Misen Kickstarter Knife

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El Pescador

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The bolster might be an issue to sharpen the knife down the road. AUS8 wouldn't be my steel of choice for a knife like this either. I cringed and decided I had seen enough with the knife on the marble board with the bread. I'd skip it and hit Ikea if you're interested in a bargain knife. I got a kick out of the hipster dinner party though.
 

HHH Knives

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"AUS8(Aichi) - Mid range performance stainless steel. Sometimes referred as A8, which isn't correct. More often it's called 8A, which is a common abbreviation. Similar to 440B steel. AUS8A is the same steel, except it's annealed. A stands for Annealed, that was confirmed by Aichi sales representative."

From my favorite steel site!! Zknives.

Thats not to say 8A wont work as a knife. It just wont be "superior" to some of the other knives its being compared to on KS
 

James

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At that price point, it's competing with the FKM and Tojiro DP and those two are a helluva lot of knife for the money. Interesting to see how it'd compare.
 

Roger

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It doesn't look bad. The pricing does not make it a bargain, far from it. If you know what you are looking for, you can get that kind of quality for around half the price, without the 7 months+ wait. Italian knifes like the Sanelli brand are great and not expensive, just for an example.
 

gic

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Why would anyone get this over a tojiro dp, makes no sense. Tojiro uses a better core steel and is cheaper
 

Roger

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Why would anyone get this over a tojiro dp, makes no sense. Tojiro uses a better core steel and is cheaper
Because they (the backers) don't know better and they love to gulp on that marketing laced granulated sugar. The product is clearly aimed at a public who doesn't know much about cutlery. I think it is kind of pretentious from misen to say they make (will make, cause it's not produced yet) a better knife than everyone else and for a better price than the competition when they actually probably don't know that much about cutlery (they certainly don't even have a decade of experience in that domain, unlike hundreds of other brands).
 

Marko Tsourkan

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Because they (the backers) don't know better and they love to gulp on that marketing laced granulated sugar. The product is clearly aimed at a public who doesn't know much about cutlery. I think it is kind of pretentious from misen to say they make (will make, cause it's not produced yet) a better knife than everyone else and for a better price than the competition when they actually probably don't know that much about cutlery (they certainly don't even have a decade of experience in that domain, unlike hundreds of other brands).
Hmm.. no dirt under finger nails )))

At this price, the knife has to be produced in China or elsewhere in the third world, no doubts about it. Not saying it's not a good knife, just throwing my two cents.
 

Dave Martell

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The bolster thing looks like Henckels new Pro line...
"Zwilling Pro's comfortable smooth bolster designed by architect Matteo Thun"


 

Noodle Soup

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They didn't exactly reinvent the wheel. I don't understand the whole "go fund me" concept for this knife. Seems like more of a scam than anything.
 

MAS4T0

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It looks like they've reinvented the tomato rather than the knife; seriously what was that long green tubular tomato at 1.40?
 

Bill13

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My problem is the profile. They mention how German knives have a lot of belly for cutting with a rocking motion and Japanese knives are flatter for push cutting; they went with a hybrid profile. To me this means it's not optimized for either; or will do everything poorly.

That said getting people interested in their knives and it being slightly harder than German steel are both pluses.
 

Lizzardborn

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Serious Eats have been whoring themselves quite a bit lately. Their new owner is trying to monetize them aggressively. I know that making money is important, but they have degraded to blatant pitching of products really good, really fast.

Things I don't like - the name. It is obvious play towards Misono. Even their logo is similar. The pitch video - oh come on. The fact that it puts that just a few days after Serious Eats had an article "In defense of cheap knives". They never mention any of the dimensions of the knives. After all that is not important.

Things I like - putting sharp knives in the hands of many people is a good endeavor. It is not hipster overpriced. If they keep their end of the sharpening service - it could be a good product. Won't back.
 

AllanP

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what the hell am i looking at. this is such bizarre and dishonest marketing

more value=more carbon=more hardness
 

Lizzardborn

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what the hell am i looking at. this is such bizarre and dishonest marketing

more value=more carbon=more hardness
They should try with cast iron knives. Even better - charcoal ones. They are pure carbon.
 

James

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At any rate, MOST likely better than cutco right?
 

Mucho Bocho

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I have to laugh when anyone says they reinvented the kitchen knife. The statement Best when it comes to kitchen knives makes my eyes roll.
 

