Gihei 240 gyuto vs Toyama

jmcnelly85
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Gihei 240 gyuto vs Toyama

Post by jmcnelly85 »

Before I proceed, I'd like to clarify I'm not trying to steer anyone to a different site. I know Mark knows a lot of Sanjo makers and I'm not sure if it's possible for him to ever pick this maker up but I hope he someday does. Mods, if this crosses a line, I apologize and do what you gotta do.

Given my love for the Gihei, I was offered the opportunity to try another Sanjo blue steel workhorse in the Toyama. I'll start with their shared attributes. They both are thick spined, thin edged powerlifters sporting two sensational renditions of blue steel. Upon first inspection I thought there were going to be countless other similarities, but strangely, that's actually the only places they crossed paths.

The Gihei is no small blade; however, the overall mass of the Toyama really makes the Gihei seem small comparatively. The overall height at the heel of the T is noticeably taller, as well as holding onto much of the height for a good distance gives off the impression of using a much more substantial blade. I think the extended height is a necessary strategy to maintain the convex-into zero grind of the knife from the heel all the way towards the tip. The grind on the Gihei is a bit harder to explain, from the spine to the middle of the blade road, it starts flat working from the thicker spine, until it hits a subtly curved second grind above the edge.

They both shared exquisite distal tapers, the Toyama starts wider and ends wider; however, due to the grind the tip still performs remarkably. The Gihei's taper is one I think only trumped by the KS almighty, the thinness of the tip coupled with the near flat section of the tip is one of the most effective cutting combos I've ever tried in any knifes tip section. It just works.

Behind the edge on the Toyama was noticeably thinner, couple that with even more beef on the spine (as well as I was using the ootb edge) actually gave the impression that it required a more delicate hand. There were a few times as I was going when the knife seemed to say "slow down, young buck, I got this". If this were either my knife or was more opened into the core steel I probably could have felt safer putting the pedal down, but as is it seemed the knife was telling me to take it easy.

I didn't fully get to torture test the Toyama to evaluate the core steel, hell, I've had the Gihei for under a year and still don't feel I've found out fully how good the steel is. I gave the Gihei a full progression when it was new and it hasn't needed a coarse stone since using it in a home setting. It's edge just won't die. What I was able to notice about the Toyama steel is that it's not only capable of a very highly refined edge, but it'll hold that edge for a very long time. I wasn't the first person using an ootb edge that hasn't seen more than a strop, but aside from some very minor microchips the edge was still going strong after two shifts and two dinners worth of use.

The profile of the Gihei is one that can be quite polarizing; unabashedly, I have to admit I've never used s profile that fits my style of cutting better. I chop, push, and guillotine and glide more than any other technique. The big flat drastically moving into the second flat at the tip have proven to be the most effective shape I've used on any knife. (Second place being js's kamo R2). The Toyama is less extreme, a near flat gentle curve swooping upward at the tip seems more "little bit of everything" without fully committing to excel at one particular technique. I think the Toyama profile might work better for more users; however, I don't think there is a single person who'll consider it their favorite profile.

Where the two differed most was in the difference of their overall stature. On paper, they seem comparable, but in use it's like comparing a bullmastiff to a mastiff. The Gihei is the still muscular, yet surprisingly agile bullmastiff while the Toyama is a big, burly mastiff. In terms of sheer cutting power, the Toyama is in a league of its own potentially competing with vegetable cleavers for effortless penetration; however, this mass comes at the expense of precise agility. Although it can handle smaller things, the added precision and sporty nature of the Gihei is more suited to zipping through the little stuff.

Overall, these are both tremendous knives, I hope Mark can pick this line up someday; however, given the price difference of the two coupled with the added benefit of stainless cladding, I have to give the nod to the Gihei. The Toyama has it beat in terms of sheer power, but I think the Gihei's versatility is enough to put it over the edge. I had a lot of fun playing around and comparing the two side to side, if Mark ever carries the Toyama, I might have to pick one up to see what happens once you really tap into its core steel.

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Re: Gihei 240 gyuto vs Toyama

Post by RonAZ »

Nice review, I've considered both knives and your comparison really helped. Find myself leaning towards the Gihei after reading it.

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Re: Gihei 240 gyuto vs Toyama

Post by jacko9 »

Thanks for the good review. I have been wondering about the Toyama for a while now and it helps to read a review from a pro in the business.

