I'm new to the forum and I thought I'd use this first semi-serious post to introduce myself and ask a question.
Who am I knifewise? I'm approaching seventy and I've been cooking at home for fifty years. Some people think I know what I'm doing and with fifty years under my belt I feel somewhat justified in letting them live with their delusions. I've always cooked with good tools including good Euro knives. I migrated to Japanese blades about a decade ago when Shun and Global started appearing in our better kitchen shops. From there I went to the Misono UX10 which I still believe is a wonderful blade despite what some of the scoffs on the various knife forums have to say about it. (Hey, at nearly seventy I really don't have to take a twenty-something's idea of knfe status symbols seriously.
At this point, all but two small western handled knives have been passed on to grown children and friends, and I've become a wa-handled slicing and dicing menace with knives from Kanehiro, Konosuke, Masakage, Moritaka, Takayuki, and Takeda. I'm actually considering declaring Mark and Susan dependents on my income tax this year.
In truth, I don't know very much about these knives compared to some of you, but I've always loved objects that combine superlative function and beauty. I've fly fished for decades, and a fine bamboo rod is more like a fine knife than you might ever imagine - but the knife is a lot cheaper.
. But, as they say, enough about me...
My question comes from browsing the various kitchen knife boards. On several, I found negative comments about san-mai knives. The criticisms were not very specific but the implication was that clad knives were simply a marketing ploy that allowed makers to sell knives at premium prices while using much cheaper steel for the cladding. I guess the argument would make sense if the cost of the steel to make a knife were a significant percentage of its retail cost, but is it? The cost of a bamboo rod is in the range of $800 to, say, $8000. Obviously, most of that difference is not in the materials. What do you think? Is san-mai a marketing gimmick to increase profits or is it a significant innovation? How much of the cost of a fine knife is in the materials use to make it?