My Application to the TF Fan Club

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Markcg

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So two weeks ago, I finally had the chance to visit TF’s workshop in Tokyo. I’d like to thank @Corradobrit1 for the recommendation- he was adamant it was must visit for anyone living in the area. I now pass this imperative on to anyone visiting Japan: visit TF!

The workshop/store is in a residential section of Meguro, Tokyo. I drove there, but had to circle around for half an hour looking for an open parking spot. Probably best to take the train. I had my 2 year old daughter with me, who thankfully doesn’t mind visiting knife spots as long as I carry her.

Gaku was manning the counter, and we quickly got to chatting. At that point I had only two TF knives both bought on BST, a Denka deba and Maboroshi usuba. I knew I wanted to get a gyuto, as well as something not usually on offer.

Enter the first knife I chose. This was the twin of a custom ordered Tatami knife heat treated as a kitchen knife. White steel with soft iron cladding, I was quickly intrigued, a chuka being on my list of profiles to try out. At this point TF IV came out, and very kindly offered to engrave the knife and let me film.

1F65A2FF-509C-42D4-992A-6B2FA17A9C88.jpeg


I knew I couldn’t leave without a Denka gyuto, so off to the display shelf I went. There were many westerns and wa gyuto, but my eyes were drawn to the stags. With a bit of persistence, the 240 Denka stag went from “not for sale” to “you probably don’t want this knife- the handle is asymmetrical” to “Ok, if you really want it”. It was at least 10 years old and lacked an edge so we agreed they’d courier the knife to me the following week after being reworked. The right stag scale is much thicker than the left, but this felt very comfortable in my big paw. The grind looked very even, and as I hold it in my hands (it arrived today), I’m glad to have chosen it.

205FC3C9-F622-44AD-88D1-90A3984AAAE8.jpeg


At this point, TF IV had brought out a yakult yoghurt drink for my daughter, and was trying to get her to laugh. She’s a trooper, but 4 knife stores in a day is a bit much for a toddler. I paid for the knives and arranged for shipping, and was about to leave when TF IV asks If I’d like to see something special. To anyone in the knife collecting game, these are the magic words. Gaku’s face lit up with a knowing look, and they brought out a briefcase style case from the back.

I ended up purchasing the Denka 240 Gyuto they brought out, which I’m affectionately calling golden boy. The handle is made from antique elephant ivory, and the fuller and pins are coated with gold. In a later conversation with Gaku, it came out the denka was forged about 20 years ago by the shachou himself. It also turns out to have a twin, with solid white ivory as opposed to having visible bark. I ended up purchasing that knife as well, and they arrived today along with the stag.

6F81AE98-199C-45CD-AFB7-D30D8085B9BB.jpeg

E0BD3CA4-D6E8-4985-8DF5-EA964F6DC704.jpeg


Apologies for the meandering post, but I really felt like sharing this story. I’ve bought pricier knives, but never had I had so much fun doing so. Gaku and TF were kind, funny and genuinely interested in how their knives are received. I honestly can’t wait for my next visit, and reiterate that if you ever get the chance, visit TF!

F5632B98-7807-4D97-89FE-6365FAD32A03.jpeg
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lemeneid

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Great story Mark!

Seems like everyone who visited TF has a special story to tell 🙂

I had seen that stag horn up for sale when I was there. Glad it is going to a nice home, together with the other “special” Denkas!

Would love to hear your thoughts onhow the knife performs once you’ve had your chance to take it for a spin.
 

Markcg

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Great story Mark!

Seems like everyone who visited TF has a special story to tell 🙂

I had seen that stag horn up for sale when I was there. Glad it is going to a nice home, together with the other “special” Denkas!

Would love to hear your thoughts onhow the knife performs once you’ve had your chance to take it for a spin.
Thanks, it’s such a special place :) Will definitely write more when I’ve gotten to try them.
 

soigne_west

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So two weeks ago, I finally had the chance to visit TF’s workshop in Tokyo. I’d like to thank @Corradobrit1 for the recommendation- he was adamant it was must visit for anyone living in the area. I now pass this imperative on to anyone visiting Japan: visit TF!

The workshop/store is in a residential section of Meguro, Tokyo. I drove there, but had to circle around for half an hour looking for an open parking spot. Probably best to take the train. I had my 2 year old daughter with me, who thankfully doesn’t mind visiting knife spots as long as I carry her.

