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Lefty
05-20-2014, 04:55 PM
After about three months with my Billipp gyuto, I feel it's finally time I take a couple minutes to give you guys the lowdown on a relatively unknown (for now) maker. I first was connected with Andy through our good friend John Sinclair. John had been using some of Andy's early pieces and probably a year ago now, he sent me a picture to show off his new toy. I immediately fell for the look of it, with its refined rustic and artistic appearance, yet obvious quality and well thought out design (profile, handle, steel type, etc). After a bit of talking to Andy, I finally talked him into letting me buy one of his knives, and right off the bat, I knew it was worth my patience. To Andy's credit, he wanted to sell only when he was confident that his pieces were worthy of being purchased. Funny, because he'd quietly been at the knife-making game for a few years, yet he didn't want to rush out and sell something that others might not be happy with. In other words, he is a guy who has tons of pride in his work, and talent coming out of everywhere.

Here's the beautiful 240mm gyuto, made with Maidou Burl, and brass for the handle and 52100 hardened to about 61-62.

http://i1209.photobucket.com/albums/cc399/Lefty-T/3558E85B-25FA-4FCD-8375-E78449EF296E-22171-00001BC0AA82229D_zps8e1b43cb.jpg

This knife is one of those pieces that looks amazing in pictures, but really blows you away once it's in hand, and better yet, in use. The overall feel of this knife makes you understand why kurouchi and tsuchime finishes are so well loved. The big difference with Andy's KU and hammered finish is that they are real effects of his knife-making process. The marks look beautiful and add to the handmade feel of his knives.

http://i1209.photobucket.com/albums/cc399/Lefty-T/536C8E1B-88B6-4CF2-87BD-4E721C991989-22134-00001BBBC0F448A0_zps2245ae9f.jpg

In terms of cutting, this gyuto cuts like a Harner, or a Carter. If you know anything about me and my regard for those two makers, you'll know that by this, I mean it is one of the flat-out best cutting gyutos I've ever used. That's saying a lot...period. There is minor sticktion, as you'll find with any pure cutter, but I've never gotten stuck as a result of it. Essentially, product falls off or slides up and off the blade face. Honestly, this is more than acceptable, in my books and pretty much the only way to have food fall off much easier is through extensive convexing at the edge which hurts cutting performance. Here's a choil shot to show you a bit of the grind:

http://i1209.photobucket.com/albums/cc399/Lefty-T/A3BCA4CA-4D1D-4AB2-8CFD-6B037DFAC7AD-22134-00001BBB669F6063_zpsd18dbb62.jpg

The fit and finish on this gyuto is beautiful! Andy manages to balance that fine line of rustic and polished perfectly. The handle is smooth and sexy, the KU isn't going anywhere any time soon, the joints are clean and precise...what more can I say?



I can honestly say that this knife would be a serious contender for "my only knife". I expect to hand this down to my son one day, and it will dutifully make delicious meals with him for years and years after that. I love carbon steel, and this one is aging wonderfully, as they should. I can't wait to see what it looks like in 5 years....

http://i1209.photobucket.com/albums/cc399/Lefty-T/F79B30DF-3BA3-4378-A45E-D6419BA071FE-22134-00001BBC11116FFB_zpsbf433072.jpg

If you guys are smart, you'll go and track this man down to make you a knife. This is another one of those cases in which I feel lucky to have gotten to know the maker, and managed to get a knife early, before his work gets to be virtually unattainable.

http://i1209.photobucket.com/albums/cc399/Lefty-T/2F6B7E00-86E7-4E76-8CFD-7F2A0598900A-22134-00001BBBEB3BA1E8_zps90fa97fe.jpg

Lefty
05-20-2014, 05:12 PM
Mods, can you please change the title to read "Billipp Knives: Gyuto in Review"? I noticed I misspelled his last name and it was unfixable....

Thanks!

marc4pt0
05-23-2014, 06:55 AM
I was half asleep but I could have sworn I left a comment here last night. Anywho, great write up-makes me even More stoked to get mine here come soon!

