As a part of my kitchen knife upgrade program I've picked up Global G-61 granton edge chef's knife in April 2008. I already had G-33 forged chef's knife from Global, but I was curious if thinner and lighter chef's knife with almost identical blade length and slightly different blade geometry would perform better for me, or at least how different it would behave. Especially that it had granton edge, which did prove itself useful on two other santokus I've had, namely Henckel Granton Edge Santoku and Global G-48. That's pretty much why I got a new chef's knife.
Blade- Little bit short for a real chef's knife, it's 200mm(8") long. I think, or for my cutting habits chef's knife around 24cm(9.5") is better. Anyway, even at 200mm it is plenty usable. Blade has long upward curve towards the top combined with a drop point. As most of the global knives it is flat ground, with a convex edge from the factory. Scalloped recessions are evenly cut and aligned along the edge, none of them is too close to the cutting edge, which is a definite plus. The alignment of the scallops or their placement or was a problem with Henckel Granton Edge Santoku. Blade is pretty wide, which is good for a chef's knife and it's expected too. Makes it easier and safer to cut with a claw grip. Globals markings are etched on the left side as usual. For the record, the steel used in this and all other Global western kitchen knives is CROMOVA 18, hardened at 56-58HRC. I have discussed this steel a lot in other Global Kitchen Knives reviews, so I'll skip that here.
Initial Sharpness- Like other Global knives from April 2008 batch this one came in pretty dull too. Convex edge was rather rough and wouldn't cut as I've come to expect from Global knives base3d on my previous experience with them. It was still sharper that most of the kitchen knives I've seen from mid/low price range. I didn't do any specific sharpness measurements, but I didn't really have to. Newsprint cutting test failed miserably, even when I tried to pull the blade back to make initial cut it'd still cut unevenly and make tears rather than gliding through the paper. Shaving test gave similar results. G-61 couldn't cut in opposite direction and for shaving along the hair it was having difficulties as well. Obviously I had to sharpen the blade myself, but I didn't get time to do that for few weeks and by the time I've sharpened it I already knew this knife was going away as a present to my family.
Sharpening edge at 30° included- The decision was to use mousepad/sandpaper combo for freehand sharpening. Since the edge wasn't too thick I've started sharpening with 600 grit sandpaper until I got nice and even convex edge that was around 30° included. Then I've followed up with 1000 and 2000 grit sandpaper which gave near mirror polished edge. After that I've switched to Silicon carbide abrasive films on the leather strop board. First 15µm and then 5µm films were used. Next was 12000 grit Kitayama Japanese waterstone that was soaking in the water all this time. 12000 is equivalent of 1µm SiC film which I don't have. 12000 grit gives very nice, mirror polished edge. In general Japanese waterstones cut pretty well through the metal, so far the only exception being Phil Wilsons CPM 10V hunter knife, on which this particular waterstone had no visible effect. Waterstone was followed up with few passes on 0.5µm Chromium Oxide loaded leather strop and next was 0.3µm Aluminum Oxide film.
For practical matters last two are not really necessary, that is one of them would do just as well. However, for the sake of it I did use both sequentially. Final touch was stropping on the leather. All in all it took around 45 minutes to get the blade to 0.3µm edge that was really sharp. Hair whittling was no challenge with it, let alone shaving. That type of edge is sharp enough to slice through the tomato without applying any vertical pressure on it. The blade just falls through the tomato under its own weight, when you simply pull it back. Obviously it is a question of preference whether or not kitchen knife should be that sharp or not. Clearly, it's not gonna hold that level of sharpness for long, especially on the softer stainless steel at 56-58hrc as it is on Global knives. However, for practicing sharpening and for the heck of it, it's definitely worth doing it :)
Usage- As I've mentioned above when I've sharpened this knife I already decided to give it away. Thus, it didn't see much of a use in my kitchen. All I did, was to cut some vegetables, just enough for one serving of salad and do some minor test cuts on meat and other veggies. That's pretty much it. Granted that the edge was screaming sharp right after sharpening I had no problems and G-61 cgefs knife performed superbly. I do have my worries how will it perform with the edge that is pretty thin for softer steel, but we'll see. Obviously, the edge got somewhat duller with the use, but all I needed to restore it's sharpness was 2 passes on each side with super fine ceramic rod.
