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Marko Tsourkan
06-26-2013, 09:43 AM
After some spirited debate on qualities of knives by American and Japanese makers, I have entered in a challenge with a fellow forum member. We are still working out details of how it will run, but in brief, I will provide one of my knives (with my standard HT, geometry, profile, handle ergonomics, etc) to be tested against a Japanese knife of his choice. It is likely to be 240mm gyuto.

We want this to be a blind test, that is a tester should have no knowledge of either makers, and the testing to concentrate on five areas: sharpness, food separation, edge holding, edge stability (resistance to chipping) and feel. Feel is something subjective to every person, but typically it covers balance, weight, and how a knife actually feels in one's hand.

I hope that the contenders will be put for a shift (or longer) of cutting without touching up or sharpening in between and cutting would cover a variety of things, including dense rood vegetables.

Win or lose, there is something to be learned here and I am a game for it.

I will keep you guys posted and I will also start a blog on this subject once it is in motion.

Thanks,

Marko

PS: I hope I don't break forum rules posting it here. I don't think I do, but if I am mistaken, mods please let me know.

mr drinky
06-26-2013, 10:25 AM
Interesting. Reminds me a bit of the sharpening olympics way back when.

k.

Marko Tsourkan
06-26-2013, 10:31 AM
Interesting. Reminds me a bit of the sharpening olympics way back when.

k.

Why? I find it a bit puzzling why some of you think that comparing two knives is like comparing apples and oranges. We are not comparing deba and gyuto here - same type, same lengh, and I presume that knife it is to test against is made to be used in pro environment.

There are fixed criteria they will be tested on, but overall, one test them for their efficiency to do the work, same as, say two sprinters square off running 100 meters. Why can you have contests in other spheres of life (sports, cooking, technology, etc) but not here? Both knives are made to do same work - cutting a variety of things. I am genuinely perplexed.

Note that I have no idea what the testers' preferences are, I have some idea what knife it will be tested against, but I am not going to make any adjustments to my process. So a blind test is the way to go and multiple testers will hopefully eliminate some bias. It's highly unscientific exercise, or course, but there should be something to learn from it.

It's quite different from sharpening Olympics, as the knifet hat won the sharpness contest, would not have lasted long on the board.

M

Mrmnms
06-26-2013, 10:50 AM
I am looking forward to this. I suspect your blade will hold up well against anything.

Marko Tsourkan
06-26-2013, 11:03 AM
I have only control over my work, so it's not a clear cut scenario and it could go either way as many factors can influence the outcome. Hopefully having defined criteria helps, but you never know.

That's basically what I prepare myself for. Win or lose, its a valuable exercise for me.

M

stevenStefano
06-26-2013, 11:09 AM
Win or lose, there is something to be learned here and I am a game for it.



You will learn what one person likes in a knife and that's it. You can have 2 totally different knives but one isn't necessarily better than the other. It is not comparing apples to apples, knives are subjective. Which is better. A 100m sprinter or a 400m sprinter? I appreciate you going through with this and all but it seems kinda futile, you know what you do and what you like and so will the testers

Mucho Bocho
06-26-2013, 11:10 AM
I'd like to be in that pass around. I have several peeople that I work with that are good cooks but don't know stink about knives. I love you attitude too Marko. Hopefully someday I'll be able to convince you to make me a few handles

Mucho Bocho
06-26-2013, 11:12 AM
I really hope Mr Birnarndo offers a shegefusa. that will be a test

Marko Tsourkan
06-26-2013, 11:19 AM
You will learn what one person likes in a knife and that's it. You can have 2 totally different knives but one isn't necessarily better than the other. It is not comparing apples to apples, knives are subjective. Which is better. A 100m sprinter or a 400m sprinter? I appreciate you going through with this and all but it seems kinda futile, you know what you do and what you like and so will the testers

No, you are comparing the knife's ability to handle any work you throw at it. One that's more efficient, wins. Efficiency is evaluated by five criteria outlined in the first post. This exercise is aimed at pro users, not collectors. That's really all it is. Soft of like "pretend you are stranded on an inland and you have only one knife that you will have to make work for everything".

I stated in the first post that people to participate will have no knowledge of the makers or their knives, and KKF. Testing is probably going to be done in Norway.

I put forward no requirements what knife the other party to provide.

Hope this clarifies things.

M

Dream Burls
06-26-2013, 11:27 AM
My two cents:

I think it's very important that this be a "blind" test. The user(s) cannot know which knife is which: no prior knowledge, no markings. Also, I think it is very important that what is to be rated be extremely specific and well understood as to its meaning and application. Finally, the rating system needs to be well defined. Is it this is better than that or is there a point system for each category?

Marko Tsourkan
06-26-2013, 11:28 AM
I am OK with sending a knife without my name on it. After the testing, that knife is likely to become a pass-around knife anyway.

