PDA

View Full Version : Bill Burke 240+ mm midtech prototype review 1.0



tk59
02-12-2012, 08:43 PM
Aesthetics B
The hamon and the lines of the knife are elegant and the finish is handsome, imo. However, the bolster looks sloppy. Bill pulled off two pins very well, but it is well documented that three pins would look better to more people.
Fit and finish C
The bulk of handle is comfortable but it is not very symmetric. Most of the spine is rounded except for the divot two thirds of the way down the blade toward the tip. The choil is not rounded and has what I would characterize as a burr on it. The bolster-blade transition is poorly finished with cracked solder that appeared to leak out of the bolster/tang joint. The bolster also has sharp corners on it that did bother me with certain grips, esp. sharpening. The heel was nearly flat ground and the choil view appears very thin but the knife thickens up near the edge and becomes more convex as it approaches the tip. Other than that, the grind was a little wavy in places but I thought they were within reason and the coarse grinding scratches were clearly visible under all of the polishing. They are closer to gone than what you would see on a Carter but they are there.
Performance B
The geometry is very good in some places and merely good in other places. The knife is not super thin and the taper isnít dramatic but it cuts very well without feeling clumsy in spite of the tall heel to spine height. The profile is quite curved which is hard to get used to and the tip is very high. The actual tip work is very good to excellent as long as the cutting surface is low. Heel work is nice but there is a lot of sticking in that part of the blade. The knife felt a little thick toward the middle of the blade. The edge was very nice and stayed nice over limited use.
Sharpening A
Billís version of 52100 sharpened quickly and easily and took a very nice edge. I didnít use the knife enough to really get a grip regarding edge retention but I can say I observed no noticeable chipping or deformation in light use over a couple of weeks.
Overall B
This is a nice knife by most measures. Depending on individual preferences, it may arguably be the best cutting custom gyuto I have used that was NOT made by Murray, Devin, Rottman or someone in Japan. Perhaps I am too picky or a cheapskate but at $850, I find this knife is intolerably uncomfortable and it really shouldnít be this sloppy.
While these comments are 100% my own opinion, I have made every effort to obtain unbiased feedback from the six other knifeknuts (with considerable experience among them) whose hands and eyes examined and used this knife. The feedback was quite consistent with my own. One person appreciated the extra thin heel and a couple of them were more upset about the bolster than I thought was warranted.

I'll be making an addendum to this review once the knife has made an east coast trip (if it happens) and again once everything with the knife is finalized.

tk59
02-12-2012, 08:49 PM
These are some line-up shots of an Ittossai kotetsu 240 (Hattori HD), a 240 TKC, the 240+ Burke, a 270 Carter HG and a 250 Devin.
4467446844664469

tk59
02-12-2012, 08:56 PM
Here are some pics of the offending bolster-choil area...
44704471447244734474

...and a couple of the rest of the handle.
44754476

mr drinky
02-12-2012, 09:01 PM
Thanks for the report. Very interesting.

k.

tk59
02-12-2012, 09:03 PM
Here are a couple of shots of the "divot" on the spine and an example of some minor sharpening scratches (not mine).
447744784479

EdipisReks
02-12-2012, 09:07 PM
it's close to being very nice, i think.

RRLOVER
02-12-2012, 09:15 PM
An in depth review with pics..........I am giving this post an -A!!!

rsacco
02-12-2012, 09:17 PM
Thanks for the review - I wish it was a better outcome.

Bill Burke
02-12-2012, 09:23 PM
Thanks for the honest review Tinh.


I find this knife is intolerably uncomfortable and it really shouldn’t be this sloppy.


You can always return it for a refund. I would not want you to keep this knife if you are not happy with it.

Salty dog
02-12-2012, 09:23 PM
The profile, oh the profile.

EdipisReks
02-12-2012, 09:26 PM
The profile, oh the profile.

looks like a Tanaka, to me.

Steve Stephens
02-12-2012, 09:29 PM
I found this review very interesting and one that should help newbies like I know what to look for when examining a knife. Great photos and details in the review.

