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View Full Version : Why isn't the tang all the way in the handle?



Edgy Guy
08-12-2011, 06:28 PM
(Actually, I meant tang, not tongue, but this board does not allow title edits.) Grrr.


Look at those two gaps where the handle meets the blade.
It seems food/bacteria would build up there.

Also doesn't it rust there since it is hard to wipe dry?
It must have to air dry which is a NONO for this steel.

Why don't they just put the metal all the way into the handle?
In fact, why do they make those two cut-outs at all?
Wouldn't a gradual taper be easier to keep clean and dry?
Is this just some tradition or is there a good functional reason so many Japanese knives have this?

http://i163.photobucket.com/albums/t293/kizzyyaya/afd11fa8.png

JBroida
08-12-2011, 06:47 PM
Its a regional stylistic thing... i've got a ton of knives with this gap (called machi) and dont have any rust or cleanliness problems. You'd be surprised, but it doesnt really get that dirty and it doesnt really rust there. Just take care of the knives as you normally would. Clean and wipe dry. You should be good.

tk59
08-12-2011, 06:55 PM
I have a bunch like this, too. It did bother me at first but I haven't even thought about it in a long time. I remember I softened the corners on my first such knife with a file.

Eamon Burke
08-12-2011, 07:10 PM
:plus1:

I theorize that the 'machi' developed as a sign of a securely fit handle, because traditional methods require that the tang be burned into the wood, and a small gap over a secure fit would denote that it is very snug indeed.

Nowadays, it's totally stylistic.

stevenStefano
08-12-2011, 07:13 PM
Yeah it is the first thing a lot of people notice when they look at my knives with such handles and they ask if there is something wrong with it. I don't really like the way it looks but it is hardly a big deal

Ratton
08-12-2011, 07:53 PM
It bugs me too!!:plus1:

However if you specifically order a knife in, as opposed from taking it from stock, you can request that there be no gap.

You certainly do take great pictures!! I wish I had your camera skills.:thumbsup:

jmforge
08-12-2011, 07:59 PM
Is this another instance of the Japanese doing it that way because that is the way it was done in 1650?

geezr
08-12-2011, 08:03 PM
Yeah it is the first thing a lot of people notice when they look at my knives with such handles and they ask if there is something wrong with it. I don't really like the way it looks but it is hardly a big deal
Thanks for the O/P.
I like knives with blades completely inserted into wa handles, no visible machi :knife:

TamanegiKin
08-12-2011, 08:05 PM
I like the machi. Aesthetically it appeals to me and though it may not actually place the handle slightly further back from the heel it kinda makes it feel that way. I've come to really like this of the konosukes. Great picture of a beautiful knife BTW.

jmforge
08-12-2011, 08:16 PM
I don't know if it is just the picture, but would anyone be really offended if I pointed out that the shoulders are not filed flat and even and the tang seems to be off center on that knife?:eek2::wink:

Salty dog
08-12-2011, 08:18 PM
Is this another instance of the Japanese doing it that way because that is the way it was done in 1650?

You really need to get a hold of a good Japnese kitchen knife. A good one.

jmforge
08-12-2011, 08:20 PM
I would be even LESS pleased if I had a really good one and it looked like that. Us neophytes call that "gapitis" :(
You really need to get a hold of a good Japnese kitchen knife. A good one.

99Limited
08-12-2011, 08:37 PM
I would be even LESS pleased if I had a really good one and it looked like that. Us neophytes call that "gapitis" :(

I don't know if you have realized it but you have a sarcastic attitude towards Japanese cutlery. All you have shown is ignorance towards the skill and tradition that has been built up over centuries. As far as I've seen you "Talk the talk, but you can't walk the walk". Oh, and don't say "Us neophytes", it appears you're in a group of one.

