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 Post subject: Konosuke Ho wood vs. Ebony
PostPosted: Sat Nov 15, 2014 4:19 am 

Joined: Thu May 29, 2014 8:38 pm
Posts: 1573
So I've noticed the recent Konos getting stocked are done with Ho wood handles as opposed to the original ebony. I know I'm not the first to comment on it, but I'm a bit torn. First, as I've ended up getting custom grips installed on most of my favorite knives, it's really nice to spend money on an actual blade as opposed to dishing extra coin on a fancy handle that may not be suited to my particular taste (as is the case with virtually all octagonal handles). That said, I've found longer/heavier grips on my Kono Fujiyamas and Honyakis hit the balance point perfectly for me (right at, or slightly in front of the heel). Despite my dislike for octagonal grips, I think I may be more inclined to keep the stock grip if it were a heavier, more refined feeling ebony handle than a ho handle. That said, I still circle back to the first point; much rather have my dollars go to the blade than the grip. It's quite obvious how expensive those ebony grips are, and if one were to buy an identical blade sans-handle, it would only cost $20-$40 more to get a really nice, fully custom job done vs the blade w/ebony. While the ho wood adds a minor cost to the knife, I actually prefer that to the no handle option as I like to play with a knife for a bit before deciding on the grip. Indeed, I've already bought 3 different CKTG grips for handle-less knives which adds about $75 to each purchase vs. what would be maybe an additional $20-30 if the knife came pre-installed with Ho. I'd go so far as to say I'd rather see all knives on the site that are offered without handles, offered with inexpensive Ho versions instead so that buyers can get a feel for the blade without paying for a CKTG grip to serve as an interim throw away.



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 Post subject: Re: Konosuke Ho wood vs. Ebony
PostPosted: Sat Nov 15, 2014 6:55 am 
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Joined: Thu Aug 14, 2014 9:05 pm
Posts: 214
I wish that the ebony/marbled horn combo was available as one of the semi-custom options. I like the balance it adds to the knife and the look. I think it makes sense to have the ho-wood handles standard to bring the price point down but wish it was possible to get the ebony/marbled horn combo as an upgrade.


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 Post subject: Re: Konosuke Ho wood vs. Ebony
PostPosted: Sat Nov 15, 2014 1:38 pm 

Joined: Sun Dec 30, 2012 11:01 pm
Posts: 472
Location: ATL
I love the Kono ebony handles, they are the bomb. I have zero interest in changing out my ebony handle even if someone said they would do it for free. It would be very nice to have an option to upgrade to one prior to shipping. I think cktg could accomplish this (Shroeder handle) through a drop down along with the additional wait time. It could be no different from the current process of ordering a separate handle except by having it right there in the form of a drop down would make it much easier and probably increase handle sales. Unfortunately I've not seen Isiah offer ebony handles, and the wenge option, while nice, is not as nice as ebony in my opinion.


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 Post subject: Re: Konosuke Ho wood vs. Ebony
PostPosted: Sat Nov 15, 2014 2:19 pm 
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Joined: Thu Apr 26, 2012 5:13 pm
Posts: 2925
Location: CT
Ebony can be pricey and honey horn is VERY VERY VERY VERY VERY difficult to find. Ebony tends to crack and check down the road since it takes so long to dry out. I think a handle in Faux Honey Horn and Wenge or Blackwood would be a better option in terms of longevity, availability and pricing.


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 Post subject: Re: Konosuke Ho wood vs. Ebony
PostPosted: Sat Nov 15, 2014 2:24 pm 

Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 6:20 am
Posts: 2073
I don't like blingy handles, the modest light colored wood handle with buffalo horn appeals to me. And I have found that exotics add weight and density that move the balance point back, not usually my preference.

I would not be upset that a knife came with an "upgraded" handle but it really would not inform my decision to buy the knife.

Guess my point is I would rather knives come with more modest options with the opportunity to upgrade rather than upgraded with the necessity of spending money to downgrade if the handle does not work (ie balance point/weight).


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 Post subject: Re: Konosuke Ho wood vs. Ebony
PostPosted: Sat Nov 15, 2014 2:41 pm 

Joined: Sun Dec 30, 2012 11:01 pm
Posts: 472
Location: ATL
taz575 wrote:Ebony can be pricey and honey horn is VERY VERY VERY VERY VERY difficult to find. Ebony tends to crack and check down the road since it takes so long to dry out. I think a handle in Faux Honey Horn and Wenge or Blackwood would be a better option in terms of longevity, availability and pricing.


I also recall reading someplace that ebony wood is on the endangered / in peril list of woods. If this is the case I'd happily forgo ebony for something not quite as nice IMO, but man is she perty. Understated elegance, kind of like the dark wood paneling in nice men's clubs and old school steak houses.


