The Makoto Kurosaki Gyuto has a Shirogami #2 core and comes with an outer softer stainless steel cladding. The cladding is very visible and adds to the aesthetics of the knife. The blade also comes with a Kuroichi finish. The knife also comes with a traditional Wa-handle with an octagon shape.
Knife Rockwell Hardness and Core Material
The knife Rockwell hardness is specified with a Rockwell of 62. If used at home, you can get away with 7 to 8 months before needing a whetstone touch-up if you regularly hone your knife with a honing rod. Shirogami #2 is not rust-resistant. It will form multiple colors that we call patina. Most Japanese knives with a high Rockwell hardness go for a sharper knife over durability. That is also why they add a cladding to protect the blade from any potential damage, and it prevents the knife from breaking. Since the knife prioritizes sharpness over durability, you need to keep in mind that you can not do the following things. It should not be used to slice through frozen food, bones, cheese, hard bread, or force your way through other though food like chocolate or crush nuts, and you should not twist or pry the food open with the knife since that can cause chipping.
I’m pleased to see that Makoto Kurosaki went for a higher angle than other artisans. Most artisan knives sharpen their knives on a 12-degree angle. Since Makoto Kurosaki went for an angle of 15 degrees, he not only gave the edge more durability. It also prolonged the edge retention by going for a higher angle, despite the lower Rockwell rating of 62 than others with a Rockwell of 63. It will result in edge retention comparable with a knife with a Rockwell of 63 sharpened on a 12-degree angle.
Blade aesthetic and food release
The Kuroichi finish on the Makoto Kurosaki adds extra characteristics. Because of the more refined polish, the food release is not the best compared with other rougher Kuroichi finish. The cladding is also nicely visible.
The blade profile of this Gyuto is also very nicely done. It maintains a straight blade while having a gentle curve at the front. The heel of the knife has a slight upward angle to prevent any hard stops.
Knife balance point
The knife balance point of this knife is in front of the chiseled Kanji. Depending on the gripping style, the knife balance point will shift. It is considered slightly front-heavy if you pinch grip the knife at the neck area. If you pinch grip at the blade or on the chiseled Kanji, the knife will be middle balanced. Keep in mind that you shift your middle fingers toward the choil by doing so. Makoto Kurosaki rounded the choil area and polished it nicely so there won’t be any discomfort if you grip the knife a bit more in front of the chiseled Kanji.
The traditional Wa-handle is an octagon handle, which is a well-balanced design for comfort and grip. The handle comes with a rosewood handle, and when the handle starts to feel dry, you can apply a thin layer of mineral oil. It will prevent the wooden handle from drying out and splitting. Most traditional handles come with a colored top part. This top part is usually a thin layer of resin to prevent water damage on the rosewood handle. The downside of this kind of handle is the durability; a traditional handle is less impact-resistant since it is partially glued into the handle. However, a Japanese knife with a high Rockwell isn’t impact resistant in the first place. Therefore I do not recommend the handle grip since it affects the glued part and blade.
Fit and Finish
Despite the Kuroichi finish, Makoto Kurosaki added a lovely mirror finish at the spine and choil area. Not only is it mirror-finished, but he also rounded the edges for extra comfort. The rounded heel area at the choil is also comfortable for those that want additional control by shifting the grip to the front.
Weight & Distal Spine Taper
The knife weight of 180grams is light for a 24cm knife. The knife comes with a spine taper with 3.6mm at the heel, 2.3mm at the middle, and 1.4mm at the front. The knife is very stiff, and there is no noticeable flex during use.
What makes Makoto Kurosaki knives unique?
Makoto Kurosaki knives have many similarities with Yu Kurosaki, Yoshimi Kato, and Hiroshi Kato. They all have a thick neck area and an aggressive spine and profile taper. The most significant difference is choosing a 15 degree sharpened angle and a rounded mirror polish spine and choil area. You get a knife that is similar to Yu Kurosaki for a very affordable price tag.
Suitable for home cooks?
The knife is suitable for home cooks. However, you must know what you can and can not do with it. It is also advisable that you know how to sharpen your knives properly before investing in this knife. Keep in mind that this knife is not rust-resistant, so you must keep it dry.
Suitable for professional cooks?
While the knife is suitable for professional cooks, you need to consider where you want to use it. You will love how long the knife will stay sharp without needing to hone your edge. It would be best if you also accepted that this knife would form a patina.
Maintenance and Care
It is not recommended to use a diamond-coated honing rod or a coarse like an 800 grit ceramic rod. My recommendation is a ceramic rod with a minimum of 1000 grit. The higher you go, the less material you remove with each honing session. You can also use a whetstone as your regular honing stone. It is also inadvisable to use a bamboo cutting board since bamboo is quite hard and will dull it faster. You should always handwash and dry your knife after use since this prevents water damage on the blade and handle. You should never use the sponge’s abrasive side or any abrasive material to clean the knife. You will destroy the knife’s polish and remove the Kuroichi finish.
The Kuroichi finish will not come off if you use it normally, but you should know that particular food and its acidic level can affect it. Things like lemons, vinegar, tomatoes, and alcoholic liquid can affect the finish if the knife is exposed to that liquid. Therefore it is advisable to wipe the knife with a damp towel after slicing those kinds of food. If you work in a restaurant, consider buying a different knife without the Kuroichi finish if you need to slice those kinds of food for hours. And since this is a Shirogami white, it is not advisable to slice through acidic food unless you want to form a patina.
N O T E S:
Makoto Kurosaki knives are very popular mainly because of the price (his cheaper line-ups) and the retailers might be out of stock for a long period of time. Each knife will differ slightly with the measurements, the cladding and chiseled hammered look will not be the same on each knife. Kuroichi finishes Gyuto from Makoto Kurosaki 210mm is around $150. 240mm is around $200. Makoto Kurosaki also has a line called Ryusei a 210mm Gyuto is around $200.
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