Timthebeaver
06-26-2013, 11:46 AM
You will learn what one person likes in a knife and that's it. You can have 2 totally different knives but one isn't necessarily better than the other. It is not comparing apples to apples, knives are subjective. Which is better. A 100m sprinter or a 400m sprinter? I appreciate you going through with this and all but it seems kinda futile, you know what you do and what you like and so will the testers

This.

Marko Tsourkan
06-26-2013, 12:00 PM
I am still not convinced.

We are not asking a weight lifter run against a sprinter, or a marathon runner run against sprinter. The knives are comparable and designed to do a similar work, presumably efficiently. So, what is the problem to put them to a contest?

The emphasis is not on personal preferences of a tester, but on a knife as a tool to perform all work that one normally does with a knife during a work shift.

You guys must have had moments when you tried a new knife that have had an effect on your preferences? No? Why then some knives come and go out of fashion? I don't believe that people are so rigid in their preferences that they can't evaluate a tool.

M

Zwiefel
06-26-2013, 12:14 PM
I think a bit of standardization of the testing might yield more generalizable results. Maybe define a specific series of tasks for the 5 metrics, in addition to "a day in the life" type of testing?

Marko Tsourkan
06-26-2013, 12:16 PM
Good idea.

ajhuff
06-26-2013, 12:20 PM
You need more than one tester. Otherwise you have a data set of one.

-AJ

stevenStefano
06-26-2013, 12:24 PM
I am still not convinced.

We are not asking a weight lifter run against a sprinter, or a marathon runner run against sprinter. The knives are comparable and designed to do a similar work, presumably efficiently. So, what is the problem to put them to a contest?

The emphasis is not on personal preferences of a tester, but on a knife as a tool to perform all work that one normally does with a knife during a work shift.


So following your logic, if we carried out a test, we should be able to say (for pros at least) with confidence that one knife is the best there is?

Marko Tsourkan
06-26-2013, 12:31 PM
I suggested 3, but have no problem to include more as long as the knife is maintained after each of the testers. I would also like that the both knives are sharpened by a third party, so that comparable edge could be put on both (preferably without a microbevel).

Also, I would like the knife to be used for 1+ shifts straight, to evaluate edge retention.

I am super flexible, as I hope you guys see.

M

sachem allison
06-26-2013, 12:41 PM
So following your logic, if we carried out a test, we should be able to say (for pros at least) with confidence that one knife is the best there is?

I don't think we are looking for the best there is. it was my understanding that a claim was made that the Japanese were superior in their knife construction do to traditional methodology and generational experience as opposed to the Americans with their limited experience and modern techniques. It was also inferred that there was no way an American knife could perform as well or surpass a Japanese knife made by a master craftsman. Marko excepted the challenge to dispel that myth not to see if the American knife would be the best knife ever.

Marko Tsourkan
06-26-2013, 12:50 PM
So following your logic, if we carried out a test, we should be able to say (for pros at least) with confidence that one knife is the best there is?

No, as the sample is pretty small, but one could say that one knife might have performed work more efficiently than the other (edge lasted longer, separated a range of foods better, didn't microchip, etc).

I repeat that I can only control what I put in making this knife, I can't control testers' preferences, biases, etc. So it's not a straight shot and I am prepared to lose the contest.

M

PS: I do this kind of real-life contests at my Crossfit gym almost every day. We all get assigned same work and all do it to our best ability. Whoever get the best time (by following required criteria, like prescribed weight) wins. Best time = efficiency, skill, level of fitness, etc. Translated it into a knife terms = steel, heat treatment, geometry, profile, etc. Crazy perhaps, but to me makes perfect sense.

don
06-26-2013, 01:04 PM
Because the test is conducted by man, there will be a level of subjectivity. But if a test params and judgement criteria are agreed upon, then it should be good. It's like a auto magazine shoot-out comparison tests. Even with the same cars tested, it's not that Automobile, Road & Track, Car and Driver, Consumer Reports, etc. will select the same winner. However, as we know how they are tested and how they are judged, we can consume the feedback intelligently.

stevenStefano
06-26-2013, 01:05 PM
I repeat that I can only control what I put in making this knife, I can't control testers' preferences, biases, etc. So it's not a straight shot and I am prepared to lose the contest.


So what's the point of doing it then? You say




No, you are comparing the knife's ability to handle any work you throw at it. One that's more efficient, wins. Efficiency is evaluated by five criteria outlined in the first post.

We are not asking a weight lifter run against a sprinter, or a marathon runner run against sprinter. The knives are comparable and designed to do a similar work, presumably efficiently. So, what is the problem to put them to a contest?

The emphasis is not on personal preferences of a tester, but on a knife as a tool to perform all work that one normally does with a knife during a work shift.


And now you're saying you might lose because of the testers' personal preferences? So you're agreeing with me?

Marko Tsourkan
06-26-2013, 01:11 PM
So what's the point of doing it then? You say



And now you're saying you might lose because of the testers' personal preferences? So you're agreeing with me?

Competition makes you learn and adopt. Without competition you really don't know where you stand.

