Watanabe - where to buy?

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4wa1l

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On another note, has anyone else been getting an access denied message when trying to email Shin?
On Friday I received an email and responded fine. It was about shipping details on a custom ordered late last year, so not a new order.

His website does state that it's closed until the end of August but new knives keep popping up on the specials and cleaver pages so I'm not too sure what to think.
 

friz

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I wanted to buy a knife from Watanabe website, when adding to cart it will stop you there. So I emailed Shinichi about the knife I was interested and he emailed me back in the next few hours with details on how to purchase.
So, yes the website is closed for purchases, but if you email Shinichi he can assist you.

P.S: Do not buy the Honyaki Gyuto #25!
 

Hamesjo

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That's exactly the knife I was interested in but I received an access denied message when I reached out to Shinichi...within a few hours it was labelled as sold on the website
 

Matus

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I'll admit that I not comfortable with the speculation that Watanabe doesn't make any of their knives because Watanabe's website clearly states that he and his family make their knives. There is even a section with photos of them making knives in their workshop.

From Watanabe website:
"Here you will find original hand forged blades of all kinds, painstakingly crafted by the Watanabe family."

"I make hand forged knives to your custom specifications."


Also Shin's comments in the "Specials" sections consistently state that he makes those knives, including his own unique Kintaro-ame.

I wouldn't contradict his word without stronger evidence than presented here e.g. Maksim's comments from some time ago or a picture of Toyama on Watanabe's old website. Things may have changed.

Maybe we change the narrative to "Watanabe doesn't necessarily make all the knives they sell"?

As far as current production is concerned, Watanabe stainless clad Blue seem to sell for 10%-15% less than the equivalent Toyama, so not sure it makes sense to presume Toyama makes today's Watanabe's....

I just don't think it helps this community when hearsay is parroted as fact...
They might well be making some knives in their family, I might be mistaken but I recall reading that there is a blade smith in the family (I think I found that somewhere on the Japanese version of his webpage). Also, part of the knives in the 'special' selection look quite experimental or one-offs. Plus Watanabe ordered larger amount of 125SC steel directly from Germany about 2 years ago (from Achim Wirtz who is also source of the information) and he does usually have a few kitchen knives from this steel in his special section. With that said - it is common for vendors to source steel for the craftsmen they order from.
 

Matus

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Did you happen to take some more photos? :p
 

friz

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Did you happen to take some more photos? :p
I do not feel comfortable sharing the pictures. Please just trust me, I don't think you would like the knife.


So Watanabe is now churning out garbage like TF?
I do not have experience with TF, I don't know, and the 2 Honyaki Watanabe I mentioned above weren't purchase by me directly.

With that said, Shinichi response to my email, where I share my disappointment, was a little shock.
He didn't spend anytime explaining the reasons why the knife was made/finished that way, he straight said they have the return policy and I will have to pay the round shipping.

Also to me is worth mentioning: 1)the Kanji on the blade was a simple 'W'.2)I couldn't see any Hamon under any light.
I care about these things, some people don't.
 

Ochazuke

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Here's some more food for thought:
- I bought an usuba from Watanabe about 6 years ago. It was and still is a fantastic single bevel. It came perfectly finished with one of the best hamaguri sharpenings I've ever seen.

- I bought a new yanagi from him this year. (Side story: one of my yanagi got absolutely wrecked when somebody brand new to the kitchen just picked it up and used it to cleave apart chicken bones). We've talked and he knows I've been working in the business for a while. I don't know if this is because he knows that, but the new yanagi I just bought from him came unfinished.

There are still plenty of shops where you can buy an unfinished knife because they trust that pros have their own preferences for finish and type of edge. I bring this up to see if others have bought from the single bevel pro line recently (not special or standard) and had a similar experience or if he did that just because he trusts that I have my own preferences.

I also bring it up because it points out that even if somebody else is doing many of the knifemaking steps in a particular line, it doesn't necessarily mean that Watanabe is always receiving finished product just to resell. For instance (pure conjecture) if his single bevel pro line is outsourced to another reputable maker and he receives all or most of them in the same shape that I received mine, then it stands to reason that Watanabe is (or has) a very capable sharpener.

Again, none of this is fact - just strong evidence that Watanabe might not be simply reselling finished product from another maker. Either that or the other maker has less than stellar quality control (which I doubt).
 

