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Marko Tsourkan

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Hey Folks,

I got two people contacted me in the part several days to get in on the list for purchasing 260mm gyuto in 52100. Though I don't like to rush with anything, I spent this entire month experimenting with heat treatment (testing for toughness, edge retention, sharpen-ability, hardness, etc) and grinding, At the moment, one of my knives in being tested and so far a feedback has been encouraging. I have used one knife I made in my kitchen without resharpening or re-touching for more than two weeks now and the edge is holding pretty well.
So, I think I have gotten enough to start and I will adjust as necessary.

I would like to do following things. I am working on a pass-around gyuto in 52100, so you will get an idea on geometry, grind, heat treatment, and F&F.

I also will start a list for preorders for 260mm gyuto in 52100. The finished knife will be 61RC, and I will weigh under 220g with handle. This will be essentially a custom knife, as all processes are done in house by me, including a 6 or 8 step heat treatment. You will be able to make requests for minor profile, thinness, and geometry adjustments, handle type (octagonal or meiji like) and handle material. Price will include a poplar saya (I will prorate if requested without). Also, all knives will come with 100% satisfaction guarantee, should they not meet your expectation, as long as your return them condition received. I will address any issues related to workmanship.

Shortly thereafter, I will offer pre-orders for 280mm suji in 52100. I am working on a prototype, so I haven't finalized the profile or geometry yet, but that should not take long. There will be a pass around for this knife as well.

I will introduce a few more steels options at a later time.


Prices will be available on my web site shortly. In the mean time, you can contact me via PM.


Price includes shipping.

Thank you,
Marko

PS: these will not interfere with my backlog of custom orders. I am clearing them slowly, but should be done very soon.
 
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Marko Tsourkan

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Thanks for those of you who contacted me. It's very exciting to finally do it.

I am going to start looking in my wood stash to see what I come up with for handles. I have to order some more ironwood, but I have a good amount of really nice maple, koa and walnut burl that I am to resaw and send out for stabilizing.

M
 

oivind_dahle

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I just love Koa!
But I also love Maple Burl :)

Will you post pic so we can pick our own woods, Tiger?
 

Darkhoek

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Very nice to see that you are up and running and ready for production, Marko. Knowing what perfectionist you are in all details on what you make, my guess will be that your HT of the 52100 will be on par with the very very best around. You just can't quit until it's perfect, can you? :D I believe that is a very good thing. Good luck on your great endeavour, Marko. (Just like you were needing that...). I know for sure that you will be making a lot of very happy customers. Hope to be one of them soon :)

DarKHOeK
 

Marko Tsourkan

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Thanks Harald.

Now that I am in this thread, here is a quick run-down where I stand with the pre-orders

I finalized a heat treatment method #1 that resulted in a very stable edge that is easy to sharpen and has excellent edge retention (one of my knives has been used in a pro kitchen since July 25 and has not needed resharpening, just one retouching on leather loaded with 2 micron silicon carbide and the edge came back to shaving condition)

I am also working on a heat treatment process #2 that would retain a stable edge, easy sharpen-ability but would increase edge retention. So far the indications have been that the heat treatment is on target, but I wouldn't know it for certain until the knife has been tested in a pro kitchen as well as on a rope-cutting test. So #2 is on hold for now.

I finalized profile, geometry and finish for the gyuto and working on a suji (two lengths), 150mm petty and 180mm gyuto.

I like to keep the weight of the 260mm (on the edge) gyuto under 225g with the handle so it is light and nimble. At the same time, it is over 3mm thick at the handle, and 1mm .75" from the tip, so it's a pretty rigid knife. I will grind a suji with more flex near the tip, but a gyuto (unless requested) will have very little or no flex near the tip and ZERO flex at the handle.

Finish is going to be similar to Shigefusa kasumi line with horizontal finish lines, rounded choil and spine.

Grind will be shallow convex with thickness above the edge under .010. This is more of a Carter-like than Shigefusa-like grind, but I think it will complement the lightweight of the knife well. It should cut well. I am also considering doing an asymmetric grind (for right hand users first and then maybe left), but would need a feedback before offering it as an option. I am sending one out to evaluate fit, finish, grind (includes asymmetric) early next week.
,
I grind to about .015 at the edge and then take to stones and remove the rest by hand. I have a better control over the angle, and though it takes much longer than on a grinder, I like the result better. I think this is what puts Shigefusa apart from many Japanese makers - no over-grinds, uniform bevels, etc., and I will try to replicate that. There is a learning curve to this, but I am in for a long haul, I hope.

