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View Full Version : Why the Secrecy, Misono?



Lefty
05-09-2011, 11:50 PM
After a fairly long (entertaining AND educational) conversation with one of our favourite custom makers, I immediately became curious as to why my "favourite company" is so secretive.
I have a Misono Moly and a Misono Carbon Gyuto, and the performance of both is, to be honest, incredible...especially for the OLD price.
I started wondering why there is so much confusion when it comes to what "Swedish carbon steel" Misono uses, and what the actual make up of the stainless lines are.
Another question that came to mind is, does anybody know what the "special process" Misono uses actually is and whether or not there even is one?
Any insight will be very much appreciated. I know it doesn't really matter, as long as I like my knives and how they cut, but I'm one of those who likes to know 'why?'!
Thanks guys

jaybett
05-10-2011, 12:03 AM
Most of the Japanese knife makers, regard steel, forging methods, even the model names of their knives, i.e. 'HD' are trade secrets. Maybe Jon Broida can give us insight into what information, Japanese makers are willing to share, and why they are so secretive.

Jay

Larrin
05-10-2011, 12:19 AM
Steel - they're not proud of the steel they're using or think it's not worth mentioning if no one's heard of it. It's not a secret formulation

Special process - it's nothing special

JBroida
05-10-2011, 12:25 AM
i'm happy to explain why people are so secretive, but i cant shed too much light on what steel is used. Just like in many other industries, people copy each other all day long. Companies want to share as little as possible about what steel they use, who makes what, and so on to limit the number of people "copying" their work. Its really that simple.

On a similar note, i also tend to see a lot of people who try to copy or closely replicate certain things and sell them as such, but in reality are very different from the items being copied. Its just as much of a problem in Japan as it is here.

I think now, having been on both sides of the equation, as a customer and retailer/wholesaler, i can empathize with both sides.

JBroida
05-10-2011, 12:26 AM
Steel - they're not proud of the steel they're using or think it's not worth mentioning if no one's heard of it. It's not a secret formulation

Special process - it's nothing special

there's some of this too, but more often than not my experience is as i stated above

Lefty
05-10-2011, 12:31 AM
Jon, I'm not sure if you have spent much time with either of the lines I mentioned, but if so...without blowing a whistle on anyone...what would you compare the steels to?
It seems strange that they wouldn't release the info to help justify the cost.

JBroida
05-10-2011, 12:39 AM
If you dont mind, i feel like its better if i stay out of this one. I'm sure there are many other people on here who have used them and can compare them to other knives they have used. Sorry. I hope you understand.

Lefty
05-10-2011, 12:44 AM
Perfectly!
I really don't want to put you in a sticky situation.
Thanks for letting me know! :)

wenus2
05-10-2011, 01:03 AM
or think it's not worth mentioning if no one's heard of it

I think it is this more than anything else. It's an old pracitce to not disclose a bunch of technical detail to confuse the consumer with. The makers have branded their names and built a reputation to associate themselves with a certain quality level. To an individual (particularly in the past) the technical details of steel type, grind, etc. are essentially meaningless. For example, if I wanted a great knife 20 years ago I wouldn't seek out a knife with a specific taper and HRC, I would simply purchase a Misono and trust that they did me right. Also consider that the majority of the worlds population has less than no desire to learn what all of these things even mean, much less how they work together to affect a product.

For those of you that are familiar with French wine, it's essentailly the same story. Regions have specific grapes that make up different types of wines (Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, on and on), but the grapes that are in the wines are not printed on the labels. It's not that it's a secret, in fact it's controlled by law, it's just that this detail is unimportant. If you purchase a first growth Bordeaux it's percentage cab sav to merlot to cab franc to petit vedrdot is largely unimportant, the bottom line is that you purchased a first growth so you trust that it was the best possible product of any available combination.
If you look at new world wines you will see that they all show varietals and percentages, but it still doesn't really matter. The wine is still the same wine whether we know its composition or not.

I will also add that, in general, our fascination with every technical detail as a basis for judgement is a product of our constant exposure to marketing hype. The details we obsess over, and the flavors of the month that we crave, are generally inconsequential in the big picture (keeping in mind we are simply a small faction of fanatics). The fads come and go, but true quality remains.

