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Cut Brooklyn: Opinions?

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jackslimpson

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Does anyone have a Cut Brooklyn knife? If so, what do you think of them? How's the steel, the edge, and the performance?

Cheers,

Jack

P.S.: since they come from Brooklyn, there's a Yo!-handled joke in there somewhere, but I can't work it out.
 

Lefty

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Never used one, but Joel seems to have really upped his game, recently. I like the new profile, and I think his handles look pretty nice.
They're not lazers, though.
Dave?
 

Marko Tsourkan

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Never used one, but Joel seems to have really upped his game, recently. I like the new profile, and I think his handles look pretty nice.
They're not lazers, though.
Dave?
The last time I checked, Cut Brooklyn used steel more suitable for hunting and field knives, than kitchen knives.

One style handle. Too thin IMO

M
 

mano

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When I first decided to get a higher-end knife late last year I seriously considered CB. Joel isn't too far and we emailed about a custom order. My sister had been to his shop when a friend ordered several knives and said he was a great guy. That was my experience, as well.

But when I floated the idea on knife forums the consensus was the Prospect profiles were not the best so I passed. Also I wasn't crazy about the colored resin handles.

The newer Journeyman model seems to be more in line with j knives and he's using wood handles.

SLT is going to carry his manufactured line pretty soon.
 

Eamon Burke

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Personally, I don't quite understand the pricetag. But perhaps I am missing something.
 

rockbox

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For all practical purposes, the CB knives are mid-techs. CB doesn't do his own heat treats, and you can't really customize the knife. If I were going to buy a mid-tech, a DT looks a lot more appealing especially considering the price tag. I can get a full custom from Pierre or for 100-200 more, you get a damascus knife from Del.
 

Marko Tsourkan

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+1. No in-house heat treatment, limited handle customization, limited steel selection. Mid-tech at best.
 

Andrew H

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Is it just me or do his handles seem pretty weird?
 

thehessian

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I posted this reply on another forum:

"I've got a gyuto in his Journeyman series, which uses 1095 carbon steel. It's a simple steel, but a solid performer that has proven itself in outdoor knives.

Haven't had the gyuto for too long, so I can't comment on long-term use, but it's ground very thin and cuts exceptionally well. A little more flexible than I usually like, but that's probably just a function of its thinness and doesn't detract from its usability for me.

It's a real beauty, too.

Joel is a really nice guy and a superb craftsman. I hope his knives get more popular in Foodie circles."

One thing I would add is that I don't believe outsourcing the heat treat connotes a mid-tech knife. Everything else is done in his shop and without benefit of CNC, so far as I know.
 

rockbox

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There is no true definition of mid-tech. However, the DT mid-tech has more steps done in house than the CBs and cost about half the price. At around the same price, I can get a some of the knife makers here to make me a true custom knife. I don't knock people for liking a particular knife, but personally I don't think the CB stuff is a particularly good value. You can get a mizu honyaki or and damascus Ealy for not much more.
 

AFKitchenknivesguy

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I thought WS was carrying them? Either way the guy has some great marketing going on. I was shocked by the $600 price tag though. His name has floated around in the forums for a couple years now, but never builds steam. To me, that says a lot. We are some pretty loose billed folks, so for no one to drop the change to try one out says a lot. Maybe if he changed his steel and started participating here to learn more about what kitchen knife folks look for things would change? And as far as this statement, "I've got a gyuto in his Journeyman series, which uses 1095 carbon steel. It's a simple steel, but a solid performer that has proven itself in outdoor knives."...what makes it a gyuto (marketing?) and not a chefs? Interchangeable at times to makers trying to immitate j-makers but is that the case here? Also, 1095 is not a bad steel, but you made an important point...outdoor knives and kitchen knives are apples and oranges. Just because teak makes a good outdoor furniture wood doesn't mean I want to make a cutting board out of it.
 

thehessian

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What additional steps are done in-house? (Not a challenge, I'm genuinely curious.)

I concede that there are better deals than CB, but for me, that's not always the bottom line. If certain desirable features and design elements are present on a particular knife, then I'm in.

Edited to add:

AFKitchenknivesguy: I took the liberty of calling it a gyuto based on the overall shape (the geometry is similar to many Japanese knives, which was one of the immediately appealing factors for me). Not to mention the fact that the term is common parlance around these parts. Joel doesn't use the term, so far as I'm aware.

