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Hi-end Japanese Knives

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

Truth be told, as a "home cook", I think any chef/gyuto in the $200-300 range isn't cheap ($300 being the most I'd spend on a single knife...and this is pushing it...$100-200 being "reasonable" for me). But for Japanese knives in the $700+ range...I ask myself "Why??". Why would any one invest that much money in one knife? I mean what does that buy you besides bragging rights and a few more weeks between honing/sharpenings? Is any knife really worth so much money?? :)

 

http://www.knifewear.com/knife-detail.asp?knife=24gyuto210&family=24

 

Maybe it has Bluetooth and you can tell it how and what to cut with your iPad. 

post #2 of 19

Better yet, 

 

http://www.chefknivestogo.com/mahowa24.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I watched a review on that knife compared to its $300 relative (masamoto ks)   and the guy said the differences were EXTREMELY small.   I think when you get into knives that expensive its no longer about increasing performance by a large amount, I think its just about collectivity at that point.

 

 

Ive never used a knife that expensive, but I cant imagine its a good ROI performance wise.

post #3 of 19
Knives made by Fujiwara Terayusu are extremely expensive because they're individually made by Fujiwara Terayusu with his own hands. Fujiwara san is a master knife and sword maker descended from an unbroken and long family line of master sword makers. If you don't understand why that makes a knife more desirable than even a very good knife made by an anonymous committee like a Masamoto KS, you just don't understand.

If it helps, I don't understand either. Heck. I don't even like san-mai. Too bad Masamoto doesn't make a KK gyuto, because -- as good as they are -- there's a lot of magical-mystical Japanese BS ("only our most skilled workers") in KS prices, too.

You can find Fujiwaras at about 40% less than the Canadian site you listed at Japanese Woodworker.

BDL
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http://www.cookfoodgood.com
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What were we talking about?
 
http://www.cookfoodgood.com
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post #4 of 19

why buy a rolex when a timex will tell you the same time? and why buy a chevy, when you can afford a mercedes,

post #5 of 19
Not great analogies for the context. A $300 chef's knife does not fit in the scheme of chef's knives, as a Chevy or Timex fit in the run of cars and watches.

If you understand academic economics terms of art, when we talk about Fujiwaras we're talking about a specific kind of Veblen, approaching a Geffen good. The primary value is status; itself largely conferred by exclusivity and the exorbitant price itself.

Worth considering though, that at JWW's prices, you can get a Fujiwara white-steel gyuto for less money than a Masamoto KS.

BDL
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http://www.cookfoodgood.com
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What were we talking about?
 
http://www.cookfoodgood.com
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post #6 of 19
Thread Starter 

I agree with BDL. That was not a great analogy. Rolex vs Timex?? :) Come ON!! Never mind that a Mercedes "ain't what they used to be". People who buy a Benz these days are usually misinformed "d-bags" IMHO. They buy them now solely for the reputation they still think exists. But I digress...

 

I think the reason why Fujiwara san's knives command such high prices is more than simply because they are hand made by him personally (4th gen). Perhaps there are knife making competitions as there are sword making competitions judged by organizations like the NBTHK or NTHK. And has been awarded a ranking. 

 

Moritaka knives have an even longer linage. 13 genrations worth. Their knives are currently made by "26th swordsmith" and his 2 sons who are also swordsmiths (27th and 28th swordsmiths). Are they ranked? I don't know. I would say they should command even more respect due to their history. Yet their gyuto's are roughly 1/10th the cost. Perhaps the 13th gen Moritaka's don't complete? Or compete and have a lower ranking? Who knows.

 

Or maybe it's just marketing that's given him (Fujiwara san, 4th gen) more cache than his many competitors who also hand-make their knives personally.

 

I do like his unique blade design with the notch in the heel of the blade by the bolster. I wonder if that is his signature design and/or if there is a functional reason behind that. 