Von blewitt
05-23-2014, 06:59 AM
I was half asleep but I could have sworn I left a comment here last night. Anywho, great write up-makes me even More stoked to get mine here come soon!

Other forum Marc ;D

marc4pt0
05-23-2014, 07:45 AM
Bahahaha! Oh man, I need a day off!

Umberto
05-29-2014, 02:21 PM
That's a lot of money for 52100 barstock pounded out. I like rustic blades but that is just too damn expensive. For his asking prices I'd rather buy a Japanese blade from somebody who actually forges from generations of experience. I'm getting a little tired of seeing these back yard blacksmiths get on the bandwagon, making overpriced mediocre carbon blades and adding a bling handle.

A pretty handle doesn't mean squat to me. For 750$ I don't want to see a lumpy spine and half ass grind. Sorry that knife is atrocious.

icanhaschzbrgr
05-29-2014, 02:53 PM
Sorry that knife is atrocious.
Everyone votes with theirs wallets.

Have you used this knife? Or at least seen it in person to make such an atrocious comments?

Matus
05-29-2014, 03:07 PM
Umberto, you do not like neither the look, not the finish, that's OK. We get that and it is fine to share that opinion. But on what basis do you call this blade mediocre or the grind half ass? Why are you trying so hard to offend the maker? You just make yourself look like a fool with bad manners. And also like a troll.

Lefty
05-29-2014, 03:37 PM
That's a lot of money for 52100 barstock pounded out. I like rustic blades but that is just too damn expensive. For his asking prices I'd rather buy a Japanese blade from somebody who actually forges from generations of experience. I'm getting a little tired of seeing these back yard blacksmiths get on the bandwagon, making overpriced mediocre carbon blades and adding a bling handle.

A pretty handle doesn't mean squat to me. For 750$ I don't want to see a lumpy spine and half ass grind. Sorry that knife is atrocious.

I don't often say this, but you need to learn a thing or two about how to conduct yourself, and maybe do some research before you bash a guy who has more talent than you could dream of. Sometimes being a vendor limits me, but I don't need your business badly enough to sit back and let you run your mouth. Try a piece of his before you spout off.

Umberto
05-29-2014, 03:51 PM
For seven hundred bucks I'd want a knife to have a straight round spine and no slop in between the choil. According the maker via his own personal web-site, it is claimed that he spends about 20 hours on each blade. So for seven hundred bucks that's a bargain if you factor in the hourly wage acquired to make the knives...

But for me the consumer, I just see no value in a 700$ lump of 52100 steel. I love 1095 and 52100 carbon but that's just absurd to spend that kind of dough. If the op is happy more power to him. I'd love to see a video of the op using the knife on some food...The bottom line is the OP is happier than a pig in a pile of old produce. Let's see the knife in action.

Lefty
05-29-2014, 04:07 PM
Yeah, cuz I don't know what I'm talking about....

WarrenB
05-29-2014, 04:13 PM
For seven hundred bucks I'd want a knife to have a straight round spine and no slop in between the choil. According the maker via his own personal web-site, it is claimed that he spends about 20 hours on each blade. So for seven hundred bucks that's a bargain if you factor in the hourly wage acquired to make the knives...

But for me the consumer, I just see no value in a 700$ lump of 52100 steel. I love 1095 and 52100 carbon but that's just absurd to spend that kind of dough. If the op is happy more power to him. I'd love to see a video of the op using the knife on some food...The bottom line is the OP is happier than a pig in a pile of old produce. Let's see the knife in action.

Not liking the look of a knife is fine as we have different views on things, but I am curious as to why you feel the need to question someone's knife reviewing credentials as well?

Matus
05-29-2014, 04:48 PM
Not liking the look of a knife is fine as we have different views on things, but I am curious as to why you feel the need to question someone's knife reviewing credentials as well?

If the review would come from someone with a limited amateur experience (for example me), one would simply take it with a grain of salt. But this review comes from a pro in knife business. So your attitude, Umberto, is really hard to understand. I guess you must know something about assessing performance of a knife from few photos the rest of us is missing. Please, educate us. Or just ... don't.

