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Colored or Patterned Blades

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 



I am a very avid home cook, but this is actually for my boyfriend, who is currently in culinary school. I want to buy a decent knife set for him, but what he would really like is one that features colored or patterned blades. I have spent quite a bit of time reading through the forums on this and other sites, reviews on various chef supply websites, etc., and want to know if there is such a thing as a "decent" quality maker of colored/patterned blades? (Yes, "colored/patterned" here means neon blades, vibrant designs, on the blade and not the handle or sheath.)


I already know that the selection will be of lesser quality than those of true high-end knives, and I already know a lot of professionals who see this post will want to say things like "aesthetics aren't nearly as important as quality, what kind of future career chef would ever want something as frivolous, tacky, and ridiculous as low-quality knives just because they look cool until the design is (very quickly) worn? Do him a real favor and get him some knives that are more fitting to someone in the profession, and tell him to re-prioritize the way he thinks about his equipment."


To those chefs, I say: I completely understand; I truly respect and appreciate your opinions as people who know far better than myself or my boyfriend, and I agree that aesthetics are a terrible basis on which to choose tools of the trade. However, these are not for me, and this request is not meant to be offensive, or seen as some annoying, juvenile disregard for the things that matter in the kitchen.


I ask that you please be patient with me, and know that I am just trying to provide a gift of the best quality possible within parameters that he wants (and I already know that this is like asking which brand of paper umbrella will best keep me dry). If you know of any colored/patterned knife makers that are the least terrible, that's the kind I'd like to buy. These are for his use at home, not at work/school, and any suggestions on where to find some that are at least workable would be very deeply appreciated.


Are there any brands in this style that are even slightly good quality? If not, what is the least awful?


Are there any quality craftsmen known to professionals that are willing to do custom designs?


I'm not concerned about cost-quite the opposite; I'm willing to spend a decent amount (at least a few hundred per knife) if I can at least find some that are good quality. The only ones I've seen so far are things like Kai Komachi and Kuhn Rikon, and I'm not very impressed.


If you've read all the way down here, even if you find this request objectionable, I really do appreciate your time, and appreciate your time and patience even more so if you can help me out; thank you :)

post #2 of 13
My advise is to go bling on the handle and get a good blade smile.gif
post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thank you :) I definitely would if it were for me, but he saw a professional chef on television using purple zebra printed knives and now its all he can talk about-so I'm hoping to find something like that; this is a man who would bedazzle his chef's jacket if he could. But I definitely appreciate your time and suggestion- in case I can't find any decent patterned knives, do you know of any good blades that have gaudy, but trustworthy handles?

post #4 of 13
The Shun limited edition is about as gaudy a knife blade as any I've seen. Gold patterned I the blade steel. As a tool I find Shun quite satisfactory. Many here disagree and are entitled to their opinion. But I know I'm not alone.

But are you serious about bedazzled uniform????
post #5 of 13

I've seen printed blades available in off-price stores, though it's nothing more than painted images fused onto a blade which is absolutely awful


Maybe what Samedian's boyfriend might be looking for might be a "Damascus" blade.  Fancy enough and better quality than printed blades. But, then, that's the type of blade I don't care for myself


One possibility for a fancy, but decent quality blade would be to have the face of the blade photo-etched with some picture or graphic. At the same time, new handle scales could also be added.


One good knife for that type of process would be the MAC BK-100.  The knife does not have a bolster, so putting new scales on is a breeze.  And there's plenty of space for any sort of etched graphic.  The knife is decent and cheap - $110 on discount.


Maybe that might work?



Galley Swiller

post #6 of 13

Knife "artists" do all sorts of fancy color etching, but these are display knives only.  In fact all of the fancy finishes you see on Knives will quickly discolor and wear off, get scratched up, ect.  Makes restoration guys like Dave Martel rich, well, not rich maybe but very gainfully employed.


Here is just one example of where I would go all out on the bling side, this blade's finish also being relatively easy to maintan, as well as a superior performer, for an experienced user though (doesn't tolerate abuse):



This one is pretty enough, and also easy to maintain, a good performer and more suited to an intermediate user (tough enough to take a bit of rough handling):



Just to give you some idea of where you might want to go.


You can also forget about the fancy looking blade as Millions suggests, and go for a nice rehandle, which I think can be done for around $100, but maybe a little higher.


