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How to know when a knife is actually crafted

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How to know when a knife is actually crafted
June 23, 2019 Events Calendar 2 comments

Custom Knife Handles


Material and supplies for knife handles. 00 Quick View Premier 3-in. The original factory warranty is VOID after I have altered the SAK. It is owned and operated by Skylar Tribble. has an excellent selection of fixed blades knives for sale at affordable prices! Order our fixed blade knives online to experience true value. Order now; give us a call or e-mail. Discover the perfect custom knife for the job on CustomMade. Knife Making Steel : Knife Making Tools. Here you will find a small selection of my most recent work. **Pakistan knife making blades are of 420 stainless steel, pre-hardened and tempered. home Shop Now 8" Chef's Knife with Beer Hops Handle. The handles are created from a variety of native MN hardwoods, including Oak, Cherry and Maple. Utility Knife $ 169. Remember, you're the one who calls the shots. Automatic Knives for sale, Italian switchblades and stilettos, out the front (OTF) knives, instantly press a button or pull a lever, switch or flick and spring assisted opening, sliding. For a reasonable cost, your favorite knife can be brought up to a standard of excellence that will be a source of pride and ownership. He saw opportunity and slowly phased out his own production of knives. Herein you’ll find one of the finest collections of handmade hunting, bowie and tactical knives on the internet today, sorted by maker. After you choose from 4 different models, the real fun begins. Before testing I stropped all 3 knives to hair popping sharp. HANDMADE — A custom fit, hand made and hand stitched sheath comes with each handmade knife. Custom Antler Knives from renown artist Ben Barto, and creator of Horns for Heroes. From abrasive belts, buffing supplies, burrs, pivots, folding knife parts, handle material, tomahawk kits, bader grinders and more. We've sold over 150 million knives since 1948, earning the reputation for remarkable cutlery, service, and value. The website provide Knife and gun supply, Texas Knifemakers supply, USA Knifemakers supply, Jantz Knifemakers supply and Knife making. 903-721-1254. List Price: Randall Made Model 24 "Guardian" with Maple Handle. Around 1980, David began to focus more attention on major cutlery manufacturers. So, do yourself a favor and wrap it with several layers of electrical or duct tape for safety. , 11″ overall. Even though we offer engraving on any of the 10,000 knives we sell, our Quick Ship knives below include the price of the engraving and will be shipped right away. The knife handle must protect the user, offer a secure grip, increase the leverage applied to the blade, increase and adjust the handle length, bolster or strengthen the whole knife, rigidly attach the handle components (scales, pieces, inlays, etc. home > knife handle material : carbon fibre. First, tape up your blanks so you can safely handle the knife. Knife newbies often fall into the trap of assuming that the knife handle is simply an aesthetic choice. To tape the paracord to the handle, place it at a point just beneath the blade of the knife. Includes wood, bone and phenolics. San Mai 420 / 1095 10" Blade 15. Print a PDF and transfer it to wood, polycarbonate or steel to make your pattern. Great prices on knife making supplies, knife blade blanks, knife handle scales, fixed blade and folding knife sheaths, and knife display stands. Herein you’ll find one of the finest collections of handmade hunting, bowie and tactical knives on the internet today, sorted by maker. Custom hunting knives from Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Isaiah Schroeder Knifeworks is a small workshop dedicated to making beautiful and functional cutlery for everyday use by Chefs and home cooks who care about quality. Most materials I find or make myself. It's just as important to purchase knives with a good handle. com offers 34,139 custom knife handles products. AG Russell Knives has been the best source for quality handmade knives and custom knives since AG did his first mailing in 1964. Please try again later. Handle designs are picked in a way to compliment the knives instead of competing with them. ANDALL MADE KNIVES are custom-designed for many uses. Do you have your own design? Send me a drawing and a description. 00 Buy Now California Buckeye Burl $20. All custom knife sales are final after 48 hours and 100% payment is expected upon order. Browse your favorite brands affordable prices free shipping on many items. Please see knife handle and liner colors below. World's Finest Custom Steak Knife VG10 Laminate 33 Layer Damascus High Carbon Steel 4. They are tough as nails yet elegant and refined. Quick View Premier 8-in. I offer knife blades, and other bits and pieces, separately for those who would like to build their own knives. The sheaths are hand crafted from 8 oz cowhide and stitched by hand with waxed thread. 