How to learn about different knife brands?
Is there a general guide to learn "roughly" about the different major knifemaker? Like a quick pros and cons guide to the major knifemakers, who they would be suitable for, etc etc?
I want to buy a yanagi and maybe a usuba, but want to do some research first...don't really know where to start.
Maybe Gator's site (www.zknives.com). But even then, it's more about specific knives and steels. It's probably easier to have an idea of what type of knife you'd like (gyuto, yanagi, etc.), with maybe a price range, and seek recommendations that way. It really depends on what you're looking for.
I'd suggest talking with Jon Broida, of Japanese Knife Imports. Jon is a member here, and has traveled to Japan and met with several makers in the course of his business. He is not only knowledgeable about the knives you are interested in, but actually uses them and can give you some good advice. I trust him to give the best advice he can, and I would not hesitate to purchase a knife he recommended.
Originally Posted by slowtyper
You can either start an open thread in his sub-forum here, or if you want, a private message to him. You can also reach him through his website, http://www.japaneseknifeimports.com/.
Canada's Sharpest Lefty
I second that, P Tiger.
He's very helpful and won't push a more expensive knife just to make a bit more money.
To be honest, he has answered q's of mine that had nothing to do with anything he carries!
Agreed. Find a seller that clearly has a good selection of a variety of top-notch knives and has great customer communication--like Jon Broida--and tell them what you will do with it, your usage style, and budget. He's a pro, and wants your business, and doesn't want to rip you off--that way you'll come back when you inevitably buy more and more knives.
In addition to the referrals here, maybe send a pm to Dave....as a sharpener, he probably sees & handles more knives in month than most of us will see in a lifetime.
The problem with a 'buyers guide' is that the Japanese business model seems to support multiple OEM's who supply knives to a 'brand' at different price points, so in effect, the workshop who maked the $250 yanagi for "X" brand may not make the $500 yanagi, or make any of the usuba's, and may not make the $250 yanagi in 6 months.
I think all of the sugestions are good ones. I found the problem was that I didn't really know what I liked or wanted. I bought a couple of inexpensive gyutos with different shapes and tried them out. Only then was I able to figure out not only what I liked but what everyone else was talking about. If you have someplace nearby that sells these knives check it out. Or find some knife-nut nearby and look at their stuff. Good luck.
BTW, you won't go wrong with either Jon Broida or Dave Martell.
Buy them all, write good reviews on them, post pics and let us in on what you find.
If it's a matter of preference, as in what feels good to you and what suits your style, I'm not sure there's any way around it other than actually trying out different knives. The most economical way would be to find some folks who live in the area, get together, and try stuff out.
If it's about the technical side of the knives, the advice of the aforementioned experts and that of many of the folks here can point you in the right direction.
I'd say there's really no shortcut around learning about the specific characteristics that will feel good or feel right for you, though. But that's part of the fun of the whole experience
Well you're in Toronto right? I suggest you hit up stores to get a feel for knives. There are two in Toronto that cater to this level of nerdery. Knife on queen st focuses on more general release brands and Tosho will have Konosuke and Takeda, which are more in line w/ the taste of people here.
Tosho doesn't have a physical store yet but will soon. You can visit their workspace to check out the knives in person, they have a new shipment in w/ a lot of Konosuke.
Or if you want I have some knives you can take a look at.