Maumasi Smith & Bard monosteel collection

Discussion in 'The Kitchen Knife' started by Nikabrik, Nov 10, 2019.

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  1. Nov 14, 2019 #31

    madelinez

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    There are some makers on this board that make very high quality knives for under $1000, typically with more expensive materials and perfect fit and finish (Tansu would be my choice). Not sure who would buy a $1400 1075 stock removal knife, especially one that looks like that.

    They could have at least used a premium carbon steel like SC125.
     
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  2. Nov 14, 2019 #32

    Eloh

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    True. He probably chose 1075 to differentiate this line of knives from his forged knives wich use a slightly higher carbon steel (im assuming 1095/15n20?) and also because it's super easy to work with...
     
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  3. Nov 14, 2019 #33

    msum

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    Nice to see Aussie makers getting more love/respect in this thread.

    I imagine the majority of us would agreed that these knives seem a bit underwhelming in some regards, but perhaps some of us (despite ourselves) wouldn't mind owning a Maumasi. Or am I just speaking for myself...
     
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  4. Nov 14, 2019 #34

    Brian Weekley

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    I don’t care who makes a knife but when it moves north of 1k in price it better check all my boxes. I guess the way I feel about some products is that they are the least cost way to capitalize to the maximum possible extent on a reputation that may or may not be hard earned or justified. Imho Maumasi would have been better off getting Zwilling or Spyderco or Victorinox or ??? to manufacture a “Maumasi Edition” that sells for $299.96. Heck ... at that price I might even buy one.
     
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  5. Nov 15, 2019 #35

    aboynamedsuita

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    Somewhat related (think we may have chatted about this before) but the Zwilling Kramer 52100 is a great knife if reground and you can either rehandle or accept the rivet issues. I’d never pay thousands for a real Kramer and from those I’ve spoken with who’ve used them, the customized ZK has to at least be on par for much less $

    Edit: I dislike these maumasi mid tech knives too lol. I was interested in a custom from him about 2.5 years ago, and that would’ve just been a couple hundred more than these things. Now the custom prices are too high for my liking, but good for him if he can sell (the customs) for that.
     
  6. Nov 15, 2019 #36

    Brian Weekley

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    That’s exactly what I was thinking when I made my post. I own both an 8” Zwilling Kramer Carbon and a 10” Zwilling Euroline Kramer Stainless. For the money they are both excellent knives. I use them occasionally and appreciate Kramer’s design. Friends like to see them and use them. I have absolutely no problem that Kramer is making a tidy sum off of them. Good for him. I honestly believe Maumasi would be better off following in that mold rather than producing a faux custom $1,400 economy line, but hey ... it’s his business. At $299.96 I’m probably a buyer of a knife that follows his design. At $1,400 I have a lot of other knife makers whose product I will buy first.
     
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  7. Nov 16, 2019 #37

    Marek07

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    Back in Sept '16, @Lucretia posted her fave knife - a Maumasi. I was smitten. I posted a WTB here and actually got a bite but it was too long for my tastes. Contacted Mareko directly and found I could get a 220-ish integral Damascus gyuto for $1,800. Waitlist was ~18 months but required a 30% deposit. At the time, the down payment was almost triple what I'd ever spent on a knife so I cooled to the idea. :oops: Shoulda, woulda, coulda...

    On the topic of Zwilling Kramers, I have a couple and really enjoy using them. I get Bob Kramer design with Japanese manufacturing by a German company but very affordable. (been lucky and never had any rivet issues) Never, ever going to have one of Bob Kramers's knives - certainly not one owned by Anthony Bourdain!
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2019
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  8. Nov 17, 2019 #38

    Don Nguyen

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    Quite frankly a lot of the comments on here make me really sad. A long time ago I had worked on a fairly big batch of knives and was excited to launch them, only to have everyone almost insultingly reject them because they were too much for them. Seeing that same kind of behavior here is disappointing.

    Here are some of my thoughts coming from another maker. I do not think it is too outrageous of a price. I've been full-time as a maker for a few years now and it's atrociously difficult to get that business going as a single person living in a place where costs are not even that high. I cannot even imagine trying to get into it with a family and higher living costs. Health insurance? Shop upgrades? Overhead? Supplies?

