Hunter Valley Blades short overview

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Barmoley

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I’ve had one of Mert’s @chefcomesback HVB knives for a little bit now and used it enough that I feel like I can discuss my thoughts about the knife. I have one of the knives from his first batch of 52100@64HRC. I’ve been wanting to try really hard 52100 for a while so when the opportunity came along I couldn’t resist. When the knife arrived I realized right away that the D-handle that came on it was too large for me. Fortunately, I work very close to @JBroida JKI store, so I took the knife there and Jon rehandled it for me with his excellent octagonal burnt chestnut handle. This transformed the knife for me, the balance became more blade heavy and very comfortable for me.

My knife is approximately 232x54.66 mm and 221 g. Here’s what it looks like now.

854E8A4F-3CD4-4088-A41D-09B2C52EB01B.jpeg


It is a workhorse, but very thin behind the edge. It feels very solid and powerful due to the blade forward balance and the thickness of the spine. The knife strikes an excellent balance between food release and cutting ability. Cooking dinner tonight, I compared it to some other excellent knives that I have and I have to conclude that Mert’s knife strikes the best balance between going through food and having excellent food release. I don’t think that choil shots tell the whole story about the knife and its grind, but people like them, so here you go.
8F7224BD-CFC3-46F9-8F2F-60C1D6E7969A.jpeg


I think there is some misconception about who makes these. As far as I know these are fully done by Mert and not an apprentice. I think originally the idea was that these would be apprentice made knives, but now these are done by Mert and the performance of my example is excellent. These are more rustic and less refined than Mert’s regular line, but everything is rounded and smoothed where it matters. The choil, spine, bottom of the neck, everything is rounded and smoothed not a sharp edge or corner anywhere.
64AF8A9E-8B45-4999-9423-2EE556ADFB66.jpeg


So in summary, I believe this line is a great deal. You get excellent performance and rustic look for a lot less. The later batches also have smaller handles which I prefer, so I would highly recommend these to anyone who wants to try how well Mert’s knives work.


EEF52ADC-0B72-4A51-9D84-02567E3DB97D.jpeg
 

vitreous

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I'm really interested in these knives and if a 260-275mm gyuto in stainless came up I'd jump. Unfortunately with these boutique makers on instagram, they seem to sell very quickly and I don't check social media often enough to nab things before they go :(

From what I understand Mert isn't taking custom orders any more either so my chances of purchasing one of his pieces is slim.
 

KO88

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Have you tried to sharpen it?
I would go for 270 in 52100. I guess he wont make any single bevels...
 

Matus

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I have been eyeing these for a while - and my interest is growing. Thanks for the overview.
 

vitreous

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The current set of gyutos with ringed gidgee handles on instagram are so stunning, if they were a bit longer id have picked one up.
 

Wdestate

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I been using one in 1095 San mai, it’s a beast, amazing knives. You are right as well I spoke to mert he said everything on the whole line is done by him, no apprentice involved. Essentially it’s merts already amazing knives but just left with machine finish no etching etc. nothing but praise for these
 

Barmoley

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Have you tried to sharpen it?
I would go for 270 in 52100. I guess he wont make any single bevels...
I only touched it up with gesshin 6k stone, so no real sharpening yet. So far it has been holding the edge very well and out of the box edge was excellent.
 

MarkC

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Really like that some of the producers are trying to get to some sort of standard so they can replicate what they do and perhaps get a few more knives into hands of those that will use them.
 

milkbaby

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From the review, I have no doubt these are as awesome as they look. However, at US$500+ they are still on the pricey side for most regular folks, tho definitely a bargain compared to Mert's Tansu Knives marked beauties.

Cheers, and thanks for sharing!
 

Barmoley

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From the review, I have no doubt these are as awesome as they look. However, at US$500+ they are still on the pricey side for most regular folks, tho definitely a bargain compared to Mert's Tansu Knives marked beauties.

Cheers, and thanks for sharing!
That's true, but these are custom knives with the caveat that the sizes and materials are picked by the maker, which is very common these days. The pricing is in line with other customs by western makers. The performance is top notch, really among the best out of the many I've tried. The fit and finish is much better than you'd expect, it is just not on the level of Mert's other work, but compared to many other customs it is of the same level and much better than many Japanese craftsman that sell for more. You are right though these are still expensive knives when compared to regular semi production knives, but I don't think this line should be compared to those. At least with HVB line you know you are getting performance that would be very difficult to match or beat by something else out there.
 

DitmasPork

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I’ve had one of Mert’s @chefcomesback HVB knives for a little bit now and used it enough that I feel like I can discuss my thoughts about the knife. I have one of the knives from his first batch of 52100@64HRC. I’ve been wanting to try really hard 52100 for a while so when the opportunity came along I couldn’t resist. When the knife arrived I realized right away that the D-handle that came on it was too large for me. Fortunately, I work very close to @JBroida JKI store, so I took the knife there and Jon rehandled it for me with his excellent octagonal burnt chestnut handle. This transformed the knife for me, the balance became more blade heavy and very comfortable for me.

My knife is approximately 232x54.66 mm and 221 g. Here’s what it looks like now.