 

Perhaps one day I'll buy one to prepare my wagyu steak dinner. :)

post #7 of 19
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the link BDL. 

 

Nice to know there are "affordable" Fujiwara knives out there for 50% less than the notched (by the bolster) Denka no Hoto line sold at the Canadian knife e-retailer I mentioned. 

 

And while looking at the other handmade Fujiwara San's knife series. I noticed another (surprised I missed it...Guess I was scared off by the high pricing of his Denka no Hoto line which uses a kind of blue carbon steel (Chigusa-cou carbon blue steel)...not sure if it's proprietary). Any how, the other series knives are instead made from #1 white carbon steel (#1 Shirogami AKA #1 White Carbon Steel). The gyuto (210mm) also have the notch by the heel of the blade. Which is for "comfort' as i guessed (watched the video from JKI in Venice, CA). Runs $400 USD/$421 CAD (http://www.knifewear.com/knife-detail.asp?knife=07gyuto210&family=7). Bit more than I planned to spend on a single knife but doable (vs. $790 for a 210 Denka no Hoto Gyuto). 

 

And I do like the fact that these 2 series are sold with German handles. Prefer the look of the blade on the Maboroshi No Meito Gyuto.

 

Has any one handled both knives or own both/either? Opinions?


Edited by BDD8 - 5/27/12 at 2:57pm
post #8 of 19

z guys, all i was saying was if you can afford it buy it, if that what your into. and sorry i guess i should of said a audi  compared  to a bmw
 

post #9 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by BDD8 View Post

Never mind that a Mercedes "ain't what they used to be". People who buy a Benz these days are usually misinformed "d-bags" IMHO. They buy them now solely for the reputation they still think exists. But I digress...

Moritaka knives have an even longer linage.

 

The same group that buys those Mercedes probably buys the Moritaka. They look at this sort of historic fluff and think that means some thing in regard to reputation with out knowing that production standards have gone straight down the drain.

 

Dave

I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
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I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
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post #10 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DuckFat View Post

 

The same group that buys those Mercedes probably buys the Moritaka. They look at this sort of historic fluff and think that means some thing in regard to reputation with out knowing that production standards have gone straight down the drain.

 

Dave

No kidding Dave. I suppose it was bound to happen with knife production too. No matter. Motitaka weren't high on my list any how. As far as hi-end knives I'm looking at Fujiwara and Takeda. Hope they're maintaining their quality standards. They are handmade by the smiths themselves (at least with Fujiwara San). Tell me the same thing hasn't happened with Takeda or Fujiwara knives. :) And where did you hear about Moritaka not producing good knives any more? Trade magazine? This forum?

post #11 of 19

If you want to read a number of threads extolling the numerous production problems of Moritaka head to KKF. There are several threads there in the topic. I think a lot of that falls under the topic of things change and not always for the better.

I'll PM you a link.

 

Dave

I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
Reply
I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
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post #12 of 19

So, I don't know if this thread is still active, but I just happened upon it.  I was given a Denka no Hoto knife two years ago as a gift, and while I am generally skeptical of the highest priced goods in any category, this knife outperforms anything I've ever had in my hands by about triple.  So does the price, so...  The blade takes a screaming sharp edge, holds it forever and is tough as nails.  No idea what he does to it to make the steel this good.  It's really unbelievable.

 

On the down side, I dislike the aesthetics, and that bothers me a little, but the steel is so good it can make you cry.  I know I sound like a commercial or something, but I am telling you.

post #13 of 19
You ever want to sell it , let me know
post #14 of 19

Brand new to the "good knife" discussion and have just enough knowledge to sound like an idiot. I got a small, Japanese style knife the other day and have a larger one on the way. Brand is not relevant - there are many good ones. I paid about $120 for 6" knife. It has a western handle. 

