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Old 04-11-2008, 08:40 AM   #91
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Originally Posted by Andy M. View Post
The question is whether or not there is enough of a profit to be made in a specialty market to make the investment worthwhile.
True enough. It is a specialty market today with Americanized custom makers Murray Carter, Phil Wilson, and the like producing great kitchen cutlery. Some of their customers have to wait a year or two for the product. There is an argument on one side that says that a major manufacturer won't get into it because there is not the quantity demand they need for profitability but I would argue the reason is because the average cook knows absolutely nothing about the advantages and pleasures of Japanese thin styled knives with better steel than is found in department stores. Once cooks learn, and they will, demand will happen. One company, KIA USA (Kershaw Shun) is stepping up with the Shun lines of Japanese cutlery being pushed by Alton Brown. Shuns are very nice. The classic line is great for the home cook and the powdered steel Elites with their long lasting edges are good for commercial users. I think the Ken Onion shapes are somewhat silly but each to his own. Prices are a tad too high for home cooks today, but that will change when the competition heats up. It always does.

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Old 04-11-2008, 08:46 AM   #92
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Why can't Chicago Cutlery and others see the light? I guess it goes back to Chad Ward's "the sad truth about kitchen knives" FAQ. I swear that in less than a decade virtually all of the manufacturers will be making performance knives. Competition will make it so.
It is all about supply and demand. US consumers are not demanding high quality knives. The majority of people do not use their knives enough to care. Most people are perfectly happy with a block of knives that cost them $30 and if they use those knives more than 10 times a year then that is a lot for them. Why would Chicago Cutlery or any one else want to start producing a better product which will cost more to make when the majority of people they are marketing to have no interest in it?
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Old 04-11-2008, 08:59 AM   #93
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...There is an argument on one side that says that a major manufacturer won't get into it because there is not the quantity demand they need for profitability but I would argue the reason is because the average cook knows absolutely nothing about the advantages and pleasures of Japanese thin styled knives with better steel than is found in department stores...

Buzz, that's really the same reason. Because the average cook knows nothing about the advantages... they are not interested in buying. Therefore, there is no demand...

GB is right, most home cooks are going to be happy with ginsu or popeil knives for cheap money and that will be the end of it. These folks will not be willing to shell out what they consider big bucks for something the consider just another tool in the kitchen drawer.
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Old 04-11-2008, 09:34 AM   #94
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Buzz, that's really the same reason. Because the average cook knows nothing about the advantages... they are not interested in buying. Therefore, there is no demand...

GB is right, most home cooks are going to be happy with ginsu or popeil knives for cheap money and that will be the end of it. These folks will not be willing to shell out what they consider big bucks for something the consider just another tool in the kitchen drawer.
Probably correct. That "in the kitchen drawer" statement makes me cringe. LOL

I'd love to see the sales volume in Japan for Wustof, Henckel, etc.

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Old 04-11-2008, 09:48 AM   #95
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Probably correct. That "in the kitchen drawer" statement makes me cringe. LOL

I'd love to see the sales volume in Japan for Wustof, Henckel, etc.

Buzz

It makes my point about how most folks feel about their kitchen knives.

I can't imagine the Germans sell many knives in Japan.

I wonder how much they pay for these Japanese knives in Japan. After all, they're a domestic product.
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Old 04-11-2008, 10:39 AM   #96
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I wonder how much they pay for these Japanese knives in Japan. After all, they're a domestic product.
Up until the last six months there wasn't much difference, and with companies like JCK shipping world wide from Japan for only 7 USD they were something of a bargain, for me anyway, especially the Hiromoto AS line. This is rapidly changing with the falling dollar versus the yen. Some Japanese custom makers have recently increased prices by as much as 40% because of a combination of the exchange rate and their own inflationary materials cost.

Oh how I wish I had been addicted to Japanese cutlery when I lived in Iwakuni and the yen was fixed at 360 to the dollar.....