I hope that I will get enough explanation and feedback by a party that is unaffected by the forum, but who uses knives for living to make it worthwhile.

If I knew that I would win, I would not have bothered competing. Plus I don't believe people's preferences are stone-rigid.

M

Crothcipt
06-26-2013, 01:14 PM
Um I kinda have a problem with the two knives not having any markings and such. The Kato is already made. It is known for shape style, and i'm sure a kanji. The only way this could be taken care of would be for Marko to make the exact knife. I don't think that is achievable, and if it would be I wouldn't think Marko would do it.

So how does one go about undoing what has already done? Do you send both knives in 1 package wrapped in tape from handle to the kanji?

Just some thoughts there.

stevenStefano
06-26-2013, 01:16 PM
Competition makes you learn and adopt. Without competition you really don't know where you stand.

I hope that I will get enough explanation and feedback by a party that is unaffected by the forum, but who uses knives for living to make it worthwhile.

If I knew that I will win, I would not have bothered competing.

M

To me that's like asking people who own Ford Kas and Nissan Micras to test a Ferrari versus a Porsche.

Mrmnms
06-26-2013, 01:18 PM
You seem to use your pass arounds as a learning tool.This test follows your logic. I expect all your customers will benefit from the what you learn. I commend you for continuing to challenge yourself this way and look forward to the end result.

Zwiefel
06-26-2013, 01:39 PM
I love your attitude Marko...it reminds me of a sign I saw a few years ago:

experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted.

mr drinky
06-26-2013, 01:46 PM
Why? I find it a bit puzzling why some of you think that comparing two knives is like comparing apples and oranges. We are not comparing deba and gyuto here - same type, same lengh, and I presume that knife it is to test against is made to be used in pro environment.

There are fixed criteria they will be tested on, but overall, one test them for their efficiency to do the work, same as, say two sprinters square off running 100 meters. Why can you have contests in other spheres of life (sports, cooking, technology, etc) but not here? Both knives are made to do same work - cutting a variety of things. I am genuinely perplexed.

Note that I have no idea what the testers' preferences are, I have some idea what knife it will be tested against, but I am not going to make any adjustments to my process. So a blind test is the way to go and multiple testers will hopefully eliminate some bias. It's highly unscientific exercise, or course, but there should be something to learn from it.

It's quite different from sharpening Olympics, as the knifet hat won the sharpness contest, would not have lasted long on the board.

M

Whoa! Please don't over think this Marko based upon my comment. I only meant the 'sharpening olympics' comparison in the loosest of senses: it was an interesting knife-related comparison/contest/competition...or whatever you want to call it. It just crossed my mind, that's all. And I am well aware of the "wire-edged" winner of that past contest and the scandalous results and I don't see this as the same.

I'd also like to apologize for inadvertently starting this thread down the road of hackneyed sports metaphors. My bad.

So with that said, as I don't have mod privileges, I revise my prior statement.

"Interesting. This in no way reminds me a bit of the sharpening olympics way back when." ;)

k.

Marko Tsourkan
06-26-2013, 01:50 PM
Um I kinda have a problem with the two knives not having any markings and such. The Kato is already made. It is known for shape style, and i'm sure a kanji. The only way this could be taken care of would be for Marko to make the exact knife. I don't think that is achievable, and if it would be I wouldn't think Marko would do it.

So how does one go about undoing what has already done? Do you send both knives in 1 package wrapped in tape from handle to the kanji?

Just some thoughts there.

I am familiar with Kato geometry and I suppose I could make a replica if I wanted, but it's not a geometry I use or intend to, thought I got some ideas after trying out that knife.

I am not overly concerned about marking. We can ask people not to look up the maker or read reviews. I am sure it's not too much to ask.

Karring, no worries, man. I do remember that contest and the outcome of it (it was a long time ago, wasn't it), so I thought that addressing it early on would take some skepticism away, not necessarily from your side, but in general.

M

ThEoRy
06-26-2013, 02:08 PM
I suggest any knife supplied by the competitors must be "factory" ground. No aftermarket work done whatsoever. No thinning behind the edge or any other geometry alteration.

jgraeff
06-26-2013, 02:11 PM
I suggest any knife supplied by the competitors must be "factory" ground. No aftermarket work done whatsoever. No thinning behind the edge or any other geometry alteration.

i would agree with this.

Crothcipt
06-26-2013, 02:23 PM
Um are not Japanese knife makers famous for sending non sharpened knives? How about sharpened by a 3rd party, doesn't have to be, lets say John. Or somebody else known for sharpening here.

EdipisReks
06-26-2013, 02:24 PM
I suggest any knife supplied by the competitors must be "factory" ground. No aftermarket work done whatsoever. No thinning behind the edge or any other geometry alteration.

that just isn't going to work, with a lot of Japanese knives.

Marko Tsourkan
06-26-2013, 02:31 PM
All good ideas folks, thanks for chiming in.

I am pretty flexible, so whatever is worth to adopt from this thread, I will.

