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Oct 26, 2013 04:12 PM

Miyabi Evolution 8" Chef’s Knives

This may be old news, but I just saw the Miyabi Evolution 8 inch Chef's knife at Sur La Table for $99. In short, it is a hard steel knife hardened to a HRC 61. The edge angle, however, is the standard 22-24 degree per side. The blade is also wider.

Not really recommending it since I don't know much, but the price is very reasonable. Something to look out for.

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  1. Some speculation...

    The Good:
    - The price isn't bad (though you can still get an 8 inch Tojiro DP for less, and a Carbonext for about the same price).
    - Many of the Miyabi lines so far have been good.
    - The profile isn't too bad for an East-West fusion knife. Probably a bit less belly than a Shun Classic. I prefer less belly still, but the profile looks decent in a general sense.
    - Looks stylish. The photography makes it seem like they stole a page from Hiromoto's playbook with the darker edge patina, but I suspect the effect is way more subtle in person (especially since the steel is stainless). Still, I like the look. Handle looks stylish and not too obtrusive as well.
    - I'm glad to see a rounded spine as an advertised feature on a mass produced knife.

    The Questionable:
    - There's nothing wrong with an edge that's 22-24 degrees (I'm assuming that's not an included angle). It should be durable, and you can always re-sharpen it at a lower angle. But I don't know why you would make a factory edge that obtuse while using steel hardened to 61 hrc. It makes me wonder if they're using low quality steel that's especially chip-prone or something at lower angles.
    - The geometry/thickness is pretty much a big question mark right now.

    The bad:
    - FC61 is some made-up marketing nonsense. Probably means "fine carbide, 61 hardness". And it's probably a common steel.
    - "Revolutionary FC61 steel pairs fine carbide distribution with an astonishing 61 Rockwell hardness and has never before been used for kitchen cutlery—despite many attempts" is laughable. It's annoying when SLT and marketers treat consumers like morons. At best, it is a clear statement that they're not chasing the market for knife heads. At worst, it undermines my faith in the quality of their product. If you use good materials and make high quality knives, you don't have to sling the bullshit.

    I'm not gonna take one for the team here. Though I'll happily read about it if anyone else wants to.

    7 Replies
    1. re: cowboyardee

      <The profile isn't too bad for an East-West fusion knife>

      Good catch. It is advertized as such too. East meets West. The blade width (spine to blade) looks slightly wider than other knives.

      < the darker edge patina, but I suspect the effect is way more subtle>

      You are right. I can see the edge, but it is not darker. The line is definitely there.

      <It makes me wonder if they're using low quality steel that's especially chip-prone or something at lower angles.>

      I was thinking along that line too. Of course, there are many reasons. One reason is what you and I are worrying. The other reason is simply marketing. It is marketing as "extremely durable, with no risk of chipping under normal use"

      What actually got me more worry is the statement: "Revolutionary FC61 steel pairs fine carbide distribution with an astonishing 61 Rockwell hardness and has never before been used for kitchen cutlery—despite many attempts" What? This steel has been tried many times before but no one was able to make it kitchen-compatible until now? Either this means that they have finally figure out how to temper this steel to make it a good kitchen knife. Or they just make kitchen knives out of a steel which everyone thinks is crap.

      I may try it in a store one day. The employee did ask me if I want to try it, but I was too shy (and a bit busy too) and said no. In truth, I may not able to test too much by just cutting a few carrot in store.

      Always nice to read from you.

      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

        I have done several Miyabi blades and have no negative observations.

        I bought one of their artisan chefs made with SG-2 to take over as the main vegetable chef knife.


        1. re: knifesavers

          <I bought one of their artisan chefs made with SG-2 to take over as the main vegetable chef knife.>

          Hey. That is the one I bought for my friend too. It was during a sale too -- for about $150. I just checked today. I believe the price has gone back up. Now, it is $200.

          1. re: knifesavers

            Hey Jim

            As I mentioned above, the Miyabi lines have been pretty good knives from what I've seen and what I've sharpened.

            So I don't know why this new Miyabi line is using a more obtuse factory edge when any high quality steel should be able to show off a finer edge without major retention issues. Or why they're just making up nonsense now about the steel they're using.

            I'm hoping it's just SLT style marketing and not Henckels' new direction for Miyabi lines. The previous Miyabi lines were well made, and an encouraging sign from Henckels.

            1. re: cowboyardee

              <I'm hoping it's just SLT style marketing>

              Good point. Maybe it is SLT marketing direction. SLT probably noticed that customers have been complaining about edge chipping as the primary feedback, so they decided to make it more obtuse. This is pure speculation. In addition, I don't 22-24 is really wide. They could have stopped at 18-20. Who knows.

            2. re: knifesavers

              What are the other knives you are comparing it to?