    This kind of batch is a significant amount of work. To discount that is an absolute shame.

    Certainly, there are other makers out there that are making great knives for great prices. There are a lot of variables that go into that. Are they full-time? Have they been doing it for a long time? Is their demand high? Where do they live? How many knives are they making? How many people do they have to support? How GOOD are they? Is their work DIFFERENT?

    I understand if prices are too high for certain people, but I don't think there should be any demanding entitlement to buy something at their projected price. The intended market is not for them, simple as that. To vocally get offended at someone's success is just sad.
     
  9. Nov 17, 2019 #39

    msum

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    Hmm, I guess it’s a tricky subject. I’m not sure anyone means to insult anyone else here (I don’t), although I understand how some of what has been written could be hurtful. Certainly there are critical comments, but negative feedback can be helpful.

    I think most or all of us understand that Maumasi can charge what he wants and that he needs to make a living. And, presumably he is charging the “market price”. If these don’t sell, then maybe he’s not, but I suspect we all expect them to sell easily.

    Nevertheless, I do feel that comments about steel choice are fair. And I also feel that, although these knives may well cut and feel better than anything else out there (I guess none of us know without having them in hand), there is better value for money elsewhere, in terms of cutting performance. Of course there are two caveats that quickly come to mind 1) Not many of us buy knives that are “good value for money”; 2) No other knife is good value if all you want is a Maumasi (and that kind of reputation is built up by the efforts of the maker, although some of us are simply “luckier” than others)

    Hopefully that clarifies my perspective a little. I’m simply a noob/n00b, so feel free to take me to a school/town/task.
     
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  10. Nov 17, 2019 #40

    Brian Weekley

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    I don’t sense that any comments posted are the result of being “offended” at Maumasi’s success. I for one wish him every success. Provided our comments are not in BST I think voicing an “opinion” about a product is within bounds and I tried to back my points with facts without being unkind or suggesting that Maumasi was doing anything wrong or immoral. In fact I believe that suggesting that Maumasi team up with a quality volume manufacturer like Zwilling was a positive comment. Bob Kramer seems to have done OK by it. I am sorry that your first production lot that you produced didn’t receive the reaction that you wished for. Unfortunately that’s the free market. Life is not for the faint of heart.

    Just a thought.
     
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  11. Nov 17, 2019 #41

    cheflivengood

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    Who here owns or have used a Maumasi? Who here owns a knife in 1075 by a master craftsman? Who here knows how much in belts, other abrasives, utility costs including a week of shop rent, handle materials, packaging and shipping costs it took to make these 5 knifes?

    Dinner for one at Alinea, with wine is at minimum $500, up to $1200. Thats food that you later put in the toilet. One ticket to the art institute costs $50 to see a space full of well over $1bn of paint(cheap) on canvas (cheap). How can you rationalize how others want to experience art? If you can pick this knife out of a lineup of dozens and know its a maumasi, or a copy of a maumasi, his designs have transcended craft/tools and is now also art.
     
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  12. Nov 17, 2019 #42

    Barmoley

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    As much as I agree with what you are saying, I hope your point is not that we can’t discuss prices or have opinions about a particular maker, his prices or choices of steels. As long as it stays civil, not insulting and within forum rules we can discuss whatever we want. 1075 chef knife by master craftsman will not be better than 52100 by the same master craftsmen assuming he knows how to work with both steels. There is a cost difference between the steels and more difference in heat treat and other work, but these seem to be minor. This discussion has stayed relatively civil to this point, let’s not start belittling anyone’s opinion and get upset for someone else. Maumasi couldn’t care less what we here say, so let’s not get all righteous and protective of him, no one is criticizing his skills or abilities. The discussion is over these specific offerings, which to people who commented seem to include some odd decisions.
     
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  13. Nov 18, 2019 #43

    WildBoar

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    I think the main issue was some people hoping they would be able to finally get a Maumasi, and then seeing the price about double what was expected. It is up there in the fully forged knife price range. The maker likely knows best what the market is like for his product, so from the outside we can only speculate. There are many talented makers who do stock removal at a price point that is a bit lower. At the range of these knives there is competition from fully forged knives from some other top makers. I suspect the market can support a couple batches of these, with purchases most likely coming from people who already own a knife or two from him, and not so much being purchased by those who are going for knives forged by retiring Japanese makers.
     