jmforge
08-12-2011, 09:02 PM
Yes, I may have a slightly sarcastic attitude towards some aspects of Japanese cutlery and the mystique surrounding it. I am not insulting the skill that has been developed over the centuries. Tradition is another matter. The fact that the Japanese smiths still use archaic techniques and gear and manage to produce what they do is a glowing testament to their skill. Some of the REASONS that they continue to do things they way they do are a bit puzzling. I am not the only one who has posted in this thread that they don't like that gap. All i know is that if I presented a knife for judging in Atlanta that looked like that, I would be told to go home and try again next year........or maybe in two or three years.
I don't know if you have realized it but you have a sarcastic attitude towards Japanese cutlery. All you have shown is ignorance towards the skill and tradition that has been built up over centuries. As far as I've seen you "Talk the talk, but you can't walk the walk". Oh, and don't say "Us neophytes", it appears you're in a group of one.

Edgy Guy
08-12-2011, 09:07 PM
I was thinking ... (always dangerous)

One use for the gaps might have been to get a good grip to remove the blade from the handle.
There could be a need to replace a damaged or worn out handle since metal can outlast wood, and is more valuable.

Cadillac J
08-12-2011, 09:09 PM
Machi never bothered me at all...I'm surprised it has bothered people that much.

jmforge
08-12-2011, 09:13 PM
To people who are not used to it like me, it looks like sloppy fit.
Machi never bothered me at all...I'm surprised it has bothered people that much.

Cadillac J
08-12-2011, 09:18 PM
All i know is that if I presented a knife for judging in Atlanta that looked like that, I would be told to go home and try again next year........or maybe in two or three years.

Apples and oranges IMO. Haven't we seen successful knife makers in other disciplines have trouble making a good kitchen knife when first starting out? They are so different to me that I don't think your comment is a fair comparison at all in this example.

ajhuff
08-12-2011, 09:18 PM
Count me in as another who doesn't like it.

-AJ

mhenry
08-12-2011, 09:19 PM
Hate it!!!

99Limited
08-12-2011, 09:20 PM
... All i know is that if I presented a $250 hunter for judging in Atlanta that looked like that, I would be told to go home and try again next year........or maybe in two or three years.

Last time I checked this forum is devoted towards kitchen knives, not some wall hanger hunter. As far as Japanese blacksmiths still using archaic techniques, have you ever heard of the idiom, "If it aint broke don't fix it"? These craftsmen are humble and highly skilled and turn out all the products that they care to. When you reach the level of craftsmanship that these Japanese blacksmiths have you'll understand.

Edgy Guy
08-12-2011, 09:20 PM
I don't know if it is just the picture, but would anyone be really offended if I pointed out that the shoulders are not filed flat and even and the tang seems to be off center on that knife?:eek2::wink:

In the scheme of things at $206 this is not an expensive knife.
Also, quirkiness is kind of endearing.

Apparently the detail you pointed out was just not a priority, also the macro pic is greatly magnified and lit and optimized to reveal every detail without mercy.
I'd rather have the knife perform well and have this quirkiness than look perfect under a microscope but not have and hold a good edge.

I hear an $10 electronic watch keeps better time than some fine Swiss $10,000 ones.

Vertigo
08-12-2011, 09:23 PM
People buy Japanese for the five cent handles? Or for how snug the knife fits into the five cent handles?

Japanese knives are about the cut. Everything past the machi is an afterthought.

Cadillac J
08-12-2011, 09:24 PM
To people who are not used to it like me, it looks like sloppy fit.

I can definitely understand that when seeing for the first time. Maybe it is just my experience with many 'machi-ed' knives and them performing like complete beasts that has jaded me to its look...come to think of it, most of my favorite knives are wa-handled and have a machi...never really thought about that until now.

obtuse
08-12-2011, 09:35 PM
I like the look of the machi. I love Japanese aesthetics. Some people may not get it.

jmforge
08-12-2011, 09:41 PM
Ummmm, one of the W2 "wall hanger hunters" that I made a little while back got "tested" It dressed out two feral hogs without having to touch the edge. Since then, its owner, my brother, has dressed out 3-4 more hogs, a couple of whitetail deer and nilgai cow. But you are right. When he has it at home, it sets up on the bookshelf in his library. The bookshelf is built into the wall, so why it doesn't actually hang, I guess it is a wall hanger.:wink:
Last time I checked this forum is devoted towards kitchen knives, not some wall hanger hunter. As far as Japanese blacksmiths still using archaic techniques, have you ever heard of the idiom, "If it aint broke don't fix it"? These craftsmen are humble and highly skilled and turn out all the products that they care to. When you reach the level of craftsmanship that these Japanese blacksmiths have you'll understand.