3 1/2" ATS-34 blade, 8 1/4" overall, Small Improved Green Micarta handle, SS pins and guard, Shop number 511, signed leather sheath. That’s right, you can now custom build your very own pocket knife. Paring Knife $ 156. The stabilized end will polish and shine. Beautiful handmade knives proudly made in Wyoming USA, many German Stainless Steel blade options with Deer or Elk Horn Handles. Knife Handle Materials & Supplies. Knife and Gun Finishing Supplies is your one stop for all your knife making equipment and supplies. Soon afterward, he was spending more time cutting handle material than making knives. 5 Inch Blade Set of Four $1050. La Vista, Nebraska 68128 United States;. Though not needed with my custom Opinel, I've kept in this design to still allow the proper deployment if one so wishes to open the knife this way. Currently for Becker (Ka-Bar) big knives, and TOPS Tibos, I also make scales. posted October 8, 2019. Smock Scales. We have custom collector knives made with many differant gemstones and many types of metals for the blades. Check out our short video for some tricks of the trade before creating your own custom knife scales. Knife Handle Materials. The models shown have been developed since the late 1930's from our personal experience, extensive research and the study of hundreds of designs submitted by individuals around the world. Chef, Paring, Boning, Santoku knives made in Missouri. Many of our knives are individually crafted works of art, but their beauty is just the beginning. 00 Quick View Premier 6. To see, hold and own a custom knife is a pleasure beyond words. We can engrave on virtually any surface, but a custom chef’s knife is one of our favorites. A wide variety of steels and materials are used, so no matter the need it can be fulfilled at C. Exotic skins for knife makers, knife sheaths for folders, traditional sword handle skins for Japanese, old European and American swords and daggers. com offers 34,139 custom knife handles products. Knife making handle pins for sale. Every knife that is made is made with passion for the art, coupled with craftsmanship to ensure practicality and durability. So let the fun begin… create your system today!. Smock Scales. I strive to make the best knife I possibly can with the best materials money can buy. An array of different knife handles and variety of custom handle designs on different custom made DeDominicis Knives using Micarta, Kirinite, G-10, Wood, and Paracord handles. Warranty Service. Knife Handle Blanks: Knife Handle blanks are, as the name implies, most often used to make knife handles. DEAL! For a limited time while supplies last, purchase our King sharpening stones set and both instructional DVDs for over 50% off. Our expert team hand selects these one of a kind works of art directly from designer, traveling the country to bring you only the best. The handles’ silky smooth contour is comfortable and easy to control when cleaning a large amount of fish. In this article we’re going to be evaluating the different types of knife handle materials. Many of our knives are individually crafted works of art, but their beauty is just the beginning. A unique offering of rare and Authentic wood from forests of Morocco. List Price:. We've sold over 150 million knives since 1948, earning the reputation for remarkable cutlery, service, and value. Custom steak knives, kitchen knives, chef knives & pocket knives with handcrafted koa handles & boxes. Each knife comes with presentation Leather case, that can also display the knife on top. A wide variety of custom knife handles options are available to you, such as ce / eu, fda, and ciq. Or, if anyone on the forum makes their own custom scales, I would love to hear if they might be able to make some for me. HANDMADE — A custom fit, hand made and hand stitched sheath comes with each handmade knife. The stabilized end will polish and shine. That’s right, you can now custom build your very own pocket knife. A knife kit consists of a prefabricated blade and pins, which allows the maker to select handle materials, assemble the knife, and shape and polish it to perfection. Want to make your favorite Benchmade knife even more fantastic? Upgrade your standard Benchmade handle with these KnivesShipFree exclusive replacement scales. So let the fun begin… create your system today!. Whether you're looking for a handmade hunting knife or a reliable survival knife, our skilled makers can craft the perfect piece to fit your needs, style, and budget. That’s right, you can now custom build your very own pocket knife. Upon receiving the hollow handle knife made/modified by fellow board member, field expedient, I decided to do a shootout between 3 knives. This feature