Oh and no, I do not think that Lefty has the need to justify his statements to you by making a video.

Umberto
05-29-2014, 04:54 PM
Let's not stir the pot warren. I'm a cheapskate and most of the world at large knows it. However when somebody posts a photo of a knife with uneven spine, a lumpy choil area with a sticker price of upward of 700$ I can't help but open my mouth and say wow...So is it too much to ask to see a video of the knife in action. If it looks rough but cuts like a demon that's cool.

I can't question the op's credentials. It's a subjective topic, not objective, nothing to question. I simply hold reservations towards a knife that costs upward of 700$ and has such a rough finish.

Lefty
05-29-2014, 04:57 PM
To everyone else, I apologize for my comments. I'm not a hothead, or quite as arrogant as I might have seemed in the last post. However, I hate J-Knife snobbery, and when one bashes something that he/she has never used. I've used knives from the world's best makers. I've sold knives from the world's best makers. I regularly discuss the nuances of high-performance cutlery with the world's best makers. Am I Jon Broida? No, but even Jon would be more than a little impressed with this piece. The fact that Andy is a farmer in Connecticut has no bearing on whether or not he can make a great knife, and quite honestly, neither does one's lineage. Being related to a guy who makes world class knives does not make someone a better knifemaker, and why being from Japan justifies a higher price, I'll never understand. Price is subjective, but performance really isn't. A knife either kicks ass, or it doesn't; This one does, more so than almost any knife I've ever used.

Benuser
05-29-2014, 05:00 PM
If we could close the Umberto-case? Lefty, it's my understanding from the photo that the blade has a grinding meant for right-handed. Are you left-handed as your name seems to suggest? That would put your remarks about food release into another perspective.

Lefty
05-29-2014, 05:01 PM
The finish is actually very, very good. Meh. We know what you're all about, and I'm seeing too much of it on the forums as of late.

marc4pt0
05-29-2014, 05:05 PM
Well this has been totally enlightening. Here I was, foolishly awaiting to spend my money on a chunk of steel when along came somebody very clever warding me off with words of... Wait a second. This guy offered absolutely NOTHING but a childishly aggressive opinion towards something based solely on a couple pictures.

Come come with the kick drum, buddy.



Hopefully the mods will come in and delete these tasteless distractions (including mine) to an otherwise good review.

And I'm still super excited for my Billipp gyuto.

*editing my original post, removing some content. Seems to be a lot going on here. My savvy witty comments no longer needed

erikz
05-29-2014, 05:06 PM
Umberto chill the @%#& out man. Have you tried this knife? Dont be a dick when you dislike stuff. You've made your point, no need to 'rant' the way you do. No place for that on KKF, especially not towards a longstanding and contributing member like Tom.

WarrenB
05-29-2014, 05:10 PM
No pot stirring here thanks, saying you really don't like the look/steel/price/grind of a knife is one thing but I think a rant about all these 'backyard blacksmiths' is poor form, as is asking for a video of the knife in action which suggests the reviewers views are in serious question. Is there a need to go that far?

Edit:sorry for hijacking the thread and dragging this crap along:thumbsup:

Benuser
05-29-2014, 05:12 PM
If we could close the Umberto-case? Lefty, it's my understanding from the photo that the blade has a grinding meant for right-handed. Are you left-handed as your name seems to suggest? That would put your remarks about food release into another perspective.
Forget my post please. Didn't look well, my fault.

Umberto
05-29-2014, 05:43 PM
I don't think it is so much to ask for a video. The reviewer is thrilled with the food release of the knife, if that's the case I think others would enjoy seeing it in action. Really I think most people would appreciate esoteric knife makers to have some video demos. For review purposes a video would benefit the knife enthusiast community. Textual based reviews tell how the knife behaves, videos to some extent really show off how it behaves...

So would be you be so kind as to demolish a few potatoes?

Lizzardborn
05-29-2014, 06:08 PM
Beautiful piece. Has the maker tried to made what Marko calls S-grind for food release. At least this seems from the choil shot?