M

cookinstuff
06-26-2013, 02:35 PM
I think this is a great idea, but not sure, I think it should be sharpened by 3rd party person. A new kato or shig factory ground will turn into a chipping machine in a pro kitchen on a day of varied prep on poly boards. I am looking forward to the outcome of this, Marko you are the man for participating in this.

Marko Tsourkan
06-26-2013, 02:40 PM
I know a person in Norway who is a very good sharpener. I can easily trust him with my knives. He could prepare both knives for a pro kitchen duty, even it it implies putting micro-bevels on Shig or Kato.

I am pretty flexible as long as this happens.

M

Birnando
06-26-2013, 03:17 PM
This contest will be fun to watch play out.

I have no personal gain from whatever the outcome, nor any pride towards a result not favoring my selected knife.
Well, I guess one thing that will be a bonus for me is to actually loose.
That will open up a whole new market for me to explore and possibly dive into.
A market I have thus far ignored and even ridiculed privately.
Once a knife-nut, always a knife-nut:)

As to the value of it, I think it is safe to say that it cannot be drawn a lot of decisive conclusions from it.
Personal preferences will be the decider here, and that is pretty much it.
Attitudes towards grind, level of sharpness, cutting technique, reactivity and all the other usual culprits will be a large part of the outcome.

All the same, I look forward to it, and will deliver a knife that I think will be considered a very good tool by most any user.
Be that a pro, a home-cook or anything in between.

As to what knife I will pick, that is something I am still considering.
A Kato prototype has been proposed, accepted and seems likely, but in order for the two knives to bested fairly, they should probably be unknowns to each other up until the contest/testing begins.
Whatever knife is selected though, one of the obvious differences either way will be the fact that all my knives are made for left handed use.
From what I understand, Marko will supply a knife that caters to both lefties and all those other phreaks;)

Oh, and for the record:
The Norwegian guy who will be honing the two knives, is someone I have never met, nor spoken to.

ThEoRy
06-26-2013, 03:33 PM
that just isn't going to work, with a lot of Japanese knives.

Why not? I'm not talking about the factory sharpening. I'm talking about the grind.

Birnando
06-26-2013, 03:48 PM
I suggest any knife supplied by the competitors must be "factory" ground. No aftermarket work done whatsoever. No thinning behind the edge or any other geometry alteration.

While I do see your point regarding this, I am afraid I must dissappoint you in this area.
I do enjoy knives and all, but my collection of non-sharpened and unused knives in this price range is eeh, quite limited..
I could always order a new one I guess, but that would kinda put a sock in this little experiment for what?, 9-12 months or even more.

Mucho Bocho
06-26-2013, 03:52 PM
This is Gettin Good!

Marko Tsourkan
06-26-2013, 05:27 PM
A friendly competition, I would add.

Birnando
06-26-2013, 05:31 PM
A friendly competition, I would add.

I will second that.
This is gonna be a fun thing, and I truly believe there will be stuff to learn here, regardless of all the un-scientific parameters on such a small test.

ThEoRy
06-26-2013, 09:45 PM
While I do see your point regarding this, I am afraid I must dissappoint you in this area.
I do enjoy knives and all, but my collection of non-sharpened and unused knives in this price range is eeh, quite limited..
I could always order a new one I guess, but that would kinda put a sock in this little experiment for what?, 9-12 months or even more.

I'm not talking about sharpening, I'm talking about aftermarket performance upgrades like thinning or reprofiling. You can't take say a Kato or Shig and do major thinning behind the edge and then enter it as a Japanese makers finished product because it's now been altered. This defeats the entire purpose of the contest doesn't it?

Tell ya what, let's have a race.
We'll both use cars of a similar cost or performance range. But, I'll then upgrade the intake, headers, exhaust, add racing tires, strip out all the excess weight and put a performance tune on it. Are you still racing the same car as the manufacturer intended?

Crothcipt
06-27-2013, 12:57 AM
Theory, it's more like having two of the same cars. Both with all upgrades you describe(ie Corvette vs. the Mustang debate) but one has no tires.

jayhay
06-27-2013, 01:05 AM
You need more than one tester. Otherwise you have a data set of one.

-AJ

I agree with this. One doesn't mean much.

Birnando
06-27-2013, 04:32 AM
I agree with this. One doesn't mean much.
There will be 3

Marko Tsourkan
06-27-2013, 10:06 AM
There will be 3

Yes, multiple testers.

WIP on the knife will be forthcoming.

M

Marko Tsourkan
06-27-2013, 12:48 PM
...The Kato is already made. It is known for shape style, and i'm sure a kanji. The only way this could be taken care of would be for Marko to make the exact knife. I don't think that is achievable, and if it would be I wouldn't think Marko would do it.



Be careful what you wish. :)

Is there an interest for a 240-270mm Kato clone in 52100? I have stock 4.75mm thick that is close enough to Kato's 5.75mm on 270mm (probably even closer to 240mm). I could also get thicker stock from Aldo.