JohnyChai
02-12-2012, 09:59 PM
That Carter is lovely...

Johnny.B.Good
02-12-2012, 10:05 PM
Thank you for the tough, honest, and thorough review TK.

Eamon Burke
02-13-2012, 01:12 AM
Looking forward to a future report on edge retention. That is really what people are after with Bill's knives, edge performance. Colin's certainly talked it up and I've never gotten to sling one around at work.

tk59
02-13-2012, 02:07 AM
it's close to being very nice, i think.I am inclined to agree. Most of these issues would be easily solved by eliminating the bolster or pinning it instead of welding it. In my interactions with Bill, it seemed like the rest of the issues are the trade-off for going with a midtech over a custom. I could probably make this knife a lot more comfortable in a relatively short amount of time as long as I don't want to have that original finish but I don't think I should have to at this price point. I'd also lose sleep over messing the knife up.

With regard to edge retention being the only thing people really want out of a Burke, I beg to differ. I've heard a number of things about Burke knives. Yes, Colin said he sharpens once every several months but the truth of the matter is that a belt grinder strop loaded with 2 micron abrasives is a good way to sharpen something that isn't chipped out. Bill says he can cut a ton of rope with an edge before having to resharpen. I have no reason to believe this isn't true. Other renditions of 52100 have been very good and I have no problem with Bill's being the best in that regard. Looking at all the posts people make on Burke knives, most of them center around san mai and an awesome look. Frankly, I was hoping for something that would cut effortlessly, hold an awesome edge forever, feel like an extension of my body, AND have that awesome hamon and Bill Burke look. Why would you want less that that? It doesn't make sense. (Not that having a couple dozen gyutos does...)

Regardless, I really haven't decided what to do at this point...

ecchef
02-13-2012, 02:14 AM
Frankly, I was hoping for something that would cut effortlessly, hold an awesome edge forever, feel like an extension of my body, AND have that awesome hamon and Bill Burke look. Why would you want less that that?

I see your point, but being Devil's advocate, why would Bill charge less for that? Great & honest review though. Bet you wouldn't see that kind of candor on some other sites.

tk59
02-13-2012, 02:22 AM
...why would Bill charge less for that?...Haha. I said I was HOPING for that. I was EXPECTING something that cuts effortlessly. Obviously, Bill did not take my hand size, cutting style, or any other preferences into account. That is where the lower cost should come in. One size fits all.

Johnny.B.Good
02-13-2012, 02:25 AM
Are you going to take Bill up on his generous offer and return it for a refund?

tk59
02-13-2012, 02:30 AM
Are you going to take Bill up on his generous offer and return it for a refund?Like I said, I haven't decided what to do.

ecchef
02-13-2012, 02:31 AM
Johnny's calling sloppy seconds? :D

Johnny.B.Good
02-13-2012, 02:36 AM
Like I said, I haven't decided what to do.

Sorry, I missed that. I see now.

Johnny.B.Good
02-13-2012, 02:41 AM
Johnny's calling sloppy seconds? :D

I try not to make a habit of it, but it's been known to happen. ;)

Bill Burke
02-13-2012, 11:44 AM
Tinh,
I am more than happy to flatten the profile and grind the bolsters into the blade farther for you. the finish is nothing special just ground on a my grinder to an x16 with almost no care removeing all the scratches from the previous grit. (That is why you can see some "heavier" scratches in the finish.) then a ten minute etch and a thirty second buff and call it good. One thing that I ask you remember, this is not a full custom knife. It was not made "for you" In fact it was done before you contacted me with no thought of any particular hand size or preferance on blade profile. You gave me a B overall and from your post it seems to me that you are comparing this gyoto to your customs so although a little chagrined I feel ok with it. If you think that you want to keep this knife and give the "performance" a test lets try and solve your issues with this one since I think they are somewhat valid.