Barmoley

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I don't think anyone is claiming that Watanabe is purely a reseller, he might be, but that's not what is being said. Some of us are saying that his Pro line gyutos and suji are so close to Toyama that if it is not made by Toyama someone is making an excellent copy of it, profile, grind, steel, even heat treat are same or so similar that they can be treated as same. Individual variations exist and seem to be one of the reasons why some people doubt, but individual variations also exist within Toyama line itself. Over many knives these 2 lines are very, very similar so it really doesn't matter if they are made by one person or multiple people building them to the same "spec". This is why some of us call them Watayoma, since it really doesn't matter which you get, just go by kanji, price, availability. In use there is no difference on average.

I have no experience with his single bevel. Also comparing knives today to same line 6 years ago doesn't mean anything since they change over time. For all we know they are now sourced from different maker or the maker just changed the line, Toyama did during this time. There is also a huge difference between claiming that the knife was fully made by a craftsman and claiming that it was sharpened by one.

In any case both are excellent regardless of who makes them and unless Watanabe writes on his website that he gets some of his knives from Toyama some people won't believe it. This is the beauty of the forums, we share information and everyone decides what they want to do with it.
 

ian

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Here's some more food for thought:
- I bought an usuba from Watanabe about 6 years ago. It was and still is a fantastic single bevel. It came perfectly finished with one of the best hamaguri sharpenings I've ever seen.

- I bought a new yanagi from him this year. (Side story: one of my yanagi got absolutely wrecked when somebody brand new to the kitchen just picked it up and used it to cleave apart chicken bones). We've talked and he knows I've been working in the business for a while. I don't know if this is because he knows that, but the new yanagi I just bought from him came unfinished.

There are still plenty of shops where you can buy an unfinished knife because they trust that pros have their own preferences for finish and type of edge. I bring this up to see if others have bought from the single bevel pro line recently (not special or standard) and had a similar experience or if he did that just because he trusts that I have my own preferences.

I also bring it up because it points out that even if somebody else is doing many of the knifemaking steps in a particular line, it doesn't necessarily mean that Watanabe is always receiving finished product just to resell. For instance (pure conjecture) if his single bevel pro line is outsourced to another reputable maker and he receives all or most of them in the same shape that I received mine, then it stands to reason that Watanabe is (or has) a very capable sharpener.

Again, none of this is fact - just strong evidence that Watanabe might not be simply reselling finished product from another maker. Either that or the other maker has less than stellar quality control (which I doubt).
Yea, he offered to tailor a couple knives for me a while ago, with a wait time that was too little to believe he was going to send them out. I’m sure they do a lot of work in house

I’m of the “it’s fine to discuss provenance” camp, although I personally haven’t seen enough evidence to state anything as fact rather than informed speculation. (Others like Matus perhaps have? Idk.) I guess it’d be nice if people who don’t know for sure would always qualify their statements tho.

I feel like on balance, both Watanabe and Toyama probably benefit much more from this forum (with all its faults) than they’re hurt by it.
 

Carlo

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Well

I’ve been on tenterhooks for days waiting for this thread to turn beige.
 

preizzo

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Purchased this Watanabe from a member here early this year.
Was from the special section
270 gyuto extra heavy and tall and bla bla bla
While thinning the knife I start to see a delamination ,so I decided to send it to a Smith friend who helped me thinning the knife more and then the rest you can see on the photos.

Watanabe is selling garbage lately, that is my humble opinion
 

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Matus

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Never saw one quite that bad ... did you contact Sin about it?
 

McMan

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That's just “deep Damascus”.
 
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M1k3

Stop being so negative, Mike
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Purchased this Watanabe from a member here early this year.
Was from the special section
270 gyuto extra heavy and tall and bla bla bla
While thinning the knife I start to see a delamination ,so I decided to send it to a Smith friend who helped me thinning the knife more and then the rest you can see on the photos.

Watanabe is selling garbage lately, that is my humble opinion
3D24E8FF-F91C-4226-B8AE-4DAEE663043B.jpeg
 

riba

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Apparently Shinichi just doesn't give a ****
That's crappy.

From his own page 'Our knives are handmade. It has some differences. The thick, height, length, weight, tip, scratches, delamination parts, each blades have the differences. Our blades have uneven thick, uneven bevel, uneven surface, uneven grind, bent, twisted and not straight. However these things are not inferior at our inspecting standard. If you want 100% perfect products, you must not buy Watanabe blades.'
That sounds inspiring....

Guess I just got lucky. Very disappointing
 
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