Second loaner in October 2010. Came to me together with the SLT exclusive, Miyabi 5000MCD slicer. This one is the Miyabi Shotoh, or an utility knife in western terms. Actually, even though I was researching Japanese kitchen knives types for a while, this is the first time I've heard that term - shotoh used in the kitchen knives context. Shotoh is the shortest knife in Miyabi MC series of the high end kitchen knives. Although I'm not really a fan of the kitchen utility knives, I was still kind of curious about that knife, wanted to try it out for a few things, but I didn't feel like spending 140$ just for the test and then deal with selling the knife. Well, the opportunity came and I was more than happy to evaluate and sharpen it.
General- Well, generally speaking, Miyabi 34582-130 7000MC Shotoh is that it is called, an utility knife. A small knife, bigger than a paring knife, smaller than a gyuto, or a santoku, and bunch of other kitchen knives too. As you can guess, because I got a knife that was already used, I have never seen its packaging, but I know from other Miyabi offerings it is nice. Shotoh is a typical Miyabi knife, with all the characteristics and features of the Miyabi MC line. Same style handle, just narrower compared to bigger Miyabi 7000MC knives, same engravings and buttcap with Miyabi logo. Fit and finish are also same good as I saw on all the other Miyabi knives from all the different series. Overall, it's a small, think knife, just 1.70mm thick at the heel and relatively wide for its size, 28mm to be precise. The knife weighs 93.00g(3.14oz) and I suspect that's mainly due to quite a bit of the metal in its handle, otherwise it would've been considerably lighter.
I got the knife in used condition, and I'd say well used condition. There was no significant damage to the knife, no scratches or dents neither on the blade, nor on the handle. Single chip on the edge visible to the naked eye and that was it, you can see on the photo at the top of this page. However, the edge was pretty messed up, although, I couldn't tell that with naked eye, but carefully testing the edge with my thumb, I found out that it was rather dull, but strangely, it felt somehow really coarse. I thought it was rolled, but I was unsure. I've examined the edge under the microscope and it became clear immediately. Most of the edge was covered with micro chips. This is what happens when a very hard steel knife gets used on something harder then it should be used on. Granted that Miyabi MC line is made with Hitachi ZDP-189 PM steel, hardened to 65-67HRC, contact with the bone or marble cutting board or metal, etc, any of that could've caused the microchipping. I've seen the same steel dulling in my own use and from the same owner too, never like this. Few chips here and there eventually happen, as the metal gets fatigued, but this small knife had it really hard. Good thing was, the size of the chips was very small and the knife was still in a pretty good shape. Removing microchipping is often easier than large rolling and denting on the softer steel knives. For the curious minds, here, a photo of the microchipping on the Shotoh edge.
Sharpening- Restoring the edge didn't take long at all. Because I had to test the new Shapton glassstones, I've used 500, 2000 and 6000 grit Shapton glassstones and then, went with Naniwa chosera 10000 grit finishing superstone, followed by usual 0.50µm and 0.25µm diamond loaded leather strops, with 0.30µm Aluminum Oxide film in between those two. I said before, even though the difference between 0.30µm and 0.25µm is practically negligible in terms of the micron size, the resulting edge has better polish and seems to be keener to me. Overall, restoring and sharpening 100K edge on the Miyabi 7000MC Shotoh took less than 30 minutes. Obviously, the fact that the blade is only 130mm compared to usual 270mm or 300mm did save time, but it was really easy to get the sharp edge despite of the microchipping observed under the microscope.
Blade- As far as visuals go, I like the blade and the Shotoh knife itself a lot. If it was a little smaller it'd make a great peeler for my use. May be it'll do fine for you as it is though. 130mm long blade, with 28mm width and 1.70mm thick at the heel. drop point blade has nice gentle curve starting about the midsection, giving it longer cutting edge and giving it some belly, although I think you won't be doing much of the rocking motion with it. Left side of the blade has a lot of writing on it, as usual. Miyabi name, series, barcode stamp, model, etc. The other side has just the logo and Zwilling Henckels stamped on it. The edge on the Shotoh is asymmetrical grind, edge angles are identical, but the edge itself is off center. Same as on the other Miyabis. It's about 70/30. After sharpening it, I did keep the same balance and the edge angle. As far as I am concerned, the knife did withstand whatever it was subjected to pretty good, despite of those chips on the edge. According to Miyabi, the edge they put on ZDP-189 steel (or MC66 in Henckels classification) knives is about 12° per side. That's one of the thinnest factory edges I have seen, better than Shuns and Tojiros and obviously no comparison with standard western knife edge at 20° per side. Having 66HRC super steel does allow and in my opinion, actually mandates thin edge, otherwise what's the point, waste of cutting ability as a minimum.
Handle- Handle style and make is exactly the same as on all other Miyabi 7000MC series knives. The only specific part is the width and the length of the handle, which is obvious. Smaller knife needs thinner and shorter handle too. Other than that there are no specifics to talk about. If you want my opinion, the handle is a little too slim for this knife, but then again, my palms are larger than average too. As usual, handle size, weight and geometry are quite personal aspects, unless it something really awkward. When in doubt, it's best to handle it if you can.
Usage- I mentioned in bunch of other reviews and a few articles, I don't have that many uses for kitchen utility knives, or I don't know what exactly are they the best for. Considering that for all the cutting works in the kitchen, I can pick another type of the knife that works better than utility knife, I'm not really using them much. This time, I had several specific tasks in mind, which was sort of searching for the right knife type thing. Simply put, I make a salad which has over 20 different vegetables in it, excellent mix for testing the performance of any kitchen knife and very healthy too ;) I wasn't gonna use puny 5" knife to cut 12+lbs of the greens, but before actual cutting begins, as usual I have to clean the veggies and prep them. That includes removing roots, cutting leaves, etc. Considering the variety and amount of the vegetables I have to prepare, the knife for that process needs to satisfy several criteria. Has to be small and maneuverable enough, to easily get in tight spots. At the same time, when cutting ends from broccoli and celery, it needs to have sufficient cutting power. I've already tested a few utility knives for the veggie prep process, but so far no dice. I hoped Miyabi 7000MC Shotoh would be better fit. It did work better than some of the kitchen utility knives reviewed here, but it still wasn't all that well suited for the variety of cutting. I can't really figure out what exactly the perfect knife for that job, sometimes the knife feels too small, other times big... As of this time, Phil Wilson chef's knife and Tojiro Flash Paring knife are the best performers. But one is too wide on occasions, and another is short :) I'll keep looking.
Conclusions- You are free to ignore all the above in the usage section, that was my very specific attempts to use this knife. If you feel an utility knife of this size works for you, and you like the design, then the knife itself is very well made, and the ZDP-189 steel is one of the best for kitchen use, as far as light and medium cutting are concerned.
- Blade - 130.00mm(5")
- Thickness - 1.70mm
- Width - 28.00mm
- OAL - 238.00mm(9.37")
- Steel - ZDP-189 PM steel at 66HRC
- Handle - Pakkawood
- Weight - 93.00g(3.14oz)
- Acquired - 04/2010 Price - 140.00$
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Last updated - 09/01/11