Is Quality Control really hit or miss this much?

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Feiii

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So my new gyuto arrived - Bought 240 mm Yoshimi Kato stainless clad nashiji finish AS gyuto.

Blade was set a little bit under a different angle. Choil was rounded really differently from both sides. I had to sand one side thats was more rough.

Spine was inequally sanded/polished. More rough at the end near the tip.

octagonal handle sides and corresponding segments at the top of it do not match. Hard to explain hopefully the picture will tell the full story.

wooden part of the handle isnt lacquered at the bottom and it is an extremely thin layer on other parts. Feels like after few uses it is more rough already. - should I apply mineral oil to it?

sharpening angles on thebevel were different. Not sure if this is intentional as I have heard people increasing the angle when approaching the handle so the food supposedly falls off more reliably.

I managed to get it at a good price but am I wrong here or is this normal? Feels like a $300+ knife should be better?
 

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Feiii

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Everything looks perfectly fine from the pictures. I've seen knives twice the cost look worse, remember, this is a handmade knife. Maybe somebody is a little OCD?
Yes I am haha. Probably not helping that my main hobby is scale modelling/historical modelling 😅

I am just looking for some opinions of more experienced forum users so thanks!
 

Pie

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I’d say all that’s pretty normal at ~$300. All the knives I own, except for one, have some inconsistencies and rough bits somewhere. Don’t get this place started on TF’s. Most of the time it doesn’t affect performance, and I almost prefer if it’s not perfect - lets me do some of the finishing the way I like.

A few brands/makers deliver immaculate fit and finish but I almost don’t want to pay the premium in most cases, as the knife is a tool at the end of the day. I suppose it depends what you’re chasing and if aesthetics are a factor.
 

blokey

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I wouldn’t say normal, depends on the markers and what you are buying for. Ashi/ Gesshin Ginga at $200-300 have great F&F, rounded choil, good handle sealing and installation. Kobayashi Kei at $300 has some of the best F&F and grind at any given price point.
Some more rustic individually forged knive tends to be on the rough side of F&F, but offers interesting grind and steel. Also sometimes handle installation are not done by the maker, rather it was done by the sellers. (Ashi and Kobayashi both do handles in-house)
 

blokey

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sharpening angles on thebevel were different. Not sure if this is intentional as I have heard people increasing the angle when approaching the handle so the food supposedly falls off more reliably.

Sometimes knife have different grind on each side for food release while maintain the thinness, Ashi Ginga and JCK Deep Impact all do this. Some do have different angle at edge bevel for cutting purposes, Misono and alot of factory knives does this.
 

Benuser

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There's is an excellent reason for having different sharpening angles on both sides. Almost no Japanese being symmetric, and being optimised for right-handers, the edge is normally off-centered to the left to allow better food release. A higher angle on the left side will reduce steering.
 

Infrared

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Spine was inequally sanded/polished. More rough at the end near the tip.
The spine is more polished near the heel because that is where you hold it. There's no real functional reason for them to polish the whole spine.

octagonal handle sides and corresponding segments at the top of it do not match. Hard to explain hopefully the picture will tell the full story.
The handles are made from actual wood, so every piece will be different.

wooden part of the handle isnt lacquered at the bottom and it is an extremely thin layer on other parts. Feels like after few uses it is more rough already. - should I apply mineral oil to it?
Wooden handles do not usually come lacquered or coated. They should be treated with mineral oil or beeswax/mineral oil combination, or something else.

sharpening angles on thebevel were different.
Some pictures would help, but in my experience the micro bevel is often uneven. Should not hinder performance, but a sharpening or two should fix this.


Do you have another handmade knife to compare it to? It might give you some relief to know all that pretty much all of them are inconsistent. And paying more does not necessarily mean better fit and finish.
 

Delat

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I expect differently levels of f&f at different price points. Below $150 I’d expect a fairly rough knife and handle, with unevenness in both blade finish and handle, maybe some gaps, maybe non-rounded spine and choil.