is not available right now. 1A - What is a custom knife? In short a custom knife is a knife where the customer is allowed to choose different options associated with the build of the knife. I have committed to never use a blade blank or folder kit. Learn more!. Producing Wood Wheels, Custom Wooden Tool Handles, custom wood dowels, wood handles, wooden toy parts, custom wooden knobs, Wood Beads, wood buttons, wood plugs, wooden craft parts, wood furniture parts, wood file handles. I offer some of the finest hand forged knives for the every day Hunter, Bushcrafter, Fisherman, Re-enactor, Woodsman, Buck skinner, Cowboy, and Mountain Man. Custom Designed & Built Knives are my Passion. We can work together to put a knife in your hands that will meet your specific needs. Purple G10 with custom graphic. In this article we’re going to be evaluating the different types of knife handle materials. Knife and Gun Finishing Supplies is your one stop for all your knife making equipment and supplies. This knife has a water buffalo horn spacer and stag handle and stainless steel fixtures. Smock Scales. Bark River Knives (also known as Bark River Knife & Tool) blends traditional knife designs with modern methods and materials. Over the years we have acquired many different laser machines – some small, some HUGE. The influence of Navajo heritage and tradition are evident in each magnificent piece they create. Here, you will find custom knives built by hand, with some very unusual handle materials deriving from mammoth tooth, ivory, apple coral, and fossil brain coral. In 1976, David began attending shows with the primary goal of selling handle materials. These grips will make an absolutely stunning addition to any fine SIG P238. On the cutting edge, we work to develop new products that inspire and drive the industry toward innovation. 1A - What is a custom knife? In short a custom knife is a knife where the customer is allowed to choose different options associated with the build of the knife. Two of the most popular handle materials, or scales, for knives are G10 and Micarta. Discover the perfect custom knife for the job on CustomMade. Automatic Knives for sale, Italian switchblades and stilettos, out the front (OTF) knives, instantly press a button or pull a lever, switch or flick and spring assisted opening, sliding. Overall length closed is 6. LMC-3250 URUSHI ART Custom Series Neat Folding Liner Lock knife, 3-3/8" VG-10 core forge layered San Mai 420J2 tainless steel blade with oxdized wave Hamon, black Tsuchime hammered textures and thumb-studs (both sides), 4-1/4" Hand rounded Urushi lacquered. However, in reality the type of handle is extremely important to the overall performance and characteristics of the knife. A wide variety of steels and materials are used, so no matter the need it can be fulfilled at C. Exotic Knife Handles can create it. Smock Scales. Moritaka Hamono is a family blacksmith shop based Yatsushiro. Behring Made Knives creates top quality custom handmade knives. Moritaka Aogami Super with Custom Handles. Custom hunting knives from Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Whether you want to set your knife apart from the pack or give a meaningful gift to your friends or loved one, an engraved knife is the way to go. Fossil walrus ivory can be used for hidden tang knives and the scales for frame handle or full tang knives, also, for specimens, jewlery making, instruments, carvings, turkey calls, duck calls, and gun grips. Clear Turquoise Pine Cone Knife Scales Knife Handle Blank Handle Material Norway Spruce Exotic Knife Handle Material P2. ALL G10, MICARTA (tm), CARBON FIBER, PHENOLICS ARE MADE IN THE USA!. You can add a butt cap, finger grips, or even a longer or shorter handle if needed. 00 Inches Full Tang Bowie Knife- Rose Wood Handle with Brass Guard. There are many debates over which knives are the sharpest, most durable, or best bang-for-your buck. Smock Scales. Moritaka Aogami Super with Custom Handles. Custom Designed & Built Knives are my Passion. Overall length is 7 1/2 inches. Mankind's first tool, knives were used at least two-and-a-half million years ago, as evidenced by the Oldowan tools. Behring Made Knives creates top quality custom handmade knives. No matter what you’re looking for or where you are in the world, our global marketplace of sellers can help you find unique and affordable options. Warranty Service. Print a PDF and transfer it to wood, polycarbonate or steel to make your pattern. 