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View Full Version : Greatest Kitchen knife makers (bit of fun)



dav
06-04-2012, 02:13 PM
Just a bit of fun really and I'm the inquisitive type lol. But sentiment aside who do you think are the top 5 greatest makers of kitchen knives in the world today. By this I mean makers who will be spoken about and revered in years to come for whatever reason, which might include the shear quality of their work or due to a unique or niche area that they might have mastered etc...

Obviously I've not the experience or knowledge to give a "top" 5 or 10 but am curious as to those that have seen/handled and/or used many knives and their opinions.

tk59
06-04-2012, 02:24 PM
I don't feel remotely qualified to make this sort of judgement.

Vertigo
06-04-2012, 02:26 PM
I don't feel remotely qualified to make this sort of judgement.

Don't worry, Oivind will be along shortly to tell us all.

oivind_dahle
06-04-2012, 02:32 PM
It would be highly subjective :)
I got my favorites :)

RiffRaff
06-04-2012, 02:33 PM
Okay, I'll get my feet wet.

Thomas
Kramer
Hattori
Iizuka (Shigefusa)
Burke

and
Doi
Fujiwara
Rodrigue
Rader
Heiji

Marko Tsourkan
06-04-2012, 03:58 PM
It is all relative.

I have seen and handled many knives (all those RiffRaff mentioned) and could not find a single one without shortcoming, whatever that might be (assuming you evaluate a knife by more than one criteria). I am sure people find shortcomings in my knives as well.

I am with tk59 on this one.

M

mattrud
06-04-2012, 04:12 PM
A great knife to one person may not be so to another. We all have personal preferences, cutting styles, hand size, etc etc

dav
06-04-2012, 04:14 PM
Marko ts just meant to be a bit of fun as I said I really am not qualified to comment but I'm guessing people like yourself could have a fairly "educated" guess? As I said perhaps in 30, 40, 50 years from now who will people be talking about as the great knife makers of this era/time. When I said the quality of their work I didn't mean without fault either but as a fantastic functional piece or also from an artisitc point of view. Many people for example hold the old sabatier knives in very high regard, I'm sure they aren't perfect but are truly iconic for example.

Benuser
06-04-2012, 04:28 PM
Strong example!

Marko Tsourkan
06-04-2012, 04:30 PM
I think a post like "what are YOUR five favorite knives" would be more relevant, as people would state their personal preferences and that is fine.

It might be a post for fun, but for it to have any value, you have to give some weight to criteria upon which you evaluate a knife. Say balance, maintenance, sharpness, edge retention, handle size, fun to use, you name it...

What is best for one might not be best for another, but you would need to get an absolute agreement on a claim for it to be valid, so in this sense, I don't see a point of this thread.

I hope I don't come across as rude, just being honest.

M

JohnnyChance
06-04-2012, 04:52 PM
Same as the 5 greatest rappers of all time, think about it: Dylan, Dylan, Dylan, Dylan and Dylan. Why? Because I spit hot fire.

jm2hill
06-04-2012, 04:53 PM
My favourite knives( that I have used and or own:

Carter Funayuki
Shigefusa Nakiri
Butch KG and Laser Petty
Takeda bunka bocho
Martell Gyuto

Apparently I'm a fan of funny shaped knives. I like cleavers too (a lot) but I only have a basic CCK :(

JBroida
06-04-2012, 05:06 PM
Same as the 5 greatest rappers of all time, think about it: Dylan, Dylan, Dylan, Dylan and Dylan. Why? Because I spit hot fire.

hahahaha

too close man... too close

obtuse
06-04-2012, 07:27 PM
Carter isnt on the list?

Wagstaff
06-04-2012, 08:00 PM
Carter isnt on the list?
He's a terrible rapper. True story.

Mike Davis
06-04-2012, 08:09 PM
He's a terrible rapper. True story.
Yeah, i tried listening to him, but i cannot understand japanese...

Eamon Burke
06-04-2012, 08:35 PM
Carter isnt on the list?


