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Why isn't the tang all the way in the handle?

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Edgy Guy

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(Actually, I meant tang, not tongue, but this board does not allow title edits.) Grrr.


Look at those two gaps where the handle meets the blade.
It seems food/bacteria would build up there.

Also doesn't it rust there since it is hard to wipe dry?
It must have to air dry which is a NONO for this steel.

Why don't they just put the metal all the way into the handle?
In fact, why do they make those two cut-outs at all?
Wouldn't a gradual taper be easier to keep clean and dry?
Is this just some tradition or is there a good functional reason so many Japanese knives have this?

 

JBroida

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Its a regional stylistic thing... i've got a ton of knives with this gap (called machi) and dont have any rust or cleanliness problems. You'd be surprised, but it doesnt really get that dirty and it doesnt really rust there. Just take care of the knives as you normally would. Clean and wipe dry. You should be good.
 

tk59

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I have a bunch like this, too. It did bother me at first but I haven't even thought about it in a long time. I remember I softened the corners on my first such knife with a file.
 

Eamon Burke

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:plus1:

I theorize that the 'machi' developed as a sign of a securely fit handle, because traditional methods require that the tang be burned into the wood, and a small gap over a secure fit would denote that it is very snug indeed.

Nowadays, it's totally stylistic.
 

stevenStefano

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Yeah it is the first thing a lot of people notice when they look at my knives with such handles and they ask if there is something wrong with it. I don't really like the way it looks but it is hardly a big deal
 

Ratton

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It bugs me too!!:plus1:

However if you specifically order a knife in, as opposed from taking it from stock, you can request that there be no gap.

You certainly do take great pictures!! I wish I had your camera skills.:thumbsup:
 

jmforge

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Is this another instance of the Japanese doing it that way because that is the way it was done in 1650?
 

geezr

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Yeah it is the first thing a lot of people notice when they look at my knives with such handles and they ask if there is something wrong with it. I don't really like the way it looks but it is hardly a big deal
Thanks for the O/P.
I like knives with blades completely inserted into wa handles, no visible machi :knife:
 

TamanegiKin

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I like the machi. Aesthetically it appeals to me and though it may not actually place the handle slightly further back from the heel it kinda makes it feel that way. I've come to really like this of the konosukes. Great picture of a beautiful knife BTW.
 

jmforge

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I don't know if it is just the picture, but would anyone be really offended if I pointed out that the shoulders are not filed flat and even and the tang seems to be off center on that knife?:eek2::wink:
 

Salty dog

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Is this another instance of the Japanese doing it that way because that is the way it was done in 1650?
You really need to get a hold of a good Japnese kitchen knife. A good one.
 

99Limited

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I would be even LESS pleased if I had a really good one and it looked like that. Us neophytes call that "gapitis" :(
I don't know if you have realized it but you have a sarcastic attitude towards Japanese cutlery. All you have shown is ignorance towards the skill and tradition that has been built up over centuries. As far as I've seen you "Talk the talk, but you can't walk the walk". Oh, and don't say "Us neophytes", it appears you're in a group of one.
 

jmforge

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Yes, I may have a slightly sarcastic attitude towards some aspects of Japanese cutlery and the mystique surrounding it. I am not insulting the skill that has been developed over the centuries. Tradition is another matter. The fact that the Japanese smiths still use archaic techniques and gear and manage to produce what they do is a glowing testament to their skill. Some of the REASONS that they continue to do things they way they do are a bit puzzling. I am not the only one who has posted in this thread that they don't like that gap. All i know is that if I presented a knife for judging in Atlanta that looked like that, I would be told to go home and try again next year........or maybe in two or three years.
I don't know if you have realized it but you have a sarcastic attitude towards Japanese cutlery. All you have shown is ignorance towards the skill and tradition that has been built up over centuries. As far as I've seen you "Talk the talk, but you can't walk the walk". Oh, and don't say "Us neophytes", it appears you're in a group of one.
 