Benuser
05-29-2014, 06:37 PM
@Umberto
Demolishing potatoes? I cut them. Perhaps you have a Kohetsu in mind:

http://www.chefknivestogoforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=6120

Nothing wrong with getting professional help.

@Lizzardborn
I found that grinding fascinating as well. Wonder about long term maintenance, though.

cruelraoul
05-29-2014, 08:16 PM
Nice review. Thank you for sharing the comments. The thread got weird but it didn't diminish the quality of the review.

jai
05-30-2014, 11:13 AM
Looks like a great knife lefty I like how it is left rustic but not in a black kuriochi way. Also how is the handle it looks significantly bigger than the rader is this better?

Matus
05-30-2014, 11:33 AM
I have to admit I like the look too. And I too am curios how does the feel in use :)

toddnmd
05-30-2014, 12:31 PM
Thanks for the detailed review, Lefty. As a senior member and respected vendor here, your opinions certainly carries a fair amount of weight with many of us. I'm going to look into these.

I know it's extra work to make a video, but I'd love to see one, either by Lefty or anyone else who has one of these.

Lefty
05-30-2014, 01:27 PM
I could likely do it, but I'm not sure how to from my phone....

V1P
05-30-2014, 07:01 PM
I could likely do it, but I'm not sure how to from my phone....

Get your son to hold the phone for you,haha.

daveb
05-30-2014, 07:02 PM
First you hire a supermodel...

rick alen
06-15-2014, 06:29 PM
Just to be the devil's advocate it is rather obvious that the choil is a mess and the grind, from that perspective, is a bit chunky, aka, looks like it needs thinning. If I were enthusiastic about the knife's cutting performance and giving a review I would point out that the knife performed such that you could simply ignore these apparent imperfections as they were for all practical considerations not evident anywhere else on the blade.

That being said, if I were the knife maker I would not want one of my pieces making it's way out in public looking like this particular knife, not good advertising.

Rick

rick alen
06-16-2014, 06:53 AM
Ahahaha, I really should read the comments more carefully especially when I come to a post late, please ignore mine concerning the messy looking choil, dohh!

Rick

SliceNDice
06-01-2016, 07:29 PM
For seven hundred bucks I'd want a knife to have a straight round spine and no slop in between the choil. According the maker via his own personal web-site, it is claimed that he spends about 20 hours on each blade. So for seven hundred bucks that's a bargain if you factor in the hourly wage acquired to make the knives...

But for me the consumer, I just see no value in a 700$ lump of 52100 steel. I love 1095 and 52100 carbon but that's just absurd to spend that kind of dough. If the op is happy more power to him. I'd love to see a video of the op using the knife on some food...The bottom line is the OP is happier than a pig in a pile of old produce. Let's see the knife in action.

One man's trash is another man's treasure. Not saying the knife is trash, but you get the point. Also, I think there is a certain level of subjectivity that goes into pricing some of these custom pieces that makers generally see as a work of art. A reproduction might go for a fraction of $700.

JohnnyChance
06-02-2016, 04:41 AM
Not sure how I missed all this the first go-round, but safe to say this thread contains some of the most asinine opinions ever posted on a kitchen knife forum.

A choil shot does not tell the entire story of the grind. I too am a fan of nicely rounded and polished choils and spines and was hesitant about Andy's style choices initially. But just because the lines are not perfectly straight does not mean they are not smooth and extremely comfortable.

CrisAnderson27
06-02-2016, 01:12 PM
That's a lot of money for 52100 barstock pounded out. I like rustic blades but that is just too damn expensive. For his asking prices I'd rather buy a Japanese blade from somebody who actually forges from generations of experience. I'm getting a little tired of seeing these back yard blacksmiths get on the bandwagon, making overpriced mediocre carbon blades and adding a bling handle.

A pretty handle doesn't mean squat to me. For 750$ I don't want to see a lumpy spine and half ass grind. Sorry that knife is atrocious.


For seven hundred bucks I'd want a knife to have a straight round spine and no slop in between the choil. According the maker via his own personal web-site, it is claimed that he spends about 20 hours on each blade. So for seven hundred bucks that's a bargain if you factor in the hourly wage acquired to make the knives...

