Konosuke HD2 240mm Gyuto + Khii Ebony

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Kit Craft
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Konosuke HD2 240mm Gyuto + Khii Ebony

Post by Kit Craft » Tue Jan 16, 2018 11:20 am

Konosuke HD2 240mm gyuto: “Shining, shiner, shiniest girls be ambitious and shine.”

Background:

This is one of those knives that has a cult following and for many there is a certain level of disbelief. What I mean by that is that a lot of knowledgeable knife users seem to have a hard time understanding why this knife gets so much press. Maybe it is not so much that they have a hard time understanding but rather that they feel that things are blown out of proportion because while this is a great knife it is nothing spectacular. It is another laser, right? Well, I can see things from both sides of the isle. However, I am an okay knife user with fair knife skills at best and am by no means a pro. However, this knife is more or less just another laser with some caveats that set it apart for me as a home user. At the moment it is my shining star and I am going to take the time to try and explain what sets this knife apart from other lasers, for me, and why I think many others feel the same way.

The question is, does this knife live up to the hype created around it? For me it does, mostly, but you have to answer that question for yourself!
And just as a bit of a foreword, I had not intentions of ever picking up this knife as I already have a number of lasers. However, it was directly recommended to me by a number of sources on here as a direct fit to my needs and desires. Thus far it has hit the mark, dead on target too. Damn enablers, but I am no better.

Measurements: (This is all done analog on worn tools so take that into consideration.Plus I have a lackadaisical attitude on where 1cm from the tip and halfway between the edge in the spine is...lol.)

Handle length: 152.4mm
Handle width: 16.9mm
Handle height: 23.6mm
Spine thickness at the heel: 2.286mm
Spine thickness at middle: 1.905mm
Spine thickness 1cm from tip: .76mm
Blade thickness ½ way between the edge and spine: 1.397mm
Height: 48.8mm

General description:

This knife, like any other laser, is nothing special in the looks department. It is a semi shiny hunk of steel that is attached to a gorgeous studio khii ebony and rosewood handle, which I could write a review about all by itself but won’t. The knife has a Machi gap, which I do not find to be a fit and finish issue but one of aesthetics. I like it, you may not. The finish style of the knife is horizontal grinding marks and seems in no way to really help or hinder performance, or at least not compared to other knives I have or so I think.

Fit and Finish:

The fit and finish itself is great but not perfect. The spine and choil are rounded and polished yet still remains somewhat sharp on a forward stroke of the thumb but don’t ask me how. This is not an issue as your fingers do not naturally move that way in a cut, or at least mine do not. However, this is probably the second best finished knife that I own, spine and choil wise, losing out only to my Gesshin rendition of an Ashi Ginga. The rounding on that knife is perfect, period.

The grind and bevels seem well crafted on this knife too. The bevels were even but not fully formed, which seems common on machine finished knives. This is not a worry as you are going to open the knife up when you get it anyway.

The handle was wonderful, an absolute joy to use and it damn well should be at $90 more. However, I must say that I of all people am happy that I spent the extra money! The handle is different than others. It is longer and skinnier than other octagonal handles that I own and it does not have any noticeable taper. It is heavy too but feels good in the hand. There is no gap or step between the handle and ferrule. The raised edges of the handle are well formed and are not sharp but are defined and not rounded either. I think this may bother some people but much like a D-handle, I love this feature. Why, because it lets you know that the knife is in your hand! The heft of the handle does affect balance but not in a detrimental way.

Grind:

There is not much to say here as the knife is a laser. It is mostly flat ground with a subtle bit of convex. This knife has a wee bit more meat left in the grind than other lasers that I have used, however, that is a good thing in my opinion. It makes the knife feel slightly stiffer and more robust while still being nimble in use. It is thin behind the edge and throughout but not in in a crazy way. This knife is not ground to be flimsy.
The grind is very straightforward in that it is very thin at the edge and slowly tapers in thickness to the spine. This makes it go through food well but we will talk about that later.

Performance:

The performance of this knife is very much what one would come to expect from a typical laser. Both horizontal and vertical cuts on onions are brainless and the knife whispers through all soft to semi dense produce.

