Takefu knives?

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StephenYu

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Really good discussions so far, thank you everyone.

Sanjo knives tend to have dramatic distal tapers. Are there similar characteristics of Takefu knives (or the region in general)?
I think they still have good distal tapers, just not as dramatic as Sanjo ones because they are not as thick at the spine.
 

Brian Weekley

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I could be wrong but the videos I recall seeing use a blank, pattern, scribe and band saw with a metal blade. Then again I’m old enough that I’m prone to forget the beginning of a sentence before I get to the end of the sentence .... AND ... I watch way too many knife videos!
 

Barclid

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This makes it sound as if they're simply cutting and grinding; I was under the impression that prelam blanks were more like bars - thick, short and and narrow - that then see considerable hammer forging before having a profile traced and cut.
You could buy thinner pre-laminated stock, stamp a blade shape and grind or you could buy thicker pre-laminated stock, forge, stamp and grind, or *not* stamp and simply forge to shape and grind or really anything you want. People on this forum by and large have a tendency towards romanticism.
 

Xenif

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I have had a two Kurosaki, a Masakage Shimo and an AS, I also currently own a Takamura Hana and a KnS Yugumo.

Personally, there are two things I don’t like about Takefu. First is that most of their blades are made from prelaminated billets. Doesn’t make it bad, just feeling it lacks a little “craftsmanship”.
Second thing is the heat treatment is not optimal. For instance the AS from Takefu village is around 62 hrc while the TF Denka is around 66 hrc. That’s why they are priced so differently.

Many forum members here also enjoy a workhorse. While most knives from Takefu are light and nimble.

But I still use my Yugumo regularly, the handle feels amazing ;)
I can't say I agree with observations on the Takefu heat treat. Harder dosen't always mean better or more expensive, if AS was done at 66-67 hrc and used on some of these thin takefu grinds I can foresee insane chipping.

What I agree to is that KKFers seem to, in general, have a preference towards workhhorsey knives with good food release. I believe there was a time where lasers ruled on here (before my time here).
 

StephenYu

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I can't say I agree with observations on the Takefu heat treat. Harder dosen't always mean better or more expensive, if AS was done at 66-67 hrc and used on some of these thin takefu grinds I can foresee insane chipping.

What I agree to is that KKFers seem to, in general, have a preference towards workhhorsey knives with good food release. I believe there was a time where lasers ruled on here (before my time here).
I agree that harder doesn’t always mean better, but harder ones are usually more expensive (when comparing the same steel) because the failure rate is much higher when blacksmith try to push the limit.

I remember Sukenari once offered AS in 66/67 hrc but they decides to lower it because the failure rate is too high.

But like you said, most knives Takefu village are well balanced and designed in terms of heat treatment, grind, distal taper, f&f...that’s also why they are so popular in both local and overseas markets.

It’s just my personal preference that rather than choosing a knife that scored 7 out of 10 in all aspects I will choose one that has 9 out of 10 in heat treat and accepting 4 out of 10 in f&f.
 

Barclid

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I agree that harder doesn’t always mean better, but harder ones are usually more expensive (when comparing the same steel) because the failure rate is much higher when blacksmith try to push the limit.

I remember Sukenari once offered AS in 66/67 hrc but they decides to lower it because the failure rate is too high.

But like you said, most knives Takefu village are well balanced and designed in terms of heat treatment, grind, distal taper, f&f...that’s also why they are so popular in both local and overseas markets.

It’s just my personal preference that rather than choosing a knife that scored 7 out of 10 in all aspects I will choose one that has 9 out of 10 in heat treat and accepting 4 out of 10 in f&f.
Why are you assigning numerical scores out of 10 to a heat treatment based solely on the achieved hardness? That's so superficial it's mind blowing. As-quenched, you can easily get knives that hard and simply not temper them. Boom, 66-67 HRc. It's going to be brittle, though.
 

StephenYu

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Why are you assigning numerical scores out of 10 to a heat treatment based solely on the achieved hardness? That's so superficial it's mind blowing. As-quenched, you can easily get knives that hard and simply not temper them. Boom, 66-67 HRc. It's going to be brittle, though.
Sorry if you find it offensive.

I have seen people praising about Toyama/Watanabe’s blue steel, Hinoura’s white steel, etc. but I don’t think I have seen people praising about heat treatment of Takefu knife village here. I have seen good comments about Masakage Koishi, but that’s pretty much it. So the 7 out of 10 is not sorely based on hrc, but from a collective of things that I read here or from other sources.
 