But the trouble is a snazzy looking knife just invites theft, and I think you need to worry about this as much in culinary school as working in the field.





post #7 of 13
Would this be something like what you are thinking of ?


It's only a santoku, which may not be what you are looking for.
Not sure if a couple of hundred is enough.

Koki at jck has some gyuoto versions of these, but they do cost a bit more.
post #8 of 13
Is this more of what I think you are talking about. I do not like these kind of knives, but my brother-in-law (who is an executive chef in DC) loves them for home use. He uses much better knives at work though.


post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 
Wow! I really appreciate all the responses smile.gif

Yes, I'm serious about the bedazzled uniform haha- he likes to stand out, but he is also serious about the craft; he's in the top of all of his classes, and likes to do a lot of related extracurriculars as well- in order to become the best kind of chef he can. He just has a flair for the dramatic and aesthetic, but I definitely understand that as one of those people that loves to do molec gas dishes for parties. I think as long as you try to generally do things well, the occasional use of "form over function" isn't an unpardonable sin smile.gif

The kind of thing he wants is not so much the blades mentioned by kevpenbanc and Brian Shaw, but more precisely what hamiltonbarnes suggested, with the paint fused on as Galley Swiller mentioned. I appreciate that your brother-in-law likes those for home use; these wouldn't be the knives that he uses at work or school, more likely for culinary competitions, when he's entertaining, or something to look at and enjoy in his own kitchen- something that experienced chefs may not find impressive, but something flashy that will make (especially less experienced) observers go "oh man, do you see those knives? That's crazy!" and fits his own vibrant style smile.gif

Rick, you definitely have a point when it comes to inviting theft. Unfortunately, people are not as honest as most would like to believe; he hasn't had any tools stolen (yet), but someone in his class absconded with his hard drive that contained all of his schoolwork as well as his art from the past 5 years :/ I think after that experience he wouldn't bring the knives to school or another kitchen (at least unless it was for a small time period, where he could keep track of them- ie; competition). Do you or Galley Swiller have any recommendations on sites for knife artists who do the designs? Understanding, of course, that they quickly fade and are not intended for very much (any) use.

And if I go with pre-printed knives, the two brands that have come up repeatedly over other names are Kuhn Rikon and Kai Komachi- is one of these better quality than the other?

Thank you all again for your time and patience in helping me out smile.gif
post #10 of 13

I get yah now Samedian and I'm behind you on it.


If the Komachi knives suite him for the moment then go with that, that finish will hold up for a good while and of course they are cheap to replace. You can etch any sort of design onto carbon steel relatively easy I think and in color, I believe your boyfriend could do it himself since he can draw.  The guys at kitchenknifeforums have all the knowledge, probably best to post a question in the Sharpening Station forum.  Some here might be able to point the way.  Actually a goggle search might be enough, something like "knife etching."  And to see what kind of knives are out there just google "collector knives."


You should see the wild stuff one guy who put up pictures did with just mustard as the etching medium, A frequenter here has that post tagged.


I number of chefs made it big on their showmanship possibly as much as anything else, now what's the name of that guy you always see murdering his poor German/Japanese knife with a steel?  Oh yeh, Gordan Ramsy.  And for my money it wouldn't take much to out do Gordan's schtick.





post #11 of 13
I don't know which is better, but KAI is part of the brand that makes Shun, which are much more high end. A lot of people have issues with shun, but it is a much nicer knife than either of these.
post #12 of 13

Ah, I found Kristopher's amazing mustard work.



Of course using etching solutions that will get you intense electric red, blue, purple, etc, will be even more a standout.




post #13 of 13

I just came across this DIY electro-etching process for stainless steel involving stencils, vinegar, salt, a 9 volt battery and wires and a few other odds and ends.




Of course, this is going to be a permanent change to the surface of the steel.  It's not going to be able to be washed off.  But it certainly seems uncomplex enough.  


And, also of course, follow safety instructions, such as doing it in a well-ventilated area (you ARE creating Chlorine gas, which is a deadly poisonous gas that was used in World War I), wear safety goggles and protective clothing, including neoprene gloves and take care to protect yourself.


I would probably also coat the edge of the knife with a barrier coating (to avoid any potential damage to the blade edge).  Nail polish will do fine (and can be removed with acetone afterwards).


And (a final) of course, I would initially do it on a not-so-valuable knife to try out.  Something like a Victorinox or Wustie.  No sense trying it first on my Hiromoto AS 270mm gyuto.



Galley Swiller

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