Timthebeaver

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Fugly, crap profile, mediocre alloy.

As mentioned, only a fool would consider this over a Tojiro of Fujiwara FKM. I'd take a (cheaper) Victorinox Rosewood as well.

Calling it "Misen" is just taking the pi$$, as also mentioned.
 

icanhaschzbrgr

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mean old KKF…

The amount of interest for that Kickstarter campaign clearly shows that people are interested in good affordable knives. Where Misen would be that knife — that's the question we could answer once we try it.

I don't really understand the complaints here… what's wrong with AUS-8? Fujiwara FKM uses it and it works well. Maybe not as well as some more expensive steels, but pretty well non the less. Judging by their blueprints, the profile appears quite workable with some flat part heel to midblade. Well made bolster that shouldn't interfere with sharpening. Good price for a 210mm knife (just a bit tad cheaper than Fujiwara FKM).

If Misen manages to come up with something similar to Fujiwara FKM then it's win for everybody. There are about 2800 backers right now and I think it's a good that they'll have some better knives in their kitchen (or otherwise they would probably continue to use what they have, or paid $$$ for Shuns).
 

Lizzardborn

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If by pointing out deceptive branding (I genuinely thought it was misono/serious eats collaboration), misleading marketing, lack of basic grasp of what carbon does in a steel, or whatever they think a "blade angle" is (they do fix it to edge angle, which is more clear), is being mean - we could use some more meanness in all spheres of our lives.

Will it be a good knife - probably. Any piece of thinly grind steel with proper heat treatment will be a decent knife. Will it "reinvent and redefine" the category - doubt it.
 

kenji

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Serious Eats have been whoring themselves quite a bit lately. Their new owner is trying to monetize them aggressively. I know that making money is important, but they have degraded to blatant pitching of products really good, really fast.
This is Kenji from Serious Eats here. I appreciate your concern about the site, but actually the new owner of the site (Fexy Media) has had exactly zero input in editorial decisions, and as a policy, editorial and ad sales are separate teams that don't communicate other than for basic logistical reasons. Misen and Serious Eats have no relationship at all (and to be frank, as a kickstarted company that was just trying to raise $25K, they wouldn't have had the funds necessary to advertise on Serious Eats even if they wanted to). Our ads are always clearly labeled and put together by a different team. Editorial content is created by the editorial team and is uninfluenced by any kind of externalities.

I wrote about this knife because I tested it myself and thought it was a great product. I admit I forgot to include dimensions in the review. I am in the middle of a book tour for my first book (yay!) and I wrote the piece more hastily than I would have liked, but I wanted to get the piece out before their kickstarter early backer period ended so our readers could have a shot at the $45 and $55 backer prices for the knife.

As far as some specific questions people had, in comparison to a tojiro DP, I find the design to be much more conducive to your typical western cook. It is light and nimble enough to do precision tip and chopping work with, but it also has a deeper curve than a tojiro, which makes rock chops and your average western cook's slices more easy. It's a hybrid shape that leans closer to Western.

I also prefer the bolster design with its back slop that makes gripping the blade more comfortable and easier. I see many home cooks who have trouble getting used to the blade grip, and I think this design will help them get there more intuitively. One of my other favorite mass market knives, the Misono UX-10 has a similar bolster design, which is what draws me to it in my drawer.

The metal is harder than some german steel, softer than some other Japanese, but I think it strikes a good balance between not being overly brittle and being easy enough to sharpen well. You always have to consider the needs of someone who doesn't think about or isn't willing to sharpen a knife themselves and how long that edge is gonna last them. This one is a good balance.

The name is "Misen." I thought it was a reference to "mise en place." I'm not sure where it actually came from. The similarity to misono I guess is there, but it wasn't my first thought.

ANYHOW, as someone who's actually held it in my hands and has been using it regularly, I can tell you that at least for me, it's super comfortable, easy to manipulate, and really that's what matters most when it comes to a chef's knife.
 

gic

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This is an excellent post and I'm glad that Kenji took the time off to do it. In particular, I believe strongly people shouldn't make accusations of a lack of editorial independence on other sites without a lot of good evidence as the barrier between editorial and marketing is pretty important at content sites and usually quite well enforced. (I've been involved with some content sites myself and have many friends who are still actively involved with them.)
 

