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Thread: Why so japanocentric?

  1. #21
    Senior Member Salty dog's Avatar
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    +1 ........The Euro makers need to make their wares easily available to the North American market. I'm sure there are good ones. We just don't get a chance to check them out.

    What one person thinks is a good cutter may be completely different from what I think. Happens all the time.

  2. #22
    I'm currently waiting on a full custom carbon (1.2442) from Germany (TilmanL) as well as a custom carbon (O1) from England (WillC) and fully expect them to equal or surpass many of the J-blades that I have used. I guess I'll be trying to find out for sure, but really looking forward to both.

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  3. #23
    There was one member a few months back who lives in Paris and spoke well of 1 or 2 French makers; one was Vietnamese-French I think.

  4. #24
    Any manufacturer or independent knifemaker can, and often does, get talked about positively here but lots don't meet the minimum standard that a $150 Japanese gyuto can deliver and that's just a reality.

    People will be interested in any knife that kicks ass and/or offers good value, it's of course a plus of it's obtainable to them as well.

  5. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by banjo1071 View Post
    ...I mean, there a so many wondeful knifmakers and fanastic knifecompanies all around the world that get no notice here. I mean not at all! Is there any specific reason? Is because people think japanese cutlery is superior op all other (thats what advertisment tells us, but i see hordes of japanes tourist buying loads and loads of swiss and german cutlery here in europe, so that hardly can be true).
    Or is it that all the good stuff from France, Switzerland, Austria or Germany is rarly exported und our US-Friends just get the china-made factory stuff like Zwilling, "Messermeister" (completly unknown in Germany) and the such? And have all the right to diss these crappy blades.
    My 0.02$ is that mainstream is mainstream, here or in Europe or in Japan. I've worked for SAP which is a German software company, but point is I've had lots of coworkers who just came from Germany or other EU countries, and some of the did brought their kitchen knives with them. Guess what All of it was the same mainstream stuff, some no name knives, some popular stuff(one Messermeister too), etc.
    Good stuff in German is harder to find for English speakers too.

    Quote Originally Posted by banjo1071 View Post
    But over the years a i always came back to german super-thin high carbon knives as my goto-knives. And they just cost a fraction...
    I'd be interested in that too. One you linked, Hennicke, price range is 250-400 EU, that's hardly a fraction of the cost, same for the Schanz 230 EU. If I had to choose between Aogami 1/2 and more expensive 140Cr2 knife, which is also 3-5HRC points softer compared to many Japanese knives, it's not that hard to figure out which one I'd pick If I wanted a custom, US makers are easier to work with, no hassle with customs, etc.
    In my experience, high end knives in Europe are more expensive than in US and often than Japanese too.

  6. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by chinacats View Post
    I'm currently waiting on a full custom carbon (1.2442) from Germany (TilmanL)
    Interesting thing, that alloy is quite similar to Aogami 1, just not as strict spec on contaminants -
    Aogami 1 vs. 1.2442 steel composition comparison... Never had a knife made out of it, but I am curious how it works out, especially if you have Aogami knives to compare with.

  7. #27
    Senior Member Birnando's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThEoRy View Post
    Snip..

    And now we have makers like Marko, Devin, HHH, Pierre, etc. improving upon THAT now as well. Full circle perhaps?
    Heh, fresh statement!
    The few customs from the US I have played around with did not quite look like much of an improvement.
    Good knives, sure, but improvements? Nah, not in my book.
    And no surprise either really.
    After all, someone having done this as a sole source of income for say 50 years, and learning from dad/ a master knifesmith who has even more, should be able to produce a better product than your average hobbyist out of Hicksville USA with a desire to make an extra buck or two...

    Sorry for the harsh words here, but come on, it's all good to support local artisans and all,but to expect them to top the very best of this game with just a few years of "homemaking" in the shed is kinda ridiculous.

  8. #28
    @ Birnando

    Tell you what. Let's make a bet. Pick a best knife in your opinion from a maker who has been making knives for 50 years and got that knowledge from generations before him, and I will pick a knife made by somebody who has been making knives (when not working on improving a process) for less than 3 years. Let's send both knives to a third party who is in no way affiliated with either maker/vendor. And let's see if your statement holds water.

    Quote Originally Posted by Birnando View Post

    Sorry for the harsh words here, but come on, it's all good to support local artisans and all,but to expect them to top the very best of this game with just a few years of "homemaking" in the shed is kinda ridiculous.