Good analogy with the teak example. Maybe you're right. So far my experience has been that it's a very serviceable knife. Perhaps he'll change his carbon choice if he gets enough negative feedback on it.
 
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WildBoar

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Having a couple of demanding pro cooks put one through it's paces would sure help his cause. Too many knives out there for less $ that have been proven to be good performers. For a non-damascus carbon, the price of entry is a bit high unless his knives have been building a good track record in the kitchen. Only a few kitchen knife makers have a reputation good enough to support higher prices.
 

SpikeC

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I find 1095 an odd choice for a high end knife. There are so many other choices in carbon steel that provide better performance.
 

Lefty

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Having a couple of demanding pro cooks put one through it's paces would sure help his cause. Too many knives out there for less $ that have been proven to be good performers. For a non-damascus carbon, the price of entry is a bit high unless his knives have been building a good track record in the kitchen. Only a few kitchen knife makers have a reputation good enough to support higher prices.
I will agree 100% that his knives haven't been tried by any of us, and that for the money, I'd go another obvious direction.
However, just because he hasn't been "discovered" by us, or involved in a passaround here doesn't mean he isn't floating knives around with chef's elsewhere.
He has brooklyn on his doorstep and the other boroughs in his backyard. I guarantee he's getting input from somewhere. TRUST ME on this one.
 

AFKitchenknivesguy

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I will agree 100% that his knives haven't been tried by any of us, and that for the money, I'd go another obvious direction.
However, just because he hasn't been "discovered" by us, or involved in a passaround here doesn't mean he isn't floating knives around with chef's elsewhere.
He has brooklyn on his doorstep and the other boroughs in his backyard. I guarantee he's getting input from somewhere. TRUST ME on this one.
Actually, he was discovered by us almost two years ago. No one pulled the trigger to buy one, so no feedback was ever given. To my memory, the steel and design were the major drawbacks...can't remember what he charged then but it was near the price now.
 

Marko Tsourkan

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I will agree 100% that his knives haven't been tried by any of us, and that for the money, I'd go another obvious direction.
However, just because he hasn't been "discovered" by us, or involved in a passaround here doesn't mean he isn't floating knives around with chef's elsewhere.
He has brooklyn on his doorstep and the other boroughs in his backyard. I guarantee he's getting input from somewhere. TRUST ME on this one.
Lefty,
CB was mentioned on the forums for at least 2 years that I can remember. Joel paid a visit to Dave, who had some good things to say about the knife (handle is comfortable comes to mind) but I don't know anybody on any of the three forums - KF, FF, and now KKF, who actually owns one.

How did it become popular in NYC? Well, there was a couple of writeups, one in NY Times (and recently on CB end-grain boards, followed by latest article about knives) and at least a couple of small video interview online that I know of. The author in the NY Times didn't have much experience writing about knvies, which made me wonder, so I asked a friend who writes a column in a local newspaper and is familiar with the industry, and he told me that this is is how the paper makes money - you approach an agent, shell out 6-8K and get a nice write up about you by people often unfamiliar with the subject.

CB probably gets some imput from the forums, but he never bothered to join and to have his knives evaluated. Which I think is mistake if you are serious. But Joel's market is not pros, and educated home cooks. His market is young, wealthy professionals who like expensive things without knowing much about them. The emphasis on handle material and mozaic pins (designer stuff) speaks for itself. I have no doubts his knives will outcut German steel, but to claim that best knives come from Japan and Brooklyn (which I am sure he was joking about), is ludicrous.

Don't want to sound overly negative, but there are A makers, and B makers. Everybody starts from B, but some people stay there, even as time goes by. That is how I view things. Plain and simple.


M
 

Lefty

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Mentioned, yes. I mean "discovered" as in tried out. Sorry for the ambiguity.
 

Lefty

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I definitely get you Marko. I think he should join here, but to each his own, I guess.
I'm just saying, he does have people using his product and giving their opinions...just not us!
 

jaybett

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A driving force in the forums is exploration. People are always on the look out for the next great knife. A knife maker to get people to take a chance on his knife, must have one of the following:

1. Price point - most of the popular brands, started at a low price point. Not a huge loss, if the knife didn't work out.
2. Steel - A new type of steel will generate interest. Konosukes HD being the latest example.
3. Reputation of the maker. Dave was able to pre-sell a number of knives, based on his reputation.

