Who is the greatest Japanese blacksmith of our time still producing knives.

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Jason183

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+1 Yoshikazu Tanaka, probably not the greatest of our time as I haven’t try many unicorn knives yet. But it’s the greatest among my current working knife collections, only try 2 of his white#1 gyuto/Sujihiki so far, both are keepers, never thought about selling them, I have another Blue #1(heard he has one of the best Blue 1 heat treatment)Gyuto on the way, so exciting. 😍
 

LucasFur

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Just picked up a Y. Tanaka B2 Damascus 240 Gyuto. Just learning it’s shape, but I’m in love with the balance. Had Sugi work out a custom handle, solid cocobolo-no contrasting ferrule—with a copper spacer. Love every bit of it from the moment I picked it up. Super curious which Hinoura you have (River Jump is my unicorn list), but please update. Super curious.
Well the Hinoura i got was one of the white 2 KU blades. OOTB the wide bevel was somewhat shallow, but i find that even with Morihiro Grinds. I abused it for a week or so, took it to the stones, and opened that wide bevel up, took it down to a zero bevel on the edge, and did a single side micro-bevel. -- its a beast now. its the full package, Super impressed with Hinoura, esp if you like wide bevels. The HT on the white 2 is the best ive experienced, honestly its the most "Blue steel," - white steel ive used. - and actually has a better HT than some Blue 2's ive owned. - Its defiantly a workhorse keeper for me, and $$ value. Tanakas are super great, mine are a very different blades than the hinoura i have (tanaka's are all much thinner, not to say the hinoura is thick, just more workhorse/ all rounder type) ---- Buy hinoura with confidence bud. I've been hurtin every time one comes on BST, I'd really buy more, (esp that one thats available now, from Burrfection, i know with some tuning it'll be an amazing piece - I wish i had good enough friends i could buy it for (that can take the carbon)) :p
 

tcmx3

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ask 10 people and get 10 different answers.

this whole conversation relies on 1. your criteria for what makes the "greatest" and 2. how well you're even able to evaluate

Im going to be honest there are very few people on this forum equipped to say anything about this subject as framed (no, I dont consider myself one of them) because you would need to have seen and done serious work with/to a high number of blades from each smith. When I hear someone with one or two examples theyve never even properly sharpened say "this is objectively good" I have to laugh a bit. Ok, you like it, Im down with that, but you think that in any way is equivalent?

Let's ask the professional sharpeners their opinion, and for the collector's let's stick to "who's your favorite?"
 

LucasFur

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When I hear someone with one or two examples theyve never even properly sharpened say "this is objectively good" I have to laugh a bit. Ok, you like it, Im down with that, but you think that in any way is equivalent?
Agree completely, and even those sharpeners have different opinions on what is "good."
Truth is that even professional chefs, who sharpen away a blade every 7 years wont know whats good, as even the makers performance changes over time.
All we can rely on is general consensus.
And really, once you have a few good knives, you learn what they are capable of, your knife skills improve, and it doesn't matter.

It can be related to car guys. They have all their sports cars, and its impossible for them to know what is the best maker, without driving all the cars long term, and the cars change, and there are so many items that can be "The best" -- and even if you own them all, you can't drive them all enough. --- And at the end of the day no matter how many Ferrari's/ Lambo's you have, your going to own a couple "civilian" cars that are what you really use daily. So is Ferrari the best, or is Toyota the best? Or, do you just like cars, and need an excuse to buy another?
 

inferno

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To be honest. i buy my blades based on looks and somewhat smith reputation and steel.

since i can alter the "grind" however i want. i can alter the profile. and i almost always swap the handle anyway to diy.
then does it really matter how good the smith is? no not really. all really high performing steels today need an electric furnace anyway since they need a certain soak time at a very precise temp so its not like they HT stuff "manually" anyway. they might forge it though.

my favs are hinoura (the cheap one) and kurosaki. does it get "better"? probably. do i really care? not really.
 

tcmx3

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To be honest. i buy my blades based on looks and somewhat smith reputation and steel.

since i can alter the "grind" however i want. i can alter the profile. and i almost always swap the handle anyway to diy.
then does it really matter how good the smith is? no not really. all really high performing steels today need an electric furnace anyway since they need a certain soak time at a very precise temp so its not like they HT stuff "manually" anyway. they might forge it though.

my favs are hinoura (the cheap one) and kurosaki. does it get "better"? probably. do i really care? not really.
the cheap one is cheap because he's the son, when Mutsumi takes over I'm sure the prices will rise.

at least IME his stuff is really good, and Ive said as much in a few threads. better overall balance than the ultra hard stuff people seem obsessed with, IMO.

but yeah pretty much all the big names do it at a level where you get a good knife if you can really properly sharpen.
 

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