View Full Version : Under-appreciated masters Vol II: Rogers & Haslinger
05-20-2012, 02:31 PM
A couple more makers who you rarely hear about in this forum, Ray Rogers (www.rayrogers.com) and Thomas Haslinger (www.haslinger-culinary.com).
I may be preaching to the choir about these guys, but Rogers sent me an 8-inch, integral damascus knife that weighs in at 5 oz and is as laser-like and flexible as any Japanese competitor but looks about as Western as a knife can. The mokume-like bolster is made from an old conestoga wagon wheel hub and is followed by a turquoise/red fiber spacer. He works in stainless as well and even experimented with a non-metalic (poured, not forged) knife--see his website for more.
A fellow Canadian to Pierre, Haslinger crafted an 8-inch chef's knife that's as rigid as a railroad tie and was born from an obviously more minimalist aesthetic. It's made of S30V and is impossible for this newbie to sharpen. It joins my Hattori KDs as knives I send to Dave for tender loving care. The scales are snakewood and the pins covered with mother of pearl. I've seen an ebony-handled knife he did with the pearl pins and the effect was striking, like guitar frets. The best feature is the point, which sometimes lets me go right to delicate work and skip the petty.
05-20-2012, 04:09 PM
I have a custom ray rogers O1 steel 10 in chef knife that I had him make about 15 years ago, but it is a poor performer, everything sticks to it and it wedges like crazy and the handle is blocky as hell. The last time I was on his site he wasn't taking any more orders for a year or two and was going to just concentrate on shows. I should have it reground one of these days.
05-20-2012, 04:34 PM
I have used knives from both of the makers that you have mentioned. Neither seemed to get the memo about convex grinding. Both are real pretty though and would look good on the wall or in a drawer.
05-20-2012, 04:50 PM
I had two RR's, and now have one. He spends a lot of attention to detail in regards to aesthetics, though I do agree about the convex edges. I love is damascus 8" chef he made for me. I actually used it on non-acidic food one time to see how it cut and it went right through. It was nice. I didn't like the nikiri he made for me, it didn't have a profile taper I would have like to have for such a knife. I bought these 5-6 years ago when I didn't really know what I wanted. I still have the chefs, but sold the nikiri. It just needs a little work, and it would be a strong performer.
No experience with Haslinger, but I didn't like his knives before I knew about knives, and I don't like them now. Not my cup of tea. To each his own.
05-20-2012, 05:55 PM
I spent some quality time with a Haslinger (a few of us had a nice passaround, courtesy of Thomas) and found it to be an interesting beast. He's very skilled as a craftsman, and his knives are very nice to look at. I felt it did a better job than many knives I've used, but just didn't quite fall through items like a few other knives I own. All in all, I found his work really nice and great for people who prefer a western knife. It felt solidly built, and was nice to use, but perhaps a bit thick behind the edge. I found it tough to sharpen, and the tip made me nervous. BUT, if it's your style, well, he does it very well.
I remember a few of us felt that his 8" chef felt more like a big petty, than it did a true chef knife. This, of course is a YMMV type of thing, and I have to give credit were credit is due. He makes a quality piece, but it wasnt quite my cup of tea.
05-20-2012, 06:13 PM
Firstly thanks for sharing your knives. It is nice to see some new tools and hear a new voice. The rogers looks great. Performance wise I was never crazy about these guys. But they make very nice knives never the less.
please keep sharing. and also nice to see more of an nyc presenece
05-20-2012, 06:20 PM
There is a Haslinger at EE
I mean, the guy got 18 years experience as a chef, he should know what he was making. How about a review of the Haslinger?
05-20-2012, 08:35 PM
I used the Haslinger during the passaround and felt my homemade knife worked better.
05-20-2012, 08:37 PM
that' s because your homemade knives are bad ass!
05-20-2012, 09:06 PM
I've been fascinated by the haslingers for quiet a while now. Hopefully I'll own one further down the line, but as tempting as it may be, I find it hard to drop $500+ on a knife that I've really only seen indifferent reviews of. Maybe I'll splurge at tax return time...
05-20-2012, 09:18 PM
The haslinger reminds me of one of delberts earlier works with more of an eye to aesthetics and less towered performance.
05-20-2012, 09:31 PM
Your two threads remind me of the chef knives I seen at the Badger knife show.I don't remember who the makers were but they were Very talented.I am sure they were masters in there genre but doing a chef knife is a whole new animal.The knives they made had flawless fit and finish,and the dammy patterns in the blades were fantastic.Now here is were it goes very wrong,you can't take a 3/16 billet of dammy(heel to tip), put a flat grind on it and call it a chef knife.I would have really loved to talk to them about there chef knives but I did not get a good vibe that they wanted to here any critiques about there knives.
05-20-2012, 10:45 PM
The main reason that knifemakers in most of the world outside of Japan suck at making kitchen knives is because they simply don't know what IS and ISN'T important. They spend a lot of time being badasses at things that make little to no difference at all.
A perfectly designed thing doesn't have everything it needs--it is absent of everything it doesn't need.
I got a Haslinger in a passaround. Too thin and whippy, flat ground, and too much belly for me(especially if the knife is going to be so thin at the tip). It was brilliant for things like garlic and other tip work, but it felt like have a pretty badass paring knife on a 10" handle.
05-20-2012, 11:06 PM
Mario, I've seen the same attitude in my own field, so it doesn't surprise me to find it in this one too. Whenever I've read something written by a knifemaker, about his background, the best ones (Kramer, Fowler) talk about all they've learned from their teachers, and they looked for even more feedback after they had some success. Very different from the amateurs at the Badger knife show.
Incidentally, I've enjoyed your posts a whole lot over the past year and wish I could have bid on that last knife, the one that was sold in a minute!
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