Geometry 1:1, profile - maybe tweaked a little bit, finish - hand rubbed, handle D or octagonal (this would a pitch grip held knife because of the weight), saya. Hardness 62-63RC. It would be heat treated for maximum wear resistance, sharpness and edge toughness (resistance to chipping).

This is not a geometry I would choose for my knives, or send one for competition but as an exercise, I am a game. Might even keep a prototype for myself for specific cuttings tasks.

This is an easier knife for me to make than ones I make now.

Thoughts?

Marko Tsourkan
06-27-2013, 01:20 PM
Be careful what you wish. :)

Is there an interest for a 240-270mm Kato clone in 52100? I have stock 4.75mm thick that is close enough to Kato's 5.75mm on 270mm (probably even closer to 240mm). I could also get thicker stock from Aldo.

Geometry 1:1, profile - maybe tweaked a little bit, finish - hand rubbed, handle D or octagonal (this would a pitch grip held knife because of the weight), saya. Hardness 62-63RC. It would be heat treated for maximum wear resistance, sharpness and edge toughness (resistance to chipping).

This is not a geometry I would choose for my knives, or send one for competition but as an exercise, I am a game. Might even keep a prototype for myself for specific cuttings tasks.

This is an easier knife for me to make than ones I make now.

Thoughts?

I will make one just for the hell of it.

mano
06-27-2013, 02:00 PM
Just as is the case with professional testers of cars and other things where complete double blind assessment is impossible, I'm pretty sure we have at least three people here who have the skills, experience, integrity and objective nature to test. Salty (once he's set free), Mattrud, Theory and Son come to mind.

They may prefer certain geometry and profile, but they'll separate out the subjective from the objective issues brought up in the original Japanocentric thread.

markenki
06-27-2013, 02:46 PM
Be careful what you wish. :)

Is there an interest for a 240-270mm Kato clone in 52100? I have stock 4.75mm thick that is close enough to Kato's 5.75mm on 270mm (probably even closer to 240mm). I could also get thicker stock from Aldo.

Geometry 1:1, profile - maybe tweaked a little bit, finish - hand rubbed, handle D or octagonal (this would a pitch grip held knife because of the weight), saya. Hardness 62-63RC. It would be heat treated for maximum wear resistance, sharpness and edge toughness (resistance to chipping).

This is not a geometry I would choose for my knives, or send one for competition but as an exercise, I am a game. Might even keep a prototype for myself for specific cuttings tasks.

This is an easier knife for me to make than ones I make now.

Thoughts?

I'd love to see it.

Marko Tsourkan
06-27-2013, 03:14 PM
Actually, after giving it thought, I decided against 1:1 copy. 270mm Kato is a massive knife - 5.35mm over the heel, convex ground, 300g (probably 275g without a handle). At that thickness, it is guaranteed to wedge on anything denser than a carrot in the heel area and perhaps even in the mid area. To push it through the dense stuff like root vegetables, one would have to apply a considerable pressure - pushing the blade through a half of sweet potato required more than 7lb of pressure (limits on my kitchen scale).

Instead, I would like to solicit some input from Kato users and try to come up with a tweak to existing geometry that would improve the knife heel performance while retaining the current characteristics that make this knife desirable. Two things are going for it - weight and geometry, however, the thick geometry over the heel makes it less than optimal performer.

I think profile could also be tweaked a little bit.

I am going to start a new thread where I will ask Kato users questions to get an idea how they use the knife, what it excels or sucks at cutting, etc, to get a better understanding. Based on the information, will try to come up with geometry that will be an improvement over the current.

Again, this would be my interpretation how this knife can be improved. Making a 1:1 copy would be simply not worth it for me.

M

mzer
06-27-2013, 03:29 PM
Actually, after giving it thought, I decided against 1:1 copy. 270mm Kato is a massive knife - 5.35mm over the heel, convex ground, 300g (probably 275g without a handle). At that thickness, it is guaranteed to wedge on anything denser than a carrot in the heel area and perhaps even in the mid area. To push it through the dense stuff like root vegetables, one would have to apply a considerable pressure - pushing the blade through a half of sweet potato required more than 7lb of pressure (limits on my kitchen scale).

Instead, I would like to solicit some input from Kato users and try to come up with a tweak to existing geometry that would improve the knife heel performance while retaining the current characteristics that make this knife desirable. Two things are going for it - weight and geometry, however, the thick geometry over the heel makes it less than optimal performer.

I think profile could also be tweaked a little bit.

I am going to start a new thread where I will ask Kato users questions to get an idea how they use the knife, what it excels or sucks at cutting, etc, to get a better understanding. Based on the information, will try to come up with geometry that will be an improvement over the current.

Again, this would be my interpretation how this knife can be improved. Making a 1:1 copy would be simply not worth it for me.

M

Is your conclusion about wedging and performance based on experience or on reasoning from the measurements?

ThEoRy
06-27-2013, 03:47 PM
I think profile could also be tweaked a little bit.