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Re: Gihei 240 gyuto vs Toyama

Post by jmcnelly85 »

Glad you guys liked it, they both give off the impression that they were made by a master. They're both phenomenal blades.

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Re: Gihei 240 gyuto vs Toyama

Post by Chefspence »

Very good read. I enjoy hearing that people enjoy the Gihei as much as I do!

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Kit Craft
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Re: Gihei 240 gyuto vs Toyama

Post by Kit Craft »

Thank you for the review as that is an interesting pair to showcase. I think you will find those who like Santokus may just favor that Toyama profile as their preference. I do with my Wat and the are very, very similar.

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Re: Gihei 240 gyuto vs Toyama

Post by easilver »

Thanks for posting this very interesting comparison. I always felt that the Toyama had a similar grid to the Tanaka Sekiso, though the Sekiso is more maneuverable. I hadn't noticed the similarities with the Gihei. Your review has me curious about how all three of these knives compare.
Ed in L.A.

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Re: Gihei 240 gyuto vs Toyama

Post by jbart65 »

I prefer the Sekiso to the Gihei. I like the back half of the Gihei and it's a better chopper, but I find the Sekiso more agile and well-rounded and its tip more suitable to my style. The stainless cladding is a game changer for the Gihei, though. The fully reactive Sekiso does take more care.

Nonetheless, I enjoyed owning the Gihei for a short period. Retrying it on a recent passaround reminded me of just how good a knife it is.

Excellent review, jmc.
Jeffry B

jmcnelly85
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Re: Gihei 240 gyuto vs Toyama

Post by jmcnelly85 »

I haven't used a sekiso, but the grind on the Toyama reminded me of the one on the shig nakiri passaround if the nakiri were taller. I remember early reviews saying to take it easy, but by the time I had it it was a racehorse. I felt it might've been too speculative to all out say in the review but was waiting for the chance to add that notion.

If the Gihei wasn't agile enough, the Toyama will either not be for you, or different enough to compliment. It's agile in the sense that a fully loaded semi trailer is capable of high speeds. I was doing tip draws and it felt like a train had an encounter with a smart car, it moves through as if it's not there.

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Re: Gihei 240 gyuto vs Toyama

Post by Chefspence »

Kit Craft wrote:
Mon Jun 19, 2017 9:01 pm
Thank you for the review as that is an interesting pair to showcase. I think you will find those who like Santokus may just favor that Toyama profile as their preference. I do with my Wat and the are very, very similar.
That might be exactly why I like my Gihei so much. I love the santoku profile. My recent time with the Kono w2 made me think that it's tip is just too far off the board for me. Good insight Kit

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Re: Gihei 240 gyuto vs Toyama

Post by jbart65 »

jmcnelly85 wrote:
Tue Jun 20, 2017 12:23 pm
I haven't used a sekiso, but the grind on the Toyama reminded me of the one on the shig nakiri passaround if the nakiri were taller. I remember early reviews saying to take it easy, but by the time I had it it was a racehorse. I felt it might've been too speculative to all out say in the review but was waiting for the chance to add that notion.

If the Gihei wasn't agile enough, the Toyama will either not be for you, or different enough to compliment. It's agile in the sense that a fully loaded semi trailer is capable of high speeds. I was doing tip draws and it felt like a train had an encounter with a smart car, it moves through as if it's not there.
Oh, the Gihei is agile enough for me, Jeff. I think every knife I've tried from CKTG has been. Just not quite as much as my Sekiso. Seems I got a particularly good version of the Sekiso, probably my best all-round knife.

I've considered a Toyama. Easilver says it's like the Sekiso but even better. Not in any rush, though.

In a perfect world, I'd be able to sample the Gihei, Sekiso, Toyama and Yahiko Shimo side by side. All B#2 and on the beefier side.
Jeffry B

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Re: Gihei 240 gyuto vs Toyama

Post by J david »

I would echo Easilver opinion on the Toyama. I, too, have a special Tanaka. I can't see myself ever selling either.

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Re: Gihei 240 gyuto vs Toyama

Post by Jsgillis86 »

Man, you nailed it. Straight up, I was half-ass putting notes together for a Toyoma review, but I think I'm just gonna link this one when she gets brought up.

Have you used a Fujiyama, Jeff? My 240 Toyoma reminds me much of my 270 w#2 Fuji in the way I approach her. They're vastly different knives, no doubt, but I can't help but catch glints of similarity when they're side by side. Still trying to figure that one out.