Barclid

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Sorry if you find it offensive.

I have seen people praising about Toyama/Watanabe’s blue steel, Hinoura’s white steel, etc. but I don’t think I have seen people praising about heat treatment of Takefu knife village here. I have seen good comments about Masakage Koishi, but that’s pretty much it. So the 7 out of 10 is not sorely based on hrc, but from a collective of things that I read here or from other sources.
I'm not offended. You wrote your post with HRc as the sole reference to determining HT quality, which I found strange. What's even stranger is that you now seem to be assigning a numerical value to HT based on the collective opinion of other forum members and not your own personal experience. Just... why bother commenting on it if you don't have personal experience? Saying, in general, that you would prefer a knife with a "better" heat treatment is fine, but I'm questioning what information you're using to determine what is better and why and to what degree. So far I've seen you mention HRc and others' praise.
 

Paraffin

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My only reference for a "Takefu knife" is a 180mm nakiri by Yu Kurosaki in R2 steel, bought a couple of years ago. It's very nice; not quite a laser but definitely in the thin category. Excellent fit and finish. It's now one of my wife's main knives, only because I've decided on carbon steel for all my main ones, mainly Yoshikazu Ikeda because I like the grind. If I wanted another stainless PM knife I'd consider another Kurosaki.
 

StephenYu

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I'm not offended. You wrote your post with HRc as the sole reference to determining HT quality, which I found strange. What's even stranger is that you now seem to be assigning a numerical value to HT based on the collective opinion of other forum members and not your own personal experience. Just... why bother commenting on it if you don't have personal experience? Saying, in general, that you would prefer a knife with a "better" heat treatment is fine, but I'm questioning what information you're using to determine what is better and why and to what degree. So far I've seen you mention HRc and others' praise.
I think I make it pretty clear I have had 2 knives from Kurosaki-san and still have an Kugumo forged by Kato-san at the Takefu knife village.
I didn’t use the Shimo but for the AS I used it for about half a year. I had to say it is a solid and well balanced knife, but I wasn’t blew away by it. And it does require me to sharpen more often than I expect. Maybe you can start judging my sharpening skills now ;)

Again I am not sure why I can’t have my own preference and rating on knives.
 

-toa-

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When i joined the forum i was a bit puzzled to learn that they are not mentioned so often here. But i guess it makes sense.

I´ve tried a lot of the masakage lines (kato: yuki, koishi, kanehiro, anryu; hammered, shibata; r2 lasers, kurosaki: shimo, etc.), and have never been disappointed - not even after trying more expensive knives. In a general sense they are good gateway knives since they are easily available, have a large selection and not too expensive. Many of them are nicely finished, have a quite good factory edge and are stainless clad (shimo one exception). There are also some underrated gems there.

As such they can cover the daily needs of many and also serve as a reference point to other knife makers.

They have their trade-offs as do other knives. Sure there are other that have more character, more elaborate grinds, better value, finish etc. But this is to be expected.
 
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Barclid

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I think I make it pretty clear I have had 2 knives from Kurosaki-san and still have an Kugumo forged by Kato-san at the Takefu knife village.
I didn’t use the Shimo but for the AS I used it for about half a year. I had to say it is a solid and well balanced knife, but I wasn’t blew away by it. And it does require me to sharpen more often than I expect. Maybe you can start judging my sharpening skills now ;)

Again I am not sure why I can’t have my own preference and rating on knives.
If you'll notice, I didn't take exception to you rating knives subjectively. What I thought was weird was that you were giving numerical values to "heat treat" going so far as to insinuate one knife-maker would be doing a "7/10" heat treat versus "9/10" heat treat and I was questioning what your criteria were to be determining the quality of a heat treatment and if it were HRc largely that I don't understand your logic. If, subjectively, you like one maker's AS over another's... Who am I to disagree? What I was pointing out was the phrasing. If you'd just said "I like my Denka in AS better than my Kurosaki/Kato because I feel I don't have to sharpen it as often." then, whatever. I don't believe you can adequately provide a numerical rating on the quality of a heat treatment in such a way, though.
 

bahamaroot

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I could be wrong but the videos I recall seeing use a blank, pattern, scribe and band saw with a metal blade. Then again I’m old enough that I’m prone to forget the beginning of a sentence before I get to the end of the sentence .... AND ... I watch way too many knife videos!
I doubt that was a video of a japanese smith. I have seen similar videos of other makers to cut blanks with a bandsaw that use stock removal to make knives but not a master Japanese smith.
 