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 Post subject: Re: Konosuke Ho wood vs. Ebony
PostPosted: Sat Nov 15, 2014 4:13 pm 

Joined: Tue Oct 28, 2014 12:29 am
Posts: 331
I would think that Konosuke would like to keep some kind of consistency since people tend to buy these knives one at a time and a nice set that matched would look great.

Any handle is going to have a high percentage of it's cost in labor not just the material. I agree as a woodworker that certain wood species have all but disappeared from the marketplace. The great colors in rosewood and other exotics take a few hundred years to develop in the tree (sapwood in Dalbergia Nigra "Brazilian Rosewood" is very light color similar to Ho).

I think a pull down option to upgrade handles with a darker more exotic species would be a great addition to the site.


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 Post subject: Re: Konosuke Ho wood vs. Ebony
PostPosted: Sat Nov 15, 2014 4:22 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 30, 2012 12:20 am
Posts: 680
I find it somewhat silly that it's even debatable, and the exclusion of which I could only think, is to keep the cost down, which a Fujiyama isn't really about anyway? If cost is a concern, simply carry the Kurouchi series. Ebony handles on Japanese knives aren't a new thing in Japan, it's a well established (high-end) option. All woods can crack with time, so I don't really consider that a factor in this. I adore the Ebony handle on my Fuji. I adore the buffalo horn ferrule even more, it's a part of what makes this knife so beautiful and helps lend a smooth, solid feeling in the product. The handle is as nice as the blade itself...they are meant to be together.

AFAIK, CKTG, was/is the only place one can even find that combo. Now there's 2 or three different combo's being offered?
Becoming mixed up...or are they planning to just phase out the ebony horn all together?

The way I see it? If you have something that's really awesome(and gains a solid reputation)...don't change it.

Like AC/DC.

Image



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 Post subject: Re: Konosuke Ho wood vs. Ebony
PostPosted: Sat Nov 15, 2014 5:49 pm 

Joined: Sun Jul 29, 2012 1:36 pm
Posts: 357
Location: NY, NY; New Haven, CT
It is no secret that I support the Kono ebony handles for practical and aesthetic reasons. I think the added weight, size, color, and balance are all designed as much for performance as for looking nice. I like the option and, while I think there are absolutely "better" options out there, I think it is nice to be able to buy a stock handle from the maker that is clearly especially nice and obviously designed and tailored to balance each individual blade in the line—this is a real bonus of the ebony Kono Fujis in particular I think (my two Kono ebony handles are both different in size, shape, and I presume weight, given that they are designed for different types of blades, each of which is 240mm).

While I don't like to be divisive about such preferences, I will say that I get really annoyed when people call these handles "blingy" (sorry, Ryan). I honestly, genuinely, don't understand why Mel uses this term as a strong derogatory comment about the Kono ebody handles when they are just ebony, buffalo horn, and a slightly colored treatment on the wood (which is essentially like oiling or treating the handle at home, nothing special about it). Why is this "bling"? It isn't shinny, metallic, or particular special. It is wood+buffalo horn. It isn't "custom," it isn't "exotic," and the colored lacquer is plain, dark, and simple, and complements the wood very nicely over time as it lightens.

I realize the cost benefit of the ho versions, and I totally respect that some people prefer the balance of the Ho handles, although I also personally feel that Kono probably opted for the ebony to achieve a different kind of balance. In other words, I want to be clear that I'm not against the Ho handles at all, nor peoples' preference for them. But I am personally annoyed with the idea that such a basic handle, with no spacers, no special combinations, and no rare, aggressively marbled woods, is called "blingy" and that this has produced certain negative presumptions about what I feel is a great product.



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Ownership experience: Konosuke, Masamoto, Tojiro, Wusthof, Henckels, etc.
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 Post subject: Re: Konosuke Ho wood vs. Ebony
PostPosted: Sat Nov 15, 2014 6:18 pm 

Joined: Tue Oct 28, 2014 12:29 am
Posts: 331
Joe,

Well stated but a few things to point out;

"Kono ebody handles when they are just ebony, buffalo horn, and a slightly colored treatment on the wood (which is essentially like oiling or treating the handle at home, nothing special about it). Why is this "bling"? It isn't shinny, metallic, or particular special. It is wood+buffalo horn. It isn't "custom," it isn't "exotic," and the colored lacquer is plain, dark, and simple, and complements the wood very nicely over time as it lightens."

The Ebony I use in woodworking is exotic and it's purchased by the pound (not board foot) and the stuff I use for door pulls and accents is totally black (through and through). The are some Ebony species that are lighter in color but even those trees are in very short supply. As I have stated previously the color resins in the tree take centuries to develop and a lot of the exotic species have been harvested for centuries without re-planting.

Given all that, I still prefer the ebony handle.

Jack


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