So today I just received my Thiers Issard Sabatier Nogent 9" flex fillet knife from thebestthings.com, but it seems to have some issues. From what I've read here and other places around the interwebs, I know that fit and finish seems to be a problem with this company, but I figured people still like them, they must be worth it anyway. So are all of these knifes flawed in some way? If so, how much should I let slide, and when should I ask for an exchange? And if I do exchange it, are my chances any better that the new one will not have these issues? The blade itself seems fairly straight. Hard to tell, but there may be a slight bend the last couple inches to the tip, but minor. The handle itself seems to be inline with the blade; however, the ferrule is a little crooked and there is a gap between the ferrule and blade (top side only) just big enough to fit a finger nail in. I don't care about looks, only functionality for use in a commercial kitchen. The gap I could see being a sanitation problem, so I would fill it in with some sort of epoxy of something (suggestions?). If the bend is very minor, and it is a flexible blade, would sharpening be affected? So, should I just keep this one and deal with its imperfections, or do I return for a replacement? Also, I did ask the person on the phone to please check to make sure the handle and blade and everything else is all straight and aligned. But other than that, the knife is real light and has a very nice feel to it and I am excited to sharpen and use it, after I decide what to do with it. Anyway, sorry for the long list of questions, and thank you for for any input you may have!
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Put the knife flat on the board, turn it over a few times and look for the tip of the knife to point up or down depending on which side the knife is on. If you see an obvious difference -- one big enough that you don't have to question whether it's actually happening or your imagination -- the bend might be big enough to be a problem, otherwise not.
The "bolster" is another issue. Let's start with some definitional stuff, just to make sure we're on the same page. The real "bolster" on the knife is not the ferrule which goes over the handle, but the finger guard. The ferrule is just a separate piece of metal that's been jammed onto the handle to protect the face of the handle, etc.
I don't think Nogent ferrules ever fit perfectly, but fit should be fairly close -- assuming the handle, ferrule and blade were properly assembled and that the knife wasn't so poorly stored that the handle shrunk.
If TBT will allow you to return the knife, it might be a good idea to just go ahead and do so. If not, you might want to try stabilizing the handle by treating it with mineral oil before patching the gap. If the wood is shrunken, the oil might allow it to swell enough for the ferrule to fit.
Thanks BDL! I just called TBT today, and the person on the phone (same person who took my order) said that she did check when I ordered and the one I received was the best they had, and they wouldn't be getting anymore for a few months. So I would not be able to exchange it for the same model. They did have the 8" fillet in stock, but I'm not sure if those would be any better. As far as the blade goes, I didn't see much of a difference on either side, and it seems that any possible bend in the blade is pretty negligible. As for the ferrule, since it's mostly cosmetic, and since pretty much all of them are a little bit off, I'm not too worried about it at this point. And I will treat it with mineral oil and hopefully that will help. Other than those two things, the blade and handle are properly aligned, the handle is very comfortable, and the knife is very light. It seems as maybe I am being a little to critical of the knife and that the issues are pretty minimal and I probably won't be able to find much better (from T-I at least). Well, I will probably sharpen it tonight and try it out at work tomorrow. I'm excited to see what kind of an edge I can put on it and I can't wait to use it. Thanks again for the advice BDL.