He's a terrible rapper. True story.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CTdPj9p7NHU&feature=related

Eamon Burke
06-04-2012, 08:37 PM
OK I'll stop driving your thread off into the creek.


I think we could do a thread that's like "top 5 personal favorite knifemakers" or something.

Truth is, even though there are very few great kitchen knife makers alive, there are more than 5 that are well in the running for #1 in the world, its just that they all do things differently.

JKerr
06-04-2012, 11:35 PM
Personally I haven't tried enough offerings from custom makers to make a well-informed list, but the knives I've probably been happiest or most impressed with would be from:
Shigefusa (amazing craftmanship, his knives are just a joy to use)
Takeshi Saji (great cutter, nimble but has a "reassuring" heft, most of his knives look great, although some are a touch too "out there")
and finally, although a company rather than a smith, Theirs Issard. Recently acquired a few old nogents and a massif 30cm chefs knife. The old sabs are just straight bad ass :knife:

That's my 2cents.

Cheers,
Josh

gamblerS4
06-05-2012, 12:09 AM
If this thread was 5 years ago it would had been:

Shigefusa
Carter
Takeda
Watanabe
Suisen

DevinT
06-05-2012, 01:03 AM
This would be easier for me if this were a thread on the greatest knife makers ever. So at least for me here it is;

Buster Warenski is the greatest knife maker of all time. He once made a knife that sold for a million dollars. He could do it all, engrave, carve, inlay, his knives were perfect.

Tony Bose is the greatest slipjoint folder maker.

Ron Lake is the greatest lock back folder maker and the originator of the interframe folder.

Daryl Meier is the greatest damascus maker.

Don Fogg is the greatest sword maker, along with most creative, damascus and knives.

Michael Walker is the greatest for his influence on folders (liner locks).

Bob Kramer is the greatest for bringing kitchen knives to the next level. Without him very few of us would be making kitchen knives.

Two of my favorite makers are Herman Schneider and Bill Ankrom.

Thanks to all those makers who have pioneered the way for the rest of us. Thanks to all the new makers pushing us old makers. Thanks to all the educated buyers who are willing to pay for what we make. Thanks to the forums that bring us together.

Love and respect

Hoss

Salty dog
06-05-2012, 01:14 AM
How many people do you know that have given the best a run? How many "qualified" people?

DevinT
06-05-2012, 01:23 AM
How many people do you know that have given the best a run? How many "qualified" people?

Who are your favorite makers? You have owned more high end knives than anyone I know.

Hoss

Lefty
06-05-2012, 04:49 AM
I'm also not qualified to rate this, but it's a fun idea.

oivind_dahle
06-05-2012, 06:45 AM
Its rather funny that none here can answer, when magasines like askmen, fhm and even newspapers like NYC times can draw a picture of what is best or not.
Of course its highly subjective, but hey: its a knife. Not a spaceshuttle.

Is a Devin Thomas custom better than a Global?
Well all about preferences, and when someone asks its often to get some directions of where to buy a knife. If I enter a car lovers forum, I would get some ideas of what is the best and yes I rather own a Ferrari than a Trabant, at least should I dream more about owning a ferrari.


When asking for the best out there, it would more likely be an expensive knife rather than a 5 USD Victorinox. And if some you dont have the ability to tell if a knife is good or not when using it, then Im shocked. I have my preferences, based of how the knife preforms under my use. I like the way I can hold it, and I can spot rather fast if I like the profile or not.

Anyway my top list based on experience and expectations (and in no particular order):

1. Devin Thomas

For me Devin is the best damsus maker out there, doing a huge range of different patterns. I like his logo, and I like his profile and geometry. As Devin also experience with lots of different steels makes him rather unique. I also like his sanmai, and his eager to become better. I like devin as a person to, as he is polite and listen to his customers. I would recommend Devin to anyone. He also experience with lots of different handles, and I love his bolsters. For me a DT is a great knife, maybe one of the best Ive ever tried.

