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Gesshin Kagero vs. new Ryusen Blazen

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 



I am considering buying a new 240mm yo-gyuto that is made of powdered steel. I am a home cook and my current 240mm gyutos are Hattori FH, Hattori HD, and Konosuke HD, but I would like to try out a different type of steel. I have been curious about the new Ryusen Blazen for a while, though I have been discouraged by some people in the forums claiming that it's not worth the price. I am also interested in the Gesshin Kagero, which seems to be carefully developed by JKI, and at a lower price. (One may also count Akifusa in the same league, I guess) 


So are there people out there with experience with both of these knives?


Is the Kagero only giving similar performance at a lower price, or is it actually a better knife? This is particularly important for me, because the Blazen (from JCK) is not more expensive for me, given the shipping costs to where I am. Some specific questions about the knives: does the Kagero have as good F&F as the Blazen, and how bad is the Kagero's brittleness towards the tip - which Jon mentions in a post - in practice? 


I would appreciate all comments/suggestions.



post #2 of 11

I have the Epicurean Edge version of the Blazen, the so-called Bu-ry-zen, which was an upgrade from the original.  I'm not sure how it compares to the JKI version.  It holds an edge well, but otherwise I don't particularly care for it.  I keep it because was a meaningful gift and has sentimental value. 


Don't know the Gesshin, but... Jon is dead on honest and about as objective -- not to mention picky -- as a dealer can be about his own stock.  He's also very knowledgeable and an absolute wizard when it comes to matching people with knives.  You really want to start a conversation with him.  Phone would be best, but I gather you're overseas so e-mail will have to do. 


There are a lot of reasons to buy knives, and pursing a particular alloy or alloy type is a good one -- as long as you're satisfying curiosity or have some very specific reason for believing the alloy will help you in some particular way. 


Without guessing where you fit in the continuum (how would I know?), many knife guys over-emphasize the value of specific alloys or alloy types. At any given quality level, you'll find that some perform better than others in some ways, but that there are trade-offs. 


For instance, many PMs are brittle and chippy, most are tedious to sharpen, and all (that I know of) feel unpleasant on the stones.  In addition, some stones don't work very well with them.  And, as a rule, even though you have to sharpen PMs less, it's very important that you sharpen well. 


Last, if you're going to chase PMs, you may want to look into Bohler 390 which seems to be the current alloy flavor or the month.  I have no personal experience with it, but am hearing good things about chip resistance, and amazing things about chip resistance. 


I'm really stoked about my 51200 Ultimatum and think the Bohler 390 version would definitely be worth a shot if you're interested in a 7oz, ugly-duckling, no job too big - no job too small, almost never needs sharpening, wa-gyuto.  Phaedrus, someone else you may want to contact, reviewed it here.



post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 



Thank you for your reply, that was helpful. I have read your posts in the past, and I'm aware that you are not fond of the Blazen. To what extent is that because you don't like the damped feel of Blazen's clad construction? Do you think it is also unimpressive with respect to cutting performance? 


I am a home-cook with low-intensity cooking needs, so my primary interest in kitchen knives is based on just a love of knives and the fun of using a knife that is beautiful and a good cutter. Having good edge retention is desirable, but given that my gyuto wouldn't get more than 5-6 hours of use per week, not vital. (I sharpen with an Edge Pro.) 


I don't have an intrinsic interest in PMs. But at this point I am interested in an impressive stainless yo-gyuto that costs less than $350. I am pleased with my Hattori FH, but want to explore, and looked into PMs only because that's an option providing some compelling candidates. The Nenox S1 looks quite good but is out of my price range.


I sent Jon an email and asked for his advice, thanks for suggesting that. 



post #4 of 11


I use the akifusa you mention and could not be more pleased.

It was sharp as a razor out of the box and it has held its edge better then anything i have ever used.


I have used it a few months now and have not needed to sharpen on stones yet so I dont know how it feel to sharpen them but it touches up nicely with a few strokes on the balsa strop.



post #5 of 11

The Bu-ry-zen is a decent cutter, it's pretty, has a fairly good handle, and is reasonably agile.    


You're right about my dislike having something to do with its damped feel.  But here's the rest of the list:  I don't like 8" knives (remember this one was a gift); I can't steel it because it's too hard; the profile is only okay; it's scratchy on the stones and not easy to sharpen.  Mostly what I don't like about the Bu-ry-zen is that it fails to excite me in any way -- which, at its price, it should do. 



post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
Jah, thanks for the akifusa recommendation.

BDL, thanks again for useful info. But a question: is what you say about the Blazen not being good for steeling equally applicable to all PM steel knives? I assume they're all pretty hard. And what you say applies to honing with a ceramic rod (like the Idahone), right?

I got a very helpful reply from Jon. I am inclined to go for the Kagero when the funds become available.

post #7 of 11

Without getting into the oft-repeated discussion about "strength," "hardness," "toughness," and their inter-dynamics...Anything 63RCH or harder, PM or not, should NOT be steeled unless it's also very tough.


At 61RCH -- which isn't uncommon for CPM 154 -- you're probably OK as long as there's not too much asymmetry, you don't use more than a few strokes; and use very light pressure.   Even then, be careful.   


You might get away with steeling M390 (a tough PM) at 63-64, but you wouldn't want to try it with SG2, CowryX and any one of a bunch of other PMs unless you wanted chips. 


There are some interesting PM alloys used for knives.  I'm not a fan because I don't consider their principle benefit, long-lived edge holding,to be more important in the gestalt of a knife than the PMs' minor drawbacks which come in the form of difficult and unpleasant sharpening -- especially compared to the carbon and semi-stainless alloys I do like.  But, don't go by what I like and dislike for myself.  There's nothing magic or universal about my tastes. De gustibus non disputandum, and all that. 


What you want to take from me are the tools for making your own decisions. 



Edited by boar_d_laze - 7/27/13 at 7:52am
post #8 of 11

i would avoid steeling or the use of rods on knives like this in general.  I also happen to not like steeling at all, so i recognize i'm a bit biased in that regard.  If anyone is curious why i think the way i do, i explain it a bit in this video here:


post #9 of 11

Looking at my last post, I realize I might have been unclear.  Unlike Jon, I'm very much in favor of steeling when it's appropriate.  But I agree with Jon that a Blazen is an inappropriate candidate.   



post #10 of 11

i recognize that... thats why i thought it might be useful to explain why i think the way i do... the video was the easiest way to do that.  Notice that i also understand that sometimes steels may need to be used, but i also explain why they are not an ideal solution.


@BDL i do get where you are coming from... i just have a different view.  At the end of the day, its more a matter of opinion than one way being objectively right (with some exceptions like super hard powdered steels like this, single bevel knives, and super thin knives)

post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thank you all for the informative discussion.



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