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panda
04-12-2013, 01:07 AM
for those of you that have gone through having a western handled knife converted to a wa, please share your results here.

takayuki grand cheff 240mm western gyuto. my very first j-knife purchase. at first i was elated at how sharp this damn thing was, it still takes the best edge out of all my knives. but eventually i grew tired of it, wasnt happy with the action as the profile was very western, i didn't like that it was narrow and it was flexible, plus the edge retention is not very good and the finish is so polished that everything sticks to it (especially red onion and potato). so i decided to pass it along as a gift, but before doing that i wanted to get it rehandled, and i thought, hmm maybe i'll try wa handle.

so i commissioned taz575 for the work. black ironwood, forget what the ferrule was.
here are some pics:
top knife is a MR first gen addict that's been heavily thinned down and re-profiled which i use daily as my laser (yes you read that right, lol). bottom is the grand cheff in stock form.
http://i254.photobucket.com/albums/hh102/Taz575/RATGC_zpse6683551.jpg
finished product:
http://i254.photobucket.com/albums/hh102/Taz575/TGCB.jpg
closer look at handle:
http://i254.photobucket.com/albums/hh102/Taz575/TGCB2.jpg
another shot:
http://i226.photobucket.com/albums/dd212/vlsun/tgc_zps5605c4d1.jpg?t=1365742923

he's currently working on converting a brand new masamoto vg 240 for me in all dymondwood (can't wait!)

JohnnyChance
04-12-2013, 01:14 AM
Neck looks a bit on the long side, but overall looks a lot nicer than the stock handle.

Both the ferrule and black dyed wood look like redwood (lace and burl respectively) to me.

panda
04-12-2013, 01:20 AM
it looks weird but functionally works quite well for a pinch grip as the middle finger rests under the neck where it's NICELY rounded. and the entire handle is tapered so your palm just guides right into the right spot.

sharkbite111
04-12-2013, 12:51 PM
Looks nice! I especially like the taper

Chris

panda
04-12-2013, 02:33 PM
yes, correction the handle is 2 tone redwood burl.

don
04-12-2013, 03:01 PM
The handle looks really slick, the redwood lace ferrule against a dark handle is nice.

panda
04-12-2013, 03:11 PM
to be perfectly honest, i actually prefer using the stock handle of the addict (rosewood w ebony ferrule i believe?). while the custom handle looks amazing, i don't like that it's smooth, prefer texture with feedback and fatter handles even though i have small hands. of course this will be a gift to someone so go for all vanity. if it were for myself i would have opted for a pedestrian option.

panda
04-30-2013, 01:21 AM
masamoto vg 240 gyuto, converted to wa: black dymondwood handle/ferrule with yellow g10 spacer

http://i254.photobucket.com/albums/hh102/Taz575/MasaVGWa.jpg
http://i254.photobucket.com/albums/hh102/Taz575/MasaVGWa2.jpg
the top rosewood with dymondwood ferrule is going on a tanaka.
http://i226.photobucket.com/albums/dd212/vlsun/masa_zps2b52f13a.jpg
http://i226.photobucket.com/albums/dd212/vlsun/masahandleclose_zpsfba58d1b.jpg
http://i226.photobucket.com/albums/dd212/vlsun/masahandlebottom_zps7ebaecf0.jpg
http://i226.photobucket.com/albums/dd212/vlsun/masahandle_zpsd8bd5efd.jpg

this hybrid shape of octagon on top half with oval on bottom half aka OctaVal is incredibly comfortable. i'd say it's the best handle i've yet to use.
before with stock western handle it was a bit on the heavy side. i asked taz to thin out the tang and now it's nice and light, fell completely in love with this knife all over again. it's definitely my go to. also have a dt itk 270 which is badass in itself, but only use that for heavy duty work now.

Dave Martell
04-30-2013, 02:28 AM
panda, I'm glad that you're happy with the results but seriously that's got to be some of the worst **** I've seen done to a knife. Please don't hate me for saying what everyone is thinking.

El Pescador
04-30-2013, 02:35 AM
panda, I'm glad that you're happy with the results but seriously that's got to be some of the worst **** I've seen done to a knife. Please don't hate me for saying what everyone is thinking.

+1, it looks ill proportioned.