Believe it or not, the knife does not have a lot of sticking issues with potatoes, unless they are very, very starchy and then even the flick of a wrist will dislodge them. However, I do understand that for some time is everything and wiping the blade every few seconds may mean a lost commodity. Regardless, with this knife I do not find this an issue.

However, this knife does not offer much in the way of food separation either. Again, I think that is to be expected with what we are working with, a laser. However, at the same time this does mean that the knife does not “launch” carrots or celery across the board.

Like with most lasers, wedging is not an issue and no cracking either. Even with very large radish, carrots, parsnips or turnips. The knife also cuts through these with confidence. I apologize but I do not cook with squash or sweet potatoes so I can not tell you how they work with such ingredients. But the knife deals with spongy mushrooms just fine! I can dice them like an onion and they stay in place on the board.

Durability is not a worry with this knife either as I have had the chance to pit about 3 dozen avocados with no issues. I don’t know if that has more to do with grind, steel or hardness. I am not Bill Nye the science guy, sorry.

Profile and Technique:

This knife has a great all round profile! It works well for chopping, fairly well for rocking and great for guillotine and glide. The tip is just wonderful, sleek and pointy. It works well for coring tomatoes and strawberries, something I never in a million years thought that I would do with a 240mm gyuto!

The knife has three “sweet spots” for chopping. One is directly in front of the heel and is about 2 inches long, maybe 1.75, The second is dead center of the blade and is about 3-3.5 inches long. The last is right behind the tip and is also about 1.75 inches long, which is great for tip chopping.

I must say that there is wee bit of back belly to this knife at the very edge of the heel, not enough to be cumbersome but its being there makes it so that you do not slam into the board, full stop, with glide cuts, which to me is a very good thing.

The overall profile from the edge is one where the edge slowly sweeps from the heel to the tip. However, having a few true flats on this knife means that the rocking profile is not 100% smooth, in that you can feel the middle flat contact the board ever so slightly in such a motion. However, for some reason I do not feel this with a glide cut. Maybe it is just my technique.

Now, the spine profile is different. It is basically straight for ⅔ of the blade and makes a dramatic sweep to the tip. Not that this is uncommon, however, if not for the edge profile I think this knife would have much more of a snub nose tip but thankfully, it does not. This is great for tip work, as I said.

Balance:

Because of the heavier handle this one is not as forward balance as the ho wood model, I assume. However, it is still a forward balance knife, which for a laser surprised me. My others, even the one other 240 that I owned, were more neutral. Or at least closer to a pinch grip. This one has a balance point a bit forward of my exaggerated pinch grip and as I said, I bet it would be a lot more forward with a simple ho wood handle. I am both surprised and happy with this balance point but that is pure personal preference and something that can be changed.

Sharpening, steel etc:

The semi stainless steel on this knife won me over quickly, even though I am a patina kind of guy. The steel seems to be not too hard nor too soft yet very stiff in use. What I mean by that is that this knife does not seem to roll at the edge easily but it will roll and not chip, or so has been my experience. That is, after you remove the factory edge. It does not seem very wear resistant as it is easy to sharpen yet at the same time it has good retention and takes to chopping fine...And it simply does not stain, permanently. It might take on light staining but with a soft rag or sponge it all comes off in the wash, so far. What is nice is that this steel does not seem to scratch or scuff as easily as mono stainless either but it shows fingerprints and water spots like crazy.

Sharpening the steel is easy as pie yet interesting. You can raise a burr quickly and remove it fairly fast as well. What is interesting is that if you leave a ho-hum edge on this knife that barely shaves, and uncomfortable so, it will perform like a mad man on everything but particularly on meats and fleshy veg. We are talking a 700-1500 edge here. However, at the same time it will take to an 8k edge much better than I was led to believe. And it will hold that edge fairly well too. It retains a lot of bite at 8k, a lot. And not just if you jump from 1k to 8k but I mean a full on polishing session! Regardless, I think this knife shines with a 3-5k edge, which sucks for me because my favorite stone is my SP2k. However, this knife loves a Monzen-to edge. Yet, I find myself keeping a Takashima edge on it, which for me is very strange. I don’t know, something about this knife and how much bite it retains at higher refinement pleases me, a lot.