The $300 mark should be better, but not perfect as pointed out in previous responses. Eased spine and choil, but still not expecting very well rounded. I’d expect the blade to be installed straight and square to the handle, but sometimes that’s on the retailer. And overall the blade and handle should be more consistent. I’d say my Yu Kurosaki, Hatsukokoro, Yoshikane in this price range were very good, better than expected. My Shiro Kamo didn’t have a rounded spine or choil but otherwise was also very good. I rounded the spine and choil myself, but only did half the spine so perhaps my personal f&f standards suck ;) . It’s a hidden thing that shows up later but around this price point I’d still expect slight over/undergrinds.

Even Western makers, up to say the $500 price point you can expect less than perfection. Frederick Spare in my personal experience is a big exception as the f&f on the one I had at the $400 price point was excellent and IMHO the man could be charging a lot more. Once you hit the $700+ price point for something like a Kamon, then my expectations increase and I’m expecting something beautiful (and he delivers beyond expectations) but still over a long period I’d expect to notice something here or there as these items are hand-crafted. I definitely don’t expect significant over/undergrinds from Western custom smiths.

I do have a Y Kato petty that was about $150 that I thought had surprisingly good f&f for the price. I haven’t inspected it closely but it’s comfortable in the hand, performs well, surprised me with eased spine and choil, and nothing glaring has jumped out at me. But personally I don’t have the best eye (or even care that much) for f&f vs someone like say, @ModRQC - I read his reviews and sometimes the sections about f&f I don’t even really understand, so everyone has different standards.
 

M1k3

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I expect differently levels of f&f at different price points. Below $150 I’d expect a fairly rough knife and handle, with unevenness in both blade finish and handle, maybe some gaps, maybe non-rounded spine and choil.

The $300 mark should be better, but not perfect as pointed out in previous responses. Eased spine and choil, but still not expecting very well rounded. I’d expect the blade to be installed straight and square to the handle, but sometimes that’s on the retailer. And overall the blade and handle should be more consistent. I’d say my Yu Kurosaki, Hatsukokoro, Yoshikane in this price range were very good, better than expected. My Shiro Kamo didn’t have a rounded spine or choil but otherwise was also very good. I rounded the spine and choil myself, but only did half the spine so perhaps my personal f&f standards suck ;) . It’s a hidden thing that shows up later but around this price point I’d still expect slight over/undergrinds.

Even Western makers, up to say the $500 price point you can expect less than perfection. Frederick Spare in my personal experience is a big exception as the f&f on the one I had at the $400 price point was excellent and IMHO the man could be charging a lot more. Once you hit the $700+ price point for something like a Kamon, then my expectations increase and I’m expecting something beautiful (and he delivers beyond expectations) but still over a long period I’d expect to notice something here or there as these items are hand-crafted. I definitely don’t expect significant over/undergrinds from Western custom smiths.

I do have a Y Kato petty that was about $150 that I thought had surprisingly good f&f for the price. I haven’t inspected it closely but it’s comfortable in the hand, performs well, surprised me with eased spine and choil, and nothing glaring has jumped out at me. But personally I don’t have the best eye (or even care that much) for f&f vs someone like say, @ModRQC - I read his reviews and sometimes the sections about f&f I don’t even really understand, so everyone has different standards.
maker_fujiwara.jpg
 

mpier

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My Y. Kato 210 as far as the blade was ground perfect, edge was perfect and the polished edges was on point. Mine has the same walnut handle though and it was installed in store, definitely not sealed and a little mineral oil does absolutely nothing, either soak it in mineral oil or wax it. And has far as handles go most of mine are installed from the manufacturer and are properly sealed only the handles done from the stores are not, don’t know whey that is.
 

ModRQC

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Price point is one thing, maker is another, and then making another entirely. And at some point, different regions have different "visions" of F&F. Then factoring in the ones like Sakai and Echizen where work is a collab. It's very difficult to "classify" F&F into price categories or pointing out "an absence thereof" vs. the whole making process.

A Wakui W#2 is under the 300$ CAD mark, flirting with a lower price tier like Moritaka, or pretty close to the same price tier as S. Tanaka, and really you couldn't get three knives more different. And then with Moritaka level of F&F would have to be accounting with the regional aspect and the fact they laminate in house, where I suspect the other two would use prelams.

I don't know if my reviews are so complicated about it. I think I go with fairly simple statements of what is there and what it means to me and try to replace it into the context of the knife.

