Is the ebony handle with blond ferrule hype over?

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mack

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Hi,

title says it all, I really love knives with dark ebony handles and blond ferrules, but I don't see a lot of those knives here. I am quite a new member from Europe (sorry for my bad English) and I think, that knives with that specifications are more often to find there and there is an increased demand for those knives in Europe.

Or am I totally wrong and knives with those handles are sought-after here as well but simply very rare? Cause if you think of Konosuke or Ashi knives - you won't get them anymore with that kind of handles and I've heard, that there is a huge shortage in blond buffalo horn in Japan (there is also a thread here, where guys try to find alternative sources for blond horn).

So what are your thoughts on that?

Thanks.
Mack.
 

Matus

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No, not over. But in the past few years it became nearly impossible to source blond buffalo horn material. Just recently a new source from India popped up (see the group buy that is just taking place). I think you should expect more handles like that in the future. At least from western makers for now.
 

Chef Doom

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I hope it never returns. You have the dark handle that puts in the most work, takes the most stress and abuse while the blond ferrule is the smallest, most expensive, and does little for the overall utility. I can't think of a more accurate representation of racism.
 

pete84

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I hope it never returns. You have the dark handle that puts in the most work, takes the most stress and abuse while the blond ferrule is the smallest, most expensive, and does little for the overall utility. I can't think of a more accurate representation of racism.
I dont understand... do you not like Ebony/Blond Horn handles because of some inherent quality of the handle itself? Or are you saying because one could possibly interpret the colors at hand in a particular social and historical context, that leads you to not like em?

Structurally, is it not the rigidity of the horn and it's ability to withstand moisture and temperature fluctuations that makes it the ferrule material of choice on Wa handles? And is it not the purpose of the ferrule to prevent the more delicate wood material from splitting, warping, etc. due to the exposure to moisture and temperature changes that kitchen knives regularly are faced with?

And what in tarnation do the colors of the materials have to do with racism? Because once-upon-a-time in the USA (the "land of the free"), half the country based its economy on the slave labor of African slaves and their descendants? Haven't "race relations" been an issue in multi-cultural/multi-ethic societies since the beginning of human history?

That seems quite a stretch of interpretive imagination... I'm very confused :scratchhead:
 

minibatataman

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I hope it never returns. You have the dark handle that puts in the most work, takes the most stress and abuse while the blond ferrule is the smallest, most expensive, and does little for the overall utility. I can't think of a more accurate representation of racism.
Lolololol
This made my day, and I honestly couldn't agree more. Maybe it's because I like minimalism, maybe it's because of my dislike to white colored things, but like simple, dark handles.. think rosewood with an ebony ferrule. None of this white crap please and thank you
 

Gregmega

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I hope it never returns. You have the dark handle that puts in the most work, takes the most stress and abuse while the blond ferrule is the smallest, most expensive, and does little for the overall utility. I can't think of a more accurate representation of racism.
Funny how that works, innit?
 

panda

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i hate ebony handles, theyre heavy and slippery. two useless traits when it comes to actual usage. also, i could care less what the color of the ferrule is as long as its buffalo horn and is finished well and is flush with the handle.
 

Cashn

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I'm gunna go with satire from chef doom and not seriousness. I don't think the hype is gone, with a blonde ferrule people are able to call a knife a little more "their" own. If you actually use a knife to its full potential the color of the handle is almost never noticed.
 

XooMG

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I am a bit boring and avoid flashy stuff, but I have one at the moment and I think it's nice.
 

mack

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Thanks for all the answers.
To me - talking of a guy who enjoys cutting in private surroundings - with lots of time and no stress while cooking - i happily don't have to care a lot about the perfect performing knife, to me it's all about the beauty of he knives. And therefore I prefer ebony handles with blond horn.

Mack.
 

mack

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Hi!

Another question comes to my mind: Why don't we see those knives in BST (at least not that often)?

Aren't there any?
Do the owners want to keep them? And if so: Why? Are they that rare, so that guys are collecting them?

I don't have the funds to buy a lot of knives but I'm always interessted in good looking ebony handles with blond ferrule, but I simpy can't find them (ok, James has some, but that's it - as far as I know)...


Mack.

@xooMG: great knife btw... and great saya of course...
 

Jovidah

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I think it's largely what Matus said; supply dried up. For example the white buffalo + ebony bolster was a relatively common and easy option a fear years ago when you could still order knives directly from Ashi... but since they stopped taking direct orders the option simply no longer exists (heck, sourcing any Ashi knives has since become a more complicated affair in Europe).

From what I've read the white and marble horns are really just a small minority of the total production of buffalo horn, and that led to shortages. For example Koki (JCK) at some point stopped giving the option to choose a bolster color on Mizuno knives because it became impossible to source the white ones. I can imagine that the few (larger) producers who still use white horn easily suck up the entire market.

Maybe James could chime in? He seems to be one of the few who's still able to source knives with this type of handle... :)
 

fujiyama

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Hi!

Another question comes to my mind: Why don't we see those knives in BST (at least not that often)?

Aren't there any?
Do the owners want to keep them? And if so: Why? Are they that rare, so that guys are collecting them?

I don't have the funds to buy a lot of knives but I'm always interessted in good looking ebony handles with blond ferrule, but I simpy can't find them (ok, James has some, but that's it - as far as I know)...


Mack.
The owners want to keep them. :)

The handles sold by James are beautiful but I don't know that you can get one without a metal spacer? I'm not a fan of spacers (on these handles ).

Here's some ebony porn for you ;)




My opinion.. while true that the supply of blonde buffalo has become scarce in Japan, this ebony handle was never popular in the grand scheme of things. Magnolia has been the choice for decades and is still popular today. It's durable, cheap and easy to replace.

Evidently, these ebony handles are rare but not unobtainable. I've bought some as recently as January of this year, and have purchased some over the years (at least a couple of nice ones in 2017 ). If you watch stores and classifieds very closely, you'll find many opportunities every year. It's a waiting game!
 

krx927

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i hate ebony handles, theyre heavy and slippery. two useless traits when it comes to actual usage. also, i could care less what the color of the ferrule is as long as its buffalo horn and is finished well and is flush with the handle.
I am with you here about about them being slippery. I do not really like them mostly because of this. This is why I also do not like any custom handle. They all come lacquered and slippery.

Second issue I have with my Gesshin Ittetsu with such handle is the fact that I can see glue under the blond ferrule - yuck!

So tastes are different!
 
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