Edge holding is much, much better than I expected. I am not going to tell you that it is the best thing since sliced bread, because it is not. However, holds an edge better than all of my white steel knives to date. Now, that might not be fair. What I mean to say is that this knife will hold what I call a “tomato edge” for a long time. Through a few hundred pounds of produce anyway. It seems to hold that off the stone edge for a long time and then dull dramatically all at once where as my white steel seems to lose that off the stone edge immediately but stay utility sharp for a long time. Rather, they have different dulling curves, if that makes sense to you. To sum up, in my home kitchen seeing probably 1 shifts worth of work per week, when compared to a pro, this knife can go two weeks without so much as needing a stropping and still get you by. That does not mean you shouldn’t strop, because it helps, but it will keep a respectable edge for that long. However, I do not know how it holds up long term, over months as of yet because I have not had it that long! But I think it would do favorably. Needing a full progression probably once or twice a year at most, but that is how I am with most well maintained knives anyway...Take it for what it is worth.

Value:

This is a tough one because it is NOT a cheap knife and mine less so because of the handle. This is a $400 knife as I received it. Is there bang for buck there, probably not for most people but yes for the right person, namely me. This knife epitomizes what I am looking for in a knife, in every way. You may not feel the same. Is it closer to a value at $300 with a stock handle, yes, but there are still knives out there that are damn close this this one in terms of profile, performance and fit and finish for less. If you lower your expectation of F&F you can get an Ashi Ginga direct from Japan for a lot less. Or if you want better edge retention you can get a Takamura for half the price but you give up a wa handle and size. So you are compromising to save a buck, which may be fine for you.

The thing is, you are paying not only for the F&F and performance of this knife but also its elusive nature and unique steel. You are getting a bit more stiffness, the feel of carbon and characteristics of stainless in one package. Is that worth the up charge? That is for you to decide.

Conclusion:

This is a great knife and fits my cutting style and lifestyle in the kitchen very well. In some ways it is unique and in others it is very mundane. It is a laser through and through but has the slightest hint of meat hidden somewhere in the grind, enough to make it work better, in my opinion. This is a knife that should not stand out from the crowd yet somehow manages to do just that. And I apologize if I am adding to the hype or the mystique of what some consider a fairly average knife, but it is currently my shining star and I like it very much. Let us see if the KS manages to decrown this HD2. Only time will tell.

I will add that this knife is probably the right fit for someone who has dialed in exactly what they want in a knife, has a liking for lasers and is willing to not only pay for it but wait for it. Otherwise, maybe not so much.

Notes:

I will say, I am not near as comfortable sharing my thoughts on knives as I am with stones. I have a harder time expressing how I feel about a knife and how it works. I apologize in advance if any of this seems weird, trivial or unclear. Please do not hesitate to ask for clarification or additional information.

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Kit Craft
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Re: Konosuke HD2 240mm Gyuto + Khii Ebony

Post by Kit Craft » Tue Jan 16, 2018 11:28 am

Here is just an overall shot of the knife with some produce on the board.

Image

Here you can see the balance point, which looking at the photo, may not be as forward as I thought. It is just in front of my pinch. Maybe the extended emoto and machi gap make it feel like I am holding it out further in a pinch.

Image

A crappy profile shot. Sorry, my wife is not home and it is hard to shoot left handed. However, you get the general idea.

Image

Forgive me but I am awful with choil shots, this is the best of the 10 I tried to take...I hope it conveys the point.

Image

Simply a pre-diced mushroom holding its form after horizontal and vertical cuts.

Image

A diced potato holding its form on the board should show you that while this knife can have some light sticking issues it is not a sticky monster!

Image

And of course we had to do some carrot confetti! This thing can make thin and tiny cuts with no effort of any kind. I know that is not a mind blowing thing as even meaty workhorses can do that with a good edge. But, meh, what the hell else can I show you, lol.

Image

Again, I am no photographer and I do not know what shots work best to get the point across with knife performance. If you have any shots you would like to see, let me know and I will try to get them done correctly.

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Re: Konosuke HD2 240mm Gyuto + Khii Ebony

Post by gladius » Tue Jan 16, 2018 12:22 pm

Nice observations, I'm glad you like the knife!