But for me the consumer, I just see no value in a 700$ lump of 52100 steel. I love 1095 and 52100 carbon but that's just absurd to spend that kind of dough. If the op is happy more power to him. I'd love to see a video of the op using the knife on some food...The bottom line is the OP is happier than a pig in a pile of old produce. Let's see the knife in action.

I must say, this is quite rich, lol.

Do the best race car drivers come from 'generations' of race car drivers? Sometimes, but not always.
Do the best professional chefs come from 'generations' of culinary professionals? Sometimes, but not always.
Do the best police men or firefighters come from 'generations' of police men and firefighters (thought you'd appreciate this Tom!). Yep...sometimes, but not always.

As a person who knows first hand what it means to successfully teach yourself to do something (actually, a number of somethings) professionally 'in your back yard'...I can honestly say that this person doesn't have the first clue. 'Generations' of collective experience mean exactly squat if there is no innovation, drive, and most importantly...questioning of one's methods and or relevant ideologies.

Period.

This is not a bash on Japanese makers...of whom I have tremendous respect. This is a bash on ignorance and the outright public display of it.

As for Andy...he makes great knives...and I'd like to think that I have enough experience in this area to know ;).

mikedtran
06-02-2016, 01:36 PM
On the bright side this Umberto fellow will probably never come back to the forums he hasn't logged on since 2014.

I will say that I have handled one of Andy's knives in person and it is both a work of art and an amazing cutter (easily top 5 knives I have used).

gic
06-02-2016, 01:50 PM
I echo miketran: I have one and love mine

mikedtran
06-02-2016, 02:09 PM
I echo miketran: I have one and love mine

It was your Billipp that I tried =)

daveb
06-02-2016, 05:10 PM
There's two years of dust on this thing. Andy has earned a lot of praise since then. Why are we having this conversation?

Matus
06-02-2016, 05:25 PM
There's two years of dust on this thing. Andy has earned a lot of praise since then. Why are we having this conversation?

I was telling myself the same thing. I think this thread should be cleaned up and/or closed.

CrisAnderson27
06-02-2016, 05:34 PM
There's two years of dust on this thing. Andy has earned a lot of praise since then. Why are we having this conversation?

For me...because it just popped up in my feed, making it recent. If I checked the date of every post/thread I'm active in on every forum...well, I'd never have time to post lol.

tjangula
06-02-2016, 07:39 PM
On the bright side this Umberto fellow will probably never come back to the forums he hasn't logged on since 2014.

I will say that I have handled one of Andy's knives in person and it is both a work of art and an amazing cutter (easily top 5 knives I have used).

That guys banned, look up the moritaka thread and you'll see why

Johnny.B.Good
06-02-2016, 07:42 PM
I was telling myself the same thing. I think this thread should be cleaned up and/or closed.

Why clean it up? Reasonable people can read both sides and draw their own conclusions.

I quite like the look of these knives, but I can see how some would expect more polish for the price. I trust that they're performers given the buzz generated by experienced owners/users.

rami_m
06-02-2016, 08:50 PM
On the bright side this Umberto fellow will probably never come back to the forums he hasn't logged on since 2014.

I will say that I have handled one of Andy's knives in person and it is both a work of art and an amazing cutter (easily top 5 knives I have used).

Curious on the others, what are your top 5?

daveb
06-02-2016, 09:30 PM
For me...because it just popped up in my feed, making it recent. If I checked the date of every post/thread I'm active in on every forum...well, I'd never have time to post lol.

It was a rhetorical question Cris. :groucho:

CrisAnderson27
06-02-2016, 09:56 PM
It was a rhetorical question Cris. :groucho:

:D

MAS4T0
06-03-2016, 04:24 AM
I'm sorry, but now this has come back to the surface I feel compelled to ask; do the choils on Andy's current knives look like this?

Matus
06-03-2016, 06:30 AM
I'm sorry, but now this has come back to the surface I feel compelled to ask; do the choils on Andy's current knives look like this?

