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Gyuto profiles - question on the "flat section"?

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 

Been researching knives to buy off and on for a while now, have owned a few smaller Japanese knives for a couple months, finally got back around to this and bought a gyuto


In all the reviews they talk about the length of the flat spot before it starts curving up to the tip, mentioning how the longer flat section is for better board contact


This is my question: How flat should that be?  Should it actually be dead flat with the board from the heel till where it starts to curve up?


This probably sounds like a dumb question, it's just that I have nothing to compare to, and the Richmond Laser Aogami 240 that I bought seems to curve from heel to toe, there's no spot on it that makes full contact for more than a very short section at a time. The very point of the heel especially seems to curve up quite a bit, enough that there's barely a bevel on it from the factory sharpening.

Should I be attempting the flatten from the end of the curve straight to the heel when I sharpen it?



I don't have it at the moment (it's going to end up being a birthday gift from my son, so I'll get it back tonight lol), but I can post some pics later showing how it sits on a flat surface

post #2 of 30
Originally Posted by kavik79 View Post


This is my question: How flat should that be?  Should it actually be dead flat with the board from the heel till where it starts to curve up?



Not a single portion of my favorite gyutos (Masamoto, Tanaka, Togiharu) is totally flat. From the heel to the tip, there's always some curvature.

The only knife i own that has an almost flat profile is a customized Kanemasa that i morfed into a kind of 250 mm. santoku. I use it sometimes cause the edge is terrific, but as cutters, i certainly prefer the former. Here's the profile pick of the Kanemasa.



Remember also, that it entirely depends on your style of cutting.

Gebe Gott uns allen, uns Trinkern, einen so leichten und so schönen Tod! Joseph Roth.
Gebe Gott uns allen, uns Trinkern, einen so leichten und so schönen Tod! Joseph Roth.
post #3 of 30
Thread Starter 

I'm still working on techniques/styles.....but I got the feeling looking at it that I wouldn't get through the whole length of a pepper if I chopped straight down


that pic definitely looks much flatter by the heel than mine looked


I probably should've waited till tonight to post this with pics, but I was bored and thinking about it lol

post #4 of 30
French chef knives have traditionally a deadly flat section, sometimes up to the half of the cutting edge. Used for cutting herbs, holding the blade with both hands, one at the bolster, the other one somewhere on the spine. Rock-choppers hate it because it gives an abrupt change in their motion. On vintages it mostly has disappeared due to overly steeling and been replaced by the well-known recurve belly. With old knives I tend to reproduce it to save some material and give it an extra strong edge for heavier tasks.

post #5 of 30

It completely depends on your technique and preference.  If you want to see a flat gyuto, check out Takeda.  That's my unicorn knife!

post #6 of 30
I should add that with traditional sharpening you will flatten out any profile unless you take some precautions.
post #7 of 30

not really... thats just bad sharpening if that happens

post #8 of 30
Thread Starter 

First of all, thanks for the replies so far. And apologies in advance for the poor picture, but it's late and I'm tired lol



When I just rock the knife gently on the board it stops pretty solidly at this point.  To go further I have to angle the handle down and lift the tip, basically rocking on the heel


Played with the knife a little tonight, and the edge out of the box is pretty nice, just slips through potato and peppers like they're barely there....but exactly what I was worried about is what happened


When I was cutting up some peppers, rocking, chopping or push cutting, the cut always stopped at the point that's in contact with the board in the pic, any part closer to the heel didn't cut through....so, obviously it's not working for me


I just don't know.....am I trying to cut too close to the heel? Or, even if the flat spot shouldn't be a huge long section, should it happen more towards the heel?

It seems to me that it should go right to the end, but I might just be used to knives that do, like the ones Benuser mentioned


So, it's just another issue with my learning curve? Or it's something that should be corrected on the stones?
(I'm still leaning towards needs correcting, and I know it's a big "your mileage may vary" kind of thing, I just don't want to alter the knife more than I should while I'm still learning, and end up doing something that just reinforces my bad habits)

post #9 of 30
As far as I can see, it's not as it should be, and repair would be a major job with quite a loss of material. If this is the condition a brand new blade came to you, you should send it back.
post #10 of 30
Thread Starter 
Yes, that's the condition it came in. At the time the picture was taken I'd done nothing more then take it out of the box and rock it on the board 3 or 4 times to make sure it always stopped at that same point.

Thanks Ben, I was afraid that was going to be the answer...but it's hard to know for sure when it's your first, you know?

Anyone else think the same?
post #11 of 30

I don't think that is the intended shape.  They should offer you an exchange.  If you don't have a grinder, this could take a long time to fix, beyond the sharpening and maintenance expected of a user on a brand new knife.  They're not just any vendor in this case, it is their house brand.

post #12 of 30
Thread Starter 
I do have a grinder, but not enough experience to feel comfortable regrinding a brand new >$200 knife on it. Don't think i should really have to either

I guess I'll take a clearer pic and get in touch with them about it, hopefully there won't be any hassle getting it replaced, i was impressed with the rest of the knife
post #13 of 30

Unless it's a wet grinder, I wouldn't use a motorized grinder on any knife.  Too much chance of damaging the localized heat tempering of the knife.