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Re: Konosuke HD2 240mm Gyuto + Khii Ebony

Post by salemj » Tue Jan 16, 2018 12:22 pm

Nice to read the review, Kit! I must say that, regardless of how you feel about reviewing knives, I think for this particular knife, you did a great job. By that I mean that a lot has been written about this knife, and newer versions are just a bit different than older ones, and I think you provided a personal, unique perspective that touched on all of the major issues in the ever-developing discourse that already exists on this knife.

All that makes your review very useful despite everything else out there!

FYI, you may consider adding the "actual" edge length to your measurements!
~Joe

Comments: I'm short, a home cook, prefer lighter, thinner blades, and own mostly Konosukes but have used over a dozen brands.

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Kit Craft
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Re: Konosuke HD2 240mm Gyuto + Khii Ebony

Post by Kit Craft » Tue Jan 16, 2018 12:30 pm

salemj wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 12:22 pm
Nice to read the review, Kit! I must say that, regardless of how you feel about reviewing knives, I think for this particular knife, you did a great job. By that I mean that a lot has been written about this knife, and newer versions are just a bit different than older ones, and I think you provided a personal, unique perspective that touched on all of the major issues in the ever-developing discourse that already exists on this knife.

All that makes your review very useful despite everything else out there!

FYI, you may consider adding the "actual" edge length to your measurements!
Damn it, how did I miss that! It is 234.5mm. I have it right here in front of me on my notepad...I can not edit the post as it has been too long.

Thank you, I am glad you think it is going to be useful as a review. I am also glad you suggested picking it up. I have thrown so much produce at this thing that it is unreal. I have done prep for my grandfather daily rather than every few days just to find an excuse to put this thing on the board more often. Okay, so it is still the same amount of prep but I get to use it more times rather than all at once. :lol:

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Re: Konosuke HD2 240mm Gyuto + Khii Ebony

Post by Bensbites » Tue Jan 16, 2018 12:44 pm

Nice write up

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Re: Konosuke HD2 240mm Gyuto + Khii Ebony

Post by salemj » Tue Jan 16, 2018 12:48 pm

I'm tempted to send you my Ikeda 250 to compare to your new KS. They way your describe the HD, I can imagine you preferring the Ikeda over the KS and, perhaps even over the HD! Although I must say that the added length DOES make a difference in my kitchen. It is fun to use the bigger knives occasionally for specific things, but for me, they cannot replace the comfort of a 230mm gyuto in my home kitchen.
~Joe

Comments: I'm short, a home cook, prefer lighter, thinner blades, and own mostly Konosukes but have used over a dozen brands.

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Re: Konosuke HD2 240mm Gyuto + Khii Ebony

Post by Robstreperous » Tue Jan 16, 2018 1:10 pm

Hey Kit.. good job.

I read the whole review and I found myself largely agreeing with your assessment on its characteristics. I had that knife for a period of time and the only item I can't comment on is edge retention -- I never got that far. The rest of the characteristics? I agree.

This statement in particular I'd say nails it:
It is a laser through and through but has the slightest hint of meat hidden somewhere in the grind....

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Kit Craft
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Re: Konosuke HD2 240mm Gyuto + Khii Ebony

Post by Kit Craft » Tue Jan 16, 2018 1:30 pm

@Ben, Thank you.

@Joe, Hah, I had a 210 Ikeda and I think I can envision how the 250 rendition would compare. I am a little worried about the extra length on the KS to begin with. If it does not get lost in the mail...Lol. (Seriously, I am a worry wort it has only been two business days. 5 days but I ordered at an odd time and then it was the weekend.)

@Rob, Thank you. As I said, I can not speak for the long term edge retention but I have put it through a lot of produce and sharpened it twice. Once to rid it of the factory edge and once simply to see how refined I could take it and test that edge after first using a much coarser edge. So far the edge retention has held up where my White # 2 lasers would have already needed a touch up.

Heh, that meat hidden somewhere in the grind is an interesting thing and I had no idea how to get that point across. I am glad it makes sense.

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Kit Craft
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Re: Konosuke HD2 240mm Gyuto + Khii Ebony

Post by Kit Craft » Tue Jan 16, 2018 3:01 pm

@gladius, thank you! I totally missed your comment before.

