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 Post subject: Knife brands - what's in a name?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 1:14 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2013 5:45 pm
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Location: Western MAssachusetts
If you buy one of Kanehiro's knives from CKTG, you will get a knife made by Hiroshi Kato. If you buy a Masakagi Koishi, you will also be getting a knife from Hiroshi Kato. I find this confusing especially where upscale knives are concerned. It's like the old days in Burgundy when the actual grower's name seldom appeared on the bottle label. Instead, you got the name of the negocient - Faively, for example. As a buyer, I am more interested in knowing who is making a knife than who is distributing it. I'd appreciate someone telling me where I've gone wrong on this, or why this system is perfectly acceptable, or why it is likely, or unlikely, to change in the future.

Richard


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 Post subject: Re: Knife brands - what's in a name?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 1:36 pm 
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Even the knives where they list the forger, they usually are made by many people. The forger works the steel into shape, and generally other people finish it. There are some custom makers who do everything themselves, and sometimes they even get help, usually only a couple of people though. Knives that are cut from blanks have no real 'forger', so it's kinda hard to put someone's name on it then. I hope this helps. :)



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 Post subject: Re: Knife brands - what's in a name?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 2:59 pm 
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Hi Richard,

Yes brands like Konosuke use several different small shops to make their knives with different groups of blacksmiths and grinders and handle makers. They also are a little secretive because they view their relationships with these artisans to be part of their intellectual property. Also naming the artisans can be problematic if the relationship ends or they switch things around.

When I make my Sakai brand I'm going to have a brand name and use several blacksmiths and a couple different grinders and I'll reveal the names of each on them. I agree it's way more fun to know the people that are responsible for the knives being produced. I'm also going to shoot some videos of them making the knives when I go in the spring. So it will be Richmond Sakai (not the real name) by xxx.



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 Post subject: Re: Knife brands - what's in a name?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 3:50 pm 
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Forschner by Victorinox is probably a great example of this, though not Japanese. If you showed someone an 8" Forschner chefs knife and asked who made it, 99.9% would say Forschner because that is what they saw in big black letters on the knife, when Forschner was just a US distributor. Now that Victorinox is in the big black letters on these knives the Forschner name will die a slow death.



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 Post subject: Re: Knife brands - what's in a name?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 8:58 pm 
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At one time, in a far away land, we had a thread going that I kept editing as new information was brought forward.

It listed all of the knives that had clones under a different maker/model. To say that it was impressive is an understatement. As I recall, one knife had 5 or 6 different labels. That was the Hattori HD/Ryusen Damascus/et. al. That knife had more incarnations than we could find.

But, at the end of the day, a great knife is a great knife no matter what stamp is on it.

Still, it gets confusing.



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 Post subject: Re: Knife brands - what's in a name?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 10:16 pm 
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I still think wine is a good analogy. You can buy wines where the name on the bottle has nothing whatever to do with who grew the grapes, and no doubt the grapes don't always come from the same growers. It hardly matters because these wines are blends that are all pretty much alike. You can also buy wines that are grown in a village and in some cases cooperatives put their names on the wines to indicate point of origin. At the highest levels, you have artisan wines that come from specific vineyards or even specific sections of a single vineyard. You always know who made these wines even though many workers were involved. The bottles feature the name of vineyard and its owner and/or vintner. I think this is the way it should be where wine is concerned. I don't know if it makes sense for fine knives. Perhaps the craft is just more generic and one good maker is not really that distinguishable from another. Still, I like to see the maker's name up front. If Hiroshi Kato was primarily responsible for the design and production of a knife I own, I'd prefer to call it a Kato and not a Masakage. Off my soapbox. :-)


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