shoddy workmanship on western handles

Discussion in 'The Kitchen Knife' started by inferno, Apr 12, 2019.

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is production knife fit and finish "quality" decreasing?

  1. yes

    3 vote(s)
    60.0%
  2. no

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  3. same as ever

    2 vote(s)
    40.0%
  1. Apr 12, 2019 #1

    inferno

    inferno

    inferno

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    Today I was in a store to check out some nice knives. They ranged from 100-500€ or so. some really premium brands.
    I must have handled maybe 10 of them. All westerns. All basically "production" stuff, some quite exotic though. Talking micarta, real wood, pakkawood.

    And NONE I mean NONE of the knives had scales that were flush with the tang! And NONE had bolsters that were flush with the scales. Usually the tang stuck up like a sharp edge. And only on some of them the rivets were flush with the scales, maybe 50%. I mean micarta and pakkawood are dead materials. And these were not exactly budget knives. I did check out some budget knives and to be honest they had actually better F/F!! dafuq!

    Really disappointed to be honest. If I was spending like 300 or so on a knife I expect it to be actually "finished" at the factory. I'm not buying some kind of knife kit here that I'm supposed to finish myself somehow. I'm buying a finished product.

    Completely baffling! (Or is the correct term gobsmacked?)

    I have a knife that i bought from JCK about 5 years ago. And it has real actual wood scales. Some green buckeye maple wood. Its a Shiki, their best sh1t. I think its now called black dragon or similar but mine has no name. Because it was limited edition and not a series then. That one has zero and I mean zero mm difference between scales and rivets, zero difference between scales and tang, and scales and bolster. You cannot feel the transitions! How can this possibly be?? Does this knife come from outer space? I mean its at least 5 years now. And it has real wood scales.

    I inspected it a few months ago to see if I could somehow "improve" it. I'm really no stranger to resorting to belt grinders/angle grinders/welders/files/rasps/stones and so on should I need to since I use this all day long. But there is nothing I can improve in the FF department here! Nothing. Thats quality!

    I feel quality in western handles knives today has a long loooooong way to go.

    Anyone else feel this? Or is it just me?

    shiki.JPG
     
  2. Apr 12, 2019 #2

    TB_London

    TB_London

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    Not uncommon for scales to shrink in a dry environment. Shops with air con running will be drier than a kitchen that has frequent steam from cooking.
    They’ll have all left the maker flush
     
  3. Apr 12, 2019 #3

    HRC_64

    HRC_64

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    ...I guess if depends on if the tang is fully hardened and just how bad it is,
    but the market seems to be flooded with higher markups and lower quality overally
    in the past 5 years or so...when demand is inelastic, suppliers cut corners to maximize profit.
     
  4. Apr 12, 2019 #4

    inferno

    inferno

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    TB london

    This is what I'm thinking too. In theory this sounds good but in practice this don't fly. Pakkawood for example is basically made like carbon fiber, except you laminate wood under high pressure with (most likely) epoxy. Its a high pressure laminate similar to g-10, micarta, CF, kevlar, and similar. It stable. I'm guessing its so chemically stable it will exist a million years from now. Unless some future radioactive dinofish eats it (and dies from it).

    This is he whole idea with pakkawood. Make it look like real wood and then make it stable as opposed to real wood that shrinks, grows and warps with humidity and temperature. This the only reason for this materials very existence! no sh1t, they invented for this.

    I've had a few beers now but i'm thinking this: they rush through making these knives so everything gets very warm. But all non metal stuff expands like 10-100x more than metals with heat. So even if its flush off the buffer of whatever they have, the scales are expanded. And when they get put in the box they shrink to normal.

    voila, not really quality control.

    But then again today I saw rivets that were proud of the micarta scales. And they had sharp edges. Indicating they were flush when someone made them as opposed to "craters" around them where the metal were simply more abrasion resistant than the plastic. Micarta should not shrink nor grow imo. I have never even heard about it happening to be honest. And I cruised BF for many years. Its shoddy workmanship and/or shoddy knowledge of the materials involved. And one doesn't really have to exclude the other imo.
     