              Makes a big difference.

              1. re: knifesavers

                Awesome. I glad you went with a knife. How is the SG-2 edge holding up and sharpening wise?

          2. Since I am too lazy to sharpen now that I cook only a couple times a week at home, obtuse angle with high HRC doesn't sound that bad to me.

            Still, profile is not as flat as I like.

            The Kiwi vegetable cleaver is pretty much fitting my lifestyle these days, and the price doesn't hurt at all.

            1 Reply
            1. re: jaykayen

              If you only cook at home a couple times a week, buy a decent knife and sharpen it (or pay to have it sharpened). Should go months before needing to be resharpened.

            2. I've been so happy with my Hattori HD series 8" chef I don't see any reason to try anything else ... as a Japanese chef's knife, it's pretty run of the mill. But I like more than any knife I've tried

              1. Hey Chem.  I just noticed SLT no longer sells the Fusion line, which makes me wonder if the Evolution is a SLT exclusive or the successor of the VG-10 Fusion and /or German steel version.  I'm guessing the later, as three somewhat similar models, playing in the same East meets West market space maybe tough.

                A few things jumped out at me.
                a) The blade shape looks wider/ taller overall, may have a higher tip,  and a deeper belly curve than the previous models.  It's not going tickle push-cutters, but does provide a more German like blade profile option to compliment the more flat wa-handle and moderately curved yo-handle models. 

                b) The blade finish is akin to a cladded blade with a kasumi or misty polish, but is done by sand blasting vs. stones.  I wonder if it's as smoothly textured as it looks.  The handle, overall fit and finish, and craftsmanship looks well done. 

                c) What the heck is FC61 @61hrc, and is the edge ground at a 22-24° per side or total for both sides?

                A 22-24° per side grind is pretty obtuse. If they're trying to make chef's knife that could handle some light to med weight cleaver tasks, like a std. German knife with a harder blade... FC61 maybe some sort of molybdenum steel that runs on the tougher, less chippy side of things.

                OTOH, it maybe a 22-24° inclusive grind. The VG-10 Fusion, that I got my wife, came with a ~ 18-22 inclusive grind, and has held up fine. Anyway, If FC61 is supposed to be better than thier VG-10, it maybe something like Ginsanko.

                With the holidays coming, I'll have plenty of time to kill at the mall, and will check it out. 

                2 Replies
                1. re: JavaBean

                  <OTOH, it maybe a 22-24° inclusive grind. Like the ~ 9-11° per side edge that came with my wife' VG-10 Fusion; >

                  This is not impossible. I was thinking about that. It is certainly not crazy since Henckels was at one point was selling 12° degree per side (24° inclusive). 9-11° is very acute though.

                  I may also check it out again like you. Thanks.

                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                    It doesn't make sense to use such an obtuse edge. Anything half way decent should at the very least take and hold a 16 degree edge to compete with other knives playing in this sandbox. Even Wusthof is using 14 degree per side edge now.

                    Yeah, that ~ 9-11°  per side edge on the Fusion, is very acute - especially for a mall knife. It has held up surprisingly well, so I've kept the angle the same and have been thinning it behind the edge. No problems.

                2. Did anybody ever confirm whether 22-24 degrees was the edge angle or the included angle on this puppy? I just left a question about it on the SLT website, so we shall see. But I'm guessing it has to be the included angle.

                  Has anybody taken it out for a test drive yet?

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: kitchenknifeguru

                    Not me. The 22-24 degree seems odd too me. A bit too wide if it is "per side". A bit too narrow if it is "inclusion"

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      Sur La Table answered my question about clarifying what angle the Miyabi Evolution knives are sharpened at. And guess what? The "22-24 degrees" refers to the included angle, NOT the edge angle. Which would make the edge angle 11-12 degrees. Wow.

                      Now if we could only find out what kind of actual steel the blades are made of (not Henckels made-up name), we'd be getting somewhere :)

                      1. re: kitchenknifeguru

                        If true, the narrow bevels at those angles would probably mean the knife is quite thin above the edge and only a little thicker than the various 'lasers' - an interesting choice for a knife sold exclusively at SLT.

                        I'm actually kind of curious to try it out, and might if I find myself near a SLT with a little time to kill. I still think the marketing for FC61 steel is dumb though.

                        1. re: kitchenknifeguru

                          Thanks, KKGuru (yes, this will be your shorten name).

                          Now, I wonder if it is 11-12 angle per side but with a small compound bevel at the tip.


                          While people like cowboyardee and you will have no problem sharpening and maintaining a knife at 11 degree per side for a typical VG-10 knife, it seems like this angle is really pushing it of a mass market.

                          You are bound to have people who don't know how to use these knives and chip them left and right.