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(Master bladesmith) Bob Kramer profile in the New Yorker

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
Just wanted to give everyone a heads up that there is a profile in current issue of the New Yorker (the food issue) of Bob Kramer, "one of a hundred and twenty-two people in the world, and the only former chef, to have been certified in the U.S. as a Master Bladesmith."

The full text is unfortunately not available online, but there is an abstract/excerpt on the New Yorker's website (sorry, I can't post a link).

Any opinions on Kramer's line of knives for Sur La Table?
post #2 of 19
I think you're referring to the Shun Kramer line that Sur La Table sells. You can read the blurb on SLT's website for the construction details but these are made by Shun using Kramer's design. I bought the set a couple months ago on an impulse.

These are very nice knives. They claim an HRC hardness of 64-66 and I believe them. They come with a bevel angle of around 15 degrees and out of the box sharpness is good. They also hold an edge very well.

Don't expect them to be as thin as Japanese knives despite the fact that they are made by Shun. These knives are very hefty but are perfectly balanced and maneuver well. I wouldn't use the steel that comes with the set, however. I don't know what Shun was thinking. Get a smooth ceramic steel. I use a leather strop loaded with cromium oxide and one loaded with very fine diamonds (.25 micron diameter) and find it easy to maintain a very, very fine edge.

These knives are not inexpensive. The 8" chef's knife goes for $340. and the 7 piece block set (5 knives) goes for $1500.
post #3 of 19
I'm visualizing people running these SG-2s through their Chef's Choice 120s. Arrrrgggghhh!

Buzz
Buzz - with a Short Pilot Story

One day, long, long ago there was this Pilot who, surprisingly...........
was not full of crap....
But it was a long time ago.... And it was just one day. The End
Reply
Buzz - with a Short Pilot Story

One day, long, long ago there was this Pilot who, surprisingly...........
was not full of crap....
But it was a long time ago.... And it was just one day. The End
Reply
post #4 of 19
I'm a little surprised that BDL hasn't wieghed in on this thread.
post #5 of 19
Any one who would spend $340.00 on a 8 inch knife is mashuga.:crazy: :crazy: :crazy:
CHEFED
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CHEFED
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post #6 of 19
Or a collector, or a cook who wants a really great knife, or an aficionado. I've spent more than that on customs - zero regrets.
Buzz - with a Short Pilot Story

One day, long, long ago there was this Pilot who, surprisingly...........
was not full of crap....
But it was a long time ago.... And it was just one day. The End
Reply
Buzz - with a Short Pilot Story

One day, long, long ago there was this Pilot who, surprisingly...........
was not full of crap....
But it was a long time ago.... And it was just one day. The End
Reply
post #7 of 19
id pay that much for one since there about 1/4 of what a real kramer damascus would run.
post #8 of 19
Unfortunately, they're probably about a 1/10 the value. While they barely resemble a Kramer Damascus on the outside, they're nothing like them on the inside. Kramer's are true Damascus, Shun's are "clad" with a faux Damascus pattern welding in a san-mai sandwich.

Kramer's are made by Kramer. Shun Kramer's are made by anonymous factory workers.

And so on.

BDL
post #9 of 19
Why get damascus anyway, Kramer himself LIKES to work with carbon steel. Why would you get a knife modelled after a master's masterpiece in a form it wasn't designed to be in.

A Kramer carbon will be more expensive but it's essentially the pinacle of western cutlery. The only negative I have heard is that they run a little thick. I don't thinkh the person I heard it from even owns one so... And thick at the spine isn't always bad, alot of sabs are thick at the spine but have an even grind which allows for a plenty thin edge.

If only I had the money to order a kramer and then the balls to use one for what it is worth, ahhhhh!
post #10 of 19
Yes to thick at the spine not being bad. Not ever bad as long as the knife isn't too heavy.

You can talk to you're blue in the face about the rich, creamy goodness that is old Sab and the ones who should most listen won't ever.

BDL
post #11 of 19
I just read the article in the New Yorker. FANTASTIC.

BDL, you gotta read it. You'll soak up the info as it is so fascinating. Damscus just found some purchase in my affections. Not normal damascus mind you but "wootz."

Did you know that word? Well, it gets interesting... I hope I gave you enough of a hook to go read it.
post #12 of 19
Not to sound like I know it all, but ... Yes, I did read the article, read a pre-release Shun-Kramer article with a lot of the information that went into the New Yorker article by Chad Ward (who contributed here, on Fred's, on KF, and wrote An Edge in the Kitchen), and got interested in the history of damascus/wootz quite a few years ago. Actually, when I was fencing in college ('69 around), I ended up buying a few really incredible replacement saber blades, and started researching Toledo steel. One thing led to another, you know how it goes.

BDL
post #13 of 19
My sister fences. Maybe I should look into getting her a high quality steel for her foil?

Back to topic... this article wasn't as much about Shun/Kramer as it was a Kramer profile and it was by Todd Oppenhieimer not Chad Ward. Did Chad Ward write another article based on Kramer.?.. I enjoy his writing.
post #14 of 19
Not Bob,

I wouldn't bother looking for better steel in foil blades -- all fencing is scored electronically and the operative part of a foil (and an epee too) is the button. Look for good buttons.

Shun Collaboration with Bob Kramer at the Blade Show | An Edge in the Kitchen Here's a link to the specific article in Chad's blog I remembered. While you're there you can look at the entire blog.

BDL
post #15 of 19
From the blog:
"...the Kramer Shun looks incredibly nice. The antique Sabatier which holds pride of place in my block is suffering existential angst. Want! Indeed,
BDL"


Have you changed your mind?
post #16 of 19
Yep. Tried one. Chopped 3 onions, two carrots and two stalks of celery. It's a Shun with a better topline, but still a Shun. "We were not amused."

Vive Sabatier! Sabatier vive!

BDL
post #17 of 19
LOL! T take it that your Sab is now feeling warm and secure again in it's block??
post #18 of 19
Yes. I overstated it's fear level anyway. Linda refers to the Sabs in general, and it in particular as hers. This means, that not only do I need permission to spend the money, a new knife set either has to be very appealing to her, or we have to find room for another block.

I'm kind of looking at Masamoto HC, and Ikkanshi Tadatsuna shiroko wa-European. Linda approves of the Masamotos and is interested in the Tadatsunas -- but I think when she finds out how blade-forward they are she won't like them. Besides, considering the kind of year this has been, I doubt Hanukkah Harry's going to show up with six or seven hundred bucks of new knives. He'll probably concentrate on gifts for the lovely and talented Ellie (grandchild).

"You had a bad year, I should suffer?"
BDL
post #19 of 19
But have you tried a tried and true Kramer?

I figure the next time I'm offered a million dollars to direct a shot for shot remake of The Howling 2 -your sister's a werewolf I'll buy a few Kramers.

Got to know what IT is all about.
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