Knife qualities that matter most to you

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DavidPF

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this just sounds like you don't know what you like
Probably mostly true, but part of it is things I do know: no knife with f&f issues can act like I described, no knife with grind issues can act like I described, etc.

There's that category of houses they call fixer-uppers. With a fixer-upper, you have to know what you're getting into. And I have something against fixer-uppers that are brand new.

This isn't houses we're talking about, there aren't a thousand things that can randomly go wrong with a knife. Wonky grind? Correct it before letting it out of the shop. F&f a bit iffy? Don't let anyone see it until it's fixed. All the things that the most irritatingly picky KKFers are going to do to their knife in their first 2 weeks using it, are things that could and should have been taken care of before they even set eyes on it, and frankly I'm embarrassed for the makers that they aren't. I like knives where every detail has already been sorted out, where there's nothing to correct, nothing to thin out, no issues to look into, nothing unexpected. When anybody gets a new knife I want them to expect that they won't want to change a thing about it, and I want them to be surprised and disappointed if that isn't the case.

This isn't emphasizing f&f, this is just "please follow through and complete each knife before you hang a price sticker on it".

I don't see guys with new cars out using their angle grinder to make the doors fit. I don't see them with bottles of dye hunting for engine leaks that need a DIY fix.

Knifeland is a really weird country. :)
 

Barmoley

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The knives you describe only exist with mass produced knives. There you know exactly what you are getting and can count on the consistency. With enthusiasts and handmade knives it is impossible to have a knife that all enthusiasts will agree on and not want to modify. You are wrong about cars too, enthusiasts modify brand new cars all the time. From wheels, tires and suspension parts to ECU software flashes and intake and exhaust pieces, new turbos, repaints and vinyl wraps. I am talking brand new, expensive cars. This is how enthusiasts are and it is not unique to knives. It's all relative, what is perfect f&f to some is not to others, handles, balance, grinds, profiles, etc. All these things are very much personal preference and it is unreasonable to expect that there is a knife out there that will please all. Besides knives are easy to modify, so people who know what they want do just that if they feel like it. No fault of the maker at all.
 

Marcelo Amaral

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Not sure if i can order by importance, but there are definitely some qualities that are desireable for me. For instance:

cut well (grind, can't be too thick behind the edge);
be confortable after prolonged use (balance, thick spine, weight are important here);
have a strong taper;
have a reasonable price for my wallet;
good steel/treatment;
food release;
nice, flatter profiles with pointier tips, if possible.

I can't deny there are other apects i also love, like sharpeanability, but i favor cutting well over being easy to sharpen, so a more convexed grind, maximizing cutting ability is more important than creating a high bevel blade that doesn't cut so well, but it is easier to sharpen.

How beautiful and well finished it is is also important to me.
There are japanese products that are very well finished and i love them, but the attention to detail of some western makers are definitely a step higher in quality for me.
 

Eloh

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1. Needs to be somewhat comfortable, thick spine out the handle preferred
2. Good geometry and the appropriate steel for the geometry, so it's somewhat robust, not too thin, not too thick 😉
3.of course looks play a little role too
 

Delat

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Just want to throw in a perspective here. I have yet to make a knife without flaws. Don't know if I would want to either actually, maybe then I would quit.
I had some friends admiring furniture that I had made and telling me I should start selling it. I replied I can’t be a pro because I’m always making small mistakes, and showed them a couple flaws. One of them said, “You know the difference between a pro and an amateur? The pros don’t point out the flaws in their work!”. 🤣
 

RDalman

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I had some friends admiring furniture that I had made and telling me I should start selling it. I replied I can’t be a pro because I’m always making small mistakes, and showed them a couple flaws. One of them said, “You know the difference between a pro and an amateur? The pros don’t point out the flaws in their work!”. 🤣
True! I had to learn that indeed for a long time when starting I was doing just that to customers 😅 Also, what is a flaw in makers eye is not necessarily so for the buyer. And everything has a backside or come with choices, like techniques or tools.
 

captaincaed

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For example. This is a desk we made. It's hollow for storage space, and has a spine that runs down the middle for rigidity. Set into thick side pieces to make a frame. Well, see that moulding on the outside? Guess who cut the notch for the spine on the OUTSIDE of the piece.
3DE7CE2C-11A1-4FCA-802A-903C09BA5887.jpeg
 

Giovanny Torres

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For example. This is a desk we made. It's hollow for storage space, and has a spine that runs down the middle for rigidity. Set into thick side pieces to make a frame. Well, see that moulding on the outside? Guess who cut the notch for the spine on the OUTSIDE of the piece. View attachment 117872
Just call it wabi sabi and increase the price to double ;)
 

Barashka

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That's a very good question and I really had to think about it.

1) does it fill a gap in my set or is somehow unique?
My own rule to avoid dupes, no matter how good .. unless we're talking dalman or kamon, I really try to avoid similar knives and sometimes even same steels .. just to prevent hording and force me to try more stuff. Value comes into play here too, if a real kramer is for sale, sure is unique but not selling my car for it.

2) am I going to enjoy using it?
Here food release is probably king, following shortly by profile, grind, then how long a keen the edge stays, maintenance.

3) does it look the part?
Because life is too short to use a boring knife.

Great question and love reading other peoples thoughts.
 
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Iggy

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Cutting ease
Food Release
ergonomic handle
looks and "flair/story"
good carbon steel that sharpens well (decent edge retention)

In that order.
 

