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Thread: Japanese or North American - who makes a better knife?

  1. #11
    I think they are nearly impossible to compare directly. Apples and oranges as they say. Not because of how they are made or style or whatever, but because of their price points and target markets. There are basically 2 kinds of kitchen knives that are made in America. Super ****** Lamson/Chicago Cutlery type stuff that every knife service uses to supply house knives to restaurants, and full blown customs. I do not believe there is any decent, mid range kitchen knife mass produced in North America. In Japan, you have tons of manufacturers who make a lot of great knives in decent quantities. There are super cheap ones too, so I suppose you could compare low end American to low end Japanese, but what's the point? What is the western equivalent of a Konosuke, Artisugu, Hiromoto, Tojiro, Shigefusa, etc? There really isn't anything in that $100-400 range. The DT ITK line and some of Murray Carter's knives are in this range, but that is basically still one guy cranking them out and there is usually still a wait. And when you get into customs from Japan, they really aren't the same as customs from American makers. Most prefer to make you anything, as long as it is in their preferred steel, in a traditional shape, which some may or may not let you tweak. You aren't getting ladder pattern damascus, curly koa and mammoth tooth handles with mosaic pins. Although, they are usually cheaper than high end custom Americans. Some just charge a relatively small percentage increase over their regular knives.

    They are both great, for their own reasons. Enjoy them both, be glad you have so many options.
    "God sends meat and the devil sends cooks." - Thomas Deloney

  2. #12
    Senior Member Salty dog's Avatar
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    To each his own.

    I guess I'll judge that by the knives I gravitate to and use the most.

    Japanese.

  3. #13
    Senior Member goodchef1's Avatar
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    I believe that American knives have tradition also, although not as old as Japan, but tradition nonetheless, Japan has innovation also, with new steels, HT's and other stuff from companies like Nenohi.

    For that price range, which is not a lot in the knife world, I don't think that there is actually one better then the other, and the differences in performance would not be as easily noticeable.

    Knife makers are a close nit group and from what I've learned, support and learn from each other. Its us consumers that make these kinds of rivalries. I think preferences should be applied rather then "who's better"

  4. #14

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    I think it's apples and apples. Hand crafted vs hand crafted, they are on equal pairings.

    -AJ

  5. #15
    For mass market knives, Japan certainly makes better knives.

    For artisan knives, it should be evaluated on a vender and type of knife basis with different venders have different strengths and specialties.

  6. #16
    i know exactly who i'd send my money to to make a knife if i had that kinda scratch....he ain't on the forums either....i ain't gonna tell though so their list doesn't get any longer in case i win the lottery!.....ryan
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

    viva la revolucion !

  7. #17
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by sudsy9977 View Post
    i know exactly who i'd send my money to to make a knife if i had that kinda scratch....he ain't on the forums either....i ain't gonna tell though so their list doesn't get any longer in case i win the lottery!.....ryan
    I've never seen a Japanese maker on the forum... does that mean he's Japanese?

  8. #18
    Senior Member EdipisReks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sudsy9977 View Post
    i know exactly who i'd send my money to to make a knife if i had that kinda scratch....he ain't on the forums either....i ain't gonna tell though so their list doesn't get any longer in case i win the lottery!.....ryan
    a Jay Fisher Saussure?

  9. #19
    Mass market--Japan. Custom, America. There are a lot of steps in the knife making process a lot of Japanese shops and makers do sloppily or poorly because of tradition and cultural standards, like proper annealing, preventing overgrinds, handle fitment, drying woods, etc. The factory steel is better, I'll take Tojiro over Dexter Russel any day.

  10. #20
    Senior Member AFKitchenknivesguy's Avatar
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    Just my opinion, but it matters what you prefer to use them for. Since I am a meat and potatoes guy, I will go for American made. I simply don't use japanese knives often because I don't prepare asian food much. Pretty simple to me.
    Jason

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