Unicorns come and go

Discussion in 'The Kitchen Knife' started by danemonji, Nov 30, 2019.

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  1. Dec 1, 2019 #61

    labor of love

    labor of love

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    I’ve been given the impression in the past, sometimes by vendors that the old way of forging is dying off in Japan.
    I could see something like the one man model of Kato not really being viable moving forward but I really have no idea.
    Is this something that is real? Are traditional methods prized because the makers are becoming scarce and retiring or not so much? I would figure with high demand more guys would gravitate towards the craftsman aspect.
     
  2. Dec 1, 2019 #62

    danemonji

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    From what i see the traditional smithing in Japan is there to stay. It's part of their national heritage. The smiths are highly appreciated by their society and the japanese love their traditional knives. It's in their DNA and history.
     
  3. Dec 1, 2019 #63

    Michi

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    Once you cross the $300 threshold, there is essentially no more additional performance to be gained. Only prestige, vanity, and artistry. Call it what you like :)
     
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  4. Dec 1, 2019 #64

    madelinez

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    I'd disagree although it's rapidly diminishing returns. It takes a lot of time to forge/grind something very thin behind the edge with reasonable convexity for food release, I don't know any $300 knives that do it. From what I've seen of the Kato workhorse grind, it has it. Shigs have something similar with a bit of a hollow behind the edge. Almost all of the expensive western makers do s-grinds or convex grinds. It's very time consuming.
     
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  5. Dec 1, 2019 #65

    lemeneid

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    The TF Denka is worth the money I paid for the performance.
     
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  6. Dec 1, 2019 #66

    Barmoley

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    I agree with labor, I think the cutoff in max performance is closer to $450-$500 at this time. Not to say that there aren't some $300 that perform great, but on average if you want close to max performance it is somewhere around $500. Unicorns are knives that are desirable for whatever reason, performance could be one of them but definately not the driving force for their status.

    Speaking of performance, if you wanted max performance you would want modern steels and modern equipment, to claim otherwise is just naive. Same as saying that anyone can produce a top performing knife just because they have the equipment. That's just silly.

    Oh and the Billipp is clearly worth it to someone since it was bought and rather quickly. None of the super expensive knives are expensive because of the performance.
     
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  7. Dec 1, 2019 #67

    Barclid

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    The big bidders on most of those are using proxies from outside of Japan.
     
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  8. Dec 1, 2019 #68

    DitmasPork

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    Who do you mean by “we all”? You’re making some major assumptions. Some cooks find their knife comfort zone in the sub-$150 range, others 1k plus.

    Regarding the prices you’ve mentioned—yes, those knives are worth that much to the kkf members that have bought knives at those prices on BST, many of them pro cooks using them as the tools they’re designed to be.
     
  9. Dec 1, 2019 #69

    Michi

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    Yes, fair enough. The $300 is something I picked out of hat. It depends on what standards I set, too. Something that is an improvement to me may not even be noticeable to someone else. But, somewhere around $300, the gain in performance starts decreasing exponentially with every additional dollar.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2019
  10. Dec 1, 2019 #70

    jaknil

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    IMHO:
    https://www.japanesenaturalstones.com/munetoshi-kurouchi-gyuto-240mm/

    I do have quite a few kniwes in the +1000 USD category, but this one is still one of my most prefeered cutters.
    It´s not in stock right now, but it often is.
    It is so good, that I had to buy an extra in the same size. Jut to see if my first one was representing the standard or a knife that came out extraordinarily good. The second one was as good as the first.
     
  11. Dec 1, 2019 #71

    Itsjun

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    I think honyaki are worth every single thousand you spend on it.
    They are forged in the same method as katanas, supply is low.
    The process is also forging it is also another factor as well as there's a higher chance for failure.

    If I had the money I would spend on a ashi honyaki.
    The craftsmanship and hamon is incredible
     
  12. Dec 1, 2019 #72

    Michi

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    They are beautiful knives, no doubt. What's stopping me is that they are white #2. What is such a knife going to look like after a year of daily use? How much of the Hamon and the mirror finish will still be present then? (That's a genuine question; I have never owned a honyaki.)
     
