Favorite niche knife maker

Kitchen Knife Forums

Help Support Kitchen Knife Forums:

WiriWiri

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 15, 2021
Messages
366
Reaction score
674
Location
London, UK
if we're just talking about stuff that ought to be more popular, Hinoura

if we're talking about WAY off the beaten path, Hatsukokoro
Aren’t Hatsukokoro mere pups of a few ranges and a few years? Nice blades mind

I’ll throw in Oul/Hado (Fukui) for much the same reason fwiw, albeit there’s a consistency of sharpener and more transparency about the smiths there.
 

daveb

Staff member
Administrator
Global Moderators
Joined
Mar 12, 2012
Messages
12,603
Reaction score
4,802
Tillman fits your definition (I think) Not talked about much. Not seen often. Hard to buy from. But put one on BST and it's gone before the ink is dry!

(Logan - ask your parents what "ink is dry" means.... :cool: )
 

daveb

Staff member
Administrator
Global Moderators
Joined
Mar 12, 2012
Messages
12,603
Reaction score
4,802
So many of the "new" makers are spending their time with flashy handles and not so much with the blades. I see one frequently on faceybook, his 2nd "production" knife was a single bevel. With a really flashy handle. Nothing in his background to suggest he even knew what a single bevel was used for. The handle "niche" is not one I'm particularly interested in.
 

Logan A.

Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 21, 2021
Messages
80
Reaction score
80
Location
Orlando
So many of the "new" makers are spending their time with flashy handles and not so much with the blades. I see one frequently on faceybook, his 2nd "production" knife was a single bevel. With a really flashy handle. Nothing in his background to suggest he even knew what a single bevel was used for. The handle "niche" is not one I'm particularly interested in.
Almost fell for that same “trap” with my first knife purchase. Bought a sub-par Chinese metal Kiritsuke because it had a neat handle. I ended up returning it when I realized that it wasn’t straight; soon after I found this forum and figured things out a little more.
 

lemeneid

Wasabi wabi sabi
Joined
Mar 31, 2018
Messages
1,404
Reaction score
1,783
Location
SG
CM?
Surely that’s niche enough that covers only the New York hipster crowd and Massimo Bottura.
 

Pertti

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 10, 2020
Messages
99
Reaction score
249
Location
Finland
Takeda has a pretty nice niche with the low food release grind and tall blades.

Ishikiwa appears a bit similar, an niche I suppose indeed, making his gyutos etc in single bevel. No experience with those, but has caught my attention on silverback-knives.
 

superworrier

Supporting Member
Joined
Apr 27, 2021
Messages
56
Reaction score
44
Location
San Francisco
Aren’t Hatsukokoro mere pups of a few ranges and a few years? Nice blades mind

I’ll throw in Oul/Hado (Fukui) for much the same reason fwiw, albeit there’s a consistency of sharpener and more transparency about the smiths there.
Man the new Hados at Bernal with the half-burnt handles are truly beautiful.

My favorite less popular maker is Nihei. Like it better than my Mazaki, S Tanaka, Yoshikane. It's got that Sanjo profile and taper but is stiff and with a more convex grind.
 

Leo Barr

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 15, 2013
Messages
99
Reaction score
26
Hey everyone! First real thread here. I wanna pose a question.
It seems the community here knows a lot of the big names in knife making. Shig, Kato, doi, konosuke, Toyama etc. There’s an exceptional amount of popular knife makers and brands. Some more expensive than others, or more popular than others.
The question being:

What is your favorite niche knife maker? Perhaps a brand or person that isn’t quite as spoken about.
What about their knives draws you to that brand/person?

EDIT:
I’ve realized that the term favorite is very difficult in this community (fairly so). Therefore, perhaps if you can’t name a favorite then just drop some cool small makers you know of that others may not :).

There are 3 English makers that come to mind offering very different styles

Two Sticks Forge very high quality Japanese type knives

Prendergarst Knives more European in style but with a Japanese Twist





Ben Bodman Knives (Ex L'Enclume Chef) High quality with his own twist View attachment 130924


Left to right Ben Bodman Prendergast Knives Two Sticks Forge
 

Attachments

captaincaed

(____((___________()~~~
Joined
Aug 29, 2017
Messages
2,005
Reaction score
2,273
Location
Pacific Northwest
Ryusen doesn't get talked about much but their work is really clean, professional. They can also do a great job on pm steel, not everyone does. They're a fairly serious operation if I understand it right, just don't get as much chatter here.
E7B5ADCB-9901-4B11-A4ED-9F1610D7EC65.jpeg
 
Last edited:

JayS20

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2020
Messages
364
Reaction score
577
Location
Germany
Kamon plays in a really nice and high league imo. His second production line was one of the best price-performance ratio knives. His customs are even better, fair priced but not cheap. I also really enjoyed his S-hook grind prototype which I was allowed to test for several weeks.
Does he count to niche? Same as Isasmedjan- I don't think so, both are big.
His friend Martin Huber is definitely more niche. I was able to test one of his knives and really liked it, although it wasn't geared towards my preferences at all.
I really like my Swedes and at the end of the year I have at least one from 8 different smiths. Super friendly and usually well done for a fair price.
JJ Tritz is kinda niche and does nice work with nice steels.
Radiona Breg will be great if he makes them just a tiny bit thinner behind the edge. Else solid work, nice profiles, great handle and nice price.
There are some nice English guys with good prices, at least for non-Europeans now like InvictaKnives, Thornton...
Also some young Australian guys like Isurus blades and Orzel knives.
I won't recommend them though without having tested them myself or someone who's opinion I trust.
If you want I can pm you.
 

spaceconvoy

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 8, 2011
Messages
930
Reaction score
1,620
Location
Florida

I really like the honesuki I have from this Kogetsu series. The number of shops doing fully forged mono-carbon with a bolstered western handle is actually pretty small. Made by a father and son team at Goko Hamono, their SK steel is a good example of how an excellent heat treatment can transcend an 'inferior' steel. They're starting to be noticed and carried at places like Migoto
 

Jovidah

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2016
Messages
1,683
Reaction score
825
Location
Netherlands
I think it's also a matter of them not being as commonly sold as them not being made. Hocho-knife actually has at least a good amount. Even when probably more than half are stainless that still leaves a good amount of carbons.
 

GorillaGrunt

Supporting Member
Joined
Dec 30, 2016
Messages
1,646
Reaction score
1,044
Niche like boutique maker? Zimknives out of Milwaukee, full disclosure I know the guy but I also have one of his knives and wouldn’t say it’s good if it wasn’t. It’s the one I posted in the knife pics thread and makes me feel as if I got a brand new instance of a 100 year old knife but with a modern Japanese style grind.

Niche like special purpose tool? Tosa forged blue steel for butcher knives. The gyuto from those makers don’t look like anything special but the butchering knives are really something else, ikasaki and butakiri and so on. As rugged as the Munetoshi butcher, usable near bones and through joints and stuff, without being quite so fat so a little more versatile especially the shapes that are close enough to suji or petty. And pretty inexpensive by jknife standards, bang it up, sharpen it back, repeat.

on Ryusen they quench in a molten salt bath so their implementations of R2 and VG10 are potentially substantively different from others.
 

tostadas

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 27, 2020
Messages
1,060
Reaction score
1,284
Location
California
I love Munetoshi and his heat treatment of White #2. One of my favorite cutters and very under rated.



I have the full lineup, not all pictured here. Would love a 270mm suji, but don't think that'll happen.
How do you keep the KU in such good shape? Much of the KU on my Munetoshi's have worn off just from normal washing with soap and water.
 
Top