Cut Brooklyn's price point has always been high. At least a $100 - $200 higher then a comparable gyuto.
The steel doesn't get anybody excited.
While Joel is recognized as making a good knife, what separates his knives from other makers?

It doesn't take much of a reason or an excuse for some of us to purchase a new knife. I think that it has been longer then two years, since the forums have been aware of Cut Brooklyn. As far as I can recall, nobody has purchased one or at least posted about their purchase on the forum.

Jay
 

thehessian

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I just joined this forum, though I've been around similar forums for a few years. Just don't post much. But it feels a little insular on some of the forums, at times. Maybe some people have a slight aversion to that and decide to earn their beans elsewhere.
 

rockbox

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I just joined this forum, though I've been around similar forums for a few years. Just don't post much. But it feels a little insular on some of the forums, at times. Maybe some people have a slight aversion to that and decide to earn their beans elsewhere.
I sorry you feel that this forum is insular just because we are not attracted to the CB knives. We have guys here who have bought thousand dollar knives just to try them out. Adam was the first person who I knew who bought a Kramer. Salty was the first I knew to buy almost every knife he owns. Just because we haven't affirmed your knife purchase decision, doesn't mean we don't like you. Joel just haven't given the guys here to get behind in terms of a product. Maybe he is not targeting us as a customer. He is obviously doing something right to be able to sell his knives at Williams Sonoma, so maybe he doesn't need us.
 

Dave Martell

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I know Joel pretty well, he's been down here at least 4 times that I can recall and we've become good friends. His take on his knives is interesting since he started both designing & making knives without any help or influence at all. He essentially bought a grinder and some steel and got to doing what he liked. He started out somewhere down south in a gardner's shack (or something like that) while attending college. He's put a lot of time into refining his knives to be unique yet functional.

The knives themselves (the Propect line) are pretty thin, use good steel (well I only know about his older CPM-154 models) and can hold their own with what we've seen. The issues that people have mentioned to me when handling his knives is that they either love or don't like the handles. From what I can see hand size plays a good part in this. The belly profile is a bit more of a rocker style but not as much as what you'd think.

As for Joel participating on the forums, I doubt that will happen, but maybe he reads them?

I know that regardless of what we here think of his knives or pricing that he sells a crap load of knives up in NYC and is set to take off.
 

thehessian

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Rockbox, believe me, my opinions are not based on consensus validation or lack-thereof. That's a bit of a simplistic reading. Though this is the internet, nuance gets lost, and I'm by no means calling you simplistic. Anyway, I formed that opinion (rightly or wrongly) before I bought the knife.

Dave, that strikes me as a very balanced and fair take on the matter.
 
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rockbox

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I know that regardless of what we here think of his knives or pricing that he sells a crap load of knives up in NYC and is set to take off.
Shun sold a whole bunch of Ken Onions also. :sofa:

Marketing and sales success has little to do with product quality. Heck, I've helped sell 8 million dollars of software that didn't work at all. Its all about being liked and seen. Joel has done a great job at this. He's been in a number of national magazines and he has a good camera personality. I think the knife makers here could learn a lot from Joel in this regard. The real money is in the Sub-zero/Thermador/Mauviel crowd.
 

rockbox

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BTW, if any you guys could get on the Pioneer Woman to write something good about you on her blog, you would have a waiting list as long as Bob's.
 

Marko Tsourkan

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Maybe some of us are a bit less diplomatic than others, but we perceive things differently. I personally evaluate knives as a package - steel, heat treat, grind, handle work, finish, etc. I have learned to appreciate the simplicity with which some of my favorite makers (here in US and Japan) approach their craft. It makes the end product even so more beautiful and appealing.

Success of a maker doesn't always capture that. But for myself, I know it when I see it.

M
 

Lefty

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I'm not comparing Joel to Bob, in the least, but we have all agreed that perhaps the two biggest factors in the success of Kramer knives is, 1) camera presence-Bob is entertaining, knowledgable and well-spoken (so is Joel), and 2)Bob LOVES doing what he does, and his excitement is contagious. I think, as Dave alluded to, Joel is proving that sometimes these are the intangibles that make a person's product take off.
Regardless, I'd love to give one a try. I'm planning to hit up NYC this summer, so maybe I'll pay him a visit....
 

Dave Martell

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I can't argue that Joel is personable and great with marketing because that's all true.
 
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