Miyabi is a Japanese company that has been purchased from J.A. Henckel, a well known German knife manufacturer which you can find in pretty much any decent knife store. Miyabi has various offerings that range from mediocre German steel to the higher end semi-stainless steel knives that include the super steel CMV66 which is rumoured to be ZDP-189 steel. Some of this information I obtained from zknives. I highly recommend looking through the zknives website about the steels used and other knife reviews which also includes valuable information on different Japanese knife types. Very informative site!
Although I am not going to fully review in the traditional sense these knives I will go through a bit and high-light them and compare the basic differences as this was an area I tried to search out for myself originally with little luck.
Both knives are basically identical Gyuto (Japanese Western style chef knife) geometry measuring 240mm in cutting blade. Although it seems a bit curved the belly of the blades actually sits very flat unlike European knives. Handles are both D handle types instead of the octagonal types or western style. Balance tends to be forward heavy with a total weight of about 260.5 and 260.8 grams half a 200mm Henckel 5 star. For myself they seems to sit well and feel comfortable in my hands. Normally I prefer a octagonal type of handle but for around the house and for kitchen Snap-lab work it feels fine and strong in grip. I have about a size 8 in hand size, but my brother in law who owns the actual 7000MC uses it daily in a pro kitchen as a chef in the local Hilton and loves the feel. He is over 2meters tall so it should give some perspective of hand size.
Blade is also an asymmetrical edge with about 10 to 14 degrees in total, and out of the box they come in very very sharp. Basically the asymmetry is of the wedge/chisel type instead of a 50 degree V shape of typical European standard. But still there is sharp then there is seriously sharp so I honed them up, up to my green King stones of 10K before hitting the strop to really find out what these blades are capable of. Here is where the first differences really came in to play. With the 7000D which has a hardness of about 60 on the Rockwell scale, and to which is suggested being VG-10 steel. After about 6K on the stones in grit there is no real advantage for the 7000D. I would even say the 10K stone is too fine for the 7000D but the 7000MC, oh wow does it love this and take the craziest edge. A few light passes and this could easily cut tissue paper (very impressive!).
Now down the actual experience that I found with using these two knifes:
First off they are very fine blades and well above the typical Zwilling Twins types of 4-5 star. Not only are they thinner but the steel is vastly superior with being harder, thinner, and just sharper. Add in the lack of thick bolsters, which also helps with sharpening and they are of the less is more variety. An analogy to me would be comparing a Mercedes family estate versus a full on AMG Grand Touring Race car. Simply put it is performance versus padded leather seats and everything is of superior quality and engineering. Precision fittings, straight lines, no faults that I could find in production is how both knives are built with steel and wood blending seamlessly.
With well over 6 months of use I have only sharpened my 7000D series once. I do give it the odd strop before I usually go to work in the kitchen but this is only because I like things as sharp as possible like where the knife just bites as it touches the board. No chipping I have noticed at all either, and I should also mention I did take my blade down a tad by maybe two or 3 degrees so it slices even more deadly. The harder the steel the better it should hold an edge, but with abuse or being too hard on the blade it will chip, especially if not hardened correctly. As I said not a single chip on either of the two knives, and my brother in laws 7000MC sees a far less gentle life in the hotel being used on hard plastic type boards daily cutting everything.
With further comparison it gets much more interesting. I do really like the benefits of the stainless type steels for being a lot less reactive. If I can source a Yanagiba in ZDP-189 with a 340mm to 380mm in this price range it will be a no brainer to get (hint hint Miyabi). The steel over my carbon blades is very nice to work with and can cut onions, fish, etc with no oxidization but just as well. Also there is no instant wiping and cleaning of the blades like some of my wrought iron clad blades to prevent rusting. In short, its forgiving, and holds a seriously awesome edge for a long time. Perhaps though in the last word of atom splitting sharpness the carbon may still win, and from my experience the carbon blades sharpen a bit easier but with out my Wantanabe here in a side by side it could just be wishful memory thinking. Still with a quality stone like King’s it is not very difficult to get an awesome edge that will remain for a very long time.
Back to the comparison though the 7000MC was still on its stock cutting edge and no matter what it cut it was superior. Onions it just slipped through with just the slightest drop of water on the blade for lubrication. Tomato’s you simply set the blade on it and it would slice through in paper thin translucent cuts. In comparison the 7000D no matter how sharp I could get it would require just the slightest effort and after slicing for an hour or two would need a slight strop to get its edge back. On onions it could slice translucent cuts, peel cucumbers for Japanese style slicing katsuramuki, or slicing proteins with relative ease, though I always had to give just the slightest effort but never forced.
When I say effort I am not really talking about force but rather just a slightest bit of work due to sticking (for lack of a better word). On the 7000MC it was more like just thinking about doing the motion and it would happen. Often the blade weight alone was the effort and this just leads to more finesse in working on fine techniques. Making translucent onion slices a lot more fun than it should be. Believe me when I say I ended up slicing a lot finer than things should have been on many occasion. So thin that it was almost a sauce.
When slicing beef though even the 7000D was a great performer and had me taking top steak (entrecôte) “grass fed beef” ready for taco’s (wraps). Basically as thin as having a pulled beef wrap, but ohh so much better tasting 😉
Wrapping this up the two blades are a good example of how good semi-stainless/stainless steel knives can be. The 7000D is maybe the best example of VG-10 done correctly and a great pleasure to use daily and could change your views on stainless steel. If I had not tried the 7000MC I would not have believed stainless could be superior in sharpness to a carbon knife. It really is a super steel and to be appreciated and experienced. Given the price range of about 260 euros retail you likely will not find anything of that quality for at least double the price to compare. Even Miyabi’s 7000MCD that uses the ZDP-189 steel is over 350 euros for a 200cm.
In conclusion both knives fit and finish is of the very highest order, and the blade edges, grind, geometry out of the box are exemplary. In the Snap Kitchen these are both a cut above and will not be going anywhere anytime soon. Hats of to Miyabi and if they ever create a Yanagiba in the ZDP-189, or a 280cm in the MCD line I will be first to order.
When a large company puts its resources into a serious product sometimes you do get something really special at a reasonable price.
Above is some pictures of pairing the cucumbers and slicing them along with sliced tuna, and how thin the 7000MC sliced the onions just below. :O
Below the thin sliced beef (free range), and OX also free range grass fed.
Thank you for checking these fine tools as I believe they are something worth sharing the experience with. I do hope others find similar experiences as they may change your cutting passion.