KKF Massdrop IV - 田中義一 🇯🇵

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ModRQC

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That would be a ton of work for him to custom every handle. Way simpler to do a lot of 25.
At this point I don't think he cares so much. It's what he does. And he already has stocks on hand which he can propose for a quick fit.

Of course cost couldn't get so low, but that would be on the buyer.

I mean, if you're getting a Japanese smith like Y. Tanaka to do a bunch of blades, and SUCH blades, it's not like western makers that tend to have their own specialization with handles as well. This guy doesn't GAF about what it'll be. He just forges the blades. Perfect occasion for offering a massdrop with customized handles. Once the first blades are made and NKW can give feedback to weight and looks and all, Jobone could already start making some.
 

M1k3

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At this point I don't think he cares so much. It's what he does. And he already has stocks on hand which he can propose for a quick fit.

Of course cost couldn't get so low, but that would be on the buyer.

I mean, if you're getting a Japanese smith like Y. Tanaka to do a bunch of blades, and SUCH blades, it's not like western makers that tend to have their own specialization with handles as well. This guy doesn't GAF about what it'll be. He just forges the blades. Perfect occasion for offering a massdrop with customized handles. Once the first blades are made and NKW can give feedback to weight and looks and all, Jobone could already start making some.
Just ask for the "Ian special"?
 
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Opinions differ, but I too think that since wrought iron is there the handle should be simpler rather than have lots of figure and complexity. Having a busy handle and blade and ferrule just seems too much. On their own they all might look great, but in combination and once patina forms it will look too busy. I assume that the idea to go with wrought was for the blade to be the main visual attraction.
👆

x💯

Wise words. I know everybody has their own preferences but i second this. A 'busy' blade and a 'busy' handle is too much. To use @Dan-'s words... I think it tips over the edge and becomes 'gaudy'.

I reckon a simple handle with a dark wood is a good bet. I quite like @Corradobrit1's idea of ringed gidgee (an Aussie wood)... It is a very dense wood with interesting grain. However, if highly finished, it probably suffers from the same tactile issues as ebony (@Barmoley, @RockyBasel).

At the very least, two handle options - one tending towards visually 'simple' would be great.
 

Knivperson

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Glad you asked. Not decided, but forgive me if I say this - I just don’t like ebony.

NKW and I are toying with the idea of perhaps having 2 handle choices, one cheaper (ebony) and perhaps one $20-30 more - Tasmanian Blackwood, desert ironwood, snakewood, Siamese rosewood, etc. something more exotic

Nothing stabilized!

Inputs are welcome

Perhaps something like this providers ironwood

 

jedy617

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Perhaps something like this providers ironwood

No worries on sourcing anything, joe has tons of wood on supply at all times and can always get more from his sources
 
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Hey everyone! Sorry for my delay in posting, I started making a way too long post about both the story of these knives we are commissioning, as well as a bunch of info in general about wrought iron (WI), but I'll keep this one short and make another post going into more detail about WI later - its history, how it differs from other ferrous metals metallurgically and production-wise, why the WI we sourced is among the highest quality, and some general fun factoids about WI that not many people are aware of, and so on (please note that I am not trained in metallurgy, this is all from my fairly recent research which could be incorrect; if so let me know).

Anyways, I am super excited to be a part of this project, and I appreciate all the interest everyone has expressed. It has been a pleasure working with @RockyBasel, @nakiriknaifuwaifu, and our connections in Japan and England to try and get this little project together. We went through a lot of ideas for possible knives, some that were a bit wild, and some a bit tame. After much deliberation we settled on what I think is a really nice compromise of sorts. There will be the familiar, and always spectacular, B1 from Tanaka-san of which he is renown for, but with the interesting wrought iron (WI) cladding and somewhat unusual dimensions. We inquired with Daisuke Kawamura of Kawamura Hamono (Sakai Kikumori) about such a construction and our hope to work with Tanaka-san specifically. Honestly we did not know what to expect since Tanaka-san had never/rarely ever worked with WI before. Surprisingly, and to our delight, Tanaka-san responded with enthusiasm about the idea precisely because he has worked with WI so little but has always wanted to work with it more/wanted to take on a challenge to test his limits and unknowns. But his excitement was tempered by the fact that he had no source for WI. Daisuke-san and I spent some time tapping possible sources to no real avail.

