Premiums for mirror polish?

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jjlotti

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I have been continplating buying my first "non factory?" Japanese knife. If two custom knives are equal except for the mirror polishing, done by the smith/ sharpener, what do you think is a fair premium for this type of service? Appreciate all the advice and knowledge I have been soaking up on this site. I really thought I understood all facets of cooking equipment until I started going down this rabbit hole lol.... figuring out obscure tin lined copper pots is a breeze compared to wading through this pool. So let's find a knife
Bon appetit...Joe
 

btbyrd

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For me, it'd almost be an anti-premium. Mirror finishes are totally unforgiving when it comes to showing wear and minor sharpening mistakes. A little bit too much swarf on the stone and *bam* foggy finish behind the edge. And it's a pain to refinish. True confession time: I only have one mirror polished blade and it's the only knife I send out to be sharpened because I don't trust myself not to muck it up. It makes me feel like less of a person. Anyway, if two knives are truly equal except for the mirror polishing, I wouldn't hesitate to buy the non-mirrored version and walk away with a smile on my face and more money in my pocket.
 

Delat

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If it’s the same smith, just two different knives, then I’d expect a full mirror polish (the entire blade) to be at least $200 more.

But as @btbyrd says, I personally would not want a full mirror polish. Besides the maintenance aspect it can also cause suction/friction in food as you cut. A mirror polished bevel with a satin or kasumi finish above is different though - those are quite pretty and not a negative in terms of performance, along with a sign of a little extra time and attention to the finish (therefore adding to the cost as well).

If you do like a full mirror polished blade maybe take a look at Sukenari, that’s the brand that springs to mind most for that finish.
 

Infrared

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Not exactly a one-to-one, but close enough.

I've also seen Nishida charge only around $50 more for a near mirror polish.

You can also try contacting KnifeJapan directly. They're very helpful and accommodating in my experience.
 

adam92

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Few years ago I brought the yanagiba from JCK, I ask Koki to do mirror polish, I forgot the price maybe 55$? The sharperner doing very good job! Maybe you can ask him.
 

jjlotti

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The knife I am eyeballing is a hitohira togashi white #1 with stainless cladding says full mirror polish but pics look like only the stainless portion and the secondary bevel are polished. This look does appeal to me, but so does the matte finish. If it lowers the function I'm not for it though.
1647779327921.png
 

jjlotti

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Next question. It seems this knife was sharpened by the blacksmiths son. I also see essentially the same knife sharpened by a cat named yohei for a thousand$ more. Not saying I would be pulling that trigger but how much better can that edge be ? This knife will be used and sharped by me when needed. I have no problems sharpening my knives( I questioned my zcarbon Kramer purchase until I spent a like amount of coin on stones....the way it came in the box I was like why did I buy? this? It's doesn't cut much better than my old "twin" chef but, oh ****, now I do.) but have no expectation of keeping an edge like a knife maker can do. Wouldn't this yohei edge be lost over time on my stones? Such a interesting pursuit this knife game! Thanks so much for all the knowledge that is shared.
 
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jjlotti

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One more question about the purchasing of these blades. Am I correct that Hitohira is a type of middle man/ authorized distributor that sells to other retailers? Asking because I have two friends in Tokyo who I could enlist to help me purchase domestically and send to the States. Does anyone know if the pricing is appreciably different in Japan? I wouldn't want to make them go out of their way unless there is a big benefit.( Like on top of some bottle of Kentucky's finest that would be going to Nippon in appreciation🥃
 

inferno

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FYI you can actually mirror polish knives at home with stones.
all you need is like 10 stones up to 12-15k or so and then maybe 3-10h depending on how flat the knife is.
 

jjlotti

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Haha sure.... I'm not doubting that $150 ducks is a fair price for doing a mirror by hand. Youthful ignorance led me to start polishing the frame of a Gixxer I used to own. Beautiful when finished but so much work even with a d.a. sander....
 
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Next question. It seems this knife was sharpened by the blacksmiths son. I also see essentially the same knife sharpened by a cat named yohei for a thousand$ more. Not saying I would be pulling that trigger but how much better can that edge be ? This knife will be used and sharped by me when needed. I have no problems sharpening my knives( I questioned my zcarbon Kramer purchase until I spent a like amount of coin on stones....the way it came in the box I was like why did I buy? this? It's doesn't cut much better than my old "twin" chef but, oh ****, now I do.) but have no expectation of keeping an edge like a knife maker can do. Wouldn't this yohei edge be lost over time on my stones? Such a interesting pursuit this knife game! Thanks so much for all the knowledge that is shared.
When referring to the sharpener, they are not talking about the edge, they are talking about the overall grind. If you thin/polish your wide bevels, a superior grind will be very much appreciated. Forger forges the steel and creates the basic shape. Sharpener makes it into a knife.

I suspect that the knife that costed thousands more was not just because ‘yohei’ sharpened it, but also because it’s a higher level forging process, like honyaki.
 
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One more question about the purchasing of these blades. Am I correct that Hitohira is a type of middle man/ authorized distributor that sells to other retailers? Asking because I have two friends in Tokyo who I could enlist to help me purchase domestically and send to the States. Does anyone know if the pricing is appreciably different in Japan? I wouldn't want to make them go out of their way unless there is a big benefit.( Like on top of some bottle of Kentucky's finest that would be going to Nippon in appreciation🥃
Correct Hitohira is a middle man, contracting knives from top forgers/sharpeners/makers.

