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Thread: acceptability of imperfections?

  1. #1
    Senior Member NO ChoP!'s Avatar
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    acceptability of imperfections?

    Another thread got me thinking......

    What makes certain imperfections acceptable?

    It's rustic? (Moritaka)
    It has a low price point? (Tojiro)
    It's hand made? (Carter)
    It's so prevalent it's become expected? (Masamoto)

    Why are misplaced name stamps, errant hammer marks, grind marks, uneven finish, overgrinds, gaps, etc... accepted for some knives, but not for others?
    The difference between try and triumph is a little "umph"! NO EXCUSES!!!!!!!
    chefchristophermiller@yahoo.com

  2. #2
    I accept imPERFECTIONS in anything except exhibition grade crafts.

    Tojiros are factory blades, and should be cookie cutter perfect, or else an engineer needs a new job. That said, it appears that machines cannot make knives without a significant amount of help from a human. The best factory knives I've ever used are from Suisin.

    For handmade items, the KIND of imperfections are what is key here--you've got three categories:
    1. Accidents/Oversights
    These are things that the maker either had no idea happened, or just didn't get to. If they affect performance, it's back to the maker it goes. If not, then the severity and/or quantity of these imperfections are inversely proportional to how much it should cost. I accept these because it's a knife, not a Soul, you gotta stop at some point.
    2. Wabi-Sabi/Character
    A brilliant solution to the fact that things are not going to be perfect every time, and you can't make a living selling perfected items. You pick things that are critical, master them, and then glorify the flaws--this is what Murray Carter does. If you find beauty in hammer marks because they are signs of the hand of maker, then you can save your smith a step in making your knife. Sometimes people pay a little more for these imperfections because they are enjoying the humanity of the item, like a Takeda.
    3. Unfinished parts
    You sell a knife with belt marks on it, or a rough-fitted handle, or a sharp spine, you are just outsourcing work to the customer to save some time. Sometimes this doesn't affect price because it is often things that don't matter, like cleaning up that little armpit in the Machi, or removing a tiny burr from the spine near the tip.

  3. #3
    $ certainly contributes...case in point being tojiro...though I did return one of their bread knives because the handle was finished so poorly.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Crothcipt's Avatar
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    In the case of the Tanaka's on ebay. They are not finished on the choil, or even the spine. The handle is something not to write home about either. But the price is right. Now if the bevel had problems then its a no-go for me. I have seen Tanaka's finished for a very high price.

  5. #5
    Senior Member NO ChoP!'s Avatar
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    "It's supposed to be rustic", "it's hand made, if you want perfection buy the higher grade", "you only payed $xxx", "yah the f&f suck, buts its profile is awesome", "I can always upgrade the handle"....
    The difference between try and triumph is a little "umph"! NO EXCUSES!!!!!!!
    chefchristophermiller@yahoo.com

  6. #6
    Senior Member NO ChoP!'s Avatar
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    I've been delving into some of Tanakas higher ended stuff as of late; good example.... the custom R2's, and blue traditional J's are going for a pretty penny, but you can get a relatively decent knife, with a few finish flaws for a great deal.
    The difference between try and triumph is a little "umph"! NO EXCUSES!!!!!!!
    chefchristophermiller@yahoo.com

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by NO ChoP! View Post
    What makes certain imperfections acceptable?
    I've got a new answer.

    Because without them, I would have to find something else to do with my time and thoughts.

  8. #8
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    If I know what to expect, I can make an educated decision. I only get pissed when I am led to believe I am going to get one thing and end up with something else.

  9. #9
    Senior Member mattrud's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tk59 View Post
    If I know what to expect, I can make an educated decision. I only get pissed when I am led to believe I am going to get one thing and end up with something else.
    +1 great way of putting it

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by tk59 View Post
    If I know what to expect, I can make an educated decision. I only get pissed when I am led to believe I am going to get one thing and end up with something else.
    +2 (with price included as a factor)
    Michael
    "Don't you know who he is?"

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