Has anyone used the Mikado knives? I handled the Gyuto today at the knife shop and liked the feel and balance of it but, being from the International line, I wonder about the steel quality. Any thoughts?
That's what I thought. I didn't even look at the price tag, but I was hoping for some good J-Steel to match the profiles. I'm assuming that the price(and quality) would be on par with the rest of the International line?(disappointing)
Well, it is what it is, and one of the things it isn't is "International," at least in the old sense. Internationals used to be stamped (aka blocked) in Henckels' factories all over the world, except Germany and Japan. But if I'm not mistaken, the Mikados, even though "International" have the "Zwillings" (twins) logo, and may even be forged in Germany. In any case, Mikados along with several other Internationals are now forged.
Unfortunately Henckels is one of those companies which doesn't publish the identities or even the specs for the blade alloys they use; but the Mikados appear to be made of something less than the whatever it is, it's a lot like X50CrMoV15 which Henckels uses for its other, more expensive forged knives. Even if it's the same stuff, it's not very good steel. It's one of the steels which you can't get very sharp to begin with -- and loses its edge quickly. Hard to chip, though.
You'll get more performance for you dollar from Forschner Fibrox and Rosewood, and even the "pro" Dexters; ironically because they are stamped and the mode of construction allows the manufacturere to make the geometry thinner.
But if you really like the Mikado's handle you don't have much to lose by trying one. Don't overthink. Have fun instead.
ADDED LATER: Whoops. I was wrong about the Zwillings. The logo on the Mikado is, indeed, the Internationals' "Dude with Walking Stick" symbol. This may or may not manifest an attitude on Henckles' part that it's a "lesser" knife than those made in Germany.
It's only fair to mention that over the past couple of years Henckels has made a huge push to improve actual and perceived quality.
I'm going to give the Deba and the Gyuto a whirl. Together, they cost less than my cheapest Chef, so why not. If I don't like them, I'll give them to my sister. She's been on me to help her with her knife skills lately anyway.