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Sat Feb 23, 2013 4:27 am
Steel in Texas wrote:....Hand forged knives are apparently of great interest to me to. Everything hand made by a master artisan of any kind is of interest to me. Master Musicians, Master Chefs, Masterworks of all art forms.
All I was implying was if the blade performs then what does it matter how it came to be. You can buy lots of knifes produced different ways that will perform equally, which is what would be most to me.
If hand forged is of great interest to you then by all means that is what you should purchase, otherwise you won't be completely satisfied. I just didn't realize that it was an important option to you at the time.
Sat Feb 23, 2013 4:48 am
Thanks, yes I had read this on another forum. You were probably the one that posted it there to, thank you twice
It's one of the things that fueled my questions on being able to perceive the work of a Master Blacksmith's hands. It seems that I will have to get a a Robo-blade and a Master Blacksmith blade and put them through the paces and find out for myself. If that is the case I figured I might as well start off with a Master Blacksmith hand forged blade. I'm not one to stick my toes in the water first. I'm the "go whole hog, including the postage" type!
Don't mind waiting for a Tamashi since I'll be waiting for it anyway.
Sat Feb 23, 2013 7:14 am
if you're gonna do that then you'll have to have both knives to have the same characteristics, same hardness, same profile, same grind, same handle, same everything. only difference would have to be just that one mass produced and the other was made by a master blacksmith.
kinda hard to do....
Last edited by franzb69
on Sat Feb 23, 2013 9:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
Sat Feb 23, 2013 8:47 am
Figured there was a knife maker out there with a energetically/spiritually empty mass produced steel attempting to copy their own hand made gyuto steel imbued with their blacksmith's energy/spirit.
Cue up Pink Floyd's Welcome to the Machine
Sat Feb 23, 2013 5:01 pm
One of the tricky things to this is that in Japan, one guy usually forges the knife, someone else does the rough grind, another person does the polishing/edge and another guy does the handle. It's very rarely a sole authorship type knife, like many custom knives in the US are (except maybe the heat treating). Pierre on the site here does full custom gyuto's and also has a MidTech line coming out soon where the blades are made for him by a company to his specs and then he adds the handle. This would give you a way to compare the hand made knife with the machine knife in the same steel, but it's not White steel. Another option is the Richmond Addict 2 and the Konosuke Addict 2; one is made in the US mostly by machines for the blade shaping and the other is made in Japan using their methods/grinds, etc. There is a big price difference, but I am guessing there will also be a performance difference as well due to the differences in manufacturing. I believe Devin Thomas also does MidTechs occasionally, not sure if he does the blades or someone else does, but it's a way to get a great blade at a lesser cost/shorter wait than a full custom. Some makers, like Kramer, license other companies to produce their knives/designs/styles, too.
Some of the brands that CKTG carries are made by a few people in small shops. Each "brand" will have it's own idiosyncrasies about how they do things, heat treating, how they forge, shape, profile, grind and sharpen, so it will be hard to tell. Some blades that are handmade look more rustic, but other hand made blades can be machine polished and look more blah, but are hand made for everything except the polishing. Goko, Fujiwara Teraysau, Masakage Koshi, Kanehiro, Takeda, Moritaka, Tanaka, etc are more handmade and can be more rustic looking, where blades like Hiromoto, Fujiwara, Konosuke regular series, Richmond, etc look more machine made, stamped out type blade, and more refined finish wise, yet they can still perform incredibly well. Konosuke Fujiyama are very high end knives and may be what you are looking for; people that have them say that they are very high end knives. After that level, you are looking at custom made knives or Honyaki knives, which are the pinnacle of Japanese knives with the craftsmanship and cost a ton more, but are very highly regarded.
Doing a knife by hand will give you more control over the process, but can also be more susceptible to little errors in the grind that need to be taken out by the maker, which increases the time and expense. A machine made, stamped out knife will be more consistent profile, grind and finish wise, but may not be the best performer out there because it's not tuned and ground individually one at a time. Many machine made blades will perform incredibly well, but may lack "something". Someone making one knife at a time is focused on perfecting that one knife, but most makers are working to get products out the door and may not have time to make every knife "perfect".
Another issue is the steel itself. Some people forge weld the steels together and forge it out, others buy the steel premade with the different steels in it and have the blanks cut out, others buy the premade stock and forge it out a bit and then stamp it out in a die, etc. It uses the same steel, but there are different ways to do it and pro's and con's to each, so saying that the hand forged knife is better isn't always true, since there are more ways to make a mistake in the process (steel being over heated while forging, not getting a clean weld and not knowing it until much later in the life of the knife, et) where someone who bought the sheet of steel and had 50 knives blanked out of the steel will not have to worry about the issues and just has to grind the steel. But the White and Blue steels are both very nice, as is the Aogami Super steel. Lately I have really been enjoying 52100 and Blue #2 steel!