This is mine:

https://c8.staticflickr.com/9/8644/16411176215_31c4f95b68.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/r1cyW4) https://c3.staticflickr.com/9/8657/15788693434_ac9971731a.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/q4cbuj)

MAS4T0
06-03-2016, 06:45 AM
Thanks Matus, the angled shot answered all the questions I had.

The odd looking choil seems to be purely a product of the way the knife is finished, rather than an indicator of the grind.

ecchef
06-03-2016, 08:11 AM
In the simplest terms, nobody cuts with the choil.

Matus
06-03-2016, 09:00 AM
In the simplest terms, nobody cuts with the choil.

But how evil it would be to make a knife with finely sharpened choil :D

JohnnyChance
06-04-2016, 04:16 AM
Thanks Matus, the angled shot answered all the questions I had.

The odd looking choil seems to be purely a product of the way the knife is finished, rather than an indicator of the grind.

Yes, this is correct. Andy rounds the spines and choils by forging them that way. They receive very little if any attention from a belt/file/sandpaper/etc. So naturally there are some variations from hammer blows. These are magnified by backlit macro choil shots.

jessf
06-04-2016, 10:12 AM
Awesome thread. Lovely knives. Love the look and finish. A know a lot of farms houses in my area with an old knife of unknown origin. They are often a piece of steel, possibly from the barn, banged out on a farriers anvil. The steel is unknown, the heat treat either not there or very poor and the maker long since dead and unrecognized. The knife cuts, which is exactly what it's supposed to do.

The Billipp knives reflect this heritage and in that way their lineage transcends bloodlines and joins a family of backyard makers that do out of need.

DanHumphrey
06-18-2016, 07:01 AM
I must say, this is quite rich, lol.

Do the best race car drivers come from 'generations' of race car drivers? Sometimes, but not always.
Do the best professional chefs come from 'generations' of culinary professionals? Sometimes, but not always.
Do the best police men or firefighters come from 'generations' of police men and firefighters (thought you'd appreciate this Tom!). Yep...sometimes, but not always.

As a person who knows first hand what it means to successfully teach yourself to do something (actually, a number of somethings) professionally 'in your back yard'...I can honestly say that this person doesn't have the first clue. 'Generations' of collective experience mean exactly squat if there is no innovation, drive, and most importantly...questioning of one's methods and or relevant ideologies.

Period.

This is not a bash on Japanese makers...of whom I have tremendous respect. This is a bash on ignorance and the outright public display of it.

As for Andy...he makes great knives...and I'd like to think that I have enough experience in this area to know ;).

Just because I like having examples, one the one hand we have the Manning brothers, Steph Curry, Nelson Piquet Jr, and Max Verstappen (I know those last two aren't champions; work with me here). On the other, we have Aaron Rodgers, LeBron James, Lewis Hamilton, and Sebastian Vettel. Having parents who can teach you a craft from birth certainly helps, but is by no means necessary.

On Billipp, it's really cool that someone is making serious knives in my home state, but something about the shape of his handles doesn't sit right with me. :eyebrow: Like it's trying to split the difference between western and wa, and doesn't make it work. That's actually how I feel about a lot of hidden-tang western handles, though, including Catcheside.

toddnmd
06-18-2016, 11:56 AM
On Billipp, it's really cool that someone is making serious knives in my home state, but something about the shape of his handles doesn't sit right with me. :eyebrow: Like it's trying to split the difference between western and wa, and doesn't make it work. That's actually how I feel about a lot of hidden-tang western handles, though, including Catcheside.

Is this impression based on using a Billipp?

MAS4T0
06-18-2016, 01:19 PM
Is this impression based on using a Billipp?



On Billipp, it's really cool that someone is making serious knives in my home state, but something about the shape of his handles doesn't sit right with me. :eyebrow: Like it's trying to split the difference between western and wa, and doesn't make it work. That's actually how I feel about a lot of hidden-tang western handles, though, including Catcheside.


I can see what he means, it's a western with a hidden tang and an emoto.

To me it's more of a sculptural Wa handle than a "true" western, but I personally prefer that.