As far as sharpening is concerned, I converge two planes to zero degree and then put a small micro bevel and polish it. I use a mix of synthetic and natural stones, but the resulting edge should be over 6K. If you like wider bevels, you will welcome to put on your own. :)

Working on D handle. A little bit of a learning curve, but should get good results within day or two. Octagonal doesn't need any improvement, I think.

Logo is finalized and will order stensils today, so will get them by then end lf the week. I have the etching machine already.

I will start working on a pass-around knife withing a week or so (still getting feedback). I feel pretty confident about my HT and the rest, so if the brave ones of you want me to start working on your knives before the reviews, please let me know.


Here are the pictures of a knife I am sending it for evaluation for grind, fit and finish (as well as sharpen-ability and edge retention). This was an experimental grind (an asymmetric grind) and experimental heat treatment, and it is a bit narrower than a standard (learning experience). In any event, this is a practice knife for testing processes and I accomplished that.

M

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tk59

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It took me a second to figure out what I was looking at on number 6. Very nice and I like the logo, too!
 

so_sleepy

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I like the looks of this narrow gyuto. What are the dimensions, heel height and edge length?
 

Marko Tsourkan

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I like the looks of this narrow gyuto. What are the dimensions, heel height and edge length?
It's about 260mm on the edge (274mm or so tip to handle). Height is 48mm while a standard gyuto would be 54-55 or so, this one is considerably narrower.

The blade without handle weighs 140g, and that is before thinning the tang. I expect it to be under 220g with handle.
 

oivind_dahle

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I am impressed!
As you know Im a huge fan of your work!
Looking forward to knives from you :)
 

Marko Tsourkan

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Holy F-bomb. That looks awesome....
Between profiling, heat treating, grinding, hand finishing, sharpening and handle making it will be two full days, so I suppose it is better be good, or I need to do something else.

M
 

mr drinky

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Holy Jeebus that is amazing.

k.
 

lancep

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Marko:

I sent you a PM last week regarding this thread. Can you indicate whether you received it.

The knives are looking nice.

Lance
 

jmforge

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Marko, do you bevel the knife all the back to the tip of the tang on the Japanese style knives like they do on Japanese swords or is there a plunge line there somewhere that I can't see?>
Thanks Harald.

Now that I am in this thread, here is a quick run-down where I stand with the pre-orders

I finalized a heat treatment method #1 that resulted in a very stable edge that is easy to sharpen and has excellent edge retention (one of my knives has been used in a pro kitchen since July 25 and has not needed resharpening, just one retouching on leather loaded with 2 micron silicon carbide and the edge came back to shaving condition)

I am also working on a heat treatment process #2 that would retain a stable edge, easy sharpen-ability but would increase edge retention. So far the indications have been that the heat treatment is on target, but I wouldn't know it for certain until the knife has been tested in a pro kitchen as well as on a rope-cutting test. So #2 is on hold for now.

I finalized profile, geometry and finish for the gyuto and working on a suji (two lengths), 150mm petty and 180mm gyuto.

I like to keep the weight of the 260mm (on the edge) gyuto under 225g with the handle so it is light and nimble. At the same time, it is over 3mm thick at the handle, and 1mm .75" from the tip, so it's a pretty rigid knife. I will grind a suji with more flex near the tip, but a gyuto (unless requested) will have very little or no flex near the tip and ZERO flex at the handle.

Finish is going to be similar to Shigefusa kasumi line with horizontal finish lines, rounded choil and spine.

Grind will be shallow convex with thickness above the edge under .010. This is more of a Carter-like than Shigefusa-like grind, but I think it will complement the lightweight of the knife well. It should cut well. I am also considering doing an asymmetric grind (for right hand users first and then maybe left), but would need a feedback before offering it as an option. I am sending one out to evaluate fit, finish, grind (includes asymmetric) early next week.
,
I grind to about .015 at the edge and then take to stones and remove the rest by hand. I have a better control over the angle, and though it takes much longer than on a grinder, I like the result better. I think this is what puts Shigefusa apart from many Japanese makers - no over-grinds, uniform bevels, etc., and I will try to replicate that. There is a learning curve to this, but I am in for a long haul, I hope.