Still, there is hope. I have this dream that someday the Wustofs and Victorinx/Forschners of the world will make high performance knives. They don't have to be fancy. They could easily make stamped blades of thin Sandvik 13C26 steel with Western handles as inexpensively as they make the knives they sell today, and price them accordingly on the retail market. I'm sure I've posted about 13C26 before on this forum, but if you missed it........

1) Some of the smallest carbides of all steels, giving the ability to be sharpened to as little as 4 degrees per side as opposed to 22+ degrees per side on present knives. Razor blades are usually sharpened at 7 degrees per side, and, yes, most commercial safety razor blades are made of 13C26.

2) 13C26 can be hardened to 63 on the Rockwell "C" scale without losing too much of their toughness. Bottom line, the edge will hold for a long time and it will still be resistant to chipping.

3) 13C26 is extremely easy to sharpen.

4) Last but not least, for sales purposes anyway, 13C26 is stainless.

They would make the "Cook's Illustrated" Forschner Fibrox favorite look like an axe that cuts about as well as a hammer by comparison.

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Old 04-11-2008, 12:08 PM   #97
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I'm holding out for the knives made with carbon nano-tubes. Much tougher than steel and ceramics. Just think, blade edges as thin as a molicule, and able to display your favorite tv-show on them as well.

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Old 04-15-2008, 01:31 PM   #98
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Don't completely write 'em off. It's a good chance to see how well you can sharpen them. If they can be sharpened again to a keen edge they'll still be useful. It's probably not realistic to expect any knife to keep a razor edge after two months of use. Honing that frequently can be very hard on an edge, especially if you use a grooved steel. And it's probably best to steel before use since the steel will "rebound" to some degree as it sits there.
True true - i was honing them using a diamond rod. I recently gave them a quick going over on a whetstone which showed some improvement, but it was the first time i ever used one and i dont think i was particularly good at it! Im going to invest in a ceramic/water pull-thru system on payday and see what results i get with that. The knives to be fair arent that dull, but nowhere near as sharp as i prefer them to be.

Im looking at the minosharp system, as thats what my local knife shop has in stock.... not too expensive either at £23. If that returns adecent edge, which i suspect it will, i might invest in a Mac ceramic sharpening rod, and see how i get on with that.
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Old 04-15-2008, 04:59 PM   #99
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Im going to invest in a ceramic/water pull-thru system on payday and see what results i get with that.

Im looking at the minosharp system, as thats what my local knife shop has in stock.... not too expensive either at £23. If that returns adecent edge, which i suspect it will, i might invest in a Mac ceramic sharpening rod, and see how i get on with that.
Take your dull knife with you to the shop and ask to try out the sharpener before buying. I use waterstones and the various pull through devices spook me.
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Old 04-18-2008, 05:37 AM   #100
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Buzz, that's really the same reason. Because the average cook knows nothing about the advantages... they are not interested in buying. Therefore, there is no demand...

GB is right, most home cooks are going to be happy with ginsu or popeil knives for cheap money and that will be the end of it. These folks will not be willing to shell out what they consider big bucks for something the consider just another tool in the kitchen drawer.
I don't think that's gonna be the case forever. I think the popularity of cable TV shows such as those on the Food Network has raised the consciousness of the masses to some degree re cutlery. Even the dread RayRay and her "santuko", complete with her flogging of Furi, has introduced the idea of better cutlery to housewives and couch potatoes everywhere. Sure, Furi knives are crap but they're a big step up from the micro-serrated garbage that you get at Target or Wal-Mart for $20 per set. Maybe she's too much of a dunce to call it a santoku but the word is getting out. Ten years ago no one had heard of that knife, now every kitchen in America has some version of it.

Higher end cutlery like Shun and the Hattori HD line right on up to a custom Carter or Hattori KD will always be a niche market. But you have to bear in mind that we Americans love our little luxuries. Be it 1,000 thread-count sheets or $25 shampoos, people seem like to use higher end products to fluff their egos. Maybe keeping up the with Jones will require a BMW in the garage and set of Glestain knives in the kitchen.
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