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Chroma Cutlery Porsche Type 301 P02 Santoku
Kitchen Knife Review
(Likely A Counterfeit)

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Chroma Cutlery Porsche Type 301 P02 Santoku Knife

I haven't heard of Chroma cutlery and their Porsche type knives before. Never seen them neither on the net, nor live. They have quite distinct look and it's hard to forget something like that ;) I got the set of 4 different Chroma Porsche type knives during one of those "I'll sharpen and test your knives" exchanges in 2009. Can't say that either of those two objectives went well, I mean sharpening and testing. The steel is so soft and edge holding ability is so low, quite impossible to use it for any prolonged period of time. I've still managed to get them sharp, and returned to the owner with the warning not to use on anything harder than a cream cake. Overall, very strange knives and in my opinion very strange design decisions were made when making those knives rendering them practically useless for any real cutting applications in the kitchen.

General

- As Chroma cutlery website tells us, Type 301 Porsche knives were designed by F.A. Porsche himself. Now, obviously that was not Mr. Ferdinand Porsche himself, who passed away in January 1951, but the Porsche design studio. The design is really unique, I give them that, but frankly, they(Porsche Design) should've stuck with other things they are more familiar with and left those kitchen knives alone. More about design shortcomings below. The type 301 santoku knife is more or less standard santoku knife, at least as far as dimensions and blade geometry goes. On the positive side, there is no bolster, handle seamlessly transitions into the blade. The handle is the unique part, and I wasn't very happy with it. Weight is on the heavier side, that is for the santoku of this size. One of the heaviest santoku knives reviewed on this site. The knife was used quite a bit when it arrived to me, so I can not comment on its NIB condition. However, I'm pretty sure it'd be alright out of the box, looks is what this knife has. The blade had considerable damage in the form of multiple dents and rolls on the edge, plus the denting on the blade as well. Obviously it wasn't a pampered knife and given the soft steel used in this knives, it was all too easy to dent and roll the edge and the knife.

Blade

- Chroma Cutlery Porsche Type 301 P02 Santoku blade measures just a litle over 7", 185.00mm(7.28") to be precise. Blade is 49mm at its widest, near the choil, and the spine thickness is 3m exactly. The blade geometry is that of a typical Japanese santoku knife, except 3mm thick blade is a little bit to much. The original edge on the knife I got, was a standard V type edge, about 40° inclusive, and I've kept it that way when I sharpened the knife. Nothing special to say about the blade, besides dismal cutting performance and bunch of the dents on the blade.

Steel

- I have to admit, initial info on steel being AISI 301 stainless steel was incorrect. I was contacted by Chroma representative, who clarified the steel naming issue, it is Type 301, proprietary batch made in Japan, for Chroma Cutlery. Close, but not identical to Chromova 18 steel used in Global Kitchen Knives. That is a whole lot better compared to 301, which isn't a knife steel at all. Unfortunately, back when I was researching 301 steel issue, I've tried to contact Chroma through their website contacts, and never got any response, and in addition to that, info on type 301 being proprietary alloy was not available. Searching for 301 yields AISI 301, and coupled with disappointing results in my own tests and couple other knife enthusiasts, we ended up concluding it was AISI 301. According to the same source, median hardness of Chroma knives is 57HRC. It is rather puzzling why all the issues with sharpening in that case. Anyway, I am expecting a new knife from Chroma, which will be thoroughly retested, so updates will follow.

Handle

- The rather futuristic looking handle is the main distinctive feature of thee type 301 Porsche santoku. I haven't seen handles resembling that. All steel handle, but obviously it is hollow inside, otherwise the knife would've been well over a pound. As far as handle ergonomics go, they are simply bad in my opinion. Tapered towards the butt, angular. I guess all those things were designed to make the handle more comfortable, but in reality it is rather awkward in many grips. I didn't like is in pinch grip, which is main working grip when working with vegetables with the knife of this size. It feels a little better in hammer grip, but what's the point of that for the santoku knife. narrow butt of the handle also is a poor choice for a kitchen knife, in many cases the handle but can be used to crush garlic of something similar, but Chroma santoku handle is more like a skull crusher than vegetable.

Smooth, metal handle of the Porsche knife provides very little grip security, which is one more problem with the knife. If or when your hands are wet or oily, the blade is rather problematic to control. Global kitchen knives also have full metal handles, but Globals also have those trademark dimples and they help a bit, while Porsche designed Chromas have nothing but bare, smooth steel in the handle.

Another distinctive feature of the Porsche design santoku and all other knives from the series is the fingerguard pin, or buttons on either side of the handle. I am guessing those are designed to serve as fingerguards, based on their placement and the fact they're placed on the knife. If I am wrong, then those are purely decorative elements, and its even worse. Worse, because those pins don't help much with grip security, as in preventing your fingers from slipping down on the blade, and on 50mm wide santoku blade/handle height difference does safeguard job just fine. Bad part is, those pins or buttons really get in the way when holding the knife in a pinch grip. In short, those are rather nuisance than anything helpful or practical.

Usage

- Frankly, there was not much of the usage at all. Given the problems with the very soft steel (for knives), which were revealed during sharpening, and made sharpening quite difficult. Edge durability was, for the lack of better description rather pathetic. I've sharpened 40° inclusive angle on the Porsche Santoku knife. Highly polished, 100K grit finish edge. However, less than 10 minutes into mixed vegetable leaves chopping, and I could tell the edge was degrading already. And that was just soft leaves, like baby spinach. When I've proceeded with harder veggies like broccoli stems and carrots thing went progressively worse. Because of the soft steel I was unable to grind thin edge, even at 40° inclusive angle the edge wasn't holding up at all. That thick edge required greater force to be applied to the santoku knife to make a cut, and soft steel deformed more with greater force. Long story short, I didn't finish cutting broccoli, there was no point in doing that. Tested on the carrots, just in case, tried to cut batonnet, but the dull, thick blade was squashing the thin slices of carrot instead of making neat matchsticks. Brussels sprouts were pretty much out of question after those results, so I've skipped that part and most of the other vegetables as well.

Conclusion

- Since this knife in this review was most likely a counterfeit, you should disregard issues with sharpening and edge holding is this review. Genuine Chroma Porsche design knife I've reviewed in Chroma Cutlery Porsche Type 301 P02 Santoku(2014 model) article has shown much better results, exceeding mainstream western knives, performing on par with Global Knives.

    Specs:
  • Blade - 185.00mm(7.28")
  • Thickness - 3.00mm
  • Width - 49.00mm
  • OAL - 297.00mm(11.69")
  • Steel - Type 301 56-58HRC
  • Handle - Stainless Steel
  • Weight - 236.10g(7.98oz)
  • Acquired - 06/2007 Price - 99.00$

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Last updated - 12/07/14