I’ve never been to Japan to verify, but from what I’ve read prices in Japan are about the same as in the US, actually more expensive in Japan in some cases. I’ve bought a few knives direct from Japanese makers. Prices were the same as if I had purchased the same knife from a US retailer.
 

jjlotti

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When referring to the sharpener, they are not talking about the edge, they are talking about the overall grind. If you thin/polish your wide bevels, a superior grind will be very much appreciated. Forger forges the steel and creates the basic shape. Sharpener makes it into a knife.

I suspect that the knife that costed thousands more was not just because ‘yohei’ sharpened it, but also because it’s a higher level forging process, like honyaki.
Hmmmm.....yes I see honyaki is a word my wife wouldn't like so much...might have to go tit for tat to get one of those blades. Value factor goes way down if a Prada purse is a contingency of the sale👍
 

jjlotti

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Correct Hitohira is a middle man, contracting knives from top forgers/sharpeners/makers.

I’ve never been to Japan to verify, but from what I’ve read prices in Japan are about the same as in the US, actually more expensive in Japan in some cases. I’ve bought a few knives direct from Japanese makers. Prices were the same as if I had purchased the same knife from a US retailer.
I can see why they have to do that....no way these artisans make much money. I so appreciate their dedacation to what is in the modern world more akin to art than actual manufacturing...
 

M1k3

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Hmmmm.....yes I see honyaki is a word my wife wouldn't like so much...might have to go tit for tat to get one of those blades. Value factor goes way down if a Prada purse is a contingency of the sale👍
Matching shoes never hurt.
 

blokey

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Depends on the level, tbh personally I would be too scared to use a really good mirror polished knife, especially something like this.
 

Pisau

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I totally agree with Heckel7302 above. I reckon the initial vibe is everything (especially on single or wide bevel) and even if I have to sharpen everyday, I don't think the ghost of Yohei will diminish from my knife anytime soon.

Now. Mirror finish has its place. Whether it belongs in your kitchen or not is really up to the individual. Cut video on the 2nd last pic. Sound ON!

 

jjlotti

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Haha yeah he likes that shine....on that (is it a root?)anyway....
Nenox knives are quite intriguing to me as well. I fully intend to go to the Korin store next time my wife wants to visit her sister in N.Y. The ironwood petty is a definite "semi" every time I look at it.
 

jjlotti

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Good advice and my eyes preference both are landing on matte finish.....look at this choil shot on this knife is this weird or a trick of the light
 

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EricEricEric

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Depends if it’s stone finished or just sanded and buffed out, two completely different things

Hand stone finish is incredibly difficult and challenging as a result will cost a lot more
 

jjlotti

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The togashi finish is now what I am settling on.... So subtle and beautiful. Very Japanese aestetic which is only fitting.... I just haven't warmed up to the Damascus look, maybe this is why....
 
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Good advice and my eyes preference both are landing on matte finish.....look at this choil shot on this knife is this weird or a trick of the light
I assume you are talking about how the choil looks asymmetric. I have a Togashi coming in a month or so, so could say for sure after I get it. It’s fairly common for Japanese knives to be ground a bit asymmetric, favored to right hand users, especially higher end knives it seems. My Takada no Hamono is for sure. In the blade shots on Hitohira’s website it’s pretty clear that the clad line is higher on the face than it is on the back, further evidence that they are indeed a bit asymmetric.
 

jjlotti

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I assume you are talking about how the choil looks asymmetric. I have a Togashi coming in a month or so, so could say for sure after I get it. It’s fairly common for Japanese knives to be ground a bit asymmetric, favored to right hand users, especially higher end knives it seems. My Takada no Hamono is for sure. In the blade shots on Hitohira’s website it’s pretty clear that the clad line is higher on the face than it is on the back, further evidence that they are indeed a bit asymmetric.
Nothing that I would mind,.... this one just seems more extreme than most I've seen.
Please tell me about your togashi purchase ... The one I'm looking at (240gyuto blue1 stainless Kasumi clad with upgraded handle is 600usd. No one here is saying don't get it but no glowing reviews either. I'm not a collector (cooking is a passion) and have a 10''zc kramer that will eventually saw through a cucumber, but I want something a bit more horsepower/cooler... Am I wrong to buy the Hitohira Togashi because it's in stock or should I be waiting for more of the people's champion✌️ Konosuke/Takada to be in stock?
 

jedy617

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Togashi is one of the best smiths around and hitohira stuff is great from my experience. I've almost grabbed one of the mirror polish myself. I love a good mirror and yeah it's a lot more work for the craftsmen.
 

jjlotti

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Found my knife. Can't wait to meet her. Wow, usually calm but wishing I had air shipped....... :
HITOHIRA TANAKA KYUZO BLUE #1 STAINLESS CLAD GYUTO 240MM TAIHEI EBONY HANDLE
 

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jedy617

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Great choice. One of my favorite smith and sharpener combos
 

jjlotti

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Thanks... Very happy, and don't even have it yet. All ya"ll chasing the dragon know the feeling lol
Now since she'll soon be in semi retirement all this polishing talk has me thinking about a little homebrew
 

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