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Re: Konosuke HD2 240mm Gyuto + Khii Ebony

Post by Robstreperous » Tue Jan 16, 2018 3:55 pm

Kit Craft wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 1:30 pm
Heh, that meat hidden somewhere in the grind is an interesting thing and I had no idea how to get that point across. I am glad it makes sense.
I know. It's the kind of thing where once you feel it it'll make sense. I've only used 2 Konos so far (Blue Fuji was the other one. ) But they both had it. Makes me wonder if maybe it's a Kono signature.

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Kit Craft
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Re: Konosuke HD2 240mm Gyuto + Khii Ebony

Post by Kit Craft » Tue Jan 16, 2018 4:01 pm

See, I don't know because I did not get the same feel from my White # kono laser. However, that was early on so maybe I just didn't realize it at the time. It is interesting how we start looking at and understanding things differently as we use more knives. particularly bigger and smaller knives from the same line. I think this move to a 240 was a needed one to understand knives in a different light.

No Blue Fuji for me! I am done chasing white whales! Well, one more. I am looking for the right Uchigumori for me but that is a totally different story. Not that I would say no to a White Fuji Honyaki...but well, yeah...

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Re: Konosuke HD2 240mm Gyuto + Khii Ebony

Post by Lepus » Tue Jan 16, 2018 4:19 pm

You're being unfair to yourself, Kit. This is a great review of the knife, maybe the best HD2 review I've read.

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Kit Craft
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Re: Konosuke HD2 240mm Gyuto + Khii Ebony

Post by Kit Craft » Tue Jan 16, 2018 4:35 pm

Lepus wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 4:19 pm
You're being unfair to yourself, Kit. This is a great review of the knife, maybe the best HD2 review I've read.
Thank you very much, that is very high praise to me and I appreciate it. I have not had near the experience with knives that a lot of you on these boards have and it kind of makes me feel uneasy reviewing them.

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Re: Konosuke HD2 240mm Gyuto + Khii Ebony

Post by Carter » Tue Jan 16, 2018 8:08 pm

Great review Kit. I have a lot of Kono's, mainly Fujis, so I am already an enthusiastic user and fan of the brand. I purchased my 240 HD2 because it is is non-reactive and a nice addition to the all carbon Kono line up that I have. Over the past year, I have been using the knives that I make as my staple go to knives, however, the J-knife that I most often reach for is the HD2...partly due to performance and then again, the non-reactive blade. The HD2 also serves as a testing benchmark for my own blades.....I generally measure the cutting performance of my knives against a few J-knives the HD2 is always the first of the comparison knives. I think it would be hard for anyone that is being honest to give it a bad review. It isn't the best looking or sexiest knife out there, but as a kitchen tool it performs exceptionally well....and isn't that what is most important.

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Kit Craft
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Re: Konosuke HD2 240mm Gyuto + Khii Ebony

Post by Kit Craft » Tue Jan 16, 2018 8:27 pm

Thank you. I agree, it excels at being a tool. It is interesting to hear your process too! Thank you for sharing.

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Re: Konosuke HD2 240mm Gyuto + Khii Ebony

Post by old onion » Wed Jan 17, 2018 3:30 am

As always Kit,I enjoyed reading your review.I could almost feel the knife in my hand.Good job!

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Re: Konosuke HD2 240mm Gyuto + Khii Ebony

Post by pd7077 » Wed Jan 17, 2018 4:40 am

Great review Kit. After reading it, it sounds like I may need to add this to my list.
--- Steve

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Kit Craft
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Re: Konosuke HD2 240mm Gyuto + Khii Ebony

Post by Kit Craft » Wed Jan 17, 2018 8:12 am

old onion wrote:
Wed Jan 17, 2018 3:30 am
As always Kit,I enjoyed reading your review.I could almost feel the knife in my hand.Good job!
Thank you, I am glad it was a useful review.

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Re: Konosuke HD2 240mm Gyuto + Khii Ebony

Post by Kit Craft » Wed Jan 17, 2018 8:13 am

pd7077 wrote:
Wed Jan 17, 2018 4:40 am
Great review Kit. After reading it, it sounds like I may need to add this to my list.
Thank you, if you get one I hope you like it!

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