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Western handle on Japanese Gyuto

Sat Jun 07, 2014 10:38 pm

I'll preface this by asking all to forgive my ignorance. I was curious, if one were to order a Japanese gyuto blade sans-handle, would the application of a custom western handle destroy the balance/performance of the blade? I've noticed the tang on wa-gyutos is typically much thinner than western handled knives. I really am not a huge fan of octagonal handles, though it seems some of the better blades are appointed with traditional handles.

Re: Western handle on Japanese Gyuto

Sat Jun 07, 2014 11:45 pm

No, the balance would not be destroyed, unless the wood chosen was very dense, but that could happen with an octagonal traditional handle as well.

The biggest obstacle will be the transition from the emoto (neck) to the handle. A Western handled blade either has a bolster, or is as tall as the handle. So there will be a step between the handle and the blade. If the handle is tapered, this step can be minimized, as Dave Martell has done with this Wa-handled blade:


Re: Western handle on Japanese Gyuto

Sat Jun 07, 2014 11:57 pm

Nope, I can convert wa to western or western to wa. I even did one where the guy wanted a very heavy handle, so I used 7/8" thick SS at the front and 1/4" thick SS rear bolster so it would be a double bolster similar to his nenox. Doing a western shaped handle on a Wa tang is no biggie, but I usually use a wood or synthetic material for the ferrule instead of metal. M3 composite works very well in this application as well.

Re: Western handle on Japanese Gyuto

Sun Jun 08, 2014 2:02 am

That's great! If you aren't jammed on backlog, may be hitting you up sooner rather than later

Re: Western handle on Japanese Gyuto

Mon Jun 09, 2014 8:40 pm

Last question on this: Along the same lines as my original question, would it be terribly difficult to bolster around the extended neck on a Wa knife? I much prefer a knife that transitions from bolster right to blade. Basically, want to completely westernize a Wa blade/handle

Re: Western handle on Japanese Gyuto

Mon Jun 09, 2014 9:43 pm

With a metal bolster, it's more of a pain. If you want no neck area, we could recut the machi so it's right at the heel and do the install from there. Basically grind the machi up to the heel and then do the handle, but the metal bolster can be a pain to work alongside of the wood.
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