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Re: Gihei 240 gyuto vs Toyama

Post by Jeff B »

An excellent review and comparison, an absolute captivating read!
If God wanted me to be a vegetarian he wouldn't have made animals taste so good.

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Re: Gihei 240 gyuto vs Toyama

Post by SteveG »

Great review - well done!

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Re: Gihei 240 gyuto vs Toyama

Post by William »

Awesome. This is what I was looking for. Glad I joined the forum. Cheers

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Re: Gihei 240 gyuto vs Toyama

Post by easilver »

GeorgeK was kind enough to loan me two Blue #2 Gyuto 240's--his Doi and Sakai Jikko Akebono. There is an eloquent review of this Doi herein, but when I hefted these two they reminded me of other knives, which brings me to JM's OP. Before you slam me for the hijack, please keep reading to make sure your criticisms are properly formulated:

Image

Toyama Noborikoi Kasumi Gyuto 240mm Blue #2 $372—spine 3.5-2.5-1.5—heel 54

Doi Blue #2 Gyuto 240 mm $300—spine 3.1-2.5-1.6—heel 46.5

Sakai Jikko Akebono (“Day Break”) Gyuto 240 mm Blue #2 $419—spine 3.1-2.6-1.2—heel 53

Gihei Blue #2 Nashiji Gyuto 240mm $200—spine 3.8-2-1.1—heel 52

Tanaka Damascus Gyuto 240mm (Sekiso) Blue #2 $220—spine 3.1-2.7-1.1—heel 52

First-off, these are all fantastic knives. Meticulous craftsmanship all around. All are Blue #2 steel with hardness from 60-ish to 62-ish. Prices range from $200 to $400+ with the Akebono at the top with the higher-end handled-on.

The spine thicknesses, above the heal, vary from 3.1mm on the Doi, Akebono, and Sekiso; 3.5mm on the Toyama; to 3.8mm on the Gihei. Interestingly, the Doi feels stouter.
Heel heights vary from 46.5mm on the Doi; 52mm on the Sekiso and Gihei; 53mm on the Akebono; and 54 mm of the Toyama.

Sharpened all on Nubatama Platinum 1k & 2k, which have enough aggression to handle the abrasion resistance of the Blue #2 steel. All sharpened quickly. Finished on Aono Aoto and Meara Naturals. All fell through newspaper cleanly.

The Doi feels like a love-child between a KS and a Noborikoi. But, it is its own knife and not an improved version of either parent. It's nimble, since it carries it’s weight near the handle, but has the weight behind it. Along with the grind and high-quality steel and this is a unique knife.

The Toyama is a beast. It’s tall and stout and has a great convex grind. This is special knife, but is a plus-sized model that excels when let loose. An aggressive cutter would have trouble finding a better fit.

The Akebono fits squarely in the middle between the Doi and Toyama. But, it is actually thinner at the tip than the Doi, so it feel quite nimble. Another unique and interesting knife.

The Sekiso is a wonder knife, though others on the forum have experienced some problematic versions, mine is very good (Jbart's is exquisite). Gopherbroke rehandled mine so the balance point is close to the pinch-grip, which makes it feel more maneuverable than the front-heavy fellows in this group. Great convex grind. Love this knife.

…but, the winner today is the Gihei. All these knives perform great. The metallurgy and grinds are fantastic. But at $199 and stainless-cladding, this knife stands proud in this group. Props!
All these knives ooze character. I’m lucky to own three of them, but, if I didn’t then I’d get the Gihei first.

Thanks for the play-date George.
Last edited by easilver on Sat Sep 30, 2017 4:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Ed in L.A.

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Re: Gihei 240 gyuto vs Toyama

Post by Chefspence »

I love hearing about the Gihei! Thanks for that write up Ed. I have the 250 and 210 now and I might consider having the whole flight of these. Great knives

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Re: Gihei 240 gyuto vs Toyama

Post by jmcnelly85 »

This isn't a hijack whatsoever, I love when people add pertinent information to threads. It helps keep information findable in my eyes. To you, and anyone reading, feel free to add any relevant info to any of my posts. That sounds like a line up of heavy hitters you got to play with.

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Re: Gihei 240 gyuto vs Toyama

Post by Georgek »

Great comparison Ed, glad you liked them! Now I need to try a Gihei! Damn! ;)

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