Using it relative to my other knives (all European stainless, decent knives) is transformative. The Japanese knife is far lighter and thinner than a western knife. I had no idea how hard I was pushing to cut my food with other knives. This thing just glides through most ingredients. It's relatively effortless to use. Within minutes I had a much lighter touch with it on my board. It feels like I'm moving more slowly, but I'm actually more productive. I think this is due to the reduced effort required. The control I have with it is crazy compared to other knives. It's a real pleasure to use.  The difference is not subtle. 

 

Assuming I can keep it this sharp, it's going to be very nice to use long term. It should last a lifetime. 

post #15 of 19

WOW.     This is an interesting enough thread.  I'm pretty good and sure that what I'm gonna say is gonna sound stupid.  But still, I don't remember that ever stopping me before.  

 

I think the "Timex / Chevy" analogies were very good.  Tools that work ... get the job done.  I've had arguments with a number of idiots that think because I use cutlery that can be replaced at +/-$10 on close-out and theirs costs north of $300, they must be better cooks than I am a chef; their dishes must taste better too.  OK, that's why they're idiots.  You can buy tools, but you can't buy skills.  

 

Guys buy knives costing $700 and more because they want to, it makes them feel good.  And you know what, I think that's just absolutely just fine.   I just bought a $260 sump pump for those same reasons.   Cars ... watches ... stereos ... fishing gear ... sporting goods ... art ... dates ... whatever et al.  We buy that which we can justify is the best we should have, through whatever set of glasses we are looking through.     

"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

Reply

"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

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post #16 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by IceMan View Post

I've had arguments with a number of idiots that think because I use cutlery that can be replaced at +/-$10 on close-out and theirs costs north of $300, they must be better cooks than I am a chef; their dishes must taste better too.  OK, that's why they're idiots.  You can buy tools, but you can't buy skills.  

Yeah, no question. I'm in no way arguing that I'm a better cook for having a better knife. It's more enjoyable and easier for me to use. But at some cost as well - I have to keep it dry and clean to prevent rust. And I have to learn how to keep it sharp. 

 

It's a luxury and a convenience for sure, and has little do with how my food will taste. However, the fact that I can now quickly and consistently cut translucent slices of banana and other fruit perhaps means my presentation will be better for some things. (That's a novelty and/or a parlor trick, but fun.) 

post #17 of 19

LOL ... OK.   Maybe I didn't state my point clearly enough.

 

Guys get $700+ knives ... because they're damn freakin' cool.      

I can still cut all those same things, the same way, w/ a $7 ACME knife as you can w/ a $700+ knife though, if it's properly sharpened. 

"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

Reply

"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

Reply
post #18 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by IceMan View Post

LOL ... OK.   Maybe I didn't state my point clearly enough.

 

Guys get $700+ knives ... because they're damn freakin' cool.      

I can still cut all those same things, the same way, w/ a $7 ACME knife as you can w/ a $700+ knife though, if it's properly sharpened. 

Perhaps you can. I cannot. My $35 Victorinox chef's knife will never take the same edge as a my $150 knife with #1 white steel. I will fumble around and spend more time with it than I will with a sharper knife. Another point: the #1 complaint I get from my GF is that our knives aren't sharp enough. I can keep them fairly sharp, but she can't. And they get dull quickly. 

 

Having said that, for most of us it's about the cool factor as well. It's similar to other man-hobbies, like high-end stereos. At the end of the day, is it about the equipment or the music/food? We would all probably be better off spending the money on a good cooking class rather than more equipment. Many of us should consider a good stove, or other essentials, before knives. So I agree, but I'll still justify having my nice knife. :)  

post #19 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by IceMan View Post

LOL ... OK.   Maybe I didn't state my point clearly enough.

 

Guys get $700+ knives ... because they're damn freakin' cool.      

I can still cut all those same things, the same way, w/ a $7 ACME knife as you can w/ a $700+ knife though, if it's properly sharpened. 


they are a joy when you have to chop and slice all day long and the chef is really picky,then he comes to you to do all the fine cuts

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