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JoBone

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My knife appreciation matches my beer appreciation.

I grew up drinking Old Milwaukee, Wiedemanns and Miller. At the time, I thought a Michelob was top of the line. Move on to Bass, Guinness, Samual Adams... before I knew it, it’s only hand crafted locally brewed organic...

Then some hot summer day comes along, I pop open a PBR and think ‘Damn, that’s good’.
 

HRC_64

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The only really negative thing I think of with Takefu is some
of the smiths used to hammer mulitple blanks at a time,
and I think KKF crowd is really a bit more biased toward
to "lone man on the mountain" mythology and anything
not single-purpose, single piece build seem to be less popular.

I think there are videos and mabye Jon Broida mentioned this once?
There is a reason they did it like heat retention or something,
rather than pure mass-production, IIRC but it definitiely was
a sort of more "modern" not classical approach.
 

StephenYu

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If you'll notice, I didn't take exception to you rating knives subjectively. What I thought was weird was that you were giving numerical values to "heat treat" going so far as to insinuate one knife-maker would be doing a "7/10" heat treat versus "9/10" heat treat and I was questioning what your criteria were to be determining the quality of a heat treatment and if it were HRc largely that I don't understand your logic. If, subjectively, you like one maker's AS over another's... Who am I to disagree? What I was pointing out was the phrasing. If you'd just said "I like my Denka in AS better than my Kurosaki/Kato because I feel I don't have to sharpen it as often." then, whatever. I don't believe you can adequately provide a numerical rating on the quality of a heat treatment in such a way, though.
It is really strange that you are questioning my phrasing while you are the one who focus attention on one phrase without regard to the meaning of the whole piece. I didn’t say that hrc is the only indicator to heat treatment. When you accused me “for commenting on knives that I don’t have experience with” it shows that you are making a bunch of false assumptions.

My numerical analogy can be interpreted as “I personally would prefer a knife which has excellent heat treatment even it has f&f issue than an all-round knife.” But you just keep focusing on the numerical part it’s so superficial it’s mind blowing.

AS is metallurgically a harder steel and therefore 62 hrc is a relatively lower hardness when comparing with most other AS knives in the market. Disagree all you want but a lot of knife makers did say that hrc is a very important indicator to heat treatment. Of course I can take other indicators such as reactivity, method of tempering, chipping issues, edge retention, ease of sharpening, etc into account. But I just think that stating the hrc is much lower than industry average is a strong enough point.

I probably should have indicated “per my experience with this particular sample I had I feel like the treatment isn’t optimal, but maybe yours will be perfect!”
 

WPerry

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The only really negative thing I think of with Takefu is some
of the smiths used to hammer mulitple blanks at a time,
and I think KKF crowd is really a bit more biased toward
to "lone man on the mountain" mythology and anything
not single-purpose, single piece build seem to be less popular.

I think there are videos and mabye Jon Broida mentioned this once?
There is a reason they did it like heat retention or something,
rather than pure mass-production, IIRC but it definitiely was
a sort of more "modern" not classical approach.
There are videos of Yu Kurosaki doing this and, yeah, the reason given is heat retention and being able to work a little longer.
 

Barclid

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It is really strange that you are questioning my phrasing while you are the one who focus attention on one phrase without regard to the meaning of the whole piece. I didn’t say that hrc is the only indicator to heat treatment. When you accused me “for commenting on knives that I don’t have experience with” it shows that you are making a bunch of false assumptions.

My numerical analogy can be interpreted as “I personally would prefer a knife which has excellent heat treatment even it has f&f issue than an all-round knife.” But you just keep focusing on the numerical part it’s so superficial it’s mind blowing.

AS is metallurgically a harder steel and therefore 62 hrc is a relatively lower hardness when comparing with most other AS knives in the market. Disagree all you want but a lot of knife makers did say that hrc is a very important indicator to heat treatment. Of course I can take other indicators such as reactivity, method of tempering, chipping issues, edge retention, ease of sharpening, etc into account. But I just think that stating the hrc is much lower than industry average is a strong enough point.

I probably should have indicated “per my experience with this particular sample I had I feel like the treatment isn’t optimal, but maybe yours will be perfect!”
Where are you pulling the number 62 for those Takefu knives in AS?
 