Gaku was manning the counter, and we quickly got to chatting. At that point I had only two TF knives both bought on BST, a Denka deba and Maboroshi usuba. I knew I wanted to get a gyuto, as well as something not usually on offer.

Enter the first knife I chose. This was the twin of a custom ordered Tatami knife heat treated as a kitchen knife. White steel with soft iron cladding, I was quickly intrigued, a chuka being on my list of profiles to try out. At this point TF IV came out, and very kindly offered to engrave the knife and let me film.

View attachment 131076

I knew I couldn’t leave without a Denka gyuto, so off to the display shelf I went. There were many westerns and wa gyuto, but my eyes were drawn to the stags. With a bit of persistence, the 240 Denka stag went from “not for sale” to “you probably don’t want this knife- the handle is asymmetrical” to “Ok, if you really want it”. It was at least 10 years old and lacked an edge so we agreed they’d courier the knife to me the following week after being reworked. The right stag scale is much thicker than the left, but this felt very comfortable in my big paw. The grind looked very even, and as I hold it in my hands (it arrived today), I’m glad to have chosen it.

View attachment 131077

At this point, TF IV had brought out a yakult yoghurt drink for my daughter, and was trying to get her to laugh. She’s a trooper, but 4 knife stores in a day is a bit much for a toddler. I paid for the knives and arranged for shipping, and was about to leave when TF IV asks If I’d like to see something special. To anyone in the knife collecting game, these are the magic words. Gaku’s face lit up with a knowing look, and they brought out a briefcase style case from the back.

I ended up purchasing the Denka 240 Gyuto they brought out, which I’m affectionately calling golden boy. The handle is made from antique elephant ivory, and the fuller and pins are coated with gold. In a later conversation with Gaku, it came out the denka was forged about 20 years ago by the shachou himself. It also turns out to have a twin, with solid white ivory as opposed to having visible bark. I ended up purchasing that knife as well, and they arrived today along with the stag.

View attachment 131078
View attachment 131079

Apologies for the meandering post, but I really felt like sharing this story. I’ve bought pricier knives, but never had I had so much fun doing so. Gaku and TF were kind, funny and genuinely interested in how their knives are received. I honestly can’t wait for my next visit, and reiterate that if you ever get the chance, visit TF!

View attachment 131080View attachment 131081
There’s some sh!t on your knives.
 

nakiriknaifuwaifu

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Yeah that fuller certainly looks like shachou-san did it...

A true post-karaoke innovation

haha, nice collection
 

Markcg

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How do you like the usuba and the deba? I forgot to ask again.
The deba is one of my favorite knives! I take it along with me when I go to the in-laws to do some fishing, and for fish up to 7 lbs, it’s the perfect size. The usuba is great too, but a bit small in my hands.I’ve used it for katsuramuki on cucumber, but have since moved to using a Shig mukimono. Thanks for checking, and for the awesome knives!
 

Corradobrit1

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I’m sorry, I just don’t understand 1: tf pricing 2: fullers in general 3: why you would want gold on your knife. If it makes the OP happy though I’m happy for him.
Its a design feature, representing artistic flair of the artisan, kinda like those elaborate dragon engravings people go nuts over. Hardly a functional fuller. and I think its only on one side.
Any more info on this Shachou maker?
 

Markcg

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I’m sorry, I just don’t understand 1: tf pricing 2: fullers in general 3: why you would want gold on your knife. If it makes the OP happy though I’m happy for him.
Thanks! Yeah, the gold denkas are most likely staying unused (though who knows!). I didn’t buy them because I needed another tool. After chatting with Gaku and TF, and seeing their passion for the craft, it made me want to own something to commemorate the occasion.

These were special knives for TF, as they are now for me. If they are amazing cutters, I’ll probably never find out. But I don’t have Kato tamahagane honyaki for sashimi, or a stag Ashi for a quick dice. The knives being crazy and over-the-top is exactly what I wanted as a collection piece from a maker like TF. And rest assured, they make me very happy :)
 

Markcg

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Its a design feature, representing artistic flair of the artisan, kinda like those elaborate dragon engravings people go nuts over. Hardly a functional fuller. and I think its only on one side.
Any more info on this Shachou maker?
This, exactly. I’ve been on a bit of a natural handle kick lately, and this fed right in to that. The fuller is indeed one sided and 社長 (shachou) is just what Gaku was calling TF, so I thought I’d use the title as well, something akin to “boss.”
 