Dave Martell
04-30-2013, 02:39 AM
The first ones shown are just as whacked too.

panda
04-30-2013, 02:40 AM
it's not perfect, but everything i wanted done got completed and the flaws don't effect its performance. sure it looks a little silly, yet i don't mind. i can't imagine grinding off a bolster is easy work.

cclin
04-30-2013, 03:08 AM
panda, I'm glad that you're happy with the results but seriously that's got to be some of the worst **** I've seen done to a knife. Please don't hate me for saying what everyone is thinking.

moreover, those handle looks not any better than good stock Ho-wood/burnt chestnut handle..........they looks not too appealing/comfortable to me!! you should try Mike Henry or Stefan Keller's handle.
I know Taz start learn/making Octagonal Handle about one year ago; IMO, he needs more practice!!

Squilliam
04-30-2013, 04:46 AM
Wow you guys... Did everyone wake up on the wrong side of the bed these last few days? The conversions look fine to me. Not the best I've seen, but certainly not the worst. I don't see any functional problems, and nothing particularly unsightly either and IMO there have been handles made by prominent handle makers here which look much worse which have only seen praise from the comments. Of course beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so lets lighten up a little.

cclin
04-30-2013, 05:45 AM
Wow you guys... Did everyone wake up on the wrong side of the bed these last few days? The conversions look fine to me. Not the best I've seen, but certainly not the worst. I don't see any functional problems, and nothing particularly unsightly either and IMO there have been handles made by prominent handle makers here which look much worse which have only seen praise from the comments. Of course beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so lets lighten up a little.

OK! I probably shouldn't judge the handle from pictures without handle the knives in person.....however, those handles in the photos looks rough F/F & uneven to me........No matter of handle's design/Aesthetics

NO ChoP!
04-30-2013, 08:12 AM
I don't see the Masamoto kanji. Is it only printed on the stainless line? That sucks....

The Masamoto handle isn't so bad; I think the untraditional shaped tangs don't help....

mhenry
04-30-2013, 08:17 AM
+1 Honest opinions are always welcome, but no need to be rude about it, especially when its just a dude just tinkering around with his knives. I think they look good, but there is room for improvement.


Wow you guys... Did everyone wake up on the wrong side of the bed these last few days? The conversions look fine to me. Not the best I've seen, but certainly not the worst. I don't see any functional problems, and nothing particularly unsightly either and IMO there have been handles made by prominent handle makers here which look much worse which have only seen praise from the comments. Of course beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so lets lighten up a little.

Lefty
04-30-2013, 08:23 AM
I like the last one a fair bit. These comments really are growing old.

Vangelis
04-30-2013, 08:52 AM
I have to admit, that I like the rough side of the handles. They may not seem at "pro" as some other specimen around but taste is very personal. As long as the owner is happy.

From all the convertion my least fav is the MR. Otherwise, I have to say good job.

Patatas Bravas
04-30-2013, 09:41 AM
I've also notice lots of ugly handles around, and these specimens are no better/worse from my perspective as I don't concern myself with custom handles. People are usually quite supportive of experimentation on this forum, however, so I'm curious why there was such a negative reaction above. Panda's picts seem fine to me.

chinacats
04-30-2013, 09:49 AM
I've also notice lots of ugly handles around, and these specimens are no better/worse from my perspective as I don't concern myself with custom handles. People are usually quite supportive of experimentation on this forum, however, so I'm curious why there was such a negative reaction above.

I think it's because these aren't experiments, they are paid work...and many here do concern themselves with custom handles. If these were the OP's work, they would look rather good for an 'experiment.' :2cents:

dannynyc
04-30-2013, 10:43 AM
WHat kind of cost are you looking at converting yo- to wa-? I asked Dave Martell and he says it's something like $300-400?

Dave Martell
04-30-2013, 11:16 AM
I've heard negative comments on my work many times before. Even when I've done my very best where I'm impressed with myself I still get a poke or a slap from someone. I always accept it, learn from it, and move on.

I try to compliment when I feel I should, there's many times I'm quite impressed with a new maker or hobbyist and I say so. If these knives were done by the original poster then I'd have probably paid a compliment because I'd have been impressed by how well he did for his first couple. If the original poster had said that this was a freebie job where he wasn't charged because the guy wanted to experiment and he was happy to have the knife to do it on then I'd have likely not said anything but thought to myself, "that's cool", since I've done this myself many times over. It appears to have been a paid for job so I spoke up. I'm pretty sure that there's plenty of people seeing the pictures thinking the same thing that I said but not willing to say it out loud.

