A perfect all-around kitchen knife, especially for those who prefer a smaller knife but still like the idea of a blade with a larger surface area and without too much curve, making it easy to chop and slice and dice everything from vegetables to common items like boneless chicken breasts. This makes a great alternative to a small chef knife. Most people who try a santoku never go back to their old chef knife. The VG10 cutting core and 33-layer stainless Damascus steel makes for a high performance, durable, affordable and good-looking knife. These knives really are very sharp, with excellent construction quality and they just look spectacular with the layered steel, hammered finish and gorgeous wood-grain handle (NOT plastic or molded like so many low-cost knives you'll see in stores).
The handle is made of Spanish mahogany pakkawood, which has that nice wooden feel and look, but it is impregnated with resin/epoxy so it's very strong and is very water resistant to avoid absorbing water or warping or cracking -- an excellent material! If you like the damascus layered steel look but don't like the artificially high prices by domestic knives and kitchen stores, this is a truly excellent choice. You get a super sharp and long-lasting VG-10 steel cutting core (this is a very hard and high quality knife steel, with a Rockwell hardness of approximately 60), with a 33-layer hammered stainless steel surface and a beautifully finished handle. Approx. weight: 186g I'd recommend the fine ceramic hone (see below) for regular/daily maintenance of the edge. As with any knife, use the hone regularly and you'll keep the edge in good shape for a LONG time before you need to think about doing any serious "re-sharpening" or real grinding and refinishing of the edge.
NOTE: This knife is sharpened 50/50 (equally on the right and left side), so it's easy to maintain and fine for right or left hand use. If you look carefully at the edge, you'll see a slight right-side bias, this is just because the final edge is so tiny and because of the way they finish the edge; it has NO bearing on right- or left-hand use, sharpening or maintenance and can be ignored, so you should treat the edge just like any standard 50/50 edge.
If you're wondering what the difference between these 33-layer knives and the older 17-layer versions:
- 33 layer vs. 17-layer cladding leads to an even nicer look
- Improved dimpling (hammered finish)
- Spanish mahogany handle (vs. regular mahogany)
- Improved polished finish on bolster
- Improved curved shape to finger guard