Take a Takamura blade, and sure you shouldn't expect a rounded spine or so smooth choil. But saying Takamura has low level of F&F in my sense would be wrong, especially for price, but even not counting it in. There's precision in the blades and a high level of finish otherwise. And neither spine or choil are exactly rough - they're just flat and "sharp" mostly because the blade is so thin to start with. No irregularities, no rough patch of ground steel clinging into the choil, no bulge of steel left unground there neither. All these typical venues of cheaper blades where I would claim poor F&F.

Have a Kaji-Bei here. That guy basically laminates his blades in his garage. What you get is rough, but yet again, more in a cosmetic sense. He still grinds the spine and choil nicely enough to not leave them rough. I don't call this "unfinished". There's a basic F&F he still does. For the ridiculous price paid, seldom do more, and many do less. What is pretty outstanding is in that lot, little would forge weld the blade themselves.

I've said as much often in my reviews: while like anybody I find a rounded spine real nice to meet the eye and grip, I'm not especially seeking it. It's easy to chamfer and smooth a spine and choil enough, and I find square spines more useful with a couple of tricks I like to do.

The thing I really hate the most is of little consequence in use, but I just find it deeply irritating: blade not straight into the handle. Big gush of epoxy for extra sickly points. For the rest, I'll get a simple vertical migaki and be joyous. Often did.
 
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EricEricEric

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Honestly the majority of Japanese knives are incredibly overpriced for what you’re getting
 
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Chopper88

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Honestly the majority of Japanese knives are incredibly overpriced for what you’re getting

Rationalising hobbies always boils down to this conclusion, that's why they're called hobbies.


To OP:
If you think this knife has bad quality control and unacceptable F&F, it's probably best to find another hobby ;)
 

mpier

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Why would buying a Japanese knife automatically turn you into a hobbyist, and why do people on this forum seem to devalue other peoples hard earned money so easily. I look at it as though the OP bought a knife with his hard earned money that may have taken him some time to save up and expected a better finished product and frankly I agree. I may be wrong maybe he has a ton of money and decided to by a Y. Kato to add to his massive hobbyist collection, but most likely got a knife to cook with that may be an upgrade. As most have said it’s just a tool, but at $300+ it shouldn’t look like “S”
 

Chopper88

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Why would buying a Japanese knife automatically turn you into a hobbyist, and why do people on this forum seem to devalue other peoples hard earned money so easily. I look at it as though the OP bought a knife with his hard earned money that may have taken him some time to save up and expected a better finished product and frankly I agree. I may be wrong maybe he has a ton of money and decided to by a Y. Kato to add to his massive hobbyist collection, but most likely got a knife to cook with that may be an upgrade. As most have said it’s just a tool, but at $300+ it shouldn’t look like “S”

If this is directed at me, I have no intention to devalue someone's money at all, or judge someone in any other way at all.
I feel that if you buy a $300 knife, most likely either knives are your hobby, or they're part of your bigger hobby, cooking.

I am also not saying he should bring more money to the table, or cant expect better for this amount. I am simply stating from experience that buying more knives will probably lead to more disappointments if you expect perfection. They're hand made tools where a lot of makers dont even realize what is pointed out is considered a problem by some.
It's just like tools in general. You might be bummed by a scratch on your $250 snap-on ratchet, your coworker just throws his in his tool box at the end of his day and doesn't consider the scratches a defect, both still work equally well if you ask him.
 
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Honestly the majority of Japanese knives are incredibly overpriced for what you’re getting
Compared to what? A $200 Wusthoff Ikon? A $300 zKramer? A $200 Zwilling Diplome? A $120 Miyabi Koh? A $250 Shun Classic? A $200 Kamikoto? A $150 Dalstrong? A $160 Cutco chef? I mean really.
 
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mpier

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I guess you would need to clarify the difference from a hobbyist and an Enthusiast, if I like to cook once in a while is that a hobby, if I have a few Japanese knives is that a hobby, I don’t think so but regardless to tell someone if you don’t like f&f on your knife to find another “HOBBY” is a little out of left field.
 

Feiii

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Rationalising hobbies always boils down to this conclusion, that's why they're called hobbies.


To OP:
If you think this knife has bad quality control and unacceptable F&F, it's probably best to find another hobby ;)
Gatekeeping with F&F personal opinions. Go outside and touch some grass.
 
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