  13. Dec 1, 2019 #73

    madelinez

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    They are very high maintenance but removing the patina without completely destroying the mirror finish isn't a huge task. I prefer clad knives, easier to thin and maintain but I appreciate the work in a forged honyaki.
     
  14. Dec 1, 2019 #74

    danemonji

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    Speaking of removing patina or restoring mirror finish i always wonder why some prefer finger stones and not use polishing compound and a buffer as that will get faster results.
    For damascus to be honest i have no ideea how to restore that pattern once you thin it as some smiths use ferric chloride to etch it.
    Ku or kasumi are less of a maintenance problem and there are some nice guides here on kkf about restoring kasumi finish.
     
  15. Dec 1, 2019 #75

    Itsjun

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    There's specific Japanese natural stones to etch out the hamon like uchigumori. There's also other stones for Damascus pattern.
     
  16. Dec 1, 2019 #76

    Michi

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    Thanks for that!

    It still sounds like keeping a honyaki in good shape requires a lot of effort. To the point where I'm thinking I wouldn't want to use one. I do like looking at them though :)
     
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  17. Dec 1, 2019 #77

    ynot1985

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    Most of the buyers off the auction houses aren’t japanese.

    In relations to how well they are regardes in Japan. Shigefusa kitchen knives are well know locally and kato is more known for his custom knives. No idea about TF
     
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  18. Dec 2, 2019 #78

    thebradleycrew

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    I wanted to say something about Billipp knives. I've owned one, as well as five different Kato's, several Shigs, two different TF Denkas, among other high end customs from Western makers. The Billipp is indeed (to me) worth the price of admission relative to the others and their current street values. The one I had was both rustic and contemporary, precise, balanced, and the 52100 steel was perfectly heat treated and felt amazing on all types of stones. I sold mine because the geometry wasn't quite what I wanted, but I'd buy one that fit my desires if I found one (I know of one or two that exist). I love my Kato WH that I'll keep for a long time if not forever, but have sold all my Shigs as I just can't get behind the grind or geometry. I guess I'm saying that these things are immensely personal, as I'd expect preferences to be, and at least for me it rules out why I might like some knives over others.
     
  19. Dec 2, 2019 #79

    Corradobrit1

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    Me too. My cutting style just gels so well with the Kato WH. Its the knife I'm currently using 90% of the time. I've wanted to try a Shig but something keeps holding me back. I think it's the choil shot.... too thick behind the edge.
     
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  20. Dec 2, 2019 #80

    ma_sha1

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    I haven’t tried either, it’s time to get on board
     
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  21. Dec 2, 2019 #81

    lemeneid

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    LOL
     
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  22. Dec 2, 2019 #82

    Hz_zzzzzz

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    Just curious...if you like katanas, why don’t you collect katanas instead?
     
  23. Dec 2, 2019 #83

    ma_sha1

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    Katanas are $10000 & up, vs chef knives $100 & up, that would exclude most people.
     
  24. Dec 2, 2019 #84

    captaincaed

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    One for the kitchen one for the display case. Mine function much better as knives with a patina.

    I agree with diminishing performance returns. But diminishing, not zero. I know when I'm holding my top performers and they weren't cheap. The last 5-10% is what defines the peak in any setting. That said, I'm not chasing unicorns for a while.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2019
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  25. Dec 2, 2019 #85

    Barmoley

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    Can we please stop with katana comparisons. Kitchen knives and katana have very little in common except that both are made of steel and cut things. The design purposes are so different that to draw any comparisons is just ridiculous.
     
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  26. Dec 2, 2019 #86

    Corradobrit1

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    Plus a monosteel honyaki is nothing like a katana, which is san mai
     
  27. Dec 2, 2019 #87

    Barmoley

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    Not all katana are San Mai.
     
  28. Dec 3, 2019 #88

    captaincaed

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    upload_2019-12-2_19-3-12.gif
    No katanas
     
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  29. Dec 3, 2019 #89
    WTS Masamoto katana 10k... Finally I can buy that BAE UTCX (Thermal Clip on) I've been eyeing.
     
  30. Dec 3, 2019 #90

    Marek07

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    Some unicorns just go... never to return. :rolleyes:



    Unicorn dinner2.JPG
     
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