EdipisReks
02-13-2012, 12:29 PM
the finish is nothing special just ground on a my grinder to an x16 with almost no care removeing all the scratches from the previous grit. (That is why you can see some "heavier" scratches in the finish.) then a ten minute etch and a thirty second buff and call it good.

i'm assuming that this won't be the case for non-prototypes?

Bill Burke
02-13-2012, 12:55 PM
It will be something close, I am going to try a different finish on the next one though. the new one i am hoping will look close to a 600 grit hand rubbed finish, but will still be a machine finish.

i'm assuming that this won't be the case for non-prototypes?

EdipisReks
02-13-2012, 01:04 PM
it was the "almost no care" that piqued my interest.

Eamon Burke
02-13-2012, 02:36 PM
As long as TK59 and BurkeCutlery can manage the shipping cost of the knives :)

Sure, as long as I'm first in line! :lol2:

Cadillac J
02-13-2012, 03:04 PM
The profile, oh the profile.

That is exactly what I was thinking. As someone who has generally loved the profiles on Bill's custom work for sujis and gyutos, I was very surprised when I saw TK's comparison shots above.

tk59
02-13-2012, 03:18 PM
...One thing that I ask you remember, this is not a full custom knife. It was not made "for you" In fact it was done before you contacted me with no thought of any particular hand size or preferance on blade profile... ...it seems to me that you are comparing this gyoto to your customs...It seems we have some misunderstandings. I just sent you an email. I'll give you a call.

tk59
02-13-2012, 05:33 PM
Out of curiosity, did Bill ask for this review?No. Why?

Bill Burke
02-13-2012, 05:42 PM
What I meant to say was, I did not take nitice of wheather or not all of the sanding marks were removed from the previous grit belt before I moved on to the next belt ie... while grinding at 400 grit I did not make sure all the scratches from the 220 belt were removed before going to 800 grit belt. Obviously i did try and remove most of them though.
it was the "almost no care" that piqued my interest.

Chef Niloc
02-13-2012, 09:55 PM
I agree with many of the issues TK is stating here. It was my understanding that the Burke-Tec was his way of doing a mid-tec knife. I.E. saving time and money by having the blades water jet cut and sending out for heat treat. I would expect Bills mid-tec to be above the standards of other mid's especially considering the it's priced almost 2x the price. So while the fit and finish to the knife should be "standard" I.E. little or no chose of the buyer it should however be top notch. Grinding issues, bolster gaps, ext. are thinks that would bother me in a knife in this price range.
This being a "new" type of knife/level of knife for Bill I think he should have had someone (cough me :cool2:) / a few people check it out and give him feedback befor he sold the knife, especially to someone with such discerning taste as T.K.

sachem allison
02-13-2012, 11:28 PM
isn't this a prototype? Doesn't that mean that it is a piece that is specifically made to be reviewed and have all the kinks and issues worked out before you go into production. This is a prototype, not a perfect production model. I know that Tk is a perfectionist when it comes to his knives and has incredibly high standards as he should, but not everyone carries a 20x loupe to look at their knives. keep in mind this is a prototype and all the kinks haven't been worked out yet.

EdipisReks
02-13-2012, 11:30 PM
an $850 prototype, apparently.

tk59
02-13-2012, 11:43 PM
isn't this a prototype? Doesn't that mean that it is a piece that is specifically made to be reviewed and have all the kinks and issues worked out before you go into production. This is a prototype, not a perfect production model. I know that Tk is a perfectionist when it comes to his knives and has incredibly high standards as he should, but not everyone carries a 20x loupe to look at their knives. keep in mind this is a prototype and all the kinks haven't been worked out yet.Only 20x? You wound me, Son. You make a good point but if I thought there was a chance that the knife I made had some issues, I'd be taking the route Colin described. I don't think my standards are incredible either. I put up with plenty. The next time you're in SD, stop by and I'll show you what I mean. However, a tool has to perform its intended function well (if it's expensive then VERY well) and it has to be comfortable to use.