Edgy Guy

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I was thinking ... (always dangerous)

One use for the gaps might have been to get a good grip to remove the blade from the handle.
There could be a need to replace a damaged or worn out handle since metal can outlast wood, and is more valuable.
 

Cadillac J

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Machi never bothered me at all...I'm surprised it has bothered people that much.
 

Cadillac J

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All i know is that if I presented a knife for judging in Atlanta that looked like that, I would be told to go home and try again next year........or maybe in two or three years.
Apples and oranges IMO. Haven't we seen successful knife makers in other disciplines have trouble making a good kitchen knife when first starting out? They are so different to me that I don't think your comment is a fair comparison at all in this example.
 

99Limited

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... All i know is that if I presented a $250 hunter for judging in Atlanta that looked like that, I would be told to go home and try again next year........or maybe in two or three years.
Last time I checked this forum is devoted towards kitchen knives, not some wall hanger hunter. As far as Japanese blacksmiths still using archaic techniques, have you ever heard of the idiom, "If it aint broke don't fix it"? These craftsmen are humble and highly skilled and turn out all the products that they care to. When you reach the level of craftsmanship that these Japanese blacksmiths have you'll understand.
 

Edgy Guy

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I don't know if it is just the picture, but would anyone be really offended if I pointed out that the shoulders are not filed flat and even and the tang seems to be off center on that knife?:eek2::wink:
In the scheme of things at $206 this is not an expensive knife.
Also, quirkiness is kind of endearing.

Apparently the detail you pointed out was just not a priority, also the macro pic is greatly magnified and lit and optimized to reveal every detail without mercy.
I'd rather have the knife perform well and have this quirkiness than look perfect under a microscope but not have and hold a good edge.

I hear an $10 electronic watch keeps better time than some fine Swiss $10,000 ones.
 

Vertigo

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People buy Japanese for the five cent handles? Or for how snug the knife fits into the five cent handles?

Japanese knives are about the cut. Everything past the machi is an afterthought.
 

Cadillac J

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To people who are not used to it like me, it looks like sloppy fit.
I can definitely understand that when seeing for the first time. Maybe it is just my experience with many 'machi-ed' knives and them performing like complete beasts that has jaded me to its look...come to think of it, most of my favorite knives are wa-handled and have a machi...never really thought about that until now.
 

obtuse

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I like the look of the machi. I love Japanese aesthetics. Some people may not get it.
 

jmforge

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Ummmm, one of the W2 "wall hanger hunters" that I made a little while back got "tested" It dressed out two feral hogs without having to touch the edge. Since then, its owner, my brother, has dressed out 3-4 more hogs, a couple of whitetail deer and nilgai cow. But you are right. When he has it at home, it sets up on the bookshelf in his library. The bookshelf is built into the wall, so why it doesn't actually hang, I guess it is a wall hanger.:wink:
Last time I checked this forum is devoted towards kitchen knives, not some wall hanger hunter. As far as Japanese blacksmiths still using archaic techniques, have you ever heard of the idiom, "If it aint broke don't fix it"? These craftsmen are humble and highly skilled and turn out all the products that they care to. When you reach the level of craftsmanship that these Japanese blacksmiths have you'll understand.
 

Salty dog

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All I can say is stick around. You'll find it very interesting. As others have like yourself.

It's not about who makes the best knife but how.
 

RRLOVER

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I don't know if it is just the picture, but would anyone be really offended if I pointed out that the shoulders are not filed flat and even and the tang seems to be off center on that knife?:eek2::wink:
You should see what some of the tangs look like when you remove the handle,you would piss yourself laughing.
 

99Limited

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I'd like to see some of your workmanship, I really would. You have some pictures you can share or some links from another forum that show your work?
 

jmforge

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That's why I came here. Even the information that I have gotten in the brief time that I have been here has been VERY helpful already.
All I can say is stick around. You'll find it very interesting. As others have like yourself.

It's not about who makes the best knife but how.
 
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