I think that back when they became the "it"knife, obtaining one was no easy task. Some waited over a year. Reminiscent of the KD. Now it's a bit easier with Maxim, but still definitely limited. Maybe once cktg has an infinite stock, the mystique will wither...
I have a few pieces that I can't really explain what it is about them exactly, but I love, and reach for without thinking. I won't say which knives so I don't start anything, but they all have similar traits. They are:
Have impeccable craftsmanship
Love this thread, as Shige is probably one knife that I studied in depth, and tried to understand the reasoning behind every step in the process (some on a theoretical level, of course)
It's also one maker I have a lot of respect for - level of worksmakship, attention to detail, consistency. I haven't come across many J. makers (in fact very few) who painstakingly shape and taper the tang (invisible part of the knife) even though it results in a clean handle installation. Things like that speak volumes to me.
Steel is a simple carbon steel probably from Uddeholm. Holds a good edge but the steel has no alloys that would contribute to great edge holding, though on the other hand, the knife sharpens very easily to a screaming sharp.
A transition between the tang and the spine is very nice (forged and filed/scraped by hand), geometry is great, weight would put it in mid-heavy or medium knives, depending which Shige you get. Early ones were heavier and thicker in geometry.
Very thin at the edge, planes brought down to zero on most knives I have seen. Very easy to initiate a cut and food separation is superb, especially on thin knives. Easy to thin down the road.
Finish is very good on kasumi and great on kitaeji knives. Some of the nicest hand carved kanji I have seen.
In all, this knife does look and feel like a quality hand-made knife. In other words, it need no "help" to sell.
Reactivity, microchipping, and easy to bend (on thin knives) are the things that make it a less than perfect knife, but folks find these a manageable trade-off compared to other things the knife offers.
Good post, Marko. i agree 100% that the edge retention is average/good. This is even from a home user...however, thy're special, and that's all that matters.
I will say that Marko's is in the category I mentioned in my previous post. That is all....
Wait...he's tall, hefty, thin, unassuming, Calvin Klein?
The only Japanese maker that I've owned more than one of their knives (3 Shigs). To me the best combination of cutting ease, release, sharpness. I care little about reactivity but ime it is not much different than other carbon I like. Of those I've used, the only ho wood handle worth keeping.
I agree with Marko's post - very well said, and more than I know. It's not the perfect knife, but my 240 gyuto is the one I reach for the most because it's the best feeling knife to me to use. Shape, balance, weight, size, profile, grind, etc. all come together to be an amazing tool to use.
I've found edge retention to be fair-poor. Actually quite disappointed at how quickly the edge degrades, and I have been doing any outside work with it, just home use. Strops up nicely, but looses that initial keenness quickly. even though it's not the sharpest knife in my block, it's still the first one I reach for.
I love the D shaped handle, and it was lovely when it was new. Sanded to a very fine grit. But as soon as I used it and it got wet, the gain raised and it's not the same - almost has a rough texture. The ho wood almost feels a bit soft. As far handles go, my Yusukes have the nicest ho wood that I used used by far.
Marko summed up the tangibles very well. I must agree that the transition from spine to tang / the area where the steel meets the handle is on of my favorite parts and, is perhaps the most beautiful example of that section of any wa-handled knife that I've seen.
It's a great example of something that takes extra time and skill to execute, doesn't make a huge difference in performance (just a tad towards balance and rigidity maybe), but makes a huge impression on the user when they have it in hand.
Originally Posted by Justin0505
Originally Posted by RRLOVER