sachem allison
02-14-2012, 12:46 AM
i understand, not bagging., but like Bill said he didn't make that knife for you, if he had all of the issues that you mentioned wouldn't be there. probably a scanning electron microscope in 3d and infrared.:D I know what you mean about the cost, you buy a Ferrari you want a Ferrari not a vette.

tk59
02-14-2012, 12:49 AM
...like Bill said he didn't make that knife for you,...I'm pretty sure he meant it's just not a custom. In that case, he takes some time to make sure the handle is the right size and does the knife to spec.

riverie
02-14-2012, 01:08 AM
thank you for the great review TK. Custom or not, prototype or not, mid-tech or not....... for a $850 knife, things like that shouldn't be happen.

sachem allison
02-14-2012, 01:12 AM
I'm pretty sure he meant it's just not a custom. In that case, he takes some time to make sure the handle is the right size and does the knife to spec.

got ya

NO ChoP!
02-14-2012, 11:55 AM
An overall B is not a negative review. Honest, maybe...

I, quite frankly, am tired of all the sucking up. If a product is to be top notch, honest assessment is necessary. Some on these forums have made these customs to be the "end all", yet just through a picture I can see a useless profile, or bad grind (no knife in particular)...

As a chef if my risotto is overcooked, or my sauce is broken, or a dish is over-seasoned, you darn well better believe I will hear about it!!!!!

Marko Tsourkan
02-14-2012, 12:05 PM
An overall B is not a negative review. Honest, maybe...

I, quite frankly, am tired of all the sucking up. If a product is to be top notch, honest assessment is necessary. Some on these forums have made these customs to be the "end all", yet just through a picture I can see a useless profile, or bad grind (no knife in particular)...

As a chef if my risotto is overcooked, or my sauce is broken, or a dish is over-seasoned, you darn well better believe I will hear about it!!!!!

I agree that a honest review is beneficial to a maker. Sending knives for a private feedback is not a bad idea either.

M

tk59
02-14-2012, 12:08 PM
This knife is going back to Bill for some modification. If it comes back awesome, I think his reputation can only benefit. I would be wary of buying a knife from someone that was interested in building a reputation by hiding the quality of their product, as your (JMJones) post seems to imply.

Andrew H
02-14-2012, 12:25 PM
Thanks for the review Tk.

unkajonet
02-14-2012, 01:57 PM
It's starting to get a little contentious around here. Please remember to try and keep it civil, folks. :D

Thanks.

Jim
02-14-2012, 02:50 PM
Gents,
This thread has gone off the rails- as policy here at the KKF respectful and thoughtful reviews of products and vendors are welcome and encouraged.
Broaching questions about how a review was done is fine- questions about why a review was done would fall into the heading of a personal attack and will not be tolerated.
The review of an item that is sold to the public by a vendor is a valuable resource,both for the vendor and the buyers. A manufacturer would have to spend 10's of thousands of dollars to organize a focus group as knowledgeable and enthusiastic as this one. They would be foolish to squander it.

All off topic posts in this thread will be removed. Please contact me via PM if you have any question.

Jim

AFKitchenknivesguy
02-14-2012, 03:02 PM
Thanks so much for the honest in depth review! I would have went the private route, but I admire you for the effort. With that said, Bill Burke is #1 on my most wanted list.

Johnny.B.Good
02-14-2012, 03:07 PM
Well said Cadillac.


My admiration and respect for Bill Burke has not changed one bit after this either.

I agree 100%

Jim
02-14-2012, 03:52 PM
Gents, Just to clarify

Feel free to talk about the reviewed knife. Comments about the inappropriateness or otherwise of the review are specious and will be removed.

The team thanks you for your cooperation.

Jim

NO ChoP!
02-14-2012, 06:31 PM
I'd be interested to see some shots of the DT ITK proto compared to different generations throughout the years, leading to the most recent. I'd bet they've been tweaked and changed quite a bit, probably due to DT's high interest in customer feedback...