As for the Forged vs. Stamped thingy. I did feel the difference, but not in quality, the main difference was in weight. Forged Global GF-33 chefs knife was considerably heavier and caused fatigue quicker compared to thinner and more lightweight stamped G-61. I did not gain absolutely anything by using forged knife form the same manufacturer except the extra weight and more clumsy knife compared to nimble G-61 hollow edge chefs knife. Once again, I've learned on my mistake and experiments, and you sure can avoid that :) This whole forged is much better than stamped cliche is getting real old and in 99% of the cases is nothing more than a marketing gimmick to get more money out of you. More on that in the article How to choose a kitchen knife.
Usage (Revisited)- As mentioned above the Global G-61 hollow edge chefs knife went away rather quickly, so I hadn't use it much. Almost 8 month later I've had a chance to use it again during the food preparation for one of the parties at my friends. I do sharpen that knife occasionally, whenever I am asked, since I'm the only one into sharpening around. However, because it's been a while since I've sharpened it the edge wasn't at its best. Since I've brought some sharpening equipment to that cooking session I had a chance to make a few passes on the edge restoring quite a bit of its sharpness. Obviously this wasn't 0.25µm edge I prefer on my kitchen knives, but it was still plenty sharp and had no problems shaving hair effortlessly in either direction.
Right before that I was using one of my favorite knives - Kumagoro gyuto for over 3 hours, before I've decided to switch for testing to G-61 hollow edge chefs knife. Overall, the cutting session with this particular knife lasted around 1.5 hours. That is the longest I've used G-61 knife continuously. First thing I've noticed after switching from Kumagoro to to G-61 was how much lighter it[G-61] was compared to Kumagoro gyuto. Now that can be a good or a bad thing depending on your preferences, but I personally don't believe in let the heavy knife do your cutting job for you philosophy. I believe in - let your sharp edge to the cutting philosophy. Unfortunately, that is where G-61 was lacking compared to Kumagoro gyuto. Not only Kumagoro gyuto had much higher edge finish, but it also had a lot more acute edge around 8°-10° per side, while G-61 still had 15° per side at best, perhaps it was more, due to several touchups later.
The difference in cutting performance was significant and obviously not in favor of G-61. However, I could still do 1.5 hour long non stop cutting session pretty much without any hitches and getting sore wrists or palms. Like I said, the knife was still quite sharp. Although, on the personal level, I've noticed how much my own cutting habits have changed last year, in particular how little pressure I tend to apply to the knife to make a cut and initially I had to pay attention to push G-61 with more force than I usually do with better knives. On the other hand that's still better, or in other words, required less force than with factory blades on 99% of the kitchen knives ;)
All in all, despite what I've said above I am more positive about G-61 today than I was a year ago when I first wrote this review. Comparison to Kumagoro is not a fair one, I simply had to happen to work with those two in succession. It's light and really nimble in your hand. Granton scalloping on the edge of G-61 works pretty good in preventing sticking and reducing the drag on the blade. G-61 steel is still better that on most of the western kitchen knives and for those who like easy sharpening, it is very easy to sharpen, but sorry, won't hold the edge longer than the same Kumagoro I've compared it with above. Although, it'll still outperform, i.e. out cut mainstream Henckels and Wusthofs at 54-56HRC especially with their thick edges.
Conclusions- Major pros: Light and maneuverable, won't cause fatigue during prolonged use. Easy to sharpen. Granton edge helps with cutting and prevents sticking of ingredients to the blade (to a certain degree, it's not 100% solution). Stainless steel is easy to maintain. 200mm blade is probably comfortable for those who like shorter knives and consider 240mm chef's knives too long.
Cons - Too short for those (including me) who want more conventional Chef's knife. Edge holding is not that great, but still better than most of the mainstream kitchen knives. Initial edge sharpness was really bad, even when compared to Global knives few years ago.
- Blade - 203.20mm(8")
- Thickness - 3.17mm
- OAL - 330.20mm(13")
- Steel - CROMOVA 18 56-58HRC
- Handle - Stainless Steel
- Acquired - 04/2008 Price - 90.00$
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