Based on the information, will try to come up with geometry that will be an improvement over the current.



M

But, you can't tweak/improve it. You're from the Western hemisphere and live in Ehmurrricka.

Marko Tsourkan
06-27-2013, 03:57 PM
Is your conclusion about wedging and performance based on experience or on reasoning from the measurements?

No, I cut with the knife, the full lengh of the edge, including heel. You can measure how much pressure it is required to cut through stuff (down push), by placing a cutting board over the scale and uniformly apply pressure until you cut through. Why would you measure it? When you do push/pull cutting, you apply downward pressure, without realizing it much. Generally, the thinner the geometry, the less pressure needed. In the case of Kato, in the tip area the knife cut very well with very little pressure, yet the heel area needed help.

My pressure on the Kato to cut a half of sweet potato with the heel area was over what my scale could handle, so I will have to repeat this test on my industrial scale in the shop. I estimate it to be about 20lb or even more.




M

Marko Tsourkan
06-27-2013, 04:17 PM
20Lb might be too much, but definitely over 10. Will measure and report.



M

Marko Tsourkan
06-27-2013, 05:14 PM
But, you can't tweak/improve it. You're from the Western hemisphere and live in Ehmurrricka.

By the same token, you will never learn how to cut fish properly. Depressing.

Justin0505
06-27-2013, 06:04 PM
IMO this competition, in it's current form, is pretty close to meaningless. You are going to get purely qualitative results (opinions) from 3 people with completely unknown credentials.

I understand that some of the most knowledgeable and skilled members we have here are or where pro chefs, but it is a huge error in logic to assume that pro's have good knife knowledge or, more importantly any kind of analytic ability.

The analogy to crossfit doesn't hold up at all either: many of the exercises in crossfit are very technical and require weeks, months or even years to be able to perform as RX or even at all. Experienced crossfiters are fanatics about technique and have learned great body-awareness and self-analysis. The workouts are also very clearly defined and supervised. So, a WOD is a pretty scientific (measurable and repeatable) thing done by people who know what they are doing, think very carefully about what they are doing, and have some skills to evaluate and describe what they are doing.

What you are proposing in your competition is like grabbing 3 random people that "workout a lot" (unknown if its at a Bally's, triathlon, jazzercize, crossfit, etc) handing them a pair of Air Jordans and a pair of fivefingers and saying "go workout for a couple days wearing each of these and tell me what you think."

I also think that it's silly to think that your testers will be unbiased. Everyone has biases, but not everyone is aware of them. You need testers that are self-aware and disclose their biases, that are honest and reputable, and that are following a testing regimen that has a good mix of standardized, quantitative tests to complement the qualitative assessment. So the idea of trying to keep them from knowing what they knives are is an attempt to control for the wrong kind of bias.

I think that it's perfectly fine to include pro users in the testing, but you should also include non-pro knuts. A recreational user is just as capable of giving a knife 8hrs of use even if that's split over 2 days and feedback from someone that uses a knife just for the joy of doing so is every bit as valuable (if not more so in some cases) as someone that's using a knife "just to get $h1t done." I think that a mix of testers is a good idea.

So as for the quantitative assessments: I don't think that they need to be rocket science. Your idea of using a scale to measure push-cut force is a good one.
I've seen various methods of using rope or cardboard to measure wear-resistance, and I could also imagine a pretty simple rig where the knife is clamped edge-up and a weighted block of hardwood is run back and forth along the edge. A block or hinged board could also be dropped on the edge repeatedly from a measured height.
There are many threads about measuring sharpness both quantitatively, qualitatively, and judging functional sharpness: paper push cut along the entire edge, paper draw-cut, marco photos of edge, tomato and pepper skin tests... whatever is agreed upon could easily be done before and after each type of controlled and"real world" testing.

I think that this competition has the potential to be very interesting and informative, but given that the thousands of hours that went into the development of each of these knives, I think that it's only fair to put some real thought and effort into designing a meaningful assessment. No to muddy the waters, but I'd love to see some other knive in the mix too. I'd offer up my Martell, and I'm sure someone's got a Mario that they'd be willing to throw into the mix...

ThEoRy
06-27-2013, 06:11 PM
By the same token, you will never learn how to cut fish properly. Depressing.:spitcoffee:

Marko Tsourkan
06-27-2013, 08:13 PM
I have no problem trusting forum members to evaluate. Whatever changes I made were suggested by members. I actually think that forum members are better suited (more exposed) to knives from different makers than a third party and peer pressure would keep the comparison fair.

Marko Tsourkan
06-28-2013, 09:59 AM
These are specs of a knife I will make for a contest.


Steel - 52100
Lengh - 240mm on the edge
Thickness -3.4mm at the spine, 3.25 over the heel, 2.25 half way, 1.85mm 50mm from the tip
Weight - 225g with the handle
Edge thickness - under .127mm at the edge
Thickness 10mm above edge - heel 1mm, halfway .85mm, tip .85mm
Handle - D (if all three testers are right or left handled, otherwise octagonal)

Marko Tsourkan
07-04-2013, 10:07 PM
These are specs of a knife I will make for a contest.


