I really like these knives because the blade quality is just superb and yet they're still a great value and not overpriced. You get a standard chef knife size and shape made of an excellent Uddeholm Swedish stain-resistant steel, and the edge is precision ground and finished so it's crazy sharp and looks great. The handle is just the right size for the blade and the fit and finish are excellent, making this a fantastic value for someone looking for a quality Japanese made knife with high quality steel that has great edge retention without being too difficult to keep sharp and to maintain. These handles are also amazing, as they are made of wine-red Micarta and so have a fantastic look and feel to them. Micarta is resin-impregnated linen composite cured under pressure and high temperature to make a very strong, water resistant and durable material (similar to carbon fibre).
This is a super-sharp and high quality knife that will be sure to offer years of pleasure in the kitchen!
It comes in a nice black box as pictured, so it also makes an awesome gift.
All Grand Chef series knives are made from high quality Bohler N685 stainless steel. This is a martensitic chromium stainless steel with added molybdenum and vanadium, which results in high hardness and good wear resistance, with excellent corrosion resistance -- an ideal steel for durable and sharp kitchen knives! Grand Chef blades are hard and tough with long lasting edges. HRC approx. 59-60 for sharpness and ease of maintenance and sharpening.
I'd recommend the Idahone fine ceramic hone 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 true re-sharpening or real grinding and refinishing of the edge. And if you're looking for a blade guard for storage or transportation, this one is the closest fit.
NOTE: This knife is sharpened mostly on the right side, which means it's not really suitable for left-handed use. It's not a drastic/large bevel though, so you can certainly re-profile it yourself with stones if you're good at sharpening, or any good professional knife sharpening service can also easily do this for you.
Sakai Takayuki # 10158