    I don' t dispute that some of what you are saying might be true, but not as a blank statement.

    If you know what you are doing, if you have a proper guidance, equipment, use proper process and if you study the subject in depth, sky is the limit. At least here in the US.

    Don't believe me? Look at Bob Kramer. He has been making knives for about 10 years, and his earlier knives were probably no that different from his current, though his damascus became much more complicated. He learned his trade from hammer-ins and guys who weren't passed knowledge from their fathers. Some of the best makers in the US started as hobbyists.


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  9. #29
    Senior Member Birnando's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marko Tsourkan View Post
    @ Birnando

    Tell you what. Let's make a bet. Pick a best knife in your opinion from a maker who has been making knives for 50 years and got that knowledge from generations before him, and I will pick a knife made by somebody who has been making knives (when not working on improving a process) for less than 3 years. Let's send both knives to a third party who is in no way affiliated with either maker/vendor. And let's see if your statement holds water.
    You know what, I'll gladly take you up on that bet.
    Let us work out the details via PM


    Quote Originally Posted by Marko Tsourkan View Post
    I don' t dispute that some of what you are saying might be true, but not as a blank statement.

    If you know what you are doing, if you have a proper guidance, equipment, use proper process and if you study the subject in depth, sky is the limit. At least here in the US.
    I do not for a second doubt that.
    But let me assure you, the world is a whole lot more than the US, and in large parts of it, your claim is also valid
    That the sky is the limit, that is!
    My point is, it takes a bit of time reaching that sky..
    Firing up a kiln in the backyard and buying stock pattern welded steel to hammer a bit on after work, does not make a person a knifesmith.
    At least not the first few years.

    Quote Originally Posted by Marko Tsourkan View Post
    Don't believe me? Look at Bob Kramer. He has been making knives for about 10 years, and his earlier knives were probably no that different from his current, though his damascus became much more complicated. He learned his trade from hammer-ins and guys who weren't passed knowledge from their fathers. Some of the best makers in the US started as hobbyists.
    Am I to understand that this Kramer, while reputable, (or hyped) out-performs all Japanese maker after these ten years?
    In all aspects of knife making?
    And in practical use?
    And to the tune of five or even twenty times the value?
    ( I know, value is in the eyes of the beholder. As I own more than 40 custom straight razors, all but a few made in the US, I do get that concept)
    I do not have one, and while willing to accept your apparent expertise compared to mine, I must confess to having serious doubts about this statement.

    I readily admit that there are good steel- and knife-makers in the US, and other parts of the world beyond Japan.
    No doubt.
    But as a general statement that the names mentioned in what I quoted in my first post in this thread, and others, are improving on all Japanese makers per say?
    Nope, not a chance!

    Like I said, I have not tried, or owned, many US artisan knifes.
    The ones I have tried and owned though, were not all that to be honest, and I still have one that would make you cringe from the very apparent error on it.
    So much so that it would, by most anyone's standards, have been called for what it is, a faulty product.
    And this from a highly respected maker in the US..

    I have stated this before;
    I do not believe in vendor bashing on a forum like this, and will not start doing so now.
    So he will remain nameless.

    And to be even more clear, this was not an attack on the four lads mentioned per say, it was a statement meant towards what I saw as a blanket statement towards the lack of skills on the traditional and highly experienced Japanese makers.

  10. #30
    Well I watched that movie about Kramer and there he, or the voice said, that he was multiple times [9 ?] in japan, learning about knifemaking, and studying sharpening and sword polishing.
    The link for the movie was found here, on KKF.
    Not sure if thats truth or marketing, but if its truth what kind of hobbyists you mean?

    I am with Birnando on this one, but I would say that there are some real talents in the world, like Mike Tyson was one of them for example. So it is possible for a guy in the shed to totally be producing out very quality stuff. Saying its better or worse in general is ignorant.

    But I know Bjornar, and he has the amount of experience,knives and stones, enough to state that from these blades he tried, japaneses were better, and I believe him 100%, if he claims that.

    To the OP.
    The thing is, honestly, not where to get them blades, but how to get the trust for the artisan. I buy Shigefusa with confidence. I know what to expect. I dont want to spend my bucks on european maker and then work on the grind, if its too flat.

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