to clarify it will be very enriching.

    Best regards from México.

    Luis
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2012
  11. franzb69

    franzb69

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    from what i've learned on forums like this is that with carbons, acids really literally eat up the edge. looks like your knife is finally settling from it's original condition. hopefully it'll keep getting better as it "ages" and gets used properly. patina needed to settle in i guess.

    =D

    i feel the same for the tojiro dp's, no character at all. boring. lol. but it does the job, which is what counts.
     
  12. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    Welcome to tough alloys.  The factory edge was not only obtuse, but had fatigued steel behind it.  Knives get dull quickly when they get out of true, and when you sharpened it gently, you weren't so much sharpening it as truing it -- then it went out of true.  When you sharpened it "hard," you chased the factory burr to the point where it fell off and you finally thinned the knife AND got a fresh, metal edge. 

    A fresh metal edge is always the goal.  What you'll find with the HC over time is that its edge is very durable, and the knife will maintain longer and better with a steel, requiring even less sharpening than your MAC. 

    BDL
     
  13. luis j

    luis j

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    Got it! Makes perfect sense BDL. Thanks for the reply, but now I'm curious... Why an obtuse and fatigued steel on a brand new knife? Is that normal for this kind of alloys? Is it just a result of mass production and not so good quality control on the sharpening department?, is that the standart for some brands?

    BTW...One more day with a good deal of prepping and the knife still performs like a champ.

    Regards.

    Luis
     
  14. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    Luis,

    A really horrible factory edge is typical of a lot of Japanese makers.  They get it sharp as quickly and cheaply as possible, with a good enough edge to play with -- but not good enough to keep.  They figure you're going to profile and sharpen the knife as soon as you get it, or (as is very common in Japan) have the store where you bought the knife sharpen it. 

    If it's any comfort, K-Sab and Thiers-Issard are just as bad with their carbons. 

    BDL
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2012
  15. duckfat

    duckfat

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    Getting a knife with a cracked handle is certainly a disappointment...no matter how you slice it. Not my idea of great or even very good service if the knife wasn't inspected before it shipped or was damaged in freight. That's not the first complaint we've seen here about similar issues from that vendor. This seems to be a bigger issue for over seas customers.

    The old adage the cheapest price is not always the best deal can ring very true if foreign freight is involved.

    There's nothing unusual about needing to true up an edge on a new knife. However if you had to start with a 500 to get a workable edge this was a lot more than a bit more than a little edge truing. A great edge OOB is a nice bonus but it's rare on production knives IME.

     There are those here who would likely have a field day with this if it shipped from the competition. The Carbonext comes to mind. However the simple truth is your knife is no different than those received with "issues" from Koki (Sans the cracked handle on your knife). I'm sure many would find that a far more egregious combination and send it right back if they could accept the freight cost.

    There are knives that suffer from poor quality control and they can present serious issues down the road like the Moritaka and some of the Richmonds with over grinding etc. Some production errors on a knife are going to degrade the quality to a point that no amount of time on the stones will fix it or the frustration level would just exceed the satisfaction level.

    You can tell your slipping down the Rabbit hole when your no longer happy with OOB sharpness. Consider that for the vast majority their knives will be the sharpest they ever see them OOB.

    Hopefully the handle doesn't present problems down the road. Other than that Masamoto makes a great knife and I hope you enjoy the new blade.

    It should be a nice compliment to the Kono.

    Dave
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2012
  16. rdm magic

    rdm magic

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    Maybe the fault in the handle means he'll just have to try put a cool, custom handle on it ;)
     
  17. luis j

    luis j

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    Sounds logic, actually sharpening an OOTB knife makes sense once that you know that a poor edge is expected, but since Macs and the Konosuke came with a good edge when brand new I wasn't expecting that... Not a bad thing once you know that it's the standard procedure, so... Word of advice for newbies buying this knives...You better get ready to sharpen the new knife, or ask Mark from chefknivestogo.com for his special service of sharpening before shipping.

