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Hezhen Elegant Series Santoku Knife Review VG10 vs. 14Cr14MoVNb

Aesthetic difference between the Santoku Elegant Series

The handles on both knives are made from G10 a durable material made from fiberglass and epoxy. It will, not shrink or expand due to humidity or temperature. Both knives have a textured surface for a more secure and comfortable grip when wet. The powdered steel version comes with a unique design and a mosaic pin which results in a handle that is higher in production cost compared to the ivory-white colored VG10 Santoku.

Hezhen Elegant Series Santoku - G10 Handles
Hezhen Elegant Series Santoku – G10 Handles

Besides the handle, the difference is in the hammered look of the Chinese VG10 version compared to the grooves on the powdered version. They both have a different cladding line and Damascus pattern. The hammered pattern is only effective when food reaches the hammered sides whereas the powdered version is directly effective since the grooves are placed lower. This will result in a less vacuum effect with certain types of food helping with food release.

Hezhen Elegant Series Santoku - Cladding Line

Blade grind differences

Now with the aesthetics covered, let’s move on to the blade grind. Despite them both having the same blade shape there are a few noticeable differences if you inspect them side by side. When we measure the spine the powdered version has a thickness of 2.0mm at the heel and the Chinese VG10 version comes with a thickness of 2.5mm. The Powdered version has a thickness of 1.9mm in the middle and the Chinese VG10 version comes with a thickness of 2.3mm in the middle.

Hezhen Elegant Series Santoku - Spine

When inspecting the choil you can see the difference in thickness. This will result in a smoother cutting performance for the Powdered version.

Hezhen Elegant Series Santoku - Choil

Chinese SG/R2 vs Chinese VG10

The 14Cr14MoVNb, also known as Chinese SG2 or R2, stands out. Compared to the Chinese VG10 (10Cr15CoMoV), it delivers a noticeably sharper and longer-lasting edge. Despite a higher Rockwell rating, its durability feels on par or slightly better. I find 14Cr14MoVNb easier to sharpen and can achieve a sharper edge, especially on a ceramic whetstone.

Ceramic Whetstone

The Blade

Since both blade shapes are similar and I already have talked about the differences, I will cover the noticeable finishing on them. Hezhen does an excellent job in rounding the spine and choil of both versions. Hezhen added an extra curve at the choil which surprisingly is very comfortable for when you push your finger into the choil. Besides that, the heel is rounded to prevent accidental cuts. The added K-Tip on the Santoku-styled knives makes it easier for precise cuts.

Rounded Heel

Blade Profile

In terms of the blade profile, I found them both slightly more on the rounder belly profile. This favors a rocking motion a bit more compared to the down and up motion.

Hezhen Elegant Series Santoku - Blade Profile
Above: Powdered Version – Below: Chinese VG10

Balance Point & Weight

The balance point is just behind the choil which makes the knife handle heavy when pinching at the bolster. Adjusting your grip for a middle balance grip is possible but not ideal, by resting the point of balance on your middle finger it might take some getting used to, but it works due to the curved choil. The Powdered version weighs 260g, and the Chinese VG10 version is 285g, both relatively heavy for a Santoku knife.

Hezhen Elegant Series Santoku


The handle shape is identical, but the biggest surprise is that the handle contours sit nicely in your hand. If you pinch at the bolster you get the most comfortable. Adjusting your grip to make the knife middle balanced will be less beneficial. The handle will be comfortable for those with medium to large hand sizes. For those with a small hand size, the handle might be a tad too big.

Hezhen Elegant Series Santoku - Handle

Key Takeaways

Here are some key takeaways from the Hezhen Elegant Series Santoku knife:

  • Handle-heavy balance point favors those who prefer rocking.
  • Not recommended for small hands due to the handle size.
  • The Chinese VG10 version is beginner-friendly but basic.
  • The powdered version excels with premium materials and a thinner blade grind for smoother cutting and longer-lasting sharpness.

If budget is not of your concern I recommend the Powdered version. Both knives are on the heavy side for Santoku-styled knives. So if you want something lighter both options are not viable.


Hezhen Store on AliExpress:
Hezhen Elegant Series Santoku:
Powdered Version Chinese SG2/R2
Hezhen Elegant Series Santoku:
Chinese VG10 Verison

Hezhen Official Amazon Store:
Xinzuo Amazon
Hezhen Elegant Series Santoku:
Powdered Version Chinese SG2/R2
Hezhen Elegant Series Santoku:
Chinese VG10 Verison

The BamBoo Guy Official Xinzuo Reseller NA:
Hezhen Elegant Series Santoku:
Powdered Version Chinese SG2/R2
Hezhen Elegant Series Santoku:
Chinese VG10 Verison

Xinzuo Official Website:
(Hezhen is a sub-brand of Xinzuo)
Xinzuo Webshop

NOTES: Coupon code ”ChefPanko” for 10% off is only usable on the Xinzuo Official Website.
PS: Import taxes may apply if you order on the Xinzuo Official webshop.

If you want to know more about Xinzuo you can read the Q&A here that I did with the Co-Founder of Xinzuo by clicking here.

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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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  1. This steel doesn’t look like R2/SG2. This steel looks like S35VN. It’s got 1/3 more vanadium and half a % of niobium. Nearly 4% between the two. Which is close to double R2. Very similar steel to S35VN. S35VN I find has basically identical “edge retention” to R2, but it’s actually quite a lot more difficult to grind. The benefit is that it should be a little bit tougher meaning less likely to chip. But I have never used or tested this Chinese version. I’m sure it’s all good, if it had any issues they will fix them quickly. I’m not sure how I feel about it for kitchen knives, I honestly R2 is a better choice for most folks because it will be easier to maintain with normal whetstones. I almost always want to use diamonds when working with S35VN.

    1. Thank you for sharing your insights, I had no problems using a ceramic whetstone on 14Cr14MoVNb. I have discussed other problems with them like the shrinking black buffalo horn in certain humidity conditions. They directly went into finding and fixing some of the cause, since it is a natural product there is no way to eliminate it for 100% unless it was man-made. One of the causes is the metal dividers, they told me they would find something else or remove them to minimize the risk.

      Besides having their brand they are still an OEM provider, where the demand for certain materials is high.

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