A month and a half back, I saw that CKTG sent me an email stating that they were going to restock their super budget Tojiro ITK Shirogami wa-gyuto and I didn’t even bother to hesitate. $80+ shipped down under for a decent blade is hard to beat considering that a regular line German brand knife would cost more and an import Japanese mass market brand knife would be double or triple instore in Ozland. Btw, I highly recommend CKTG. Wide selection, low prices and plenty of fancy illustration.

So I had it sent to a parcel locker in St Leonards, which is less than a 5 minutet drive away from where I live. Mostly because I wanted to try out this new Auspost thing and because I figured I’d be able to pick it up anytime I wanted rather than pickup a card and have to go to the post office only when I’m free, which can be hard.

Overall, I’d say the service works. They sent me an email although I thought I recalled them saying the notification would be via sms as well. Anyway, once the item is lodged with the post office depot, they send it over to the parcel locker, send an email with the locker number and a code to unlock it. You’re given 2 days to collect though, so it’s possible to miss it if somehow you’re out of the country but you can pick it up again at the same post office during office hours.

So I pop open the locker and inside is a brown box direct from the States with my brand new knife inside. A quick test tells me that the edge isn’t sharpened. It’s polished up but it’s not sharp, at least it’s not sharp enough. That’s no biggie, I’ve got a sharpening solution on the way.

First impressions of the knife are that it looks pretty damn cool. It comes in a long blue box that belies the actual length and shape of the blade. Inside, there’s some bubble wrap, a Tojiro leaflet and some rust resistant paper that wraps up the knife with a plastic protector on the end. The blade is kurouchi finished so only the edge is polished silver but the top part of the knife is left black like tarnished steel and the Tojiro brand is etched in a rather rustic manner at the bottom of the spine. It’s also a high carbon 60-61 HRC steel so it’s reactive and not stainless. I know that generally speaking you choose one or the other, practicality vs performance. However, I’m pretty confident that there’s plenty of good stainless steels that are hard enough and can get sharp enough and aren’t difficult to maintain. I think in most pro kitchens, stainless is generally the better way to go. Except when performance is paramount like with high end sushi. I’m thinking my next knife/knives are probably all gonna be stainless.

I’m a fan of the D shaped handle insomuch as ergonomics goes but not so much in terms of aesthetics. Not a fan of the finish on the wood and would definitely like an octogonal one more I think. The handle just seems to stain and absorb water and stuff and it also feels pretty cheap. That said, it is a budget knife so I’m not so much complaining as I’m commenting. The way the blade is epoxied into the handle isn’t the best either, a little shoddy but again, teething issues.

The blade itself though feels rough and ready. Actually the black part of the blade feel really rough and that’s actually a bad thing, I fear food will stick to it rather than come off cleanly. The edge has been polished nicely and it’s very thin. The length isn’t all that short at a little over 210mm but I can see that a longer 240mm knife would be far more useful as far as chef knives go. Still this is all experimentation, trial and error and I’ve only just begun on my knife journey and I’m sure there’ll be plenty to go.

Update. Just got my sharpening set and put the Tojiro through a Shapton 1000 for 20 minutes taking my time and maybe 30 passes on each side on the 4000. Got a chilli dropped in half. Sweet. It’s scary sharp at some points and less so at others but practice makes perfect. I think it’s got the potential to be sharper than my old Wustie for sure.

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