    Update...It's been two more days of hard work with the knife in a professional kitchen and it got his first honing session, it went perfect, the feeling is very different from the Mac, the Konosuke and the Tojiros ITK. It gives you a "hard" feeling, but the results were good.

    The knife was still reasonably sharp but I wanted to have it performing at his peak.

    BTW...I rinsed it but I didn't wipe it dry on pourpose to see how it reacted... Well...It reacted and got stained/rusty. Nothing than a green 3M sponge and a bit of hard scrubbing couldn't repair.

    Pics coming in a couple of days.
     
  18. luis j

    luis j

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    Hi Dave...

    The chipping on the handle is not like a big "crack" or a dent, is pretty much like an small chipping, more like a piece of wood that has an splinter coming out (I don't know if I'm being clear on the subject...As you know english is not my first language and maybe I'm not explaining myself very well). Believe me, is the kind of flaws that you really need to look for paying huge attention, is the kind of issues that you see when inspecting on a meticulous way, but can't see on a day to day use. Let's say that the handle was at his 99%...No biggie. And I know that if I asked for another knife to Mark he would have done it gladly, trust me, the guy has been a very stand up vendor with me.

    I'll try to take pictures from the handle, but since my camera lens has no macro capabilities, I'm not sure if the flaw can be seen in the pic. Let's see.

    So far (After the sharpening from 500 to 8000) the knife has performed to my expectations, would I recomend it to a friend?... Absolutely yes, but with a fair warning on getting it professionally sharpened before shipping if he is not serious about free hand sharpening.

    It won't be the knife that I would recommend for my average home cook friend or to my coleagues that see the knives just like simple tools of the trade, but for those commited with his knives and passionate about sharpening, this will be a recomended piece.

    But is too soon to endorse the knife in a 100%...I think that I need to work with it for at least a couple of months more to get a real sense. Hopefully it won't let me down.

    I'll keep you all posted.

    Best regards.

    Luis
     
  19. duckfat

    duckfat

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    Luis,

    I'm glad to hear that. There's nothing worse than a chip, crack or imperfection in the handle that your can feel in your hand. These really aren't the knives I'd want to re-handle but I'm not into custom handles with the exception of some WA knives and even then only if I had to. That gets expensive quickly. FWIW this series does have a history of inconsistent handle quality but for whatever reason they seem to be better from some dealers than others. I can only surmise that's the result of hand selection which could be impractical for some vendors.

    The Masamoto's HC is a great working knife and it certainly won't draw the unwanted attention of a KS which IMO is a very good thing in many professional kitchens.

    Dave
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2012
  20. luis j

    luis j

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    Hi guys...

    Here are some updates on the Patina and I also took a pic of the "chipping" on the handle. I played a bit with a photo edition software to amplify the effects, the contrast is hard to get and some times is not easy to appreciate things very well on an image but I think that the pictures are very clear on that.

    The chipping on the handle came a bit too dramatic on the picture, but is something that you can't feel at all.

    BTW... Yesterday, the knive got his first re-sharpening session, going from 1200 to 8000. Results were great. I decided to sharpen it again since I was requiring some honing after each bunch of scallions. The session was absolutely necessary, and the results were perfect. Seems like after that first real sharpening the knife got better.

    On the patina department, you can see that the knife didn't got much worst than from the first day, patina is still forming but at an steady and slow pass. There are some ugly stains but those are due my little "experiment" of leaving the knife wet overnight...I wanted to know what was going to happen, and now I know exactly what happens and I'll never do it again. I can live with the patina, but for sure in a couple of weeks I'll polish it and maybe I'll force a patina with some pattern that I like more than the shady and cloudy stains that forms naturally.

    In a few words... Still happy with the knife.

    Here are some pics, let me know your toughts and ideas on it.

    Luis



     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2012