It took a lot of time to secure the WI. There are users on here, and smiths elsewhere around the world, that have a bunch of WI accessible to them, but it is fairly uncommon in Japan, and we needed at least 25kg of it in bar stock to fulfill the quantity we wanted. There are of course some smiths that have access to WI, but generally inconsistently, with varied levels of quality and quantity, and typically of great expense. After a bunch of research I stumbled across Topps & Co in England. They do ironwork for some of the most prestigious and historically significant buildings, palaces, parks, etc., and their designs and build quality are breathtaking. Not only is their work impressive, they also are (likely) the only producers of re-rolled wrought iron in the world (technically their subsidiary, 'The Real Wrought Iron Company,' makes it). As I mentioned, they also make WI for themselves for WI preservation and restoration projects of historically significant sites and properties, as well as for new builds around the world. So we're talking about the quality control of one of the best ironwork companies in the world, the kind of quality they themselves use to preserve history in its most accurate and beautiful manner.

We ordered the WI in bar stock according to Tanaka-san's requests. They were freshly rolled in the end of April. Tanaka-san is in possession of them and has inspected them favorably. Although it is more work, Tanaka-san is excited to forge weld the B1 and the WI. WI can actually be fairly "easy" to forge weld with thanks to its unique metallurgical composition and inclusion of physically fused siliceous slag (more on that next post), which acts somewhat like a natural flux in a sense. That being said, given the hearty dimensions, working with that much novel material can be a bit more difficult. As mentioned, we do not know the price yet because Tanaka-san has to do a test run to determine the cost of the added labor and difficulty/ease of the forge weld; so please understand that even with a possible discount these may still have a sizable price tag. We also do not know the sharpener partly because we want Tanaka-san's input on a possible sharpener he thinks would do well with the material and dimensions after he had some time handling and working with the WI. As mentioned, please note that some craftsmen, particularly sharpeners, do not want to be disclosed to the public for an array of reasons. If the identity of the sharpener can be mentioned, we will do so, but please respect their wishes if they desire to remain secret. I can assure you the sharpener will be one of the highest quality given the special nature of this project, it is more a question of who it is exactly. The interesting thing is that it is during the sharpening/grinding process where things can go awry if the iron is of poor quality/condition. Pockets of impurities, rusted out bits, etc.

I will do my best to get some media of Tanaka-san working with the WI, but again, we must respect the makers' possible wishes of focus and privacy. But I will post progress of the production as best I can. I will try and be available for questions if anyone has any. I will do my best to respond to this thread, but the best way to reach me is through email or IG DMs. Please excuse me if I miss a message from you. As I mentioned, I will attempt to make another post going into more detail about WI and why it is special. Thanks again for all your excitement, I hope everything turns out well for everyone.

I also want to make a quick, cautious remark about comparing synonymously to/calling these WI knives, "Kaiju (whatever)". Kaiju is for Konosuke and I do not want to step on their toes. We are simply looking for a true workhorse grind. Perhaps the Kaiju is the most familiar and similar knife, but this is not an attempt to overshadow or imitate the Kaiju. Thank you for your understanding.
 
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25 to 30 knives has been the norm for these KKF drops.

With regard to handles I'm in the little love for ebony group. There are a ton of North American woods that are affordable, not endangered and fairly decay resistant (since these handles won't be stabilized which I think is a good decision): Black Walnut, Black Locust, and Live Oak, and among the slightly lighter colored woods Honey Mesquite, Kentucky Coffeetree, Black Cherry, White Oak, and Yew. Osage Orange is by far the brightest/lightest color option as it is near bright yellow when not aged or flamed. None of these woods are super dense so they may not be optimal for the 250 but Desert Ironwood ticks that box and Live Oak might work. Ziricote is another decent option among the medium density woods. With the wrought iron cladding I don't think a "look at me" highly figured wood is desirable for the handle.

Jobone would know better than I but I think most burls are a non-starter if not stabilized.

I'm hoping the heel height on the 225s are at or below the bottom of the stated range, say 53 - 55 mm. If the 250s are 56 - 58, or even 60, at the heel so be it.
 
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you're all going to get the handle I choose and you're going to love it
else...