2. Bill Burke

The true master of sanmai and 52100. Bill is known for his HT as well as making really great knives. I first noticed him by Colins Knife and the review he did on it. I wanted one of my own and will next week hold a BB for the first time. I love Bills handles and expect them to be one of the best Ive hold. I love his profile on his customs and expect high on his geometry. Probably one of the top makers, however I need to try before I can tell for sure. But based on what Ive read and seen, I got some insane high expectations. I also like Bill as a person and have had the pleasure of talking with him for a couple of years now.

3. Murray Carter
The pimp providing the girls you like to go dirty with. I have one and its an amazing cutter. Murray cant make a good handle, but his lowend knives does the work for me. And I need those slutty girls to do the real dirty jobs. You get what you pay, a great cutter for low price.

4. Marko Tsourkan
Amazing profile and geometry. He makes some awesome handles as well, and the knife preforms beyon most top makers out there. I love everything about it.
omst likely the one that gives most bang for the bucks atm.


I dont buy from others.. and Im fine with that :)

stereo.pete
06-05-2012, 06:55 AM
I love Oivind's Murray Carter / slutty girl analogy!

Marko Tsourkan
06-05-2012, 08:51 AM
[QUOTE=oivind_dahle;115350].../QUOTE]

Keep me out of this, PLEASE!

Seth
06-05-2012, 08:53 AM
I think you could come up with some ways of thinking about the criteria that would be useful, mostly based on the idea (stolen from art criticism) that the knife needs to at least fulfill it's own intentions. So it might be considered a 'mistake' to not match up hardness with function; a slicer - not intended for rough treatment - maybe should take a harder and sharper edge. This minimizes the personal preference aspect. Aesthetics are more difficult. I think OP is looking at 'standing the test of time' which I think has less to do with personal preference than it has to do with the question of whether there are innate rules and criteria of design versus fashion which is molded by marketing and politics.

It's there. Why is a Strad better than Guarneiri; they are both great violins??

Chifunda
06-05-2012, 10:03 AM
Buster Warenski is the greatest knife maker of all time. He once made a knife that sold for a million dollars. He could do it all, engrave, carve, inlay, his knives were perfect.



Even Buster's plain Jane using knives were amazing. I bought a no frills hunter from him in Vegas around 1970. Despite being the least expensive knife on his table, it was absolutely flawless.

Don Nguyen
06-05-2012, 12:06 PM
If I enter a car lovers forum, I would get some ideas of what is the best and yes I rather own a Ferrari than a Trabant, at least should I dream more about owning a ferrari.

I was curious as to what a Trabant was. "Is is a really expensive, hand-made car or something? I'm expecting to see one fantastic looking car!" I googled it and laughed a bit; I'm sure it could be a great car, but it looks 'cute' :)



Also, I'm saving Devin's post up there. Really good material to study from; that damascus is unreal!

Vertigo
06-05-2012, 12:13 PM
blah blah blah

I knew you couldn't resist. :P

RiffRaff
06-05-2012, 10:14 PM
And another sobering thought about who's "best" -- one of the most admired kitchen knives out there, Masamoto's white steel honyaki wa gyuto, is made by one or several anonymous masters in Seki City.

Vertigo
06-05-2012, 10:15 PM
And another sobering thought about who's "best" -- one of the most admired kitchen knives out there, Masamoto's white steel honyaki wa gyuto, is made by one or several anonymous masters in Seki City.

I'll believe anything if it's stated with authority, but for my own curiosity... source?

Not being combative, just interested.

RiffRaff
06-07-2012, 09:40 AM
Quoting Koki's email from JCK:

As you know, Masamoto company is located in Tokyo and has long time history, Masamoto is one of most famous knife makers in Japan. (They are especially famous for Japanese Traditional style knives).

As you also know, Sakai City, Osaka is famous place for making Japanese Traditional style knives. Masamoto uses experienced and skillful Craftsmen in Sakai City for making their Japanese Traditional style knives. As Masamoto company keeps their Western Style knife's exact steel material and name secretly, Masamoto keeps the craftsmen's name confidentially.

Vertigo
06-07-2012, 10:22 AM
Word.