Janpanese Bladesmiths, an article on blade smithing in Sakai
I was searching with the term Ebuchi when I saw Leigh's (of chef's armoury) twitter post about his forging of a yanagiba under Ebuchi-san supervision and ran into this nice article with lots of pictures. Although the article seems to be written for Chroma, I think it is a nice one overall about knife making in Sakai.
Awesome article, thanks for posting.
How are "microscopic grooves" preventing rust? I hope that's a mistranslation.
I think it is similar to the effect of highty polished carbon steel knives rust less easily compared with less polished ones or ones with rough surface.
Thats awesome. I really enjoyed the second page where they're showing the handle making process. I knew they were handmade, but i've never seen how they were made.
Thanks for sharing!
The handle making and installation process was interesting to see. I still think that the handle design is undervalued for the Japanese makers as compared to the American makers of Japanese knives. It's either Ho or burnt Chestnut. Where are the options for stabilized wood etc?
I think on one hand what they do is just design and make most practical, utilitarian handle possible. On the other, I think the handle issue is in many ways a cultural issue. It's true that overseas the tastes are often toward more flash handles, but apparently these wouldn't be as cool in a Japanese kitchen, and that's easy to imagine. The attitude would be more like 'who do you think you are?' as the traditional ones are ho and chestnut, and probably the head chef himself would have the same. Also, it's way more expensive to make the custom-style handles and, though I've never used one, do they really out-perform the traditional woods? On my knives the ho or chestnut (I also have ichii) feels just right and it's no surprise as the knives were envisioned a certain way. As far as I know people will spend an extra hundred or more for custom-style handles, and sometimes they're wonderful, though often to me they aren't really, and I'd rather put this $ toward a new knife or natural stone. Some people on KKF seem to have the mentality that a) you get a new knife, then b) invest in a respectable handle, but I don't get it.
Originally Posted by Bill13
Good points, especially the kitchen. I am trying to buy my 1st J knife and don't have the money for the nice handle. But I can totally get spending 400 on a knife and it is a great knife; but when shown or noticed by others (like my wife!) she will be , well OK. But you put on a stabilized burl or ironwood with a horn spacer and end it in bog oak she would be OK now I get why it is a 525 dollar knife.
Originally Posted by Patatas Bravas
What I tell people too is that the amount of money the knife maker earns per knife is not that much. Materials are about 50 dollars (a guess) labor maybe 200 dollars for 3 hours work (another guess) overhead 10 dollars, middle man gets maybe 50-75 and the rest goes to the tax man. This is after years or apprenticing and learning the craft.