The Dongsun Santoku Kyokuto knife, made in China, features layered Damascus cladding and a hammered pattern for an attractive look. The knife’s core material is 10Cr15CoMoV, also known as Chinese VG10. When properly heat-treated, the Chinese VG10 aims to provide a comparable balance of hardness, durability, and corrosion resistance to the Japanese VG10, resulting in a stainless steel option that is sharp, tough, and relatively easy to sharpen.
Handle Features and Aesthetics
The knife’s handle is made from Pakkawood, a durable material known for its resistance to moisture. It features a decorative brass pin with a shell on top, purely for aesthetic purposes. The blade is securely welded onto the handle, and from the bolster towards the end cap, the knife is fixed with a screw and filled with glue. The butt of the handle has a debossed logo.
The blade of the Dongsun Santoku Kyokuto is well-made. It has an anatomically good design, with a distal taper of 2.1mm above the heel and 1.8mm in the middle. The profile taper is also done correctly, allowing for smooth and precise cutting without splitting the produce. The blade profile is also what you would expect from a Santoku. The heat treatment of the Chinese VG10 is commendable, achieving the advertised Rockwell hardness rating of 60 to 61. However, it’s worth noting that the sharpened angle on my review sample is slightly inconsistent, and the logo on the blade could have been smoother for a more seamless feel.
On paper and in the pictures, the Dongsun Kyokuto Santoku knife looks impressive and promising. However, during my testing, I discovered several design problems, all of which can be traced back to one crucial aspect which is the handle design. Despite my efforts to give the knife more time and use it extensively, I couldn’t get comfortable with the handle. It’s a shame because the blade itself is actually good, but the handle’s design flaw overshadows its performance.
Another issue I encountered with the Dongsun Kyokuto Santoku knife is its balance. The balance point of the knife feels awkward because it falls in between the slanted bolster. When I try to hold it by pinching at the bolster, it becomes handle-heavy. On the other hand, if I pinch slightly behind it, the knife becomes blade-heavy. Finding the right balance while using this knife is challenging and affects the overall handling experience.
Comfort & Grip
The awkward placement of the balance point not only affects the knife’s balance but also impacts the overall comfort during handling. The only grip that allows for the correct balance is when you rest the knife on your index finger, but this grip introduces various comfort issues. The raised belly part of the handle becomes uncomfortable on the middle finger, ring finger, and pinky finger. Holding the knife in this manner feels more like choking the knife rather than it being an extension of my arm.
Thumb Grip & Pinch Grip at the Handle
Alternatively, if I pinch the handle, the top part of the handle rests on the bony parts of my hand.
While pinching it with my thumb on top alleviates the discomfort of the handle pressing into my bones, it introduces a host of other problems, including an awkward hand position, poor balance, and limited knuckle clearance.
These issues significantly impact the overall comfort and grip of the knife, making it challenging to achieve a comfortable and natural hold while using it.
Key Takeaways & Recommendations
Overall, the blade of the Dongsun Kyokuto Santoku knife is good but could benefit from minor improvements such as achieving a more consistent sharpened angle and a smoother logo. However, the significant design flaw in the handle makes it impossible for me to recommend this knife. The handle design flaw directly leads to discomfort and grip issues, undermining the overall usability of the knife.
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