Salty dog
08-12-2011, 09:49 PM
All I can say is stick around. You'll find it very interesting. As others have like yourself.

It's not about who makes the best knife but how.

RRLOVER
08-12-2011, 09:56 PM
I don't know if it is just the picture, but would anyone be really offended if I pointed out that the shoulders are not filed flat and even and the tang seems to be off center on that knife?:eek2::wink:

You should see what some of the tangs look like when you remove the handle,you would piss yourself laughing.

99Limited
08-12-2011, 09:58 PM
I'd like to see some of your workmanship, I really would. You have some pictures you can share or some links from another forum that show your work?

jmforge
08-12-2011, 09:58 PM
That's why I came here. Even the information that I have gotten in the brief time that I have been here has been VERY helpful already.
All I can say is stick around. You'll find it very interesting. As others have like yourself.

It's not about who makes the best knife but how.

mhenry
08-12-2011, 09:59 PM
You should see what some of the tangs look like when you remove the handle,you would piss yourself laughing.

Yoshikane is the worst IMO. Beautiful knives however.

DevinT
08-12-2011, 10:00 PM
They do it for the ease of manufacture.

Hoss

jmforge
08-12-2011, 10:05 PM
I am kind of hestiant to post some of the "pro" photos because of the strict advertising rules on this forum. On the other hand, my own pictures are pretty bad.:eek2::biggrin:Let me see if I can link to some that customers took that look halfway decent but don't have business names, etc on the bottom. There are some links to lousy pics of a damascus cowboy bowie that I just sold in the shop talk section. The title of the thread is something like WIP..not a kitchen knife.
I'd like to see some of your workmanship, I really would. You have some pictures you can share or some links from another forum that show your work?

jmforge
08-12-2011, 10:12 PM
Here are a few that I took. The REALLY bad pics are always mine. LOL. I did not do the leather. The ivory and damascus knife is from May of 2010. The big bowies are from the fall of 2009.
http://gallery.me.com/*******/100008/DSC_0138/web.jpg?ver=13132019260008
http://gallery.me.com/*******/100024/IMG_0382/web.jpg?ver=12759713000001
http://gallery.me.com/*******/100008/DSC_0129/web.jpg?ver=12610082320003

RRLOVER
08-12-2011, 10:15 PM
Yoshikane is the worst IMO. Beautiful knives however.

Agreed......My Akifusa was the only tang that I found that was done with some quality in mind.

Salty dog
08-12-2011, 10:31 PM
Here are a few that I took. The REALLY bad pics are always mine. LOL. I did not do the leather. The ivory and damascus knife is from May of 2010. The big bowies are from the fall of 2009.
http://gallery.me.com/*******/100008/DSC_0138/web.jpg?ver=13132019260008
http://gallery.me.com/*******/100024/IMG_0382/web.jpg?ver=12759713000001
http://gallery.me.com/*******/100008/DSC_0129/web.jpg?ver=12610082320003

I'm not into the genre but I really like the clean design. Very nice.

99Limited
08-12-2011, 10:36 PM
Here are a few that I took. The REALLY bad pics are always mine. LOL. I did not do the leather. The ivory and damascus knife is from May of 2010. The big bowies are from the fall of 2009.
http://gallery.me.com/*******/100008/DSC_0138/web.jpg?ver=13132019260008
http://gallery.me.com/*******/100024/IMG_0382/web.jpg?ver=12759713000001
http://gallery.me.com/*******/100008/DSC_0129/web.jpg?ver=12610082320003

I took the liberty of going into your gallery and there are a few knives in there that I'd like to have. You got more stuff to look at?