Elliot

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My knife appreciation matches my beer appreciation.

I grew up drinking Old Milwaukee, Wiedemanns and Miller. At the time, I thought a Michelob was top of the line. Move on to Bass, Guinness, Samual Adams... before I knew it, it’s only hand crafted locally brewed organic...

Then some hot summer day comes along, I pop open a PBR and think ‘Damn, that’s good’.
This is the big takeaway post!

Absolutely nothing “wrong” with those Takefu knives. But, I’d agree, they’re the comfortable American mass-market lager. For the VAST majority of cooks, home or professional, it’s a massive upgrade and an eye opener.

I do think it’s important to remember the KKF audience is a really unique little sub-culture, and that’s why the big deviation. A lot of us own knives that are worth more than $1k — often times several.

Knowing the audience is crucial.

To many of us, a good “beater” is double or triple the price of the finest knife a home cook will ever have. And, to my understanding, though I am not a professional chef, the pro ranks are not that different in this regard.
 

zizirex

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Hi all,

I don't tend to see knives from Takefu makers discussed a lot here (perhaps we have a slight Sanjo bias). However, I'm quite interested in hearing your opinions on knives from smiths like Anryu, both Kurosaki's, Shiro Kamo, etc. If you have used their knives, what do you think of them?
Because this forums is bias to the Sanjo and Unicorn Sakai stuff.. where tall knife and hefty knife is a choice. Takefu knife is cheaper because in Japan their not as popular as Sakai or Sanjo, but it doesn’t mean their bad. Takamura for example is my perfect knife... and Shibata AS, and I have more desired to buy them rather than Shig or Kato. But everyone have a different taste right?
 

HRC_64

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Takamura makes some very well respected stuff as does Ryusen
Nodody I think would look down on top-of-the-line takamura,
and if anyone wants to throw theirs away I'll take it...:)
 

zizirex

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Another thing with Takefu is they use their Steel from Takefu Steel, not Hitachi. That’s why their HRC is slightly different. SG2 and VG10 is their main selling point, that’s why most of the blacksmith use those. Their AS is V-Toku 1 and their Blue 2 is V-Toku 2. Chromax or V Silver 1 or SKD12 is also use by Yoshikane, Takamura and Masashi
 

ojisan

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Takefu knife is cheaper because in Japan their not as popular as Sakai or Sanjo
I'm curious the reason you thought this.

My gut feeling is that Tskefu has more "presence" than Sanjo there, and I think the difference of prices is coming from the markets where each maker are fighting (mass/home vs highend/pro). Tadafusa for example is an affordable brand now aiming the mass market in Ssnjo.
 

CiderBear

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Ohhh, interesting info @zizirex. Thank you for sharing! Theoretically speaking, would the Takefu steel and its Hitachi equivalent be the same on paper, composition-wise?
 

ojisan

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Ohhh, interesting info @zizirex. Thank you for sharing! Theoretically speaking, would the Takefu steel and its Hitachi equivalent be the same on paper, composition-wise?
No, the specs are different. Some of them are similar.

Takefu steel was established to provide (p re laminated) steels to takefu makers.
Takefu makers get discount by making mass purchasing as a group.
 

zizirex

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I'm curious the reason you thought this.

My gut feeling is that Tskefu has more "presence" than Sanjo there, and I think the difference of prices is coming from the markets where each maker are fighting (mass/home vs highend/pro). Tadafusa for example is an affordable brand now aiming the mass market in Ssnjo.
Or should I say, it used to be. I heard The Japanese Government put money on Takefu Knife Village for popular Destination For tourism. Right now, I think they are getting more popular than how they used to be.
No, hardness is mostly/usually a choice by the maker. Most knife steels can reach and be used at 65 (and many even higher) if one would want to heat treat them to that.
Yes, but the Takefu AS have less carbon than Hitachi counterparts and I think HRC number for Japanese knife should be take with grain of salt. Maybe they could make it harder but they know how the market will use their knife.
 

drsmp

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I really like my Kurosaki and Anryu Knives. I have SRS13, R2 , VG10, AS and B2 cores. I like the different hammered patterns, and they all cut well. For a home cook they hold their edges forever. Even after adding a custom handle (thanks Joe!) I’m only in the $300-350 range for a 210 Gyuto. I splurged on the turquoise Fujin K-tip Gyuto at $425.
 
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