Corradobrit1

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Next visit Mark, go take some pics of his katana's.

Its a shame your daughter didn't get a chance to meet Teru the shop Shiba inu.
 

Brian Weekley

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I’m really a impressed with your purchases and your approach to purchasing significant knives to add to your collection without having an intent to make them daily users. Some things can just be held and admired … perhaps occasionally used but using them is not the point of purchasing them. Not everybody sees things this way. I have a friend that brags that the best knife in his wife’s kitchen is a knife he rescued from a compost pile. Some people have the utilitarian view that if it’s not used every day … good or not it gets sold. I say good for them … each to their own. Just don’t look down on me because I like nice knives. Anyway, a few months back I bought my first TF … a gorgeous Maboroshi Gyuto. The previous owner had laboriously tuned the knife to the point it was a dream in hand. I bought four more TF’s (three Mabs and a Denka). The Denka replaced my original Mab which I sold. I resolved that the TF’s would become my daily users for a guaranteed three months. I moved all my other gyutos off my kitchen block to make room for the TF’s. I’m about two months into my plan and the results will appear in New Knives when the time is right.

Interestingly, the TF’s weren’t on my radar until I read a few threads full of TF haters. I was impressed by the fact that in spite of the withering condescension from many a few dogged defenders of TF withstood any attacks. I’m the sort of person who has to find out for myself … ergo, here I am. I’m well into “finding out for myself”. A little hint about my results … if I find myself in Meguro, I’ll definitely look to adding a “golden boy” for myself.

Congrats on your purchases and stay tuned.
 

RockyBasel

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Wow! Epic, epic story - stories like these make this hobby so special. @lemeneid amd @Corradobrit1 also helped me with my first TF - because of what was written on KKf - I had no clue what I was getting into

but to go there, what a great experience, thanks for sharing, and I will be visiting Tokyo this October hopefully, and will definitely make a pilgrimage to TF. I will Uber to avoid parking issues.
 

Markcg

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I’m really a impressed with your purchases and your approach to purchasing significant knives to add to your collection without having an intent to make them daily users. Some things can just be held and admired … perhaps occasionally used but using them is not the point of purchasing them. Not everybody sees things this way. I have a friend that brags that the best knife in his wife’s kitchen is a knife he rescued from a compost pile. Some people have the utilitarian view that if it’s not used every day … good or not it gets sold. I say good for them … each to their own. Just don’t look down on me because I like nice knives. Anyway, a few months back I bought my first TF … a gorgeous Maboroshi Gyuto. The previous owner had laboriously tuned the knife to the point it was a dream in hand. I bought four more TF’s (three Mabs and a Denka). The Denka replaced my original Mab which I sold. I resolved that the TF’s would become my daily users for a guaranteed three months. I moved all my other gyutos off my kitchen block to make room for the TF’s. I’m about two months into my plan and the results will appear in New Knives when the time is right.

Interestingly, the TF’s weren’t on my radar until I read a few threads full of TF haters. I was impressed by the fact that in spite of the withering condescension from many a few dogged defenders of TF withstood any attacks. I’m the sort of person who has to find out for myself … ergo, here I am. I’m well into “finding out for myself”. A little hint about my results … if I find myself in Meguro, I’ll definitely look to adding a “golden boy” for myself.

Congrats on your purchases and stay tuned.
Thanks, Brian! I absolutely agree with this sentiment. We each approach our collections, and knives in general, individually, and the overlap is best represented in these forums. I also love the idea of isolating your daily drivers to a maker. I might try this as well.

Definitely visit TF, and I’m looking forward to your results!
 

Markcg

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Wow! Epic, epic story - stories like these make this hobby so special. @lemeneid amd @Corradobrit1 also helped me with my first TF - because of what was written on KKf - I had no clue what I was getting into

but to go there, what a great experience, thanks for sharing, and I will be visiting Tokyo this October hopefully, and will definitely make a pilgrimage to TF. I will Uber to avoid parking issues.
Thanks! I hope things normalize by then so that visitors can come back to Japan. I know the retail and hospitality sectors miss it sorely. Uber isn’t anything more than a fancy taxi call service in Japan, but I do recommend just going to Meguro station by train, then cabbing from there :) Let me know if you need more specific directions, and will be happy to help.
 

AT5760

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Awesome post! It's great to see pictures of these truly special collector's pieces.
 
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