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  14. Nov 18, 2019 #44

    cheflivengood

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    I'm honestly just curios for the answers to the questions I asked.

    How is 52100 better than 1075? And lets discuss the minor differences in working with either of the steels after that.
     
  15. Nov 18, 2019 #45

    Barmoley

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    52100 is more wear resistant, it is very tough even at high hardness, which translates to high edge stability. It also seems to be slightly more corrosion resistant. It will hold an edge better in the kitchen when both steels are heat treated to optimal levels for each steel. I qualify that as better.
     
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  16. Nov 18, 2019 #46

    cheflivengood

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    I will agree with those statements, but what if I use knives a lot, and would rather have a knife that is more reactive to leather strops with pastes, and is much easier to maintain geometry when thinning and refinishing on stones? I would rather use a daily user in 1075 or 1084 and maintain it more regularly and thoroughly than use 52100 which is very difficult to thin.
     
  17. Nov 18, 2019 #47

    Barmoley

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    I will not pretend to use knives even 1% as much as you do, so in this hypothetical example if ease of thinning is your most important quality in a knife then maybe 1075 is better than 52100 in this specific attribute. I never found 52100 difficult to sharpen, maintain with a strop or thin and maintain on stones. If you did, I can’t argue with your experience. That said most well known and respected kitchen knife makers don’t use 1075, definitely not at the price point we are talking about. Maumasi is definitely talented and successful, good for him, but unless he found some magical block of 1075, I doubt his decision to use it was based on 1075 being the best steel for this application. Ofcourse I don’t know why he chose it and anything I say is speculation as anything else on these forums.

    My issue is not with the steel, Maumasi, or price of his knives. I am good with all of it. My issue is with censorship on a discussion forum. We can and should discuss makers, their material choices and prices as long as it is civil, somewhat logical and doesn’t go against forum rules.
     
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  18. Nov 18, 2019 #48

    cheflivengood

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    I am just trying to show a good example of a discussion, which is what we are having, rather than calling any craftsman's work a joke(which you did not do) without saying why with supported evidence.

    its quite possible 52100 requires twice the belts to grind pre and post HT, and quadruple the sand paper and time to hand finish 5 s_ground knives at a time with a new apprentice.
     
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  19. Nov 18, 2019 #49

    Eloh

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    I think it's more sad that virtually any criticism will be interpreted as just jealousy by some people, because it goes against one of their holy mantras of capitalism or something
     
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  20. Nov 18, 2019 #50

    Barmoley

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    If this is what you are trying to do that’s fine I don’t disagree. The way I read your original post was that we shouldn’t comment on quality, price or materials used unless we actually tried a knife in question or a knife very similar to it. If that is the case then I can't agree because as much as it would be great to be able to do that, this is not the reality. It is reasonable to be able to extrapolate from other experiences and be able to judge without trying. Real experience is best, but if this was the only criteria then most conversations on these forums would not be possible.

    As far as needing twice the belts and quadruple the sand paper....maybe one of the makers can comment if they care to do so. Your numbers don't seem right to me, but I am not a bladesmith.
     
  21. Nov 18, 2019 #51

    Don Nguyen

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    I did come across a little bit passionate in my comment above.

    I think, in general, the intended audience for these types of knives are not this kind of community. Let's be real, most of you guys are very particular about nuances and maximizing performance per your investment. Everything from steel choice, heat treatment, carbides, alloying elements, edge thickness, convexity, surface area energy, weight, tapers, moment of inertia, etc. The truth is that performance has diminishing returns at a certain point, and after that you just can't get better, you just get different. Something that is good, unique, and even iconic is what drives a commanding price.

    Mareko's demand is immense, and there's absolutely no way that he can satisfy that demand realistically. There's a huge, growing, new market of people who are just getting into high-end handmade knives, and they are not so experienced at that level. I agree that 52100 is a great freakin' steel, but it is more involved when it comes to the heat treatment, and more time when it comes to grinding and finishing. For someone relatively new, they might not even notice those differences when it comes to edge performance, and I might even argue that it could be easier to learn how to take care of a knife out of 1075 versus 52100, if it's even noticeable to that extent. Heck, there is a massive market of people buying those knives purely as gifts.