00 Inches Full Tang Bowie Knife- Rose Wood Handle with Brass Guard. Mammoth Ivory Bark Knife Scales Handles (K4500) Crackle Blue. Located in Kingsport, Tennessee, we’ve been serving the area since 2010. For example, our products are tested, modified and approved before we will advertise them as competition tomahawks. Paring Knife $ 156. Tri-City Knife & Gun is proud to offer the region’s best selection of knives, guns, and specialty products. We create fine kitchen cutlery with a focus on customization, quality and beauty. Chef, Paring, Boning, Santoku knives made in Missouri. We are the real deal. Please let me know if there is something you would like to add to your knife when you contact me. Football logo, This is a small hunter model, real nice knife!! $5300. The antler tip and bullets on the front of the sheath can be removed on most models. We design, build, customize, and repair knives with exotic handle material. Custom Knife History From the beginning of man there have been some type of cutting tools that they made and used. com offers 34,139 custom knife handles products. 00 Quick View Premier 3-in. See more ideas about Knife handles, Knife making and Custom knives. Contains all parts needed to make your own knife including handles, blades, liners, bolsters, backspring, pins, etc. 94 Mosaic Pin #203 Maple Leaf 8mm Brass Knife Handle Scales Grips Knives Pin Hunting. Smock Scales. This is a semi-permanent process. HANDMADE — A custom fit, hand made and hand stitched sheath comes with each handmade knife. I used a curly maple handled Bark River Trakker Companion to completely disjoint and cut up a roasted turkey. About 31% of these are kitchen knives, 24% are knife, and 12% are knife sets. Cold Steel Inc. Chef, Paring, Boning, Santoku knives made in Missouri. The Randall 18, Boker Apparo and Field's knife. com is hub of gun grips and knife grips. Custom Order Service Suminagashi Damascus Sujihiki Kiritsuke Slicer Knife Ebony Handle with Sterling Silver Ring to Yoshihiro Cutlery Yoshihiro knives has a. We accept all major credit cards. Meet The Team HOLSTER & SHEATH. SMKW has you covered, with one of the largest selections of knife handles for sale. When you purchase a Watts Custom Knife you can be assured thsat every blade is cut and ground from very high quality stainless steel. We are constantly improving our products, teaching hawk throwers, and creating tomahawk and knife throwing resources. We cut the size at your choice for example knife handles, knife sheath, gun holster applications, display or jewelry boxes etc. MODEL #209 HUNTER’S BOWIE: The same great clip point blade as the model #201, but with this knife you get to design your handle shape. We've also included some limited production knives here as well. Bark River Knives (also known as Bark River Knife & Tool) blends traditional knife designs with modern methods and materials. #K79 Frontier Belt Knife. Get the best deals on Collectible Modern Custom & Handmade Fixed Blade Knives when you shop the largest online selection at eBay. Follow me on Instagram and Facebook This page contains some unusual, one of a kind knives. For example, our products are tested, modified and approved before we will advertise them as competition tomahawks. Damascus Knives with Antler Handles Knives. Yanagiba / Takohiki / Fuguhiki 300mm Ebony Handle Ginmaki. The blade of the knife can be the sharpest in the world but still useless if you can't safely hold it. A flat grind boning knife made from CPM154 stainless steel hardened, tempered and cryo treated down to 59-60 RC. I sell a variety of materials for making knife handles. We employ as many recycled, personal, handmade, and local materials as possible without sacrificing the durability and functionality of the tool. Knife Carry/Display. The handles' silky smooth contour is comfortable and easy to control when cleaning a large amount of fish. Here, you will find custom knives built by hand, with some very unusual handle materials deriving from mammoth tooth, ivory, apple coral, and fossil brain coral. We employ as many recycled, personal, handmade, and local materials as possible without sacrificing the durability and functionality of the tool. Smock Scales. This feature is not available right now. Make a Custom Knife Handle: Pier 9 Starter Project Make your own Knife handle As some of you have seen, shop staff here at Pier 9's Workshop have dived deep into the exciting art of making Knives, particularly beautiful Knife handles. Every knife is one of a kind, never to be reproduced again. 1/4" Mosaic Pin #65 Pins Knife Handle Custom Knives Blank Blades Brass Copper Hunting $22. About 31% of these are kitchen knives, 24% are knife, and 12% are knife sets. Meet The Team HOLSTER & SHEATH. Knife Making Parts. It's just as important to purchase knives with a good handle. Football logo, This is a small hunter model, real nice knife!! $5300. Tri-City Knife & Gun is proud to offer the region’s best selection of knives, guns, and specialty products. Bailout Scales. List Price:. Custom Bushcraft knife, custom bushcraft knives, custom handmade knives, custom handmade knife,Custom hunting knives custom bushcraft knives, best bushcraft knife. Bark River Knives. Tri-City Knife & Gun is proud to offer the region’s best selection of knives, guns, and specialty products. Knife Carry/Display. 