Steel - 52100
Lengh - 240mm on the edge
Thickness -3.4mm at the spine, 3.25 over the heel, 2.25 half way, 1.85mm 50mm from the tip
Weight - 225g with the handle
Edge thickness - under .127mm at the edge
Thickness 10mm above edge - heel 1mm, halfway .85mm, tip .85mm
Handle - D (if all three testers are right or left handled, otherwise octagonal)


Test run. Made a little thinner than specs above, however with a slightly thicker tip.

16685

sachem allison
07-04-2013, 10:52 PM
gotta get me one of them honesukis

ThEoRy
07-04-2013, 10:55 PM
gotta get me one of them honesukis

I'm getting one in mystery carbon. Right Marko? :poke1:

Marko Tsourkan
07-04-2013, 11:53 PM
I'm getting one in mystery carbon. Right Marko? :poke1:

Remember H.Ford's quote that you can have any color of a car you want, as long as it's black?

Looking into polishing steels with diamonds, Alternatively, I can make one but it won't have as nice a finish.

M

Crothcipt
07-05-2013, 12:38 AM
Love the contest knife looks like it's coming along very well.

I agree with son. Good looking honesukis.

Marko Tsourkan
07-05-2013, 07:39 AM
Actually, this is a test run before I make a contest knife. I ground it with a slightly thicker tip and also tested a couple of approaches if I were to grind a whole batch (how to do it efficiently). As there is always a knife I need to make for someone, this one will go to a customer.

M

Salty dog
07-05-2013, 12:46 PM
These are specs of a knife I will make for a contest.


Steel - 52100
Lengh - 240mm on the edge
Thickness -3.4mm at the spine, 3.25 over the heel, 2.25 half way, 1.85mm 50mm from the tip
Weight - 225g with the handle
Edge thickness - under .127mm at the edge
Thickness 10mm above edge - heel 1mm, halfway .85mm, tip .85mm
Handle - D (if all three testers are right or left handled, otherwise octagonal)

Kinda in the sweet spot there.

3200+++
07-05-2013, 02:04 PM
hello, i've read this thread with great interest

1)Mr Tsourkan i love your attitude, in a world everyone claims more or less true statements, doing this kind of test (even if it remains subjective) is a nice behaviour.

2) i'm in france unfortunately, but i'll move to a new opening in september (as a chef in a highest grade retirement house reduced team so i'll do myself 70% of the work)
i'd love to test two knives.
i will be making a single menu everyday, and as the house will fill slowly i'll have time to put to test the knives. it will mostly be volume works but with regularity. I don't consider myself a grand chef, but i always try to do highest possible quality work in adequation with time, hardware and cost. 20-40 pounds of veggies per day to cut, on a 5 day a week work basis. slicing meat, but no raw fish work or large meat to butcher.

my set consists of misono and hattori HD's mostly along with a few gekko too and western blades.

i have a HD 240mm gyuto that i like very much, which is not considered high end in these boards, and could be a regular contender, along with some other japanese knife, maybe higher end (you choose and find :)

anyways i like the mood of this duel.

let me know if i can be of use, i'll be happy to help and to make myself an idea of what high end is.

WildBoar
07-05-2013, 02:39 PM
Marko, I think the challenge is a nice chance to have some fun and see how your work stacks up. No matter how subjective, it will still be a good experience, and will help your never-ending quest for perfection. Shoot, who doesn't like to compete a little every now and then? No special rating or points system is needed, all you need to hear is "I liked this one more then that one". The world will not cease spinning because the reviewers are not measuring and reproducing x pounds of downforce and xx mm of draw with every cutting motion. Part of what will lead to the winning knife is the ability to elicit some emotions for the reviewers.

Marko Tsourkan
07-05-2013, 03:15 PM
Marko, I think the challenge is a nice chance to have some fun and see how your work stacks up. No matter how subjective, it will still be a good experience, and will help your never-ending quest for perfection. Shoot, who doesn't like to compete a little every now and then? No special rating or points system is needed, all you need to hear is "I liked this one more then that one". The world will not cease spinning because the reviewers are not measuring and reproducing x pounds of downforce and xx mm of draw with every cutting motion. Part of what will lead to the winning knife is the ability to elicit some emotions for the reviewers.

I love competing. Always did and doubt will ever won't let it go whatever things I do, be it sports, work, personal challenges, etc.

When I was younger, winning was everything. Now, I just put my best effort and enjoy the participation.

M

panda
07-05-2013, 04:02 PM
I see the shigefusa influence, do you have other favorites you draw inspiration from? Say Watanabe. I have both and wish I could combine both and also a slightly different profile.

Marko Tsourkan
07-05-2013, 04:25 PM
I see the shigefusa influence, do you have other favorites you draw inspiration from? Say Watanabe. I have both and wish I could combine both and also a slightly different profile.