I think we owe it to Mr. Burke to evolve with this endeavor, and at the very least applaud him for trying to deliver a product, that to some at least, may have been unobtainable before.

DeepCSweede
02-14-2012, 06:38 PM
I'd be interested to see some shots of the DT ITK proto compared to different generations throughout the years, leading to the most recent. I'd bet they've been tweaked and changed quite a bit, probably due to DT's high interest in customer feedback...

I think we owe it to Mr. Burke to evolve with this endeavor, and at the very least applaud him for trying to deliver a product, that to some at least, may have been unobtainable before.

:plus1:

tk59
03-19-2012, 06:18 PM
5462546154585459546354605457
Aesthetics BThe hamon and the lines of the knife are elegant and the finish is handsome, imo. However, the bolster looks sloppy. Bill pulled off two pins very well, but it is well documented that three pins would look better to more people...A-. The bolster issues are resolved. There is still a ridge on the bolster that is pretty common among westerns but I don't have a problem with it. It isn't fancy but it's nice and clean. Fixing the divot and the belly led to a very slightly wonky-looking profile that is hard to describe and doesn't show well in pics (since it looks nice to me in my own pics, lol). The spine droops down from the bolster to the tip a little and probably causes the heel to look wierd, too. Anyway... Enough of that. The finish looks almost hand rubbed but is in fact machine finished.
...Fit and finish CThe bulk of handle is comfortable but it is not very symmetric. Most of the spine is rounded except for the divot two thirds of the way down the blade toward the tip. The choil is not rounded and has what I would characterize as a burr on it. The bolster-blade transition is poorly finished with cracked solder that appeared to leak out of the bolster/tang joint. The bolster also has sharp corners on it that did bother me with certain grips, esp. sharpening. The heel was nearly flat ground and the choil view appears very thin but the knife thickens up near the edge and becomes more convex as it approaches the tip. Other than that, the grind was a little wavy in places but I thought they were within reason and the coarse grinding scratches were clearly visible under all of the polishing. They are closer to gone than what you would see on a Carter but they are there...A-. I'm pretty happy with the fit and finish at this point. It isn't perfectly finished (no knife is, really) but I'm not complaining.
...Performance BThe geometry is very good in some places and merely good in other places. The knife is not super thin and the taper isnít dramatic but it cuts very well without feeling clumsy in spite of the tall heel to spine height. The profile is quite curved which is hard to get used to and the tip is very high. The actual tip work is very good to excellent as long as the cutting surface is low. Heel work is nice but there is a lot of sticking in that part of the blade. The knife felt a little thick toward the middle of the blade. The edge was very nice and stayed nice over limited use...A-. The grind is the same but thinner. The profile is also much nicer. I still think the heel is overly flat but not terrible.
...Sharpening ABillís version of 52100 sharpened quickly and easily and took a very nice edge. I didnít use the knife enough to really get a grip regarding edge retention but I can say I observed no noticeable chipping or deformation in light use over a couple of weeks...Nothing really to add here. Same awesome steel. Bill's edge was very clean and sharp this time around.
...Overall BThis is a nice knife by most measures. Depending on individual preferences, it may arguably be the best cutting custom gyuto I have used that was NOT made by Murray, Devin, Rottman or someone in Japan. Perhaps I am too picky or a cheapskate but at $850, I find this knife is intolerably uncomfortable and it really shouldnít be this sloppy.While these comments are 100% my own opinion, I have made every effort to obtain unbiased feedback from the six other knifeknuts (with considerable experience among them) whose hands and eyes examined and used this knife. The feedback was quite consistent with my own. One person appreciated the extra thin heel and a couple of them were more upset about the bolster than I thought was warranted...A-. For many, this knife may very well garner a solid A grade. My personal preference is for the tip to be a bit lower, mainly and the balance between thin and convex could be better. I would say an apt description of this particular knife is a suped-up stock TKC (which is a great knife) made with Bill's signature look. I'm sending it back to get the maker's mark reinstalled.

rsacco
03-19-2012, 07:08 PM
Looks great! Thanks for the update.

tk59
03-19-2012, 09:16 PM
Yup. I had a few conversations with Bill about knives in general. I think it is fair to mention that Bill doesn't usually make knives in this fashion but rather forges them to spec. These are very good knives, esp. if you value keen edge retention.

