Considering Miyabi Kaizen
I want to get my parents each a knife for Christmas. I have Shuns that I take care of and I really enjoy using. Unfortunately, I fear my folks will not be as careful with their knives and they would chip quickly. From what I understand, the Kaizens are more durable than traditional Japanese knives which is the big draw. I've handled them recently and they seem just as sharp, sleek, and light as the Japanese knives but with quite a bit more durability.
Anybody have some first hand experience on edge retention, durability, and longevity? Because these are a gift, the brand recognition (Henkels) and pretty Damascus steel is a bonus but definitely not a must. The most important thing is the quality. I'm thinking of an 8" Chefs and a 4.5" pairing or a 5.5" Santoku.
I think these are relatively new knives, so you may not get a lot of answers. I don't have first hand experience, but I don't expect its edge to be much more durable than that of a Shun Classic knife. Both Miyabi Karizen and Shun Classic knives are made of the same class of steel: VG-10. Both are hardened to about the same level 60-61 HRC. Shun edge is sharpened at 15°, while Miyabi is lower still at 9.5 to 12° All these lead to me think otherwise.
I got my wife a Miyabi Fusion (western handle version of the Kaizen) a few months ago and several of our friends have the Shun Classic. Although both use VG-10 steel, I find the Miyabi VG-10 sharpens more easily, can hold a finer edge, and is not as brittle as the Shun VG-10. Miyabi says their CRYODUR heat treatment process enables them to obtain an optimum balance of strength and flexibility…seems to be true. There’s just enough give or pliability to prevent chipping from minor mishaps. In a roundabout way their blade is somewhat more durable (forgiving maybe a better word) than the Shun. However the range of tasks and limitations of both knives are similar. In other words, the Miyabi does what the Shun does, but does so with a more chip resistant, thinner blade and more acute edge.
Thus far, we’ve not experienced any problems whatsoever. Edge retention is more than fine. The built quality and finish is way above its’ price range. I couldn’t find any flaws and it came with things like a rounded over spine and finger coil, and a blunted heel point. The factory edge was highly polished, evenly ground, and could easily slice paper. The handle is a little butt heavy, but very comfortable. The damascus pattern looks pretty and the cladding itself is very scratch resistant.
If I had the money I'd be buying one of these so I had a vg-10 in my collection, but at the moment I have other things I need to spend money on. I have a different Miyabi now and its a different steel, but I do love it. I am also looking at other Miyabi's that I may get in the future.
I personally would prefer the Shuns (Finer edge) But yes the edge is a little more durable I think on the Miyabi with there steel treatment plus doesn't seem as thin at the edge. Price is pretty close to each other $96.00 Miyabi, Shun $108.75. Havn't sharpened a Miyabi yet but Shuns are horrible to regain the edge on when the are misaligned from sharpening wrong.
That's what I was thinking. I've seen my parents cut on their granite counter, on porcelain plates, leave them in the sink with stuck on food. Shuns would not stand up to that kind of abuse and it would be a waste of an excellent knife. I plan on *trying* to teach them what not to do, how to use a steel, etc but who knows what they'll do once I leave them. I'm hoping a Miyabi will fair better, and I can pay for the knives to be professionally sharpened once a year.
For the record I take my Shuns to a professional sharpener who does it by hand, not with the electronic sharpeners. Before I knew what I was doing, I used one and immediately had a serrated Santoku : ( I work for a kitchen supply store and always recommend people do the same, or at least take it to someone who's been trained to sharpen using those devices.