Eamon Burke
05-10-2011, 01:15 AM
Ever seen Kung Fu Panda? It's the Secret Ingredient Soup!

tk59
05-10-2011, 01:28 AM
Seriously, Lefty... We all just think we know what we're using. Most of the time, it's really hoping that we're buying what we think we are. If all the stainless knives out there were made from some generic molybdenum alloy, I wonder if we'd never figure it out.

Seb
05-10-2011, 01:57 AM
The Masamoto HC has better steel than the Misono Swedish. I can get it discernibly sharper and I also find it easier to sharpen. The Masamoto also feels nicer in the hand - but the Misono has a nicer tip.

There is no way the MS should cost more than the HC.

Lefty
05-10-2011, 02:00 AM
What IS molybdenum?? Haha JK.
I kinda agree tk.
I still would like to know, just because I'm like that.

rockbox
05-10-2011, 02:42 AM
Its so people like me don't miss the forest for the trees. Although the steel type is an important aspect of a knife, its not the only aspect. As we all know there is much more to knife performance than steel and heat treat. However, people tend to dumb down comparisons and say model X knife is as good as a model Y knife because they use the same steel and is cheaper. I know I'm guilty of this with a certain knife 500 dollar VG-? knife. I can't bring myself to buy one because I would feel a little ripped off knowing that it uses the same steel as cheaper knives.

When I visited Hoss a few months ago, I had the pleasure of cutting myself :laugh: with one of his prototypes that was made of a steel he is not known for using. The experience was very enlightening because the knife cut better than any other knife I've seen made from that material. I told him that if ever produced this knife, he shouldn't tell people what it was because people would have a preconceived notion of its performance before trying it out.

Lefty
05-10-2011, 02:51 AM
That makes a lot of sense, rockbox!
It's funny because I'm the first guy to admit steel is nowhere near as important as the maker, grind, profile, etc.
I guess talking chemical make-up and steel types earlier on sparked my interest. I should just be happy that my knives get sharp, stay sharp for a while and cut cleanly, but there's still that little voice saying, "how does this steel compare to X..?"

mikemac
05-10-2011, 09:48 AM
....It's funny because I'm the first guy to admit steel is nowhere near as important as the maker, grind, profile, etc...."

+1
BTW - doesen't Shige use a swedish steel he calls 'spicy' ? Another example to support maker over material.
Semi Hijack - as much as Misono's price increase was a big jump - they did hold the price for I think 5 years (when I bought mine) During the same time, MC's SFGZ's jumped from $17.50/sun to $55

Lefty
05-10-2011, 09:55 AM
as much as Misono's price increase was a big jump - they did hold the price for I think 5 years (when I bought mine) During the same time, MC's SFGZ's jumped from $17.50/sun to $55

That's over a 300% increase! Wowwwww!!!
I wonder if this could be due to what we now call "the Kramer effect"?

Jay
05-10-2011, 11:06 AM
I love Misono, but looking at their recent prices is painful.

FryBoy
05-10-2011, 11:58 AM
Despite the hue and cry over Misono's recent price increases, I think the current prices are fair compared to the competition. The old prices were remarkably low considering the quality of Misono's knives.

mikemac
05-10-2011, 12:09 PM
That's over a 300% increase! Wowwwww!!!
I wonder if this could be due to what we now call "the Kramer effect"?

Seems like MC was always able to earn top dollar for the IP series, the true one-off custom work. Just seems like the SFGZ type of knives have seen pricing accelerate away from the 'everymans' category.

Just glad I got mine at 17.50/sun plus $25 for the ebony handle

tk59
05-10-2011, 01:41 PM
With regard to MC, I'm sure it's simple supply and demand. The only way to know for sure might be to taking one of his business courses.

As for Lefty's desire to know everything about the knives, I'm that way, too. I didn't mean any criticism, actually. It's just nice to dish what I've been served so many times in the past.

Lefty
05-10-2011, 04:55 PM
Thanks for making me feel uncomfortable...dick! Hahaha! JK!
By the way, I'm still a bit curious.

wenus2
05-10-2011, 08:26 PM
By the way, I'm still a bit curious.

:eeew: I'm not sure I like where this is going...

:saythat::lolsign: