Q: Hello Ryky,
Have you reviewed any Honesuki knives, and if so, which ones and what would you recommend?
Ryky: Admittedly, I do not use Honesuki’s that often. However, I generally use them when cutting smoked ribs every 2-3 weeks and whole raw chicken, which happens once a month. So, while not a daily user of this knife shape, I have used them enough over the years to know what works best for me.
A different Honesuki
Except for a few, like the Mcusta Zanmai Classic Damascus Honesuki, most will feature an almost straight cutting edge and wedge-shaped profile. Curve profiles benefit from filleting small to medium-sized fish meat, but they lack the cutting efficiency of the traditional-shape Honesukis that I favor.
What I look for
I like Honesukis with western handles since I use them with smoked ribs and raw chicken, and the western handles have a better grip when wet or oily. Knife with traditional (Wa) handles are available, like with chef's knives, but I prefer Western handles because my hands usually get more grease and oil on them when handling smoked ribs and raw chicken.
The One I Like Best
For those who do not have the patience to read the entire review, I will save you the trouble and recommend buying the Misono UX10. I don't say this often, but it is close to a perfect knife. But, of course, I am not saying it is an all-encompassing near-perfect knife - I am saying it is a near-perfect Honesuki.
The Misono has a more aggressive cutting profile and better fit and finish than the Masamoto. The cutting edge is virtually straight, with no noticeable bend or curve. Going from the heel to the tip, which narrows almost a point, makes it very efficient when cutting in and around bone joints.
The edge sharpness is excellent
Edge retention is much better than the stated Rockwell of 58-59. The Misono will not outperform higher rate knives in a controlled lab test like the Moritaka Aogami Super. Because of the types of ingredients I use these knives on, added with the fact I never rarely touch the cutting board with the cutting edge of my Honesukis; their edge lasts much longer than gyutos and chef's knives.
The best handle of the bunch.
The handle on Misono's UX10 series is the best Misono offers. The handles on the 440 Series are very good, but the handles on the UX10 are exceptional. Not only are they well-shaped, but they are also well polished. The transition from the Pakkawood handle body to the nickel silver bolster is seamless. The polish on every part of the handle is perfect. The bolster has an ultra-modern, almost robotic appearance, and the matte finish on handle parts pairs incredibly well with the semi-gloss appearance of the blade.
The circumference handle on the Misono's UX10 series is ever slightly more significant than the other Misono series, making them less fatiguing than the rest of the knives in this review, especially over more extended food prep periods.
A relaxed cutting profile
The cutting profile of the Masamoto VG Honesuki is the most relaxed of the knives reviewed. It sits in the middle of the pack between the Mcusta Zanmai Classic Damascus and Misono UX Honesuki. It offers a good compromise for those wishing to use it as a taller utility knife while keeping the overall profile of a true Honesuki. The slightly curved cutting edge is minor, making it more suitable for cutting in and around joints and bones rather than filleting fish - the Mcusta Zanmai Classic Damascus is much better at tasking fish.
Edge sharpness is excellent. Masamoto produces extremely sharp knives throughout its lineup, and the VG series is no different.
Edge retention is good. With a Rockwell rating of 58-59, it SHOULD perform similarly to Misono's UX10. However, I did the UX10's edge held up better, not just on the Honesukis but also on their chef's knives.
A good handle
The handle on the Masamoto VG Honesuki is excellent. It is shaped and polished well. The parts fit together nicely with no steps between the transition from the handle body to the stainless bolster. The bolster is welded seamlessly to the blade and blended well.
The Pakkawood handle is stable and sized well.
A great knife: pricier than ideal
The Masamoto works well and has good edge retention, and the handle is comfortable. The blade profile is slightly less aggressive than traditional Honesukis but may appeal to a broader audience. The Misono takes everything up a notch.
The Misono is mono steel and quite reactive, which may scare off those new to carbon steel knives. The blade will react to virtually all ingredients the moment you start using it, and by the end of your first cooking session with it, it will take on a new appearance. The patina formation on the Misono's Swedish Steel knives is some of the most aggressive I have experienced. That may not be bad, but for those with little experience with carbon steel, this "staining effect" comes too aggressively and quickly.
Righties will love it
The edge sharpness is excellent. Aside from the linear cutting profile, the edge has a 70/30 bevel, favoring right-handed users, aside from the linear cutting profile. Lefties can use the knife just fine, but righties will enjoy this knife a bit more. The polishing on the spine and choil is good.
Edge retention is goood
With a 60 Rockwell, the edge will hold up fine with occasional use. However, Honesuki knives will have much better edge retention relative to the Rockwell rating because you rarely allow their cutting edge to touch anything other than meat. For example, the cutting edge of my Honesukis never touches the cutting board; This is not intentional, but mainly due to the types of ingredients I usually cut.
Overall, an attractive knife for carbon steel lovers who want carbon steel Honesuki.
The fit and finish of the Misono are very good. The handle is nicely sculpted with no hard corners. The handle material is Pakkawood, and as long as you wash your knives by hand, it will give you years of hassle-free use.
The Moritaka Aogami Super has a soft iron cladding in a Kurouchi finish. Moritaka's Kurouchi finish is one of my favorites. It has a brushed metal look and texture. In addition, the slightly unfinished and industrial appearance gives their knives a rustic and hardened appeal. The Aogami Super core steel is fantastic to use. It has excellent edge retention with a Rockwell rating of 64 and is less reactive than the Misono.
Edge sharpness is good. Not excellent.
I have owned four Moritakas, and the edges on all of them have been consistently good. I have never been blown away by the sharpness of the Moritakas I have owned, but to put this into perspective - they are sharper than any German knives I have owned.
Edge retention is incredible.
Knives with Aogami Super core steels are my go-to for recommending quality carbon steel. Of all the Japanese carbon steels, Aogami Super, or Blue Super, is the easiest to maintain and own. It is slow to rust and can hold an edge the longest. And depending on how you use your Honesukis, if you are like me, where the cutting edge never touches the cutting board, you can go for years without needing to sharpen it.
Fit and finish are just OK.
If I had to pick a weak point with Moritaka Hamono's knives, it would be the polishing of the spine and choil. They are consistently OK in the fit and finish department of all the knives I have owned from them. I usually spend 5-10 minutes sanding down the corners of the spine and choil. If you didn't, they would still be acceptable for daily use. I am just a bit more particular about my blades than most people. The spines and choils are FINE, out of the box, and will not cut the user. But given the prices they charge, I am not going to complain.
Excellent performance for Japanese knife purists.
The handles are oval-shaped with Cherry wood as the body material, with a plastic ferrule. Overall the handle is fitted nicely with the blade, with no play. The cherry wood has a slightly glossy finish. However, the coating is not overdone, so the handle still offers a good grip, and you can still feel the texture of the wood. I find the western handles to provide a better grip when cutting ingredients like raw chicken and smoked ribs.