As far as white steel, lower end knives like the Tojiro ITK will be different than the Yamashin and even though they may use the same steel series, the higher end carbon knives like the Goko, or Konosuke will perform differently due to the nicer grinds, different heat treat and stuff like that. The Konosuke White #2 series is more of a machine made blade and more refined finish and grind wise than the Tojiro ITK and Yamashin, but should perform nicer due to the grinds and finish on it (I find the Kurouchi finish adds a lot of friction in the cut).
Some makers hammer out the blade shape and rough in the bevels by forging and do a little grinding, but there may be deeper hammer marks and not look as nice cosmetically. Others hammer forger the bevels, but then grind and polish everything so you can't tell the hand forged and ground and polished blade apart from a fully machine made blade. Some places would use stones for all of their sharpening, but most use large grinding stones, and others may use CNC machinery and belt sanders instead of the stones.
Technique to make the knives will vary. Some machine made knives perform very well, and some handmade knives may be lackluster in performance, so there isn't a hard, fast rule.
But it would be cool to have knives custom made by one person start to finish to see the pinnacle of the craftsmanship, but it will be incredibly expensive!! I get what you are saying and trying to say, but in the Japanese knife world, it's not always easy to pin down who actually make what part/process of the knife and who makes the knife from scratch.
Sat Feb 23, 2013 8:01 pm
I get the attraction to hand made knives and I share that attraction. I would recommend you give the Masakage yuki a look. It fits your criteria very well. If you want something more polished try the Konosuke Fujiyama series. They're hand forged and really nice as well.
Sun Feb 24, 2013 6:04 am
Even though I already said thank you in advance for your assistance in my education. I want to thank you again for your assistance in my education. Your reply conveys a sense of objectiveness that is very much appreciated.
Seemed to have had the naive illusion that most/all of the Japanese knife makers forge welded the steels together and hand forge the blade. I could not reconcile this illusion with what my eyes saw in the [pictures. Good to get past that!
Thank you also for the recommendation for the Konosuke Fujiyama, they are nice looking knives and always sell fast.
Are the Konosuke Fujiyama knives made by forge welding the steels together and forging the blades? or do they use a "partial-forge' utilizing pre-made stock of some sort?
It would certainly be nice to have this kind of information cited with the various knives to help one evaluate between knives one intends to purchase. Knowing who the forger, grinder, polisher/edger and handler would certainly also be nice if known. It's hard to tell how much of the information, regarding the knife's construction is not known, or known and not published. Not having local access to most of the knives it's hard to tell these kinds of things from the picture.
Sun Feb 24, 2013 6:34 am
Your reply is filled with useful information. I've reread it a few times and it is very well thought out and articulate.
It will be one of my stickies!
Sun Feb 24, 2013 7:17 am
Thank you Mark! For your site, your service and straightforwardness. I like how your site and forum are able to convey/reflect your integrity, it's quite refreshing!
Thanks for the Masakage Yuki recommendation. I've been eyeing them from afar and wondering how they were put together. The red pakka wood certainly catches the attention. Do you know if Masakage forge welds the steels together to forge the blades? or a pre-made stock forge process?
I've also been checking out all the Konosuke lines and trying to figure how they were each made to. Do you know if the Konosuke Fujiyama knives are made by forge welding the steels together and forging the blades? or do they use a "partial-forge' utilizing pre-made stock of some sort?
Thanks for helping to fill my gaps.
I also want you and Sue to know that I'm very excited about your Tamashi knife project. I'm not involved in the slightest way but find what you're both doing to be very exciting. I will be in your corner rooting for you throughout the entire process. I hope that you will write about the process of creating this knife as it unfolds and know that a lot of us would find it very interesting and perhaps even enlightening.
I look forward the results of your hard work and dedication to this craft.
Thanks Again Mark!
Sun Feb 24, 2013 1:55 pm
Many companies are secretive to who does various steps of the process or what their actual steel process is; it's a secret shrouded in mystery and dust! There are a few videos on YouTube about knife making in Japan that show different companies and different methods that they use. The Fujiyama series may be cladded I think, not sure if they forge their out steel out or buy the premade. The premade may give a better quality control and consistency and will have less of a chance to overheat, get a bad weld, etc. Some of the master smiths do their own forging in different methods and most have it nailed down pretty well, so it's a toss up; mechanical precision from a mill that has the process down to a science or a master smith knowing from experience exactly how to do it right. From talking with Aaron Gibson, he has a Fujiyama Blue #2 gyuto and a Honyaki 270mm gyuto from Konosuke and loves them both. The Fujiyama's are one of those knife lines that are just plain awesome, regardless of how the steel is forged and stuff because they take the time to get them done right.
The Masakage Yuki looks great as well; it has a slightly rougher surface texture on the cladding, which will help food slide off and won't have as much friction as a Kurouchi Finish; I have a knife with a very similar finish called Nashiji finish and it works great cutting through foods. Many Japanese companies will have several lines of knives; some are under $100 and go up to several thousand for a mirror polished honyaki Yanagiba, etc.
The Tamashi project is also going to be very cool to see and Mark keeps coming out with new brands constantly, exposing the market to new and awesome makers!!