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Thread: your taste in handles on Japanese knives - a vote?

  1. #21

    Join Date
    May 2012
    Whew! Some interesting comments ...

    Quote Originally Posted by la2tokyo View Post
    .... although I invested in some serious steel, all the handles are plain magnolia. If I worked in Western restaurants with Western chefs, I might think differently. The culture here is so different that it's not a big deal for people to be different.
    Reading this I was kind of imagining how in Japan everyone might go and get plain magnolia handles in order to conform. In a US kitchen, the cooks might all go out and get tatoos and customised burl wood knife handles in order to conform. Nuts.

    Quote Originally Posted by Marko Tsourkan View Post
    Simple, clean look. Has to be symmetrical and rightly sized to a knife.
    Marco, your knives (pictured) are for me pushing it... A bit much for my taste. On the other hand, they are still someone subdued and so look nice. Yeah, as la2tokyo kind of said though, I wouldn't take one of yours into a restaurant kitchen. Maybe just hide it at home.

    Quote Originally Posted by Deckhand View Post
    出る釘は打たれる。Deru kugi wa utareru - Literally: The nail that sticks out gets hammered down.
    And how about this? 大声で醜いナイフを持っている彼は、馬鹿のように見えます。 He who has an ugly knife looks like a boob. (Okay, not a saying - just had a go on google translate)

    Anyway, from what I can tell the 'simple' camp has the lead in our vote here!: Simple 7 - Burl 4 - Depends 1

  2. #22
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Reno, NV
    I love burls of all types, just need to make sure they go together, and compliment the knife at the same time. Being American, I like any of my things to be unique and stand out. This happens a lot easier with burl woods since they are all different. A part of me also feels like I want as much care put into the handle as the knife itself, and maybe I'm wrong for thinking this, but I just don't get that with regular ho wood handles.

  3. #23
    Senior Member chinacats's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    On the (frozen) water Maine
    I think of it like a golf club where hand wrapped leather sort of equates to nice woods handles on my knives, not so much for bling as much as for the experience

    once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right

  4. #24
    Weird Wood Pusher Burl Source's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Kerby, OR
    I would be willing to bet that if given a choice on a knife being made, the numbers would change quite a bit.
    At least with myself.
    If I were having a knife made for me and was told I had a choice between a featureless white unfinished wood, or an uncommon beautiful wood that someone took the time to shape and finish nicely, it would be a no-brainer. I have watched videos showing Japanese shops making the standard "D" handles and was a little shocked. The message I got was "Look how fast we can crank these out". Not something I would be proud of.

    My take on this question is;
    Do you like your knives to be bland and the same as everyone else?
    ...or would you prefer something a bit nicer that reflects your own personal taste?

    But then I am biased.
    as Henry Ford said, “People can have the Model T in any color – so long as it’s black.”
    Things have changes a bit since then.

  5. #25
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    San Diego, CA
    I think when most people vote "simple" they aren't necessarily voting for a stock ho wood handle seen on the cheapest knives. Horn-spacer-ebony is also very simple. Even horn-ebony is very nice sometimes. Horn-something with a nice figure is great, too. I think the odd stuff is the burl-burl-mokume-damascus-(insert busy chunk of something here). Polish isn't busy either. Highly etched damascus is.

  6. #26
    SpikeC's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    We need to return to the Pure Japanese esthetic as exemplified by the Mr. Itoh Turquoise Coral handled gyuto!
    Spike C
    "The Buddha resides as comfortably in the circuits of a digital computer or the gears of a cycle transmission as he does at the top of a mountain."

  7. #27
    Senior Member Johnny.B.Good's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Bay Area, CA
    Quote Originally Posted by tk59 View Post
    I agree that a lot of things people here rave about are grossly overdone. At one point, I thought even using a piece of burl was over the top. I've since warmed to the idea of using something other than stainless/ebony/horn on handles but I still feel that in many cases, less is more.

    I definitely prefer simple handles on my own knives, though I am branching out a bit from my "go to" combination of ebony and black horn. I sort of like the wild candy colors on many Cut Brooklyn knives, but am not sure I would actually want to see it in my own kitchen on a daily basis. I'm not sure I've ever seen a burl on burl combination that I really like. Some of the more daring dyed wood handles from Kramer do it for me (like Matt Rudd's comes to mind), assuming the ferrule is a plain dark color.

    Edit: The more I think about it, there are many woods that appeal to me - koa, snakewood, desert ironwood, etc. I guess I just know what I like when I see it.

  8. #28
    Senior Member Deckhand's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Costa Mesa California
    Quote Originally Posted by SpikeC View Post
    We need to return to the Pure Japanese esthetic as exemplified by the Mr. Itoh Turquoise Coral handled gyuto!

  9. #29

    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Salt Lake City, UT
    I like my handles to be unique and to fit my personal taste. Burls, and spacers in tasteful combinations work great for me, turquoise and mother of pearl...not so much.

  10. #30
    Senior Member Customfan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    I like all kinds... Well finished and long lasting is paramount to last the rigors of whatever I throw at them.

    I tend to go toward the more character but sometimes go toward Ironwood, cocobolo, burl, etc. and even sheep horn. Depends on the knife but what I think is good taste.

    Not crazy about Coral, mother of pearl, etc.

    Randy, Pierre and Rader's handles are just awesome! (Just to name a few).

    I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder!

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