Help identifying these smaller, white steel knives...

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josemartinlopez

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So I posted about the "Archibald London" carbon knife set I received, and people said it was a great but basic Misono (also sold as Kiya No. 6) Swedish steel set available on Amazon. The giver was not amused, took them back, and gave me these instead. I am not sure what they are. All the giver said was they were shirogami and I need to be sure they do not rust.

They seem to be a 180 mm gyuto, 165 mm santoku, 165 mm nakiri and 135 mm petty. They feel great in hand. Very solid feel, on the slightly heavier and not on the thin side.

Might anyone recognize these and know where they are in terms of quality and price point? How do their profiles and grind compare against benchmark knives on the forum? What knives are they similar to?

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Blerghle

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I do not know the maker. If they're coming from the same store, they will probably be another example of a well respected maker's mid-line work being sold with a noticeable but respectable retail markup. Interested to see if anyone here can pick out the maker though!
 

KenHash

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Those are sold by Babachou Kanamono in Sanjou City.
Their website (in Japanese) is here:

The maker of the Wa White 2 series is Hinoura.
 
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josemartinlopez

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Those are made by Babachou Kanamono in Sanjou City.
Their website (in Japanese) is here:

I Guess they are mid range knives made by several blacksmiths on contract to the store?
 

Blerghle

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Those are made by Babachou Kanamono in Sanjou City.
Their website (in Japanese) is here:

When I let Google translate the page it refers to a Hinoura workshop. Would that be Mutsumi Hinoura or a coincidence?
 

zizirex

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when I saw the logo, I knew it's Hinoura. so you got good knives.
 

Blerghle

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The person who made these knives is a very well regarded blacksmith named Mutsumi Hinoura. The best knife I own is made by him. If you search "Hinoura" on the forums you will see a great deal of praise. In terms of dollar value, these sell for approximately twice as much as Misono Sweden Steel knives and are considered a very good value at those prices. It means you're a lucky guy.
 

Kristoffer

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Congrats! Those should be some great knives all around. The profile of the gyuto and the petty look especially nice!
 

josemartinlopez

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The person who made these knives is a very well regarded blacksmith named Mutsumi Hinoura. The best knife I own is made by him. If you search "Hinoura" on the forums you will see a great deal of praise. In terms of dollar value, these sell for approximately twice as much as Misono Sweden Steel knives and are considered a very good value at those prices. It means you're a lucky guy.
Nice!!! So can I ask what profile knives like these are known for, and which other knives of the same "style" are comparable?

Also, would these be made by Mr. Hinoura himself, or a smithy run by him?

And why would they sell for roughly $200 if they are so well regarded when other "hyped" knives on this forum typically start at $400?
 

Blerghle

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JCK has a profile of Mutsumi and his father, Tsukasa Hinoura. Knifewear has a video with the father, who is most known for his River Jump series, which has a damascus twist. If you just Google 'Hinoura knives' or search the forum for Hinoura you'll see a bunch of stuff. It looks like these knives are made by Mutsumi.

As to the price, who could say? I don't know that I would call Mutsumi's knives visually stunning - I like the look, but it's pretty simple. Something like his father's River Jump series is far more expensive and also less accessible. I would not be at all surprised to see prices rise over time based on growing reputation.
 

DHunter86

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Mutsumi's knives are still quite accessible at the moment, if you get them in stock. If I didn't want a custom handle from JCK, my 240 mm SS clad White 1 would have retailed for about 400 USD, just to give you a price point for comparison.
 

DHunter86

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From the website quoted above, these should be White 2. So the difference in length and steel may have justified the approx. 2 time price increment of a white 1...

Just saying that I wouldn't consider these to be subpar, just a better deal and at a lower price point as they were oem'ed to the retailer, with a shorter blade length and cheaper steel.
 

josemartinlopez

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I'm trying to understand how the OEM works... would this be the maker's mid-range knives OEM'd to a retailer? Or would these be considered his top range and what are in White 1 are special or small batch orders that are above his normal top range? Also, any way of knowing if the knives were made by Mr. Hinoura himself or if he would only make the top range knives from his shop?
 

Blerghle

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I'm trying to understand how the OEM works... would this be the maker's mid-range knives OEM'd to a retailer? Or would these be considered his top range and what are in White 1 are special or small batch orders that are above his normal top range? Also, any way of knowing if the knives were made by Mr. Hinoura himself or if he would only make the top range knives from his shop?
They are on the lower end price-wise of what the maker puts out - as in, you are not paying for an out-of-the-ordinary steel or a higher end handle, etc., or for a larger knife. You're paying for the expertise. These would probably retail for a little over $200 apiece and have outstanding performance in that price range.
 

josemartinlopez

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In short, the blade itself should be the same quality as his "best" work (except it's not White 1 or an even higher end steel)?
 

josemartinlopez

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I am now seeing where the the rabbit hole begins and how you go from a $200 knife handmade by a very well regarded maker in a "normal" steel with a "normal" handle in a "normal" size to...
 

zizirex

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Hinoura Sr is the best knifemaker out of Sanjo, Hinoura Jr is often overshadowed by the Sr, that's why you don't see it a lot in this forum. Once you use it, you'll have no regret of getting his knife.
 

Moooza

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This was very interesting. Are there many other Japanese makers using WS#1 for double bevel knives?
 

josemartinlopez

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I've been having fun chopping up a carrot past couple of nights. I've been slicing them really thin and sauteing them into carrot chips. Maybe it's just me but the clean cut seems to have improved their texture, and being able to slice them so thin and clean brings out the natural sweetness.

My initial reaction first few uses is that I just love the gyuto. When I find the right point at the middle of the blade or closer of the tip from there, the knife just slips goes through. When I do the exact same thing with the santoku or the nakiri, the blade just feels slightly too thick (there's nothing wrong with the knives and there's no wedging, but that's just the closest I can get to describing my reaction). I assume this is because the gyuto tapers more towards the tip (I find myself doing push cuts closer to the santoku tip)? Also, with the santoku and nakiri, sometimes the last bit of each carrot slice remains uncut. I assume this is just me not used to the less curved blades.

Does the above reaction make sense? Also, is there a natural point on the blade of each knife where you'd slice something like a carrot (ex. too close to the handle and it might feel too thick)?
 
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