Houston Edge Works experience?

Discussion in 'The Kitchen Knife' started by mille162, Oct 26, 2018.

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  1. Oct 26, 2018 #1

    mille162

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    Anyone familiar with Houston Edge Works? Saw an article recently where one of the Voltagio brothers mentioned them as his knives of choice. Don’t see much about them anywhere else but pricing seems low enough to give them a try.

    https://www.houstonedgeworks.com/pricing/
     
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  2. Oct 26, 2018 #2

    parbaked

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    He makes brit mila knives, for circumcising babies, so hopefully his blades are good for detail work...
     
  3. Oct 26, 2018 #3

    Pensacola Tiger

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    Stephan's been a vendor on another forum since 2015, so he's not a "fly-by-night". I can't say how his knives perform, though.
     
  4. Oct 26, 2018 #4

    foody518

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    600 for a 210 gyuto or 750 for a 240 gyuto is not my idea of low...
    I think another factor that biases me is the perception that more of that is going into the handle than the blade. So I guess it's a taste thing
     
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  5. Oct 26, 2018 #5

    Corradobrit1

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    I don't get putting kanji on a US made knife, made by American blade smiths. Looks naff
     
  6. Nov 4, 2018 #6

    Miles

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    I worked with Stephen on a project and have had multiple opportunities to use and test a lot of different blades that he's crafted. He's also making one for me. They're unique. He really pushes the limits on his grinds. They perform quite well. I've even used some "in progress" blades that don't even have an actual edge on them and can attest the grind is spot on even without a proper edge on them. He puts a lot of effort into the aesthetics and especially the handles to be sure. That may not be everyone's cup of tea but it's part of what makes his blades unique and makes them stand out. There is an interesting story behind the kanji, as well. However, I'll leave that story for Stephen to share if he chimes in on the thread.
     
  7. Nov 4, 2018 #7

    pennman

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    Thanks Miles! The kanji is my name. It came from a custom fountain pen I commissioned from Nakaya. When I had my pen made, they had an option to write you name in the lacquer. They would develop a kanji name for non-Japanese names. Three ways to do that.

    1. Janapses has a completely phonetic set of characters that are non-sensical, but to be polite, you can use them so a Japanese speaker can phonate your name so you can recognize it while talking.

    2. Your name can be a Japanese word that sounds like your name and your profession.

    3. Your name can be the derrivitive of your name and the closest meaning in Japanese and your profession.

    “Stephen” derives from “stephanos” in Greek meaning “laurel wreath of victory”. Closest Nakaya drrrived was “crown of the king”. Those are the first two characters. The other 4 are my profession- forensic pathologist. They have those in Japan-police surgeons (the British term).

    The pen was made and I sent an photo of it to my cousin who speaks, reads, writes fluent Japanese (he is a professor of Japanese language) who wrote it in his calligraphy style.

    Subsequently, I met Masahiro Morimoto at the Austin food and wine festival in 2012 or 2013 where he signed his new cookbook for me. I showed him my name in kanji and he autographed the book to me. He wrote all 6 characters in his own handwriting.

    A graphic artist friend of mine then scanned and lifted the characters off the face page of the book and I had a stencil made of them.

    Therefore, my name is on each blade anointed by the “hand” of masahiro moromoto.
     
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  8. Nov 4, 2018 #8

    pennman

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    I like technically advanced steel for higher performance and edge holding characteristics. My steels include XHP, W2, Cruwear/Z-wear, 3V, 4V, 10V, Elmax, 20CV/M390, M4, S110V, and now some crazy steels like Rex 121. All in chef knife thicknesses ( and the occasional tactical blade).

    I also have some SG2 San mai and San mai super blue.
     
  9. Nov 4, 2018 #9

    pennman

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    Do you have the same opinion of Murray Carter’s blades?
     
  10. Nov 8, 2018 at 5:30 PM #10

    Gregmega

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    Uuuuuuuuuhhhhhhhhhh Murray at least studied in Japan for years and took his mantle from his master.
     
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  11. Nov 8, 2018 at 5:40 PM #11

    pennman

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    Uuuuuuuuuuhhhhhhhh you didn’t qualify your statement when you made it and you certainly didn’t say which American makers, in your opinion, are worthy of using kanji on their blades because of the criteria you deem sufficient to do so.
     
  12. Nov 8, 2018 at 5:57 PM #12

    DitmasPork

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    Can't believe the language a knife is signed is even an issue! Whether kanji is used out of reverence, aesthetics, or just pure market savvy—they're all valid reasons. Quality of the knife is what's important to me.
     
  13. Nov 8, 2018 at 6:40 PM #13

    Corradobrit1

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    Last time I checked he signs his blades 'Carter' or 'Muteki'
     
  14. Nov 8, 2018 at 6:49 PM #14

    pennman

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    ;);)
     
  15. Nov 8, 2018 at 6:50 PM #15

    pennman

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    He has 2 kanji characters on most of his blades. Maybe not the Muteki line though.
     
