Does anyone own or know anything about the Miyabi kaizen chefs knife. I've been considering buying one but don't really want to shell out the cash without knowing a little about them ahead of time.
Miyabi Kaizen Chef's Knife?
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If you don't mind me saying, the real question is "compared to what?"
More generally: A san-mai (three layer laminate) knife. In this case, soft stainless, flower design pattern-welded (aka Damascus or "faux Damascus" if you prefer) stainless, surrounding a VG-10 core. Very well constructed, ambidextrous, micarta, "wa" handle.
The chef's knife is an okay French profile with normal, western style, edge symmetry, and bevel sharp.
Thin enough, light enough, but not a standout in any way.
Miyabis come very sharp out of the box, with excellent fit and finish.
Most san-mai VG-10 comes from the factory as very chippy, but loses some of that tendency once the owner's sharpened it a few times and revealed fresh steel. However, most VG-10, whether san-mai or "mono steel," and even after repeated sharpenings, is more likely to chip than a great many other knife alloys popular with Japanese makers. VG-10 is easy to sharpen and will take a great edge -- as long as you actually know how to sharpen. Edge holding is good, and the edges can be profitably maintained (but not sharpened) on an appropriate steel.
Because of the propensity to chip, you'll need another knife for heavy duty work such as splitting chickens, opening gourds, peeling pineapple, etc.
It's unlikely you'll find adapting to the "wa" handle any sort of challenge.
Miyabi is a subsidiary of Zwillings (aka Henckels), and like every other Henckels has the best factory support in the knife universe. Unlike many more exciting Japanese knives, Miyabi is plugged into an extensive US retail network.
Basically a better version of the Shun Classic, with a hugely better profile, and lefty friendly handle. But a lot like a bunch of other Japanese made knives.
Some Other Choices: Normally not on my short list of recommends, certainly nothing about it to make you wet your pants; but a good knife, well supported, a real alternative to regular "Germans," and very competitively priced.
In my opinion, the Fujiwara FKM is more bang for the buck and so is the Tojiro DP (also VG-10 san mai). For about the same money, the MAC Pro is much better. None of those three are pattern welded, but pattern welding doesn't do anything for performance -- so Damascus or no Damascus is a question of whether you like the look and how much you're willing to pay for it.
Miyabi v Shun: If the choice is between Shun Classic and Miyabi Kaizen, go for the Kaizen for its superior geometry and more adaptable handle.
Context: All knives dull eventually, no matter how good, how pretty, or how sharp they wereout of the box. Any dull knife is a dull knife. If you can't sharpen, either learn or don't waste your money on a quality blade. I know the subject of knives is sexier than the subject of sharpening; but trust me, it's all about the sharpening.
What else do you want to know?
I do have experience sharpening with stones, as I've been sharpening my hunting knives for a while, so that shouldn't be a problem. Also I do have an old "German" knife for heavy duty work. Mostly I was looking at the kaizens because I'm on a bit of a budget at the moment and they are having some kind of promotional sale and iv wanted to try out a Japanese knife for a while now. That and I saw they were made by zwilling which is a thumbs up in my book. Il probably be looking for a 10" knife before too long so Il definitely look into the knives you suggested.