oh... I meant just cut and paste what I wrote.
Sometime if I don't recognize the maker, I use search engine. If you have smartphone, like iPhone or Samsung, they have handwriting recognition mode for Chinese, and you can use that to enter the kanji then search for Japan region only.
The only problem with those handwriting recognition is they depend on sequence of strokes. All Japanese/Chinese are taught to write these character in a particular sequence. It usually is from left to right, top to down and inside to outside. if they don't recognize your writing, it is probably because you wrote it in wrong sequence.
Most of time, I just recognize the maker from some magazine I read. I am a knife nut like all of you and I love reading Japanese books and magazines on knives. I was born a Taiwanese, have spend some time in Hiroshima, and have Calligraphy (Japanese & Chinese) as my other hobby, so recognizing weird characters is easier for me.