00 Buy Now California Buckeye Burl $20. SABA can build you a custom made kitchen knife, or a uniquely personal, custom made chef knife. Cold Steel Inc. These Antlers were lightly buffed. I also make custom designs based on your input. The handles' silky smooth contour is comfortable and easy to control when cleaning a large amount of fish. It is owned and operated by Skylar Tribble. Material and supplies for knife handles. A flat grind boning knife made from CPM154 stainless steel hardened, tempered and cryo treated down to 59-60 RC. LMF Knives by Joe Snarski, Cowpen, SC. Visit us Today! We warehouse a wide selection and variety of knife handle parts, and hardware. Behring Handmade Sable River Hunter Stag Finger Grip Handle. Bailout Scales. REG-S-1118, Custom Handmade Hi Carbon Steel 15. Custom hunting knives from Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Listed below are some nice fossil walrus ivory tusks, sections and scales. We carry a full line of handle material and steel to meet the most demanding needs. AG Russell Knives has been the best source for quality handmade knives and custom knives since AG did his first mailing in 1964. Mankind's first tool, knives were used at least two-and-a-half million years ago, as evidenced by the Oldowan tools. com swag or memberships! Be sure to read the rules before entering, then help us decide next week's giveaway by hitting the poll in that thread! Entries close at midnight, Saturday Sept 7!. They could also be used for many other small woodworking projects. Great prices on knife making supplies, knife blade blanks, knife handle scales, fixed blade and folding knife sheaths, and knife display stands. Each laminated with fiberglass resin and than pressed to squeeze out the excess resin. The models shown have been developed since the late 1930's from our personal experience, extensive research and the study of hundreds of designs submitted by individuals around the world. In addition to making custom handmade knives, I also offer knife repair, refurbishing and restoration services. We've also included some limited production knives here as well. 00 With Customized Handle Your Choice: Fossil Ivory, Gemstone, Exhibition-Grade Wood With Mosaic Pin!. Knife Handle Blanks: Knife Handle blanks are, as the name implies, most often used to make knife handles. A knife kit consists of a prefabricated blade and pins, which allows the maker to select handle materials, assemble the knife, and shape and polish it to perfection. Clear Turquoise Pine Cone Knife Scales Knife Handle Blank Handle Material Norway Spruce Exotic Knife Handle Material P2. We launched our business selling knives and expanded our offerings to include guns in 2017. knives & sheaths handforged museum quality bone wood handles leather sheaths tacks ties metals wraps fancy sheaths plain sheaths bowie knives deerskin bands handmade one of a kind necklaces made in the old Navajo silversmithing style. Cash, Money Order, Postal Order, Check, or Paypal. A flat grind boning knife made from CPM154 stainless steel hardened, tempered and cryo treated down to 59-60 RC. All knives are handmade in our small shop in beautiful Austin, Texas. Knife newbies often fall into the trap of assuming that the knife handle is simply an aesthetic choice. All Watts knives are handmade. 10" Custom Swedish Damascus Solid Nickel Silver Skull Splitter Icepick Dark Horn Picklock Modified Bayonet Fileworked Stiletto Automatic Switchblade Flick Knife by Rubens Blades. So, whether you need some reindeer leather for a new sheath, a blade blank or natural heavily grained wood for an outstanding knife handle, we have them all in our well stocked warehouse. All custom work on this site done by Robert Lessard AKA 'SAKModder' AKA 'Syph007'. 2) by suingab. I would prefer not to spend a lot of money on them, and would rather not spend any more than $50, although that may not be very probable. The knife handle must protect the user, offer a secure grip, increase the leverage applied to the blade, increase and adjust the handle length, bolster or strengthen the whole knife, rigidly attach the handle components (scales, pieces, inlays, etc. The possibilities are enormous for knife handles. com swag or memberships! Be sure to read the rules before entering, then help us decide next week's giveaway by hitting the poll in that thread! Entries close at midnight, Saturday Sept 7!. Custom Bushcraft knife, custom bushcraft knives, custom handmade knives, custom handmade knife,Custom hunting knives custom bushcraft knives, best bushcraft knife. Listed below are some nice fossil walrus ivory tusks, sections and scales. 