Shigefusa - geometry, fit and finish
Masamoto - profile
DT - steels, HT, DMT sharpening, damascus, handle construction, knife making process, and more
Fish, Bob Kramer - handles, saya
The Boardsmith, Nesmuk - endgrain boards
Roesle Open Kitchen - magnetic strip
Dave Martell - water stones sharpening, stropping

That's about it. I would say that the biggest influence and help (if everything could be totaled up) came from DT.

Dream Burls
07-05-2013, 04:38 PM
As someone who has known Marko for awhile, I would bet my last dollar that whatever happens with this contest he will come away with additional knowledge that he will put to use in honing his craft to even higher levels. Ultimately, Marko, and all his future customers, will be the winners.

Crothcipt
07-05-2013, 08:36 PM
I love competing. Always did and doubt will ever won't let it go whatever things I do, be it sports, work, personal challenges, etc.

When I was younger, winning was everything. Now, I just put my best effort and enjoy the participation.

M

+10

Marko Tsourkan
11-09-2013, 02:55 PM
This project didn't take off, unfortunately, but I am still a game for it.

If one of you guys would like to test my knife against any knife you provide (testing done by third parties, preferably pros and you do all organizing), please post here and let's get this started. The knife I would provide should match the knife tested against in weight and thickness, so I would like to know what it is.

To refresh the memories testing should be done on all of the following:

- sharpness
- edge retention
- edge stability (resistance to chipping)
- food release
- overall feel of the knife

I don't mind to send the knife out the US, as long as the criteria outlined in the thread are met.

M

Birnando
11-09-2013, 03:10 PM
This project didn't take off, unfortunately, but I am still a game for it.

If you would like to test my knife against any knife, do all the organizing (all I need to do is to send you the knife), please post here and let's start the discussion. The knife I would provide should match the knife tested against in weight and thickness, but other than that, anything goes.

M

What, who cancelled?

Now, it is no biggie to me, and running this locally might actually be a more doable, and controllable, effort.
But for the record, my knife for this has been ready to go for months:)

I look forward to seeing the results regardless!

Marko Tsourkan
11-09-2013, 04:01 PM
I assumed that it didn't take off as I haven't head for your or Harald for a while. Either way, I am a game, just need to know what to make.

M

Birnando
11-09-2013, 04:38 PM
I assumed that it didn't take off as I haven't head for your or Harald for a while. Either way, I am a game, just need to know what to make.

M

Oh, my apologies then.
I was under the impression that you were busy making the knife, and seem to remember reading as much.
No worries, my choice of knife is still the same as back then, my first Kato.
That being the prototype I picked up back in 2011.
I have a newer version as well, but in my opinion, the first one is still the best of them:)
Naturally that knife has been used good, and have been thinned a couple times by now, but the basic geometry should be reasonable close to how it was as new.

Now, it's no big deal to me how this is done, if it is more doable, from a practical and logistical viewpoint, to do it locally I'm still standing behind my word and my bet.

I'm game either way:)

Marko Tsourkan
11-09-2013, 06:02 PM
Heavy chef's it it. What's yours on the edge, 240mm?

Birnando
11-09-2013, 06:07 PM
Heavy chef's it it. What's yours on the edge, 240mm?

Yessir, 240 on the dot:)

Marko Tsourkan
11-09-2013, 08:13 PM
Yessir, 240 on the dot:)

I am mulling making it 255mm with a Western/D hybrid. Weight-wise it should be comparable to 240mm Kato. I like 255mm size better for a heavy chef's.

chuck239
11-09-2013, 10:25 PM
I can test it compared to a few of my knives if you need...

-Chuck

Marko Tsourkan
11-09-2013, 10:40 PM
The original idea was to test it with somebody who doesn't know either makers.

Let's see how this develops.

M

chuck239
11-09-2013, 10:56 PM
Ya, I saw that was the initial idea. Then I read this post:


This project didn't take off, unfortunately, but I am still a game for it.

If one of you guys would like to test my knife against any knife you provide (testing done by third parties, preferably pros and you do all organizing), please post here and let's get this started. The knife I would provide should match the knife tested against in weight and thickness, so I would like to know what it is.

To refresh the memories testing should be done on all of the following:

- sharpness
- edge retention
- edge stability (resistance to chipping)
- food release
- overall feel of the knife

I don't mind to send the knife out the US, as long as the criteria outlined in the thread are met.

M

Wasn't sure where it was going from there so figured I would just throw it out there. I guess I will just wait for my knife since I was 12th on your list. Hopefully that spot comes up at some point.

Also, I would like to say I hope who ever does compare the knives actually understand what good knives are. I can tell you my line cooks thought some very cheap OK japanese knives were way better then some of my very special knives. And I can tell you, I promise they were completely wrong in their evaluation. So all I'm saying is it would be good if it is someone who understands what a good knife is.

-Chuck

Marko Tsourkan
11-10-2013, 11:59 AM
It's a good point. Let me thing about it.