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I bought the paring knife and the santoku. When I bought the santoku I hadn't really paid attention to the contour of the edge in the product pictures, I assumed it was like a traditional santoku. Out of the box this was something that worried me, because I was looking for a santoku for the straight up-and-down chopping motion vs the gliding-slicing action you'd use with a german style knife. I have to say upon using it I was thoroughly impressed. The contour of this knife opens it up to being an incredibly versatile kitchen knife. Not only can it function like a traditional santoku, but it also functions like a European style chefs knife. This means that not only can you use it like you would a santoku, but you can also use it as a chefs knife, and even use it for a hybrid style of a chopping-slicing style motion. So in addition to functioning as a santoku for lots of chopping, it can serve as a chefs knife when I don't need a 10" chefs knife or if I simply don't want to get another knife dirty. Very useful, and very well thought design that I wouldn't expect at this price point.
The paring knife is what I expected. I wanted a wider blade with a nice belly on it. Having used a traditional paring knife for the past few years I found that something with a good belly on it makes it easier to cut through harder food because less of the blade is actually in contact creating less friction, and better control of detail for finer paring tasks again because you can engage less of the cutting edge for more precise cuts.
The steel is excellent, excellent resistance to corrosion, holds an great edge for a long time, not incredibly difficult to sharpen comparable to VG-10 in that regards but I have yet to need to sharpen again since I got them after I changed the angle right off the bat(my preference, not required). I'd say all around I'm more impressed with the edge retention of this steel compared to VG-10. If using in a professional setting I wouldn't doubt you could get through a full days work with a very workable edge, and only requiring the occasional stropping to keep that razors edge. 2 weeks of heavy use and I've had to strop only once. This steel will take a pretty polished edge also, I'd say 3 micro, nearly mirror finish.
The handle of this knife really fills the hand, and has a great contour with a nice swell for the palm to rest in. It's also fairly well balanced, being slightly heavier towards the blade. I assume the pommel on the end is to balance the blade since it does have a fairly thick spine.
All-in-all this has to be the best value I've come across. Great steel, great design, very functional. Would highly recommend this knife whether for professional use or the average home gamer.
I can't thank you enough for this awesome Review. You noticed and appreciated everything we were trying to accomplish in the design. I really appreciate the time you took to write this.
Agreed about the shape of the paring knife. It's great for peeling ginger especially.