0 ITEMS IN STOCK. knives & sheaths handforged museum quality bone wood handles leather sheaths tacks ties metals wraps fancy sheaths plain sheaths bowie knives deerskin bands handmade one of a kind necklaces made in the old Navajo silversmithing style. Utility Knife $ 169. Cold Handle Custom Knives was established 2009. That’s right, you can now custom build your very own pocket knife. A custom engraved, stainless steel chef’s knife is a beautiful, long lasting way to honor your favorite chef or to distinguish yourself. Custom Inlays are available in burl, gems, ivory, Mother of Pearl, fossils, and brass or nickel silver name plates. Whether you're looking for a handmade hunting knife or a reliable survival knife, our skilled makers can craft the perfect piece to fit your needs, style, and budget. elforyn (ivory grained & solid white) privacy guidelines | ©2019 atlas billiard supplies, all rights. on hiatus until further notice. 00 Purchase. We accept all major credit cards. Herein you’ll find one of the finest collections of handmade hunting, bowie and tactical knives on the internet today, sorted by maker. Thanks for visiting MAB Custom Knives. Willowcreek Custom Knives are beautiful AND practical. We carry a full line of handle material and steel to meet the most demanding needs. Around 1980, David began to focus more attention on major cutlery manufacturers. SABA can build you a custom made kitchen knife, or a uniquely personal, custom made chef knife. 5 Inch Blade Set of Four $1050. Handles shaped from antler, bone, exotic hardwoods and other materials. I primarily make Hollow Handle "Survival" type knives, outdoor and bushcraft knives, and kitchen cutlery. Microtech UTX-85 D/E, Blue, Standard, 232-1BL. Working out of a well outfitted shop in Madison WI, Isaiah and his crew make knives, sayas and custom handles. Knife making supplies and knife blade blanks for sale. knife making handle material supplies guitar inlay material Micarta G10 carbon fiber canvas linen paper ivory col. DLT Trading Co. Kirinite is a dazzling, durable and extremely elegant. KNIFE REPAIR/CONVERSIONS PRICE LIST. The handles are created from a variety of native MN hardwoods, including Oak, Cherry and Maple. La Vista, Nebraska 68128 United States;. Get great prices on knife making handle pins, knife blade blanks, knife making supplies, sheaths, and handle scales. Please contact me directly for any issues or problems with any of the SAKs I have customized. It is owned and operated by Skylar Tribble. Although you cannot truly experience the power of a MAC Knife without holding it in your hands and using it, here are our Top 6 reasons as to why we believe MAC Knives are the. 1A - What is a custom knife? In short a custom knife is a knife where the customer is allowed to choose different options associated with the build of the knife. Working out of a well outfitted shop in Madison WI, Isaiah and his crew make knives, sayas and custom handles. Want to make your favorite Benchmade knife even more fantastic? Upgrade your standard Benchmade handle with these KnivesShipFree exclusive replacement scales. Wa Gyuto 270mm / Usuba 240mm blade Rose Wood Japanese Knife handle. The original factory warranty is VOID after I have altered the SAK. Every knife that is made is made with passion for the art, coupled with craftsmanship to ensure practicality and durability. Listed below are some nice fossil walrus ivory tusks, sections and scales. Shop for a range of Indian Water Buffalo, genuine Camel bone, Indian Sabar Stag & exotic timber knife handle scales. Crazy Crow Trading Post offers more than 140 different knife blades for your Mountain Man or Early American period knife making. They are tough as nails yet elegant and refined. The process of making custom knife handles may take a while, but it is easy once you know what to do. Yanagiba / Takohiki / Fuguhiki 300mm Ebony Handle Ginmaki. Automatic Knives for sale, Italian switchblades and stilettos, out the front (OTF) knives, instantly press a button or pull a lever, switch or flick and spring assisted opening, sliding. Every knife you make, whether for your own kitchen or for your customer’s hunting trip, needs a secure handle to get the job done. Best of all, you can have a beautiful custom knife to. Each of my standard models can be customized by selecting from various options in steel material, handle material, and blade finish. About 31% of these are kitchen knives, 24% are knife, and 12% are knife sets. Knife Handle Materials & Supplies. Minnesota Fillet Knife handles are designed with the user in mind; designed to be ergonomically correct. We love handmade blades and feel they offer the rare opportunity to own a truly unique piece. Cooking Knife handle. After you choose from 4 different models, the real fun begins. Click here to enter the drawing for your chance to win an Ontario Knives Spec Plus SP8 Machete Survival Knife & Ka-Bar Dozier Folding Hunter, , Bladeforums. Official Silver Stag Knives Factory Outlet, Handmade Knives, made in the U. Chisholm’s Trail Leather takes care of all your cowboy