  5. Apr 12, 2019 #5

    inferno

    inferno

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    Also guys. The mac pro you see in the pic had completely flush rivets/scales/bolster, and this is a mass production knife with pakkawood, the actual finish on the blade/bolster/spine/choil though was like 4/10, fixed it with sandpaper in 30 minutes. But I have a friend that has one exactly like it and his one is not flush anywhere so there is variation for sure. I had my mac for several years. And I hand picked mine out of several in the store.
     
  6. Apr 12, 2019 #6

    Timthebeaver

    Timthebeaver

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    Some western handles have not suffered from a drop in quality F&F at all. Take TF - they've always been ****.
     
  7. Apr 12, 2019 #7

    K813zra

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    I have only been into kitchen knives for a few years now and all of my western handled stuff is mid/low end so I could not say really. However, I can make observations about what I have/had.

    Fujiwara FKH : Flush but boxy scales with flush pins.
    Tojiro DP: Very mixed from flush to not so much.
    Suisin WI: Flush contoured scales with flush pins.
    Mac: Flush semi boxy scales and flush pins.
    Misono: Flush contoured scales with flush pins.

    K-sab: Olive wood and POM. Scales and pins not flush. Boxy but comfortable. One had a larva hole that appears to have been there before the handle was shaped. (I treated and filled it.)

    My old hickory and dexter butchery knives have had awful to meh F&F. None with flush scales or pins. Good value knives, imo, though.

    Like I said, I don't own any expensive or high end western handled knives so I couldn't say. Regardless, even for their shortcomings I have no complains with any of the above knives and would buy them again. Maybe if these knives cost me hundreds of dollars each I'd be irritated though.
     
  8. Apr 12, 2019 #8
    I had 3 YO Tanaka R2 knives in my hands recently - all had pretty obvious cosmetic issues, one was a bit delaminating from the tang. There were hints that the wood was not fully dried before installation. But it does not surprise me, really. Japanese knives which satisfy western expectations on F&F are a rarity, that is not how they operate.
     
  9. Apr 12, 2019 #9

    inferno

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    lol
     
  10. Apr 12, 2019 #10

    Chicagohawkie

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    I’ve sent more knives back this year than I have in the previous 7 years. As the popularity grows the quality has suffered. All my western handles have been perfect, with the exception of the TFs. But we all know they’re junk.
     
  11. Apr 12, 2019 #11

    inferno

    inferno

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    yeah obviously not.

    I was just disappointed that i'm handling a 400€ knife and it look like some kid put it together and it somehow slipped through QC unchecked. basically laughable quality.

    and what was even worse is that the japanese handles had bolsters not flush with the handle and they are borth wood or wood/horn thats just sh1t qual imo. I made my first handle like 10 yars ago. its the one next to the one red circled i made it out of titanium/masur birch/turkish walnut/ masur again and it has no gaps and no differences between the woods. 10 years.
     
  12. Apr 13, 2019 #12

    milkbaby

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    Andy Roy of Fiddleback Forge said on Bladeforums that he's seen micarta handled knives that for some reason weren't stable. Chuck Bybee of Alpha Knife Supply says that micarta is porous and can absorb water. He showed that this is at least the case for canvas micarta by showing how it wicks dyed water here: Chefs knife handle material

    This is his pic of a piece of canvas micarta soaking in dyed water after 24 hours showing how the moisture wicked in:
    [​IMG]

    I do wonder if the issues you (inferno) mention was heat when grinding the handle materials and pins/bolsters causing the non-metal materials to slightly expand.
     
  13. Apr 13, 2019 #13

    Kippington

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    Very interesting! It makes sense once I think about it, but I never thought about it... :rolleyes:
     
  14. Apr 13, 2019 #14
    I guess it would depend a lot on how the micarta was made - did the dye soak right in or is it only on the (apparently roughly finished) surface?
     

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