Why must we only say nice things or nothing at all?

mhlee
04-30-2013, 12:06 PM
Perhaps the tone of some of the negative comments was harsh, but I nonetheless completely agree with a lot of the criticism here. I'm not going to get into the details of the work itself, but my biggest concern is the philosophy of what was done to these knives.

If someone were to use this same person for a similar western to wa conversion, my biggest concern would be the fact that the knife itself, i.e. the choil, bolster areas, were significantly modified and not well, IMHO. As I've come to understand and appreciate, especially from Jon, handles are replaceable on a knife, and you don't seriously mess with a good knife unless you absolutely need to. (I raise this issue as to good knives, not clunkers.) Here, the philosophy seemed to be, fit the knife to the handle, not vice versa which is the way it should be.

Sure. A lot of problems can be fixed. But, once you mess with a good knife, you can never undo it. If you thin the face of a blade too much, you're never going to get back that thickness. This is one reason why I never understand why certain people always recommend seriously thinning a blade. You want a thin knife? BUY a properly made thin knife unless you really like the work of thinning a knife and want to see how a knife's performance changes as you thin it.

Likewise, if you grind away the choil or bolster incorrectly, you're never going to get that steel back. And, the way I look at it, if you modify the choil, you're not only affecting the balance of the knife, but also the length.

I'm not going to get into how the tang was shaped etc., but based on what I see, I can't imagine that the tang was correctly ground down. If so, you're also looking at future issues if you want to replace these handles.

panda
04-30-2013, 01:44 PM
i don't know what you guys consider a good handle, but i think these look pretty sweet. as for 'rough finish' i specifically asked for it to have some grit/texture as i don't like a smooth/shiny handle.

the kanji is printed on hence coming off during the blending process. i'd prefer it to not have been there to begin with. looks of the knife do not matter much to me. my purpose for conversion/rehandle process was for ergonomics to which was a complete success. before it was heavy and a bit clunky. now it fits my hand perfectly and is surprisingly light weight and very comfortable.
i was thrown off a bit at first by the heel, but i honestly don't use the ass end of the knife that much and hasn't affected my work so it doesnt bother me. the neck/tang looks a bit funny, but i can see why it goes up at an angle since it has to fit into the handle. i suppose it could have been ground upward to make the neck shorter but i think that would have been unnecessary work and make the knife weaker.

vangelis - the MR was never touched, that's the stock handle which i like a lot and was the influence behind asking for a rosewood/pakka ferrule handle for my tanaka.

as for utilizing the established handle guys to do the work, i find myself unable to spend more on the handle than on the actual knife itself so i went in an alternate route. i appreciate all the comments, both pos and neg as that's what a forum's for!

dave - no worries, i take no offense and thank you for your input.

mhenry - i understood the risk involved in the conversion and knew full on the potential risk of such things as lost metal so i'm cool with it. the finished product works for me and have no regrets.

toddnmd
05-09-2013, 03:22 PM
I just saw this thread. I don't mind negative comments, but explaining the issues would be far more helpful, at least to me. A lot of you are far more knowledgeable about knives than I am, and I would appreciate specific comments about issues, as well as ways that you think the work could be improved upon. The later comments get more specific.

I agree that work that is paid for should get more scrutiny than someone doing something experimental to their own knife, and we expect more experienced folks to do a more refined job.

In the end, it seemed that the work was what the customer had asked for, and seemed happy with the results.

Dave Martell
05-09-2013, 06:15 PM
I just saw this thread. I don't mind negative comments, but explaining the issues would be far more helpful, at least to me. A lot of you are far more knowledgeable about knives than I am, and I would appreciate specific comments about issues, as well as ways that you think the work could be improved upon. The later comments get more specific.

I agree that work that is paid for should get more scrutiny than someone doing something experimental to their own knife, and we expect more experienced folks to do a more refined job.

In the end, it seemed that the work was what the customer had asked for, and seemed happy with the results.


http://i226.photobucket.com/albums/dd212/vlsun/masahandleclose_zpsfba58d1b.jpg


Look at this thing....it looks like it was flung out of a car during a high speed accident, then tied to a bumper and drug behind a dump truck for 2 years, and then someone came along and tried to do a repair to fix all that stuff but the person had no experience or tools so they just gave up.

Specifically? How about the finish, the deep scratches, the crappy tang grind and fit up to the handle, the (what the?) forward curved heal!?!?!?!

It's good that the owner of the knife is satisfied with the results though, that's really all that matters I guess.

Patatas Bravas
05-09-2013, 10:13 PM
Look at this thing....it looks like it was flung out of a car during a high speed accident, then tied to a bumper and drug behind a dump truck for 2 years, and then someone came along and tried to do a repair...

