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Old 09-15-2008, 12:11 PM   #11
Senior Cook
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Madison, Wisconsin
Posts: 244
I'm not sure anything is really "natural" anymore. I'm sure that many of my stones are cut from a quarry with modern techniques. I can see tool marks clearly on my nagura.

You're not the first one to warn me about glue. And I believe that's a valid observation on many (any) boards.

I am very careful on just where I acquire my tools--both for my clients and for my personal use. I would draw your attention to the manner in which these Japanese boards "sucked up" the oil. Even if some sort of adhesive is used, it must be of the minimal nature. I buy only from Japan directly.

But consider this. Over the past year or so, look at the craze over the santuko knife. Not one in a hundred of these knives has ever seen The Land of the Rising Sun. Most are stamped steel. And if you bought one for $39.95 you can bet it's a knock-off.

(I've seen a Santuko made by Avalon, which I think is a German owned company that private labels. My point is that it is possible to own a Japanese designed knife, stamped out in China and owned by a corporation in Germany. Is this "natural"?)

But when I hand a knife like an Hattori over to someone who has never seen one, you ought to see their face!

So in selecting my ancillary tools, I use the same criteria--and it has paid back in some major results. Everytime I incorporate some truly Japanese tool or practice into my sharpening, my edges get better.

Now, you may not like or use bamboo boards. And I'm not trying to talk you into it. I would characterize my course of study here as more "raking sand." I enjoy the study, the experience, the calm joy, the resulting fulfilment.

In the final analysis, did you ever dine traditionally by sitting on the floor in an Asian restaurant? Did you ever eat with chop-sticks? Ever see any Japanese cinema of stories in their history, and filmed by their directors? Quite an insight.

This is my side of the debate, simply. Just another view.

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Old 09-15-2008, 03:53 PM   #12
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Naples, FL & Wausau, WI
Posts: 608

Ditch the bamboo. You need to get a custom end grain board. You can get a nifty looking end grain from The BoardSmith or Boos. There are more on ebay as well. Beautify your kitchen and your much better half will love you more than a ride to the grocery store on your Harley.

Santoku Bochos (note sp): They have been used in Japan for a long long time but are reasonably new to the Western world. Can't say for sure but I'd bet some cooking show 'star' such as RayRay started sawing cukes and onions with that dull one of hers and everybody just had to have the santoku shape. Without getting totally crazy here, I must state the the 7" knife of three virtues plays second fiddle to either a 240mm Gyuto or a 220x110mm Japanese vegetable cleaver any time you want to put them to a contest.


"There are only two kinds of people that understand Marines: Marines and those who have met them in battle. Everyone else has a second-hand opinion." Unknown
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Old 09-15-2008, 11:06 PM   #13
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Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Madison, Wisconsin
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I suppose it would be possible to take away everything I want and replace it with everything I need.

A board, a nakiri, a handful of vegetables and a few minutes with my wife seem like a simple sacrifice in the face of "perfection."

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