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Old 09-23-2008, 01:18 PM   #11
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Note to self, should shut my self self for not buying those knives, when and where am I going to find brand new Shun knives at the half store price, grrrrrrr
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Old 09-23-2008, 06:17 PM   #12
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I look at it this way. There are some things--hobbies, your work, things requiring safety--where false economy plays a role.

For example, I have a very expensive leather jacket. It is for safety and warmth. It was the best choice, even at 600 dollars.

If you are a chef, or you are a very serious cook, or your entertain often in your home, buying ten knives, breaking them, getting them repaired and not being able to provide a pleasing presentation seems odd, even couter-productive.

If you go camping, you can spend several hundreds in not thousands of dollars for trailor hitches, stronger shocks, anti-sway bars, etc. And those items might be used once or twice per year. Sometimes only for a few minutes to pull your boat out of the water.

I do find it odd that a serious hobbyist here at DC would not secure (or save up for) at least one real-deal Japanese gyuto. You could run the entire kitchen with one of moderate size. While I'm not a big fan of a santuko, my wife loves them and pretty much uses one exclusively.

Alton Brown states that with responsible use of a steel a knife needs a professional sharpening once per year. I would say at least twice per year. A professional chef or sous-chef would need it every month to six weeks.

For the average home hobbyist with an average knife and a good steel, that boils down to between two to three dollars per week, plus postage.

Yes, a knife like an Hattori is very expensive. But even one worth 2,000 dollars is worth only 1/10th of a good automobile.
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Old 09-24-2008, 03:18 PM   #13
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Obviously you are very pationat about what you do and that's great. But I for one prefer German knives. Well, I'd go woth Japanise clever.
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Old 09-24-2008, 05:00 PM   #14
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CharlieD, may I ask you why?

Is it the weight and balance? Your familiarity over the years? Does a traditional Japanese handle feel odd in the hand?
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Old 09-24-2008, 10:10 PM   #15
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It is more of a habbit than anything. And also the knives I used to make were based on the same idea. But like I said I would like Japanise cleaver, and the sushi knife i have is of course the japanese. Don't take me wrong, I like Japanese knives, I just can't afford them.
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Old 09-24-2008, 10:14 PM   #16
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Actually you are a good person to ask a question. I have been wanting to make a hunting knife, but the material is so expensive. I called few metall supliers and it's like couple of hundred dollars for one piece of material. Is there place people get material so is reasonable?
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Old 09-25-2008, 01:30 AM   #17
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Actually you are a good person to ask a question...Is there place people get material so is reasonable?
Not anymore.

A few months ago I recceived an e-mail from my supplier suggesting that I place orders and check inventory.

Surprisingly, most steel (lots of it for the cutlery industry) now comes from Japan. Due to the increased purchases by China, they estimated at that time that prices would climb about 30%. Materials used in sporting goods had already increased that much and more the year before.

With the dollar weakened, my guess is that this is going to get worse before it gets better. My "adult job" was in finance, and things like this usually bring on speculators, panic buying and selling and just about everyone jockeying for position.

It's going to be two years before things settle down.

As I stated, I moved to a niche' market. I took the thing I did the best and the knives with the best margin and dropped the rest. We always talk about profits, but we never touch upon the sharpening materials, which are actually "disposables." It is a fool's errand to sharpen a knife for five bucks on a stone that costs fourteen dollars.

I work more and more out of my home. Gas for an F-150 Ford is no small investment.

In short, if there is a supply of conservately priced steel somewhere, chances are that it has been locked in for pricing by a company much bigger than you or I. In fact, I would not be surprised if the kitchen store on our west side closes over the winter.
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Old 09-25-2008, 10:39 AM   #18
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Actually you are a good person to ask a question. I have been wanting to make a hunting knife, but the material is so expensive. I called few metall supliers and it's like couple of hundred dollars for one piece of material. Is there place people get material so is reasonable?
um...what material?
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Old 09-25-2008, 11:23 AM   #19
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...I do find it odd that a serious hobbyist here at DC would not secure (or save up for) at least one real-deal Japanese gyuto. You could run the entire kitchen with one of moderate size...
Your bias toward Japanese knives is clear and may well be justified.

Most of the folks on DC are serious FOOD hobbyists, foodies, people who are interested in cooking and improving their cooking skills and knowledge of food and the ingredients and processes that make food taste great.

You on the other hand are not a foodie but a knife specialist. You are interested in knives, steel, knife making and sharpening processes. What knives are to you, food is to us. Different focus.

Most DC members want a sharp, reasonably priced, easy to use knife they can easily use to prepare food. If we didn't have such a knife and had to use a $5 piece of junk knife ourchased at the local supermarket in a bubble pack, we would still cook. It's not about the knife for us.

Your relating the cost of a good hattori to the cost of a car is completely irrelevant. A more relevant analogy may be that it's 20-25 times more expensive than the sharp reasonably priced, easy to use knife that most of us have and doesn't anything more.
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Old 09-25-2008, 11:48 AM   #20
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a sharp, reasonably priced, easy to use knife
This is what I hear from most people. The main problems here is just what do most folks define as "sharp" and how can we gauge "reasonably priced"?

These are good, serious concerns about quantified aspects. For example, what some clients might define as 'sharp' I would define as a "utility edge." In other words, the edge is pretty much the way it came from the factory. That usually means your "average edge," a bit toothy, and somewhere in the 20 degree range.

Let me demonstrate this from a seller's viewpoint. Just about everyone wants a moderately priced, sharp knife. However, when I take a gamble on my inventory orders I am actually trying to make sure I have great knives for "foodies" and for professional chefs.

And let's not forget one huge aspect of customer service--client expectation. When a celebrity on The Iron Chef demonstrates impressive knife skills, lots of people want that knife. It's probably an expensive knife, there's probably a guy like me at the celebrity's beckon call and money is probaby no object. The Galloping Gourmet had a tinker who traveled with him.

And this happens at both ends of the scale. Both Rachael Ray and Cat Cora sell santukos for about fifty bucks. As a tradesman, do I risk numerous people bringing them back, or simply sharpen them constantly to make them look like the products on TV?

Coupled with the fact that you can just about buy any knife on the internet, I've had to narrow the scope of my niche market. Yes, my wife owns several lower priced "santukos." And you read the same articles and research materials I do. It's actually a Japanese knife by design only. Most times it's a Chinese knock-off.

I sharpened a cheap Chinese 'santuko' last night for a friend. I use the word 'friend' deliberately. I didn't get paid. The steel was of such poor quality that the sound of the stone changed pitch on the bevel. The rear of the knife sounded butter smooth. The front half of the knife sounded like a craggy sidewalk. I informed him of this fact, and made the knife slice newsprint on both bias.'

However, the knife is never going to hold the edge as long as a better knife. A professional chef would never stand for this. And frankly, a foodie client might feel I snookered them by selling them a poor quality knife.

A good knife is not reasonable in price. In fact, many of my clients, even chefs, are pushing many substandard knives beyond their service life and buy "one good one."

The first thing I do with a new client is ask probing questions about the use of the knife and their expectations. I would rather hear the client complain about the price than the product.
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