Instead, I would use a low grit stone.  You can get a stone with a grit as low as 24 grit (Numataba Ume XXC Aratae, from Chef Knives To Go).  


I have successfully reprofiled an old junk carbon Sabatier (a Veritable, but not a "Chef au Ritz") that had a portion of the edge in the middle of the blade very uneven.  However, the repair used up much of the stone of a Beston 500.


But I figured it was worth it, since one of my sisters-in-law was threatening to confiscate a very good vintage carbon "Chef Au Ritz" Sabatier I had and she coveted.  The reprofiled Sabatier went to her instead.  I can always get another stone, but a good vintage Sabatier would be another matter.



Galley Swiller

post #14 of 30
For knives peple use a water wheel which helps keep it cool or they need to dunk the knife in a bucket of water occasionally. If the friction heats the knife over some temperature, the heat treatment of the steel is affected. I only know enough to know it's out of my skill set. See what Mark says about exchange.
post #15 of 30
Galley swiller beat me to it.
post #16 of 30
Thread Starter 
I have a variable speed grinder with a "fryable" wheel on it...I've got to really stop paying attention in order to change steel color on a chisel with that wheel. Made out well with it on a couple other knives too. But, no, still not as good of an option as a wet wheel

If it were a cheap knife, or an old knife, I'd be glad to start grinding it down.....but not if it really is a manufacturing flaw on a brand new knife....and so far no one is chiming in to say this looks normal to them lol
post #17 of 30
Let us know what the vendor has to say about it. If he knows his job he won't hesitate and exchange it, or, even better, send you another one without exchange.
post #18 of 30
Thread Starter 

I'll be sure to let you know.  I'm curious myself....found a couple stories about difficulties returning to this vendor, unfortunately I didn't see them till after I ordered

post #19 of 30
I'm quite sure this vendor will respond in a responsible way.
post #20 of 30
Thread Starter 

for any curious, just sent an email off to the vendor, along with a couple pics, including this one:




So, at the point where it stops rocking, the heel is a full 1/16" off the board and approx 1.75" of blade not making contact

(red lines just to mark the contact patch)


just thought I'd update, now that I had an actual measurement

post #21 of 30

Now i can see that "belly". Seems to be an over grinding of the last portion of the heel.

Gebe Gott uns allen, uns Trinkern, einen so leichten und so schönen Tod! Joseph Roth.
Gebe Gott uns allen, uns Trinkern, einen so leichten und so schönen Tod! Joseph Roth.
post #22 of 30
Quite worrying in fact. Must have been obvious to a multitude of people involved since it occurred. Curiously, in the seventies Japanese have developed Quality Control at the lowest level instead of the only final stage control.
post #23 of 30
Thread Starter 

For the update that was promised:

I've had a few emails back and forth with the vendor.  Originally was told that the flat spot was fine and the curve at the heel was intentional, to keep users from digging the heel into the board.

I shared some more measurements, re-stated my side of things and, though he never came out and said it wasn't right, he did offer my choice of replacement or refund, including shipping costs....which I think says something about that.


He was good enough to send pictures of what I could choose from for replacements, but based on the pictures of his and mine side by side, I chose the refund option.


So, while I was unimpressed with the consistency of these blades and handles sizes and shapes, I am happy that it is being taken care of




and now......back to looking for another knife again *sighs*

post #24 of 30
I really dislike packing and sending knives back. These days, I'll spend a couple more dollars with consistently good vendors.
post #25 of 30
Thread Starter 
I'm open to suggestions smile.gif
post #26 of 30
Nothing beats holding it in your hand and inspecting exactly the knife you are buying. If I were you, trip d own to Korin in NYC. Have a nice lunch and spoil yourself!

Online JKI has free shipping over $100 and I have never gotten anything bad there. I think Jon works closely with his makers and has good qc.

Jck has $7 shipping and a lot of selection in your price range.
post #27 of 30
Thread Starter 
I figured those two would be the suggestions, but figured I'd check smile.gif

Korin is a new name to me though, I'll look into that, thanks!
post #28 of 30
Tosho up in Toronto is more of stuff I like: wa handled carbons. It's more of a weekend than day trip. Nothing wrong with a weekend of poutine and ahem courtesans.
post #29 of 30
If you're looking for a double-bevelled blade with Korin, ask for their free "initial Western sharpening". Blades coming from factory have only been sharpened on a grinding wheel or belt, with some buffering to deburr, usually all performed within a minute by the youngest apprentice. The resulting edge is in the best cases a draft of what a good edge may be. In many cases they are weak, a bit overheated and rounded by the buffering. The stone sharpening that Korin offers is a good point of departure for later maintenance.
post #30 of 30
Thread Starter 

Well, since all the knives I was previously considering were at the same vendor, had to start from scratch on my searching and it seemed to keep coming back to Jon at JKI and the Gesshin Ginga.  Unfortunately those are sold out with no ETA on restocking.

Emailed Jon and based on his advice I just placed an order for the Gesshin Uraku 240mm stainless


It's not an exciting looking knife, but I hear it's a good performer.  For the price, I'm hoping it'll do nicely as I learn better cutting and sharpening technique, and I can always look for something more upscale a little down the road


thanks again to everyone who chimed in on the other knife issue and kept me from doing something stupid, like trying to re-grind the whole thing myself LOL

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