  16. Nov 8, 2018 at 7:02 PM #16

    bruce8088

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    i dunno, just speaking speaking of the aesthetics - not digging using kanji without having related background imo. it's like like mcdonalds using a chinese style font without serving chinese food. does anyone own these here? would love to see some video reviews!
     
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  17. Nov 8, 2018 at 7:05 PM #17

    Gregmega

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    Frankly I could care less what’s on a maker’s mark if the work is good. Your question referred to whether Murray has claim to use kanji or if we felt the same about him using kanji, I would say his history qualifies him. While your story is cute, it just reads as desperate and culturally flat. I’d say the same of most makers who need some loose association to Japanese makers to ‘validate’ their work. I find that work that comes from an honest and raw place speaks to me more. There’s plenty of makers out there that use these tactics, the ‘sizzle, not the steak’ as someone put it earlier on another thread. But that is just my opinion.
     
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  18. Nov 8, 2018 at 7:08 PM #18

    Gregmega

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    Pretty much. Just be McDonald’s, at least it’s honest.
     
  19. Nov 8, 2018 at 7:12 PM #19

    WildBoar

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    Eh, I have seen lots of people in the US with tattoos that utilize kanji. That is much funnier to me than a US-made knife using kanji.
     
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  20. Nov 8, 2018 at 7:21 PM #20

    daveb

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    Let's back the truck up.

    Houston Edge Works has expressed interest in becoming a Pro Craftsman here and his application has been approved to do so. We did not find a need to vett his makers mark, my apologies to anyone that this has upset. Sorry not sorry.

    If he decides to come onboard I hope we can be more welcoming.
     
  21. Nov 8, 2018 at 7:22 PM #21

    pennman

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    If I put my name on the blade written in Hebrew, would you object?
     
  22. Nov 8, 2018 at 8:51 PM #22

    Gregmega

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    No sir, I wouldn’t, and if it was honest to who you are, I’d likely high five you for doing it. I don’t object to your work in any way, kanji or otherwise. I was merely stating an observation in response to a question asked.
     
  23. Nov 8, 2018 at 8:55 PM #23

    captaincaed

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    Hey, since we have the man himself here to answer a couple questions, I'd love to ask about heat treats.
    You offer a wide spectrum of new and exotic metals (for kitchen knives anyway). May I ask if you've developed your own heart treat practices, or use a professional HR shop? Do you have hardness guidelines you shoot for?
    I promise is not a trap question, just honest curiosity about process.
    The combination of quality handles and attention to grind are enough to make me curious.
     
  24. Nov 9, 2018 at 3:11 AM #24

    pennman

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    Thanks for asking. I use Peters for my heat treating. Brad is insanely kniwledgable and experienced with the high alloy steels I prefer. And he has the vacuum furnaces that are necessary for optimal HT of steels like Elmax and 20CV. I have a list of optimum hardnesses for each of my steels and Peters hits them spot on. And he keeps each blade dead straight and I don’t have to worry about it turning into a strip of cooked bacon if I do it myself.
     
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  25. Nov 9, 2018 at 5:01 PM #25

    captaincaed

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    I thought of a couple followups if that's alright.

    1. What hardness levels do you prefer for a couple of your favorite steels, and what characteristics are you striving for with the heat treatment? (I'm personally curious about CPM-154, CPM-M4 and CPM-S110V).

    2. What happens to these particular steels if you don't HT under a vacuum? I'm assuming some kind of unwanted oxidation, but do you know/can you share any details about what this does to the metal?

    This may not make me popular, but I think controlled ovens, salt pots and the like are probably the way to go for heat treatments. I respect the absolute hell out of anyone who can do it in a fire and a bucket of water. I just tend to lean toward systematic approaches to technical problems in my own life.

    Anyhow, thanks for the info!
     
  26. Nov 9, 2018 at 5:49 PM #26

    pennman

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    For chef knives, I go for best wear resistance and edge holding. For boning or tactical/outdoors knives, I want more toughness than chef knives (which saccrifices some edge holding).

    62-63 for CPM 154Cm/XHP
    64-65 for M4
    62 for S110V

    I’m not sure what happens when high alloy steels are not done under vacuum, but when I first started using them, multiple knifemakers who were using them and helping me learn what to do (M390 will kick your ass very quickly!) all agreed that super steels optimally needed vacuum hardening and Peters did the best job.
     
  27. Nov 9, 2018 at 6:52 PM #27

    Ruso

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    Stephan, what’s your opinion on AEBL and 440A?
    Any experience with Bulat steel?
     
  28. Nov 9, 2018 at 7:03 PM #28

    pennman

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    There is a whole other thread on the forum where we have been discussing AEBL. I don’t use 440a for a chef knife, nor would I. No experience with Bulat steel.
     
  29. Nov 9, 2018 at 7:33 PM #29
  30. Nov 9, 2018 at 7:40 PM #30

    milkbaby

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    Stainless steel with a large amount of alloying elements need to be heated for longer time at higher temperature than simple carbon steels. If done in an oxidizing atmosphere, you'll heavily decarburize the steel, and since carbon is what turns iron into steel, so you end up with soft low carbon content steel, or if burned up long enough, iron.
     
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