1653233849165.png


no knife for you!
 
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RockyBasel

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Hey everyone! Sorry for my delay in posting, I started making a way too long post about both the story of these knives we are commissioning, as well as a bunch of info in general about wrought iron (WI), but I'll keep this one short and make another post going into more detail about WI later - its history, how it differs from other ferrous metals metallurgically and production-wise, why the WI we sourced is among the highest quality, and some general fun factoids about WI that not many people are aware of, and so on (please note that I am not trained in metallurgy, this is all from my fairly recent research which could be incorrect; if so let me know).

Anyways, I am super excited to be a part of this project, and I appreciate all the interest everyone has expressed. It has been a pleasure working with @RockyBasel, @nakiriknaifuwaifu, and our connections in Japan and England to try and get this little project together. We went through a lot of ideas for possible knives, some that were a bit wild, and some a bit tame. After much deliberation we settled on what I think is a really nice compromise of sorts. There will be the familiar, and always spectacular, B1 from Tanaka-san of which he is renown for, but with the interesting wrought iron (WI) cladding and somewhat unusual dimensions. We inquired with Daisuke Kawamura of Kawamura Hamono (Sakai Kikumori) about such a construction and our hope to work with Tanaka-san specifically. Honestly we did not know what to expect since Tanaka-san had never/rarely ever worked with WI before. Surprisingly, and to our delight, Tanaka-san responded with enthusiasm about the idea precisely because he has worked with WI so little but has always wanted to work with it more/wanted to take on a challenge to test his limits and unknowns. But his excitement was tempered by the fact that he had no source for WI. Daisuke-san and I spent some time tapping possible sources to no real avail.

It took a lot of time to secure the WI. There are users on here, and smiths elsewhere around the world, that have a bunch of WI accessible to them, but it is fairly uncommon in Japan, and we needed at least 25kg of it in bar stock to fulfill the quantity we wanted. There are of course some smiths that have access to WI, but generally inconsistently, with varied levels of quality and quantity, and typically of great expense. After a bunch of research I stumbled across Topps & Co in England. They do ironwork for some of the most prestigious and historically significant buildings, palaces, parks, etc., and their designs and build quality are breathtaking. Not only is their work impressive, they also are (likely) the only producers of re-rolled wrought iron in the world (technically their subsidiary, 'The Real Wrought Iron Company,' makes it). As I mentioned, they also make WI for themselves for WI preservation and restoration projects of historically significant sites and properties, as well as for new builds around the world. So we're talking about the quality control of one of the best ironwork companies in the world, the kind of quality they themselves use to preserve history in its most accurate and beautiful manner.

We ordered the WI in bar stock according to Tanaka-san's requests. They were freshly rolled in the end of April. Tanaka-san is in possession of them and has inspected them favorably. Although it is more work, Tanaka-san is excited to forge weld the B1 and the WI. WI can actually be fairly "easy" to forge weld with thanks to its unique metallurgical composition and inclusion of physically fused siliceous slag (more on that next post), which acts somewhat like a natural flux in a sense. That being said, given the hearty dimensions, working with that much novel material can be a bit more difficult. As mentioned, we do not know the price yet because Tanaka-san has to do a test run to determine the cost of the added labor and difficulty/ease of the forge weld; so please understand that even with a possible discount these may still have a sizable price tag. We also do not know the sharpener partly because we want Tanaka-san's input on a possible sharpener he thinks would do well with the material and dimensions after he had some time handling and working with the WI. As mentioned, please note that some craftsmen, particularly sharpeners, do not want to be disclosed to the public for an array of reasons. If the identity of the sharpener can be mentioned, we will do so, but please respect their wishes if they desire to remain secret. I can assure you the sharpener will be one of the highest quality given the special nature of this project, it is more a question of who it is exactly. The interesting thing is that it is during the sharpening/grinding process where things can go awry if the iron is of poor quality/condition. Pockets of impurities, rusted out bits, etc.

I will do my best to get some media of Tanaka-san working with the WI, but again, we must respect the makers' possible wishes of focus and privacy. But I will post progress of the production as best I can. I will try and be available for questions if anyone has any. I will do my best to respond to this thread, but the best way to reach me is through email or IG DMs. Please excuse me if I miss a message from you. As I mentioned, I will attempt to make another post going into more detail about WI and why it is special. Thanks again for all your excitement, I hope everything turns out well for everyone.