As far as sharpening is concerned, I converge two planes to zero degree and then put a small micro bevel and polish it. I use a mix of synthetic and natural stones, but the resulting edge should be over 6K. If you like wider bevels, you will welcome to put on your own. :)

Working on D handle. A little bit of a learning curve, but should get good results within day or two. Octagonal doesn't need any improvement, I think.

Logo is finalized and will order stensils today, so will get them by then end lf the week. I have the etching machine already.

I will start working on a pass-around knife withing a week or so (still getting feedback). I feel pretty confident about my HT and the rest, so if the brave ones of you want me to start working on your knives before the reviews, please let me know.


Here are the pictures of a knife I am sending it for evaluation for grind, fit and finish (as well as sharpen-ability and edge retention). This was an experimental grind (an asymmetric grind) and experimental heat treatment, and it is a bit narrower than a standard (learning experience). In any event, this is a practice knife for testing processes and I accomplished that.

M

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JohnnyChance

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Marko, do you bevel the knife all the back to the tip of the tang on the Japanese style knives like they do on Japanese swords or is there a plunge line there somewhere that I can't see?>
No plunge line. It is a 50/50 double bevel knife, the edge is ground on both sides. Not like a traditional single bevel japanese knife, with a hollow back.

Unless I am misunderstanding what you are asking, which is also possible.
 

jmforge

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Nihonto are beveled on both sides all the way back to the end of the tang. There is no plunge line at the tsuba, just a continuous set of bevels. the blades are notched in at the tsuba much like the Japanese kitchen knives are notched where they go into the handle. What I am asking is if the tang on these knives os rectangular or trapezoidal in shape for lack of a better way of describing it.
No plunge line. It is a 50/50 double bevel knife, the edge is ground on both sides. Not like a traditional single bevel japanese knife, with a hollow back.

Unless I am misunderstanding what you are asking, which is also possible.
 

Dave Martell

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Using plunge lines is an American knifemaker thing, Marko is doing the knives more like the Japanese way so I doubt that there's a plunge line or if there was it was ground away.
 

Marko Tsourkan

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That is correct. I think a plunge line if wouldn't get in a way of a pinch grip, then would be very noticeable to the user, so I have never considered using it. Most larger knives are held with a pinch grip.

I grind 50/50 but I am considering to do an asymetric grind, if it could improve performance.

M
 

Justin0505

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Exciting, exciting stuff.
I've noticed a certain clean, focused aesthetic to all of your work; a style that makes it very unmistakably "Marko."
If, having never seen a blade designed by you, someone showed me a lineup and 6 photos and said "pick the Tsourkan" it would have taken me all of 5 seconds to pick that beautiful, dramatic, but also minimalist sliver of steel out as yours.

I certainly don't NEED another gyuto, but I will buy this one without hesitation.
 

heirkb

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That knife looks really nice, Marko. I think I'll have to save up for one of your knives. What size suji's are you making?
 

Marko Tsourkan

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The practice suji (2) are 280mm on the edge and 295mm tip to handle. One can select any size.
 

Marko Tsourkan

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I tried my hand at grinding a sujihiki. This was a test-grind to try the process and identify areas where I need to improve. I think the knife came out all right. For the final version, I need to tune up a profile a bit and add a little bit of thickness at the spine (it's about 2.4mm now, but I would like it to be around 3mm for extra rigidity).

It was more difficult to grind a suji than a gyuto. I think it has to do with suji being a thinner and less tall a blade.

For comparison purposes (profile and geometry), I placed it side-by-side with Shigefusa. Feedback is always welcome.

52100. 110g (w/out a handle). Experimental heat treatment to maximize edge retention while preserving edge stability. In the end of August, me and another forum member will test several steels with several heat treatments for edge retention in a rope cutting test. Until then, this heat treatment is not offered.

PS: in picture #5 from the top the choil shot of Shigefusa geometry looks much thinner than on mine suji, but in reality there is not much of a difference. Shigefusa rounds the choil area at a steeper angle so the chamfer on the inside of the choil makes it look like Shigefusa geometry is much thinner.


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jmforge

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Okay, question answered. The Shigefusa appears to have a "plunge" like you would find on an integral. It is just VERY shallow and ground all the way up to the machi.
 
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