View attachment 60850

It is a workhorse, but very thin behind the edge. It feels very solid and powerful due to the blade forward balance and the thickness of the spine. The knife strikes an excellent balance between food release and cutting ability. Cooking dinner tonight, I compared it to some other excellent knives that I have and I have to conclude that Mert’s knife strikes the best balance between going through food and having excellent food release. I don’t think that choil shots tell the whole story about the knife and its grind, but people like them, so here you go.
View attachment 60851

I think there is some misconception about who makes these. As far as I know these are fully done by Mert and not an apprentice. I think originally the idea was that these would be apprentice made knives, but now these are done by Mert and the performance of my example is excellent. These are more rustic and less refined than Mert’s regular line, but everything is rounded and smoothed where it matters. The choil, spine, bottom of the neck, everything is rounded and smoothed not a sharp edge or corner anywhere.
View attachment 60852

So in summary, I believe this line is a great deal. You get excellent performance and rustic look for a lot less. The later batches also have smaller handles which I prefer, so I would highly recommend these to anyone who wants to try how well Mert’s knives work.


View attachment 60849
Nice review, gorgeous looking knife!
 

milkbaby

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That's true, but these are custom knives with the caveat that the sizes and materials are picked by the maker, which is very common these days. The pricing is in line with other customs by western makers. The performance is top notch, really among the best out of the many I've tried. The fit and finish is much better than you'd expect, it is just not on the level of Mert's other work, but compared to many other customs it is of the same level and much better than many Japanese craftsman that sell for more. You are right though these are still expensive knives when compared to regular semi production knives, but I don't think this line should be compared to those. At least with HVB line you know you are getting performance that would be very difficult to match or beat by something else out there.
For sure, I agree with you 100% the price is very fair/reasonable for a well made knife by a custom maker, especially somebody with the experience and expertise that Mert has. I'm always surprised when other western makers sell a knife for $200-300 because of the amount of work that goes into most of them not to mention having to pay for wasted material and lost time to account for the occassional failure.

I was basically saying that a "great deal" is maybe with respect to what we are talking about here, since most people would be more likely to say "great deal" about a $125 Shigeki Tanaka gyuto or a $35 Victorinox chef's knife. Even on KKF, I think you'd find a decent amount of forumites who would balk at a $500+ knife is all, so I was just offering a little perspective by noting the general pricing for HVB.
 

Barmoley

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For sure, I agree with you 100% the price is very fair/reasonable for a well made knife by a custom maker, especially somebody with the experience and expertise that Mert has. I'm always surprised when other western makers sell a knife for $200-300 because of the amount of work that goes into most of them not to mention having to pay for wasted material and lost time to account for the occassional failure.

I was basically saying that a "great deal" is maybe with respect to what we are talking about here, since most people would be more likely to say "great deal" about a $125 Shigeki Tanaka gyuto or a $35 Victorinox chef's knife. Even on KKF, I think you'd find a decent amount of forumites who would balk at a $500+ knife is all, so I was just offering a little perspective by noting the general pricing for HVB.
Absolutely, great deal in the context of what you are getting, the knives in this price range and of this performance level. Great deal to me is when you get more than you would expect for the money you paid, so can be at any price point. With this knife I feel like I got more than what I expected.

Kaeru is a great deal to me, but I wouldn't compare these.
 

marc4pt0

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I'm stoked to see more great reviews for Mert's work. I've been so itching to try one from this line.
I've have actually been using my 52100 Tansu gyuto very heavily the past 2 weeks. New menu roll out, heavy prep. His heat treatment of 52100 is other worldly. I have yet to put it on the stones or strop. In fact it's been several months since I've last done that. The grind and edge holding lend itself very well for pro settings with heavy usage.

My sample is about 5 years old. And it will be going no where. It's a staple in my kit and has always maintained its relevance amongst a slew of others.

Your review here makes me want one of these HVB blades even More
 

madelinez

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I just used one of his HVB boning knives (stainless clad vtoku) to portion up a whole lamb, with the help of a bone saw. I did it in a bit of a hurry given the current 31c temperature but the edge still looks brand new, the only damage I caused was a slight bend on the tip which should be easy to fix. Probably the best value knife I've ever purchased, I've destroyed other knives in the past doing this task.
 

mise_en_place

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I didn't realize Mert was making HVB boning knives. I'd love to see some photos.

I am curious, however, which other sort of knives have you butchered lamb with? How many lamb have you cut up? I'm going to come across as a jerk probably, but I don't see how cutting up a whole lamb (especially with the help of a bone saw) would destroy any knife that isn't a total piece of garbage unless its horrible user error/inexperience.

Like I said, not really trying to be a jerk, I just don't understand the "destroyed" comment.
 

Keith Sinclair

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Nice knife. Prefer forged look over polished blades. Hear both sides on the price, however it is a custom that probably cuts as well as other knives in this price range or those that cost much more.
 

madelinez

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I am curious, however, which other sort of knives have you butchered lamb with? How many lamb have you cut up? I'm going to come across as a jerk probably, but I don't see how cutting up a whole lamb (especially with the help of a bone saw) would destroy any knife that isn't a total piece of garbage unless its horrible user error/inexperience.

Like I said, not really trying to be a jerk, I just don't understand the "destroyed" comment.
No worries, I'm not pretending to be an expert, I've bought 4 lambs over 2 years and that's about all of my experience. In the past I used a Shun Classic boning knife that I borrowed from a family member, completely destroyed was a poor use of words, it was not snapped in half. The edge had to be completely reground starting on a shapton glass 500 though. Lots of small chips. Again I'm sure most forum members here would have inflicted less damage.
 

mise_en_place

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Thanks for the link @parbaked -- beautiful looking knife

@madelinez got it. I think I read your initial post a little too literally. I have not used a Shun boning knife but I imagine its thin edge and high hardness could lead to lots of chips if the user is used to softer steel or hasn't done the task many times.
 
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