    Those are just some thoughts from a business standpoint.

    As far as actual physical characteristics of the knives, it's the same exact grind he does by hand for his full-on customs, with a fully-sculpted handle. Bar minimum for me, if any well-designed handmade kitchen knife has those and is executed at a high level, that in itself should be a $1000 starting point. That in itself is an immense amount of time and skill that I honestly respect. Maybe I'm slightly biased in my viewpoint, but I actually handled one of these knives just a couple weeks ago.
     
  22. Nov 18, 2019 #52

    RDalman

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    52100 is super stable, tough and easy to work with even at a finished 65 hrc. Imo.

    I guess what this thread is about is some levels of disappointment on this offering, which I would guess Mareko could have expected. I don't think he needs defending on that.
     
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  23. Nov 18, 2019 #53

    mise_en_place

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    I think this is exactly it. Most every member of this forum would prefer something a little different for $1400.

    The comment earlier about losing all respect is a little silly IMO. Mareko's business decisions shouldn't be taken personally by any regular member here.

    I think it's very clear, like @Don Nguyen mentioned, Mareko wasn't thinking of KKF when he went ahead with this line.
     
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  24. Nov 18, 2019 #54

    HSC /// Knives

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    Interesting thread and alot of opinions. This is after all an discussion board which will have opinions.
    Two posts speak to the "costs" associated with knifemaking and the justification to charge $1400.
    As a fulltime maker now for 2 years, I'm going to offer my opinion which is nothing revolutionary.
    I don't believe Mareko is charging $1,400 each because of the costs associated with making that set of knives.
    He's charging it because he can. And pretty much anyone else would do the same.
    You don't get to charge what you want because you think your time is worth it... or because equipment, materials and other items are expensive, you charge what the market will bear.
    Any of us will try to get as much as we can for our time/labor/efforts.

    And I believe they are all sold out so maybe he should have charged more....:)

    regards
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2019
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  25. Nov 18, 2019 #55

    inferno

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    1400 for a 1075 blade with slab grips scales?? i have never even heard of this maker. must be some ultra good stuff this.
     
  26. Nov 18, 2019 #56

    alterwisser

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    I can think of a couple of knives I’d take off your hands for a package deal of $6000 so you can buy a “real” Maumasi ;-P
     
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  27. Nov 18, 2019 #57

    WildBoar

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    He's been around a handful of years now. He was on the forums for a while, but I believe he mainly uses IG, etc. these days. He apprenticed for Kramer. He did some discounted sales a few years back while raising money to outfit a workshop.
     
  28. Nov 18, 2019 #58

    Corradobrit1

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    Check out Juns Kitchen on YT. He has a one of his signature Dammy gyutos,
     
  29. Nov 18, 2019 #59

    Brian Weekley

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    HSC ... Great post ... bingo! Economics 101. Let’s say the marginal cost of the knife is $40. At $1,400 the profit on the six is $8,160. Now get Zwilling to produce a thousand of them at their plant in Japan selling at $300. Profit $260,000. Actual numbers may vary but the point is the same. AND Maumasi couldn’t give a rats a** about what anybody at KKF thinks. From my perspective for $1,400 I put Maumasi’s knife in one hand and and one of a couple of dozen other makers knives in the other and I get more value for the other makers’ knives. My dollars, my choice. And I will still buy the Zwilling Maumasi at $300 when it’s released.

    That’s the free market.

    Just my .02.
     
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  30. Nov 18, 2019 #60

    alterwisser

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    That’s it!

    we here are the freaks! Any maker who ONLY caters to us will be in trouble at some point!

    i mean: we are chasing the next greatest thing on a weekly basis.

    the makers who can branch out and find a broader market are not only the ones to survive, but to thrive.

    i applaud them .... good for them! I prefer to see a maker being successful and criticized here than one who is beloved here but struggles to make ends meet.

    if you can’t or don’t want to afford a Maumasi, there are tons of cheaper knives out there that sure will float your boat
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2019
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