jmforge
08-12-2011, 10:44 PM
To be honest, I just recently got started up again. The economy, other work, general malaise and an hand injury put me on the bench for almost 8 months. I am just getting back into the swing of things now. Kitchen knives are part of my evil scheme for world domination. Just kidding. What that really means is that I fell behind, and what I have right are the infamous WIP's at best. My to-do list for the next coupleof months include knocking those out, getting a knifemakers subforum on here and getting ready for the Belgian show in November. Good thing I currently have no life outside of work. LOL
I took the liberty of going into your gallery and there are a few knives in there that I'd like to have. You got more stuff to look at?

jmforge
08-12-2011, 10:46 PM
I'm not into the genre but I really like the clean design. Very nice.

Thanks. Yes, that work is pretty much ABS 101. VERY different from kitchen stuff. i am not one for making super thick, bulky knives, even in the case of that 13 inch bowie, but you guys have a whole new definition of thin and light. This is going to be an interesting challenge.:knife:

Salty dog
08-12-2011, 10:50 PM
"Kitchen knives are part of my evil scheme for world domination."

For every pound of jest there is an ounce of truth.

echerub
08-12-2011, 10:55 PM
I think on my first knife with a machi, I probably just tilted my head for a moment and thought, "Hmm, that's interesting..." and then never really thought about it again. Doesn't bother me at all.

jmforge
08-12-2011, 11:11 PM
LOL, Scott, anyone looking for world domination in the custom knife biz is looking in the wrong place. It's right up there with buying a boat or opening a restaurant. But it is fun.
"Kitchen knives are part of my evil scheme for world domination."

For every pound of jest there is an ounce of truth.

Lefty
08-12-2011, 11:32 PM
I think on my first knife with a machi, I probably just tilted my head for a moment and thought, "Hmm, that's interesting..." and then never really thought about it again. Doesn't bother me at all.

I'm about the same. It still isn't my favorite aspect on a Konosuke (obviously), but i'velearned to not even notice it, except when washing and drying the knife.

Salty dog
08-12-2011, 11:40 PM
Probably the finest crafted knife I own or have ever owned. (yes that includes Kramer) It's not a flaw, it's a statement.

http://i1036.photobucket.com/albums/a442/Saltys_knives/IMG_5388.jpg

Rottman
08-12-2011, 11:44 PM
They do it for the ease of manufacture.

Hoss

I thought it comes from traditional single bevels where the handle is only friction fitted and can be removed for polishing the blade. Next time pounded in the blade will go in just a tiny bit deeper. And the machi is for allowing that.

Andrew H
08-12-2011, 11:44 PM
I like how the machi looks. Not only that, I think it's nice to have certain features that distinguish knives from each other.

jmforge
08-12-2011, 11:48 PM
Who made that one? Is it single bevel and is it picture or does that bevel have a slightly hollow ground profile to it?
Probably the finest crafted knife I own or have ever owned. (yes that includes Kramer) It's not a flaw, it's a statement.

http://i1036.photobucket.com/albums/a442/Saltys_knives/IMG_5388.jpg

Salty dog
08-13-2011, 12:06 AM
Nenohi 330 yanagiba aka The Diva. About the hollow ground question..the bevel is not flat, nor is the back.

jmforge
08-13-2011, 12:11 AM
We need a "full length body shot" of that one.

Iceman91
08-13-2011, 12:15 AM
I have seen some pics of that one. It is jaw dropping.

JBroida
08-13-2011, 12:36 AM
seriously... the machi thing is just a regional/stylistic thing... in truth, that style of tang does make the way japanese makers put on handles easier, but it doesnt mean they cany make that area fulsh with the handle (as many do on request)... its just preference and style... nothing more, nothing less

Vertigo
08-13-2011, 12:39 AM
We need a "full length body shot" of that one.

http://www.souppilgrim.com/orglif/diva2.jpg

http://www.souppilgrim.com/orglif/diva.jpg

Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's knife.

Edgy Guy
08-13-2011, 01:22 AM
Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's knife.

Too late. Jon, I think I'm ready for my . . . upgrade. :guillotine: