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My New MAC Pro Mighty 9.5" Chef's knife

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thanks everyone for their knife buying advice.  BDL's wealth of knowledge is especially helpful and educational, and really helped narrow me down to a couple of choices.

 

I finally made a decision and ordered a MAC Pro Mighty Chef's 9.5" knife, and it arrived yesterday.  Overall, I think I'll be very happy with the knife, though it does have one tiny cosmetic flaw that is going to bug me for as long as I own it, but more on that later.  I had difficulty finding an accurate, detailed description online, so I thought I'd share a description of the knife I received.  

 

Specs:

 

Blade length: 244mm

Overall length: 369mm

Weight: 225g

Blade thickness: 2.31mm at spine

Balance point: roughly 133mm from back of handle (8mm forward of blade heel).

 

Handle:

 

The MAC USA site shows the knife with a two-rivet handle, but my knife has three.  I was curious, so I contacted them and they said the handle is really best suited to a two rivet design, but they recently changed it to three since the public perceives three-rivet knives to be higher quality.  The handle's F&F is excellent with a near-perfectly smooth transitions between tang, scales, and rivets.

 

Blade:

 

To my untrained eye, the blade appeared dull out of the box, but that was definitely not the case.  The blade looked liked it had been buffed to the edge, and there was no perceivable bevel, so it almost appeared rounded over.  But MACs have a reputation for being very sharp out of the box, and a couple quick tests proved this knife was no exception.  It easily sliced a cucumber with two short strokes under its own weight, and it easily slices through a sheet of paper like a razor.  My best guess is that it came from the factory with a convex edge, since I have difficulty seeing any kind of bevel on it.  The blade tapers nicely from the 2.31mm spine to a nice thin blade near the edge.  The taper right at the edge is skewed a little to one side.  I had assumed these were ground 50-50, so I don't know if this is intentional or a flaw. 

 

MAC Pro edge.JPG

 

 

The blade is very stiff, but does flex some given enough pressure.  I think I'm going to go as long as I can without sharpening it because I think anything I do will only make it dull compared to the razor edge it has now.  I'm afraid to even steel it.

 

The left side of the blade has the familiar English "MAC Mighty" logo in it's goofy lettering.  The right side of the blade says "MADE IN JAPAN" and has the Japanese-character version of the company logo.  All lettering is raised printing on the blade, not stamped or engraved.  Note that the pictures below are deceiving.  What looks like a clear bevel in the pictures looks like a buffed frosted finish in person.

 

MAC Pro left.jpg

 

MAC Pro right.jpg

 

Overall:

 

The knife is a little heavier, and the blade a little thicker at the spine, than I expected, but I don't have any other experience with a Chef's knife this long.  I was also considering the Masamoto VG in the same length, and my MAC's measurements are in line (the MAC is .1mm thicker, and 25g lighter) with the Masamoto VG specs on JCK's web site.  

 

The knife does have one flaw that will probably bug me as long as I own it.  The grind of the spine near where the bolster is welded on is not quite right, and there is a tiny nick where it looks like the weld wasn't quite polished right.  I'm sure the flaw is cosmetic only, but I was hoping for the perfect knife, and this tiny nick may stick in my mind every time I use it.  It's difficult to really capture the problem in a photo, but the photo below has the nick circled, and notice how the spine grinding ends with a kind of diagonal transition into the bolster (above left of circle).  Do you think it is worth contacting MAC USA or the dealer about, is it fixable, or should I just get over my OCD and live with it?

 

MAC Pro flaw.JPG

 

I also ordered and received a MAC Superior 10.5" bread knife, 12" Idahone ceramic rod, and a Naniwa SS 1000 stone.  I'll try to talk more about those later.

post #2 of 7

I also bought a knife recently with some disappointing cosmetic... "idiosyncrasies," so I empathize with your frustration.  It couldn't hurt to at least contact the vendor about it, and see if they will make it right.  It may mean having to ship it off and being without your fancy new knife a while longer, but if you're as particularly obsessive about these things as I am, it's worth the wait. 


Cheers, and congrats on the sweet knife!

post #3 of 7

Hey yogi,

 

If you're not going to round the spine over yourself, you should contact Harold at MAC USA.  Don't minimize the chip by stressing your own supposed fussiness.  It's small, but in a really lousy spot -- right where your index finger will drape over it.

 

However, please take a look at the chip again and ask yourself if it will survive rounding the spine.  You really should ease the spine and the back of the blade (some people call the back the "choil") as well.  It will make your knife far more comfortable.  Do it by clamping the knife in a vise (between sheets of cardboard to protect the blade), with the spine up, then using a strip of medium-coarse sandpaper like a shoeshine cloth over the first couple of inches of spine, until the spine is rounded over.  Then use a medium-fine grit paper to buff out the scratches.   Turn the knife so it's held vertically, and repeat on the back of the blade. 

 

If you're going to grind the chip out anyway, it's not a reason to return the knife.  Otherwise, it just might be. 

 

The "raised" marking on the blade is ink, and will wear off with cleaning. 

 

Japanese knives aren't German knives, and with a very few exceptions they do not come OOTB with well finished edges.  A few makers whose output is intended entirely (or almost entirely) for the west -- like Global and Shun -- ship a well finished edge.  A few artisan makers also sharpen, probably to prove some sort of artisanal point.  Most don't.  Good or bad, that's how it is.

 

It's ludicrous the way some dealers pretend that OOTB Japanese edges are intentional.  Most knives which come with any edge at all (if that's what you want to call it) got a couple of swipes on a belt sander or grinder -- just enough to raise a burr; then one of two swipes on the other -- just enough to push it over.  If they went one pass on the second side the edge will look as though it were profiled 70/30, two will look 50/50.  But really, the knife wasn't meaningfully sharpened nor any symmetry imposed. 

 

It's been awhile since handling a new MAC. I still haven't seen the last one I bought -- a 9.5" Pro like yours -- it was a gift for someone else.  But I seem to remember that MACs used to come actually sharpened.  Call Harold at MAC USA to find out for sure.  In any case, MAC's "sharp out of the box," is nowhere near as sharp as the knife can or should be.  These puppies aren't Wusthofs, they're capable of a lot more sharpness than a factory should waste time on.   

 

Your knife might well have been one of those "Friday Afternoon" mistakes which happen in every factory.  A nearly finished product gets pushed to the back of the bench with the idea of taking care of it, the problem forgotten over the weekend, it's boxed and shipped on Monday morning.  If you do exchange the knife I'm interested in hearing if the replacement's OOTB edge shows more finish and/or sharpness. 

 

Whatever happened in the factory, a knife like yours should not only have a really first class edge put on, but a fairly high degree of polish too.  It won't really begin to come into its own until around the 5000# (JIS) level, and will just get better all the way up to 10K or so.  Ordinary sharpness for that knife should be "fall through" a cucumber, onion, or tomato.  That's not "incredibly sharp, right off the stones," mind you -- it's every day sharp.   

 

MACs function quite well with a flat 15* edge angle, and 50/50 symmetry.  You can improve performance a little by thinning the knife to 10* along its entire length, then sharpening to 15* on both sides.  A lot of people, me included, call this a 15*/10* double bevel.  But so what.  A mild asymmetry of around 60/40 will make the knife work a little better without compormising durability or your ability to use a hone.

 

Once you've resolved the chip issue, for heaven's sake don't be afraid to sharpen your MAC!  Putting it off won't make it any easier and in the meantime you're missing quite a bit of what the knife has to offer.  Furthermore, it's an easy knife to sharpen and good to learn on. 

 

If you find benchstones too intimidating (you shouldn't), then get an EP or even a Chef's Choice Electric. You need to be able to sharpen your own knife or find someone (who knows how to sharpen Japanese made knives without messing them up) to do it for you.

 

Same on steeling.  There's absolutely nothing to be afraid of.  When it needs steeling, steel it.  Some rods are more appropriate than others for a knife with as thin and hard an edge as a MAC; but anything no coarser than "fine" or "extra fine" will be just fine for the time being.    

 

Your pal,

BDL


Edited by boar_d_laze - 8/30/10 at 4:17pm
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post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 

I've shipped it to MAC Knives, Inc.  They are going to try to grind out the nick in the spine.  Fingers crossed it comes back looking better.

post #5 of 7

Interesting that my brand new and identical knife shares EXACTLY the same defect... Perhaps a run with the same error on the grind? It is very small but after looking at your pics I can see and feel it in the same spot.

post #6 of 7

That's interesting, especially considered the original thread is 4 months old.

I'd contact MAC and see if they can remedy the situation.  I personally would be really frustrated if I spent that much money on a knife and it had that type of fit/finish. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Throwintail1409 View Post

Interesting that my brand new and identical knife shares EXACTLY the same defect... Perhaps a run with the same error on the grind? It is very small but after looking at your pics I can see and feel it in the same spot.

post #7 of 7

Too bad yogidog never posted the end of the story. 

 

By all means call MAC USA and see what they'll do about it.  If they want to grind the chip out, see if they'll ease the edges on the first 1-1/2" or so of spine as well. 

 

The alternative is to ease the edges on the spine yourself by holding the knife in a (padded) vise and using strips of sandpaper shoe-shine style. Easing the edges is something you'll want to do anway, something which should be done to all knives which aren't crowned at the factory.  In your case, you'll have to go far enough back on the knife to get the chip, which seems to be right at the intersection of bolster and blade.  It should take it down enough so that you can't feel it.

 

You might not feel the same way about "customizing" a new knife, and getting MAC to take care of the chip is not a bad idea. 

 

The good news, such as it is, is that MAC USA's customer service is a pleasure.

 

It's a great knife.  Use it in the best of health.

 

Merry Kwanzaa,

BDL

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