I also want to make a quick, cautious remark about comparing synonymously to/calling these WI knives, "Kaiju (whatever)". Kaiju is for Konosuke and I do not want to step on their toes. We are simply looking for a true workhorse grind. Perhaps the Kaiju is the most familiar and similar knife, but this is not an attempt to overshadow or imitate the Kaiju. Thank you for your understanding.


Thanks Evan - all credit goes to you for your Inspiration and patience in getting us here. The Ms for the insights and hard work that went into this special KKF project - yes, it was touch and go at times, but it’s great to have this come through - one of a kind knife, such interest from Kawamura Hamono and Tanaka San himself - it will be EPIC!
 

Corradobrit1

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Y. Tanaka-san at work. Health and Safety would have kittens inspecting that workshop. I wonder if Nomura will be the sharpener.



Some great insights into the bladesmith and his approach to his art in this extended interview

 
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Delat

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I have to give credit to @RockyBasel and @nakiriknaifuwaifu for keeping this under their hats for so long. Sounds like this has been in the works for months, and with a special order of WI last month, no less! You two must have been bursting at the seams to share but waited until everything was buttoned up. And let’s not overlook the fact that I’m sure someone had to foot the bill for the WI + shipping up front, with only a hope of recouping expenses on the back end many months later.

Mucho appreciation to you both!
 

gregfisk

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Opinions differ, but I too think that since wrought iron is there the handle should be simpler rather than have lots of figure and complexity. Having a busy handle and blade and ferrule just seems too much. On their own they all might look great, but in combination and once patina forms it will look too busy. I assume that the idea to go with wrought was for the blade to be the main visual attraction.
I’m not going to participate in the mass drop since I joined here to learn about what people like. I make kitchen knives for friends and family and my handles are very different from the wa handles people seem to love here. With that said, I do understand design aspects and when you have one element that is busy, you don’t want to fight that element with something else that’s busy. I have seen so many busy blades that have a busy handle and then a busy ferrel. What
that does it takes away the beauty of all of elements of design. You don’t want one elements of design fighting another. You want them to complement one another. Just my .02 cents worth from the peanut gallery.
 

RockyBasel

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I’m not going to participate in the mass drop since I joined here to learn about what people like. I make kitchen knives for friends and family and my handles are very different from the wa handles people seem to love here. With that said, I do understand design aspects and when you have one element that is busy, you don’t want to fight that element with something else that’s busy. I have seen so many busy blades that have a busy handle and then a busy ferrel. What
that does it takes away the beauty of all of elements of design. You don’t want one elements of design fighting another. You want them to complement one another. Just my .02 cents worth from the peanut gallery.

Right on - agreed
 

djacobson

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Doesn't seem like it would be a KKF mass drop knife without a handle. Standard or two choices at most seems best. If people don't like it they don't have to sign up :p
 

Justinv

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A few thoughts,
Doesn't seem like it would be a KKF mass drop knife without a handle. Standard or two choices at most seems best. If people don't like it they don't have to sign up :p
I disagree, they are hiring a custom handle maker to make handles that is accustomed to making a variety. What is the point in saving $25 on a $800 purchase then sending it out to be rehandled because the buyer doesn’t like it? At this price point a good handle is needed. In my opinion this was a weakness in prior offerings. I like the idea of letting jobone make a variety and letting people choose. He can make 50 and sell unselected ones at his own shop (I presume). Or not make 50 and give a few options. He doesn’t need 50 unique ones. The worst idea is letting NKW choose. Handles are personal preference. If you are getting customs made, let people pick and pay extra if needed. You don’t need to offer super premium Koa, but a few options make sense and others mentioned some good options. If people want no handle, why care?
 

ahhactive

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Glad you asked. Not decided, but forgive me if I say this - I just don’t like ebony.

NKW and I are toying with the idea of perhaps having 2 handle choices, one cheaper (ebony) and perhaps one $20-30 more - Tasmanian Blackwood, desert ironwood, snakewood, Siamese rosewood, etc. something more exotic

Nothing stabilized!

Inputs are welcome
HOOOOOOO this will be so so sick
 
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