Would someone who has actually done this to a knife possibly be able to verify that this is true? Thanks for any help.

chuck239
05-10-2013, 02:43 AM
Specifically? How about the finish, the deep scratches, the crappy tang grind and fit up to the handle, the (what the?) forward curved heal!?!?!?!
I
It's good that the owner of the knife is satisfied with the results though, that's really all that matters I guess.

Dave,

I can understand your comments about the knife, I have a conversion from someone totally different then anyone discussed in this conversation and it looks much better. But at the same time, just like anything in the knife world.... You get what you pay for. Someone quoted you at saying a conversion would cost $300-$400 from you. I could understand you comparing this to your work (and standards) and criticizing based off of something you would produce if he charged anywhere near that price. But I can almost guarantee it was no where near $400. Just my $.02... Like I said, I think you get what you pay for.

-Chuck

Dave Martell
05-10-2013, 09:59 AM
Dave,

I can understand your comments about the knife, I have a conversion from someone totally different then anyone discussed in this conversation and it looks much better. But at the same time, just like anything in the knife world.... You get what you pay for. Someone quoted you at saying a conversion would cost $300-$400 from you. I could understand you comparing this to your work (and standards) and criticizing based off of something you would produce if he charged anywhere near that price. But I can almost guarantee it was no where near $400. Just my $.02... Like I said, I think you get what you pay for.

-Chuck


My standards (although not my skill) have always been the same regardless of price charged so it's tough for me to understand the concept of only delivering so much based on what I charge. Quality is #1 - price charged should be an afterthought - if a craftsman works in this way he may be poor but he'll be successful. It's the idea that anything worth doing is worth doing correctly and to the best of your ability or don't even bother. That's just me take on it.

And even though I shouldn't post on this here, my price (that was quoted above for a similar job) was including a Stefan handle that I don't control the pricing on and was only a rough idea given based on Stefan's general pricing, we never spoke about specifics. So the handle could have been running $100-200 of that quote leaving the rest for labor.

Dave Martell
05-10-2013, 10:18 AM
BTW, I really wish that we could get away from comparing my work with this guy's work because that's not what this is about, or at least it shouldn't be. I originally commented not to make him look inferior to me or anything like that, I was simply shocked by the fact that someone would do this to a knife and then charge money for it. I'm sure that he can do much better work than what we've seen here and that's what he should be doing. I feel it's a mistake for craftsmen to chase the short dollar today and not look at the big picture and how this effects their reputation.

panda
05-10-2013, 11:53 AM
he made the handles himself and gave me a VERY generous price for both the material and labor. i was glad with results regardless of price paid.

i'd like to reiterate that i specifically asked for the last two handles to not have a smooth and shiny finish. this was his first two attempts at removing bolsters and converting to wa. the first one i gifted to a close friend and he's thrilled with it. the second knife started off as my favorite and is even more favored after the conversion. the heel mishap actually turned out to be a blessing as in order to salvage that part, he ended up thinning the blade which i didnt originally think of asking for since it's already a great cutter. now it's unbelievably great cutter! this finished product i would have gladly paid $400 for. i prize this one more than my dt itk to give you guys some sort of reference.

as for the blade finish, the black & white photo had some serious post processing with superimposed contrasty parts. that's not deep scratches in there, i didn't even notice the blade finish when it arrived. blade finish is not something i really care about, but if it were ugly or not a good one i would have noticed.

toddnmd
05-10-2013, 01:19 PM
Dave--thanks for the additional clarifying comments. I know you have handled thousands of knives, but many of us haven't. Just criticizing it as bad, without specifics, means that some folks (like me) won't necessarily be looking at the same things as you more experienced people do. It's helpful to have specifics. Your second paragraph in the response to my last post actually helped me to learn something. (It also allowed the OP to explain about the image quality of the pic, which was relevant in this situation.)

I'm fine with having various levels of quality and pricing. It's good for those who are most committed to their knives to have a high quality option (which is likely going to have a higher price). I also like having the option of lower priced craftsmen, even if the quality doesn't match. Some people may just not want to pay that much for a rehandle job. Some of us may have cheaper knives for which it just doesn't make sense to spend that much money on a new handle.

It's a positive thing to have options, IMO, and it's also helpful to be able to compare different craftsmen's prices and quality, particularly if we know enough details (like the price including the cost of a Stefan handle) to make those comparisons meaningful.