Lefty

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I appreciate Kenji chiming in, and I don't really find any issue with this knife as a good option for the masses, other than their little as being a bit "infomercial-y". But aren't they all?

I'd try one and likely think it was pretty solid, no doubt... It's an attractive knife, all be told.

Where is it produced? Did we ever find out?
 

Bill13

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This is Kenji from Serious Eats here. I appreciate your concern about the site, but actually the new owner of the site (Fexy Media) has had exactly zero input in editorial decisions, and as a policy, editorial and ad sales are separate teams that don't communicate other than for basic logistical reasons. Misen and Serious Eats have no relationship at all (and to be frank, as a kickstarted company that was just trying to raise $25K, they wouldn't have had the funds necessary to advertise on Serious Eats even if they wanted to). Our ads are always clearly labeled and put together by a different team. Editorial content is created by the editorial team and is uninfluenced by any kind of externalities.

I wrote about this knife because I tested it myself and thought it was a great product. I admit I forgot to include dimensions in the review. I am in the middle of a book tour for my first book (yay!) and I wrote the piece more hastily than I would have liked, but I wanted to get the piece out before their kickstarter early backer period ended so our readers could have a shot at the $45 and $55 backer prices for the knife.

As far as some specific questions people had, in comparison to a tojiro DP, I find the design to be much more conducive to your typical western cook. It is light and nimble enough to do precision tip and chopping work with, but it also has a deeper curve than a tojiro, which makes rock chops and your average western cook's slices more easy. It's a hybrid shape that leans closer to Western.

I also prefer the bolster design with its back slop that makes gripping the blade more comfortable and easier. I see many home cooks who have trouble getting used to the blade grip, and I think this design will help them get there more intuitively. One of my other favorite mass market knives, the Misono UX-10 has a similar bolster design, which is what draws me to it in my drawer.

The metal is harder than some german steel, softer than some other Japanese, but I think it strikes a good balance between not being overly brittle and being easy enough to sharpen well. You always have to consider the needs of someone who doesn't think about or isn't willing to sharpen a knife themselves and how long that edge is gonna last them. This one is a good balance.

The name is "Misen." I thought it was a reference to "mise en place." I'm not sure where it actually came from. The similarity to misono I guess is there, but it wasn't my first thought.

ANYHOW, as someone who's actually held it in my hands and has been using it regularly, I can tell you that at least for me, it's super comfortable, easy to manipulate, and really that's what matters most when it comes to a chef's knife.
Kenji,

Nice first post and I hope to see many more!! It's nice to read your thoughts on this and your point that this knife will probably be much better than what many now own is an important point.

Also want to say love your website; your pizza steel article, and my subsequent purchase of one, has drastically improved my pizza, thanks!
 

wisew

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Wow, thanks for the post Kenji!

I think this is an interesting project, and I'd consider picking one up, but I have one main concern (which is really a general concern with all manufacturing Kickstarter projects) - Kenji received an awesome prototype, but there's no guarantee that the same quality will apply once these are mass-produced. Luckily they've raised so much money that I highly doubt that lack of funds would be a constraint here, but overworking their craftspeople could be.
 

Nick_Hall

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Assuming the heat treatment is done well, and assuming that the grinds are done correctly by the unknown manufacturer, it's not a bad value. For $45, it' would be a knife upgrade for the 99.9% of the population who don't spend days off using a micrometer to measure the distal tapers on their 7 gyutos. :)

Whenever I use knives at someone's house, I always think "now I know what to get them for Christmas". $45 is a the right price for that sort of thing.

Where I get hung up is the part of the value proposition where you need to wait 6 months and then hope the manufacturer gets HT and grind right. All things being equal, I'd much rather pay Tojiro an extra $5 and have it in my hands in 48hrs.

You have to give these guys credit though. They decided to build something, had the marketing prowess and follow through to pull it off, and they're going to make their vision a reality over the next 6 months. I respect that in and of itself. I'm half-inclined to buy this knife for the same reason I always buy lemonade from kids with lemonade stands; even if the lemonade is a bit sour, I still feel pretty good about the transaction.
 

oldcookie

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I think we just have to keep in mind most people on this forum are not Misen's target market, and from their current project status, I don't think Misen would miss us much.

P.S. Good to see Kenji clear things up. He's that one that got me to back Anova early on, such a good deal.
 
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