KO88

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1) Profile
2) Cutting - grind, geometry, food release, no wedging, taper with nice thin tip
3) Steel/HT - easy sharpens, holds the edge and can be sharp as **** (basically carbon steels)
4) Uniqueness - this could be the controversial one maybe but I m trying to get only knives that can be easily forwarded if needed such a thing (really bad at forwarding though🙈)
5) Looks
 

Matt Zilliox

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I resemble this

Hmmm, really compelling OP question. Firstly, impossible for me to rank the most important elements of a knife, since I have a wide range of knives I like, and view each as having strengths and weaknesses. When I consider my humble collection as a whole—there are common threads that are revealed, defining my taste and preferences for kitchen knives.

Common threads:
• Go carbon or go home! All of my knives are carbon—not counting the decade old UX10 I never use. Excellent quality carbon steel is probably what gets my heart racing—be it 52100, b1, b2, w1, w2, whatever Birgersson uses, Bryan and Yanick's superb steel, spicy Swedish, etc.
• Authorship. From which maker or workshop adds considerable weight for my knife purchase decisions—style; reputation; fame, hype—the notable makers that have rocked my world are TF, Kato, Heiji, Raquin, etc.
• Aesthetics. Not difficult to tell I'm a kurouchi fan! Gorgeous honyaki hamons and shiny Sakai knives do nothing for me—I adore the rough, rustic look and feel of kurouchi; a finish that references the blacksmiths forge and craft.
• Rarity/uniqueness. Performance is key, since I buy knives to use—but I do value the specialness of having knives that aren't commonplace—be it a result of low production output (Jiro); or cost (denka, shig, kato); or custom.
• Size matters. The number I respond to most when sniffing out a gyuto is '225.' I've more 225 gyutos than any other length, it's my comfort zone, my safe zone, my 'must buy' dog whistle.

View attachment 117607
 

DavidPF

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The knives you describe only exist with mass produced knives. There you know exactly what you are getting and can count on the consistency. With enthusiasts and handmade knives it is impossible to have a knife that all enthusiasts will agree on and not want to modify. You are wrong about cars too, enthusiasts modify brand new cars all the time. From wheels, tires and suspension parts to ECU software flashes and intake and exhaust pieces, new turbos, repaints and vinyl wraps. I am talking brand new, expensive cars.
You're also promoting a really silly double standard. Those brand new expensive cars are not being sold with cracked wheels, malfunctioning brakes, and doors that won't close - but the equivalent "enthusiast" knives ARE being sold with that level of defects. I wasn't talking about making voluntary modifications, and you knew I wasn't. My issue is that brand-new expensive knives are sold needing major repairs to bring them up to saleable condition, not that somebody wants to do something interesting with them.
 

Koop

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You're also promoting a really silly double standard. Those brand new expensive cars are not being sold with cracked wheels, malfunctioning brakes, and doors that won't close - but the equivalent "enthusiast" knives ARE being sold with that level of defects. I wasn't talking about making voluntary modifications, and you knew I wasn't. My issue is that brand-new expensive knives are sold needing major repairs to bring them up to saleable condition, not that somebody wants to do something interesting with them.
Do you actually have experience with these defective, expensive knives needing major repairs or are you repeating things you've read?
 

Barmoley

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You're also promoting a really silly double standard. Those brand new expensive cars are not being sold with cracked wheels, malfunctioning brakes, and doors that won't close - but the equivalent "enthusiast" knives ARE being sold with that level of defects. I wasn't talking about making voluntary modifications, and you knew I wasn't. My issue is that brand-new expensive knives are sold needing major repairs to bring them up to saleable condition, not that somebody wants to do something interesting with them.
First of all I am not promoting anything. I am just telling you that your arbitrary level of quality or usability has nothing to do with reality or TF standards. You think there is something wrong with these knives, but there isn't in most cases. The maker just doesn't care or find important what you find important. This just means these knives are not for you. You keep on saying that the maker needs to do something, fix something or whatever, but the reality is just different. Most of these knives are fine right out of the box
 

Delat

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Tesla is well-known for spotty quality and terrible panel gaps, but people keep snapping them up. Jaguar is legendary for unreliable electronics, but they’re still around. Alfa Romeo is a tough sell in the US due to past quality issues, but they manage to do well in the rest of the world. BMWs have a rep for costing a fortune outside of warranty, and yet they sell well on the used market. Ditto Mercedes.

I honestly don’t understand TF personally, but people see something in them and I’d be interested to try one out eventually to get educated personally. Having your horizons expanded in unexpected ways is always an experience to treasure.

Maybe I’m more open to it because I tend to keep my BMWs for 10+ years with very few issues but I constantly hear people saying, “Don’t keep BMWs once the warranty expires!” On the BMW forums, no less. Seems like a similar dichotomy for TF knives.
 

Doffen

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For me it the most important is:
Profile
Grind
Steel and HT.
The rest, not so important.
 

juice

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Those brand new expensive cars are not being sold with cracked wheels, malfunctioning brakes, and doors that won't close - but the equivalent "enthusiast" knives ARE being sold with that level of defects.
Not every J-knife is a TF, you know.
 

4phantom

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For me (a home cook) , it's probably

1) comfort/balance
2) quality of steel/heat treat
3) geometry
4) aesthetic :D

Nothing else is really an issue, even if something is hard to sharpen I'm never in a rush so I can take my time
 
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