The phrase "Great Cutter", is often used to describe a knife. If I understood Sara's article about craftsmen, sharpness in a knife is a given. Craftsman are searching for features, that will enhance the over all cutting experience. Sara noted that the overall cutting experience is subjective.
Is a great cutter a knife, that falls effortlessly through food? I've got knives, okay cleavers that will wedge somewhat in thicker foods, but easily chop tomatoes all day. Tomatoes are my test, for knife performance.
Is a great cutter a knife, that feels natural in hand? I picked up a Tadatsuna gyuto, not expecting much. The brand became popular over night, and just as quickly fell out. I'd always been curious about the knife, and currently they are inexpensive, so why not try one? I was surprised to find that it felt very good in hand, all the cuts felt natural.
I had a similar experience with a FH gyuto. I thinned the knife a little. It feels good in hand and all the cuts feel natural and easy.
I've wondered at times, if I enjoy the Tadatsuna and FH because they were relatively inexpensive? I'm more comfortable sharpening them, and I don't worry about them as much, when using them in the kitchen.
What role does sharpening play? Some knives are fairly sharp out of the box and get very sharp following the makers bevels and edge. Other knives, need to thinned a little before they take off. A few knifes, have to sharpened multiple times, before they start to perform. When my sharpening skills go to another level, it feels like I get new knifes.
What role does technique play? There are some knives, that for whatever reason I put away. When I go back to the knife, a lot of times, I am surprised how well they perform.
What role does comfort play? I've admired custom handles, but at the end of the day, the knife is a tool that is getting used in a harsh environment. I just couldn't see the value of a flashy handle.
Andy777 has talked about for years, that a new handle can make all the difference. I was still skeptical, but finally sent him a knife to be re - handled. When I got the knife, back I was amazed. It was like getting a new knife. In addition to the handle he improved the fit and finish of the knife. The knife is so much more comfortable in hand, it feels easier to use.
So what makes a great cutter for you?