Oh, and the knife lost a mm or so on height and a few on length. The TKC in the pic is 235 mm.

Bill Burke
03-20-2012, 08:47 AM
Thanks for updating this Tinh.

oivind_dahle
04-05-2012, 07:39 PM
used it more lately Tinh?

How is the edge retention?

tk59
04-05-2012, 09:03 PM
I think you will be very happy about the edge retention. A couple of experienced knuts other than myself have tried out the knife in its current form and we all agree the edge it takes is nice and it also freshens up very nicely on a conventional strop. The knife has been very well received.

BTW, if you've tried out this knife and want to chime in, please feel free.

mattrud
04-05-2012, 11:36 PM
I used the knife for about two days. Should of kept it longer. I used it a solid amount and notice little depreciation in edge retention over that time. Nice bite in the steel and the edge TK gave it. The profile is suited best for rock cutting. It is not the thinnest knife so people will feel there are knives out there that are better cutters. But what stood out to me the most is I felt like I could use the knife all night long and not get fatigued. I really can't understate how big that it is. There are a few things from a profile standpoint I would change because of the way I personally cut. but I enjoyed my short time with it.

oivind_dahle
04-06-2012, 06:02 AM
Thanks for info. Who is on this passaround list?

I was thinking about passing around my angels: Doutzen, Alessandra, Adriana go Tyra.
I will talk to Bill about it as they are going to Blade with him, and that I want to have them to my birthday 27th june.
Bill is about to start on them now: Parer, Petty, Gyuto and Suji.

Bill Burke
05-20-2012, 12:15 PM
So I know that Tihn passed this knife around to some of you I would really like to hear from you guys that used the knife, good and BAD.

oivind_dahle
05-20-2012, 12:18 PM
Some feedback and pics would make my day folks (and Bill ;))

mattrud
05-20-2012, 12:46 PM
Thinking back on this knife-
I was skeptical of a couple things when I first saw it. One was the handle. But I was wrong. I really like the handle. Fit my hand really well. It was up there on my list of handles I have preferred. The other was the profile. It works great for rock cutting. I am mainly a push/pull cutter. It still worked great for that but I need to slightly alter my technique because of the raised tip. The raised tip was actually quite beneficial to tip work (which I do a lot of). The knife had the "right" level of thickness to thinness for me. I thought food release could of been a bit better was it was still great. Bill's steel is well, Bill's steel. It kicked but and really came back to a very high performing level with minimal maintenance. Very well finished knife. A couple little tweaks could of made the finish nicer, but I am nit picking here and most people know I have handled a lot of knives.

The thing that I loved the most about this knife was the balance and overall feel. One of the most comfortable knives I have ever used, by a wide margin. The weight distribution. The handle. The overall weight in relation to force needed to cut products. Really quite nice.

tk59
05-20-2012, 05:47 PM
I received this knife last week. It appears that Bill refinished, re-etched and added his maker's mark. Bill, please correct me, if I'm wrong. This is the knife in its current form. The actual color is a little more on the orange side than it appears on my screen. It is a very nice knife, IMO. Thank you, Bill.

http://www.kitchenknifeforums.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=7307&d=1337578719

http://www.kitchenknifeforums.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=7308&d=1337578724

For the record, mattrud saw the knife after it had been modified by Bill.

Hmm... These pics are supposed to be much larger. They seem to get shrunk automatically once I upload them. Is this supposed to happen? Now, I'm seeing that all of my pics were shrunk. They just shrink more now than they used to.

Bill Burke
05-21-2012, 12:24 AM
Thanks alot Matt.

Yep Tihn you hit the nail on the head. Glad you like it.

JohnnyChance
05-21-2012, 01:51 AM
7307

7308