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Have you heard of Tuo Cutlery? Are their knives good?

Tuo Cutlery Review

I received 3 knives from Tuo Cutlery, the Fiery Phoenix Vegetable Cleaver with German steel, The Black Phoenix Utility knife also with German Steel, and Falcon S Nakiri with Japanese AUS8 steel. All 3 come in a Mono-steel construction, only the Falcon S comes with a fancy pattern. The only difference between the Black Phoenix and the Fiery Phoenix is the handle color. The shape and the material of the handle which is Pakkawood are the same. The Falcon S comes with a G10 handle and a mosaic pin.

Black Phoenix Utility Knife, Falcon S Series Nakiri, Fiery Phoenix Vegetable Cleaver
Black Phoenix Utility Knife, Falcon S Series Nakiri, Fiery Phoenix Vegetable Cleaver

Quality Control

Despite the fancy packaging that has enough padding, I immediately noticed some quality control issues with the review samples.

All knives come well packed with a lot of padding
All knives come well packed with a lot of padding

All 3 knives that I received had bent blades, some were more bent than the others. This is something that Tuo Cutlery needs to fix as this is a manufacturing defect since the packaging has no dents.

Black Phoenix Utility Knife with a visible bent
Black Phoenix Utility Knife with a visible bent

Rockwell Hardness & Edge Retention German Steel

Tuo Cutlery advertises with a Rockwell on their German Steel with a 56 plus or minus 2. I expected a Rockwell of at least 56 on their German steel but both knives were more around 55. Which is softer than I anticipated. This means that you need to hone the knife quite frequently and with a few honing sessions you most likely need to sharpen the knife on a whetstone within 2 to 3 weeks.

Tuo Cutlery Black and Fiery Phoenix with German Steel, DIN. 1.4116
Tuo Cutlery Black and Fiery Phoenix with German Steel, DIN. 1.4116

Rockwell Hardness & Edge Retention Japanese AUS8

The Falcon S Nakiri with the Japanese AUS8 was advertised with the same Rockwell specs of 56 plus or minus 2, and on my review sample, it was around 57 which is a pleasant surprise. It will last you around 2 months with regular honing sessions before you need to maintain it with a whetstone.

Falcon S Series Nakiri with Japanese AUS-8
Falcon S Series Nakiri with Japanese AUS-8

The Black Phoenix Utility knife

The Black Phoenix utility knife comes with a blade profile that is pleasant to use and what you would expect from a utility knife. It is long thin and ideal for small food items like oranges. The handle on the other hand is forcing you into a position that I did not like but it is the most comfortable position in conjunction with the handle design.

Tuo Cutlery Black Phoenix Utility Knife
Tuo Cutlery Black Phoenix Utility Knife

But this will make the knife handle heavy which is not ideal for a utility knife. A utility knife is supposed to be used to do the smaller task on a cutting board. And due to the point of balance, the knife will resist your cutting motion instead of assisting.

Handle Heavy Point of Balance resisting your cutting motion
Handle Heavy Point of Balance resisting your cutting motion

If you hold the knife at the point of balance. The thick handle design is not comfortable anymore. I can’t recommend the Black Phoenix Utility knife with all the design problems combined with the quality control issues.

The point of Balance is at my Thumb
The point of Balance is on my Thumb

Fiery Phoenix Vegetable Cleaver

The Fiery Phoenix Vegetable Cleaver is very interesting with its unique design. It is small and nimble and very different than your typical Chinese vegetable cleavers.

Tuo Cutlery Fiery Phoenix Vegetable Cleaver
Tuo Cutlery Fiery Phoenix Vegetable Cleaver

Unfortunately, the execution of Tuo Cutlery falls short on the handle and blade profile. The handle is a tad too big even for my large hand size. My fingers do not get a comfortable grip due to the big pronounced belly on the handle. The blade profile has a very pronounced belly which is not great for fast cutting work. You have to move the knife a bit too much to get a completely clean cut.

Very hefty/large handle and pronounced belly, the blade also has a very pronounced belly profile
Very hefty/large handle and pronounced belly, the blade also has a very pronounced belly profile

Besides the very pronounced belly, I noticed another quality control issue which is that the front part is crooked. Every time I tried to cut things straight the blade pushed the edge to the side resulting in a slanted cut.

The crooked front part results in a slanted cut
The crooked front part results in a slanted cut

I like the unique design; it has great potential, but the execution is not good. I wish that Tuo Cutlery can improve on this particular design along with the many quality control issues.

Great concept, very nimble and comfortable if the execution was right
Great concept, very nimble and comfortable if the execution was right

Falcon S Nakiri

The Falcon S Nakiri is a point in the right direction. The aesthetic is adding to the functionality since it helps with food release. Keep in mind that there is no cladding and that the aesthetic should not be confused with a Damascus pattern.

Aesthetic helps with food release, this is not a Damascus pattern and neither does it have a cladding
Aesthetic helps with food release, this is not a Damascus pattern and neither does it have a cladding

The Nakiri has a good point of balance, the blade is thin behind the edge and it comes with a Rockwell of 57 on my review sample.

Nice choil and very thin overall
Nice choil and very thin overall

The handle is comfortable in my hands since it is not overly bubbly, unlike the other 2 knives. If it wasn’t for the quality control with the bent blade, the knife would be a solid knife.

Unfortunately, it has a bent front, otherwise, this Falcon S Nakiri would have been a solid knife
Unfortunately, it has a bent front, otherwise, this Falcon S Nakiri would have been a solid knife

Improvements & Suggestions

Overall Tuo Cutlery comes with some unique styled knives with daring handle designs. However, I feel like they are sacrificing functionality and comfort over a unique design. They also want the same handle design over the entire knife collection which hinders the comfort and functionality, just as I have discovered with the Black Phoenix Utility knife. Besides that, they also need to improve the quality control since all 3 knives had problems with a bent blade. The low Rockwell on the German steel should see some improvements in the heat treatment. I hope that Tuo Cutlery takes these suggestions seriously, and updates its knife collections to prioritize comfort and functionality over design.

Same handle design but smaller does not always work across the knife styles
Same handle design but smaller does not always work across the knife styles

🛒S H O P:

The Official Tuo Cutlery Store Page on Amazon:
Amazon NA
Amazon EU

Tuo Cutlery Black Phoenix
Tuo Cutlery Fiery Phoenix
Tuo Cutlery Falcon S Series

Tuo Cutlery Official Website

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ChefPanko

Hi, I'm ChefPanko, I have worked for multiple restaurants and have decided to share my experience with you guys. I will share recipes and techniques that I have learned, taken, and improved from the French, Japanese restaurants that I have worked for. I will also explore other cuisines with you guys.

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One Comment

  1. While I’m critical of the Tuo Cutlery Line, I hope they can improve their designs, to focus more on comfort, functionality, and durability. Most home cooks would not notice the awkward handle design, strange blade profile, balance point, and heat treatment. As long as they can have a matching set of knives that is what matters, for most home cooks. To be fair, they are fine if it was not for quality control. But if you were going to use the knives longer than 10min a day then they definitely need to improve comfort and if they want to target the professionals they need to improve!

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