knives, leather knife sheaths (we made one for Sam Elliot) and can even provide your Bowie knives. I used a curly maple handled Bark River Trakker Companion to completely disjoint and cut up a roasted turkey. Artisan Kitchen Cutlery, American made. Knife and Gun Finishing Supplies is your one stop for all your knife making equipment and supplies. Listed below are some nice fossil walrus ivory tusks, sections and scales. Lepre Coltellerie Stag Handled Large Folding Hunting Knife (K2119) $450. LMC-3250 URUSHI ART Custom Series Neat Folding Liner Lock knife, 3-3/8" VG-10 core forge layered San Mai 420J2 tainless steel blade with oxdized wave Hamon, black Tsuchime hammered textures and thumb-studs (both sides), 4-1/4" Hand rounded Urushi lacquered. shop now > Mammoth Ivory 12 Zodiac Animal Carving Bead Stretch Bracelet. Spyderco Large Lum Chinese Folding Knife custom scales (v. We create fine kitchen cutlery with a focus on customization, quality and beauty. Check out our full line of exotic and unique stock. All custom knife sales are final after 48 hours and 100% payment is expected upon order. 00 deposit when taking a custom knife order online. But more expensive knives doesn't necessarily mean better knives for throwing. Follow me on Instagram and Facebook This page contains some unusual, one of a kind knives.

Factory Knives vs. Handmade Knives


A real counterterrorism knife used by one of the top CT teams in the world:

More about this Ari B' Lilah IDF YAMAM Counterterrorism Knife

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Why Compare?

I developed this page (and will continue to do so) in order to have a place for people to go for information, education, and reason about the prevalent and unusual comparison between factory knives and handmade custom knives. I don't expect this page to be read by most knife enthusiasts and aficionados, as they understand the simple differences between these very different knife types. For those who don't, they will find clear, concise, and sometimes painful answers in these topics. I've gathered up all the topics that were sprinkled around my website pertaining to this prevalent misconception, and put them all on this page.

Please remember that what you read is my opinion, after over thirty years in this field and business as a professional. If you have over thirty years of your own professional experience in this field, please do share it with the world by developing your own website where we can see thousands of the works you have created. If your life experience is using blades for cutting, welcome to the human race, where everyone alive, sooner or later, uses a knife. Just like any tool that is then created as a work of art, a knife can be a simple affair, or a complex one, a plain tool or an investment grade work of art.

Most people agree that factory knives simply can't be compared to well made fine custom knives by established knife makers, yet people do this all the time. While most people would not compare a F150 pickup truck to a Lamborghini, some insist on comparing factory knives to fine handmade knives. It could be that they simply do not have experience with fine handmade knives, and do have experience with factory or cheap knives. On this page, you will learn the stark and clear differences between the two.

I had to smile where on one foreign knife forum, I was attacked for simply stating what is clear among the many limitations, failings, and shortcomings about knives in general, and factory knives in particular. They claimed that I attacked and impugned other knives and other knifemakers while trying to sell my own product which is somehow a bad thing. It seems that these guys want no one to say anything about any knife, no matter what hype, misinformation, unsubstantiated claims, references, or performance is stated. It seems that they prefer a world of ignorance, where anyone can say anything about any knife, and everyone politely gets in line and agrees. This may be the world they live in, but it is not mine. And it saddens me that this profession is limited, lowered, and disrespected because so much misinformation, nonsense, and ignorance about it has persisted for so long. This is my part to stop all that by simply telling some truths. Of course, not all countries have freedom of speech...

Please understand that what you read here is not an attack. An attack would be a call for rallying disenfranchised customers who have actual complaints, losses, and damages due them for the failings of inferior knives. This would take the form of a class action lawsuit, disclosure demands, and imminent litigation. This would take place as lobbying for congress to pass laws about knife performance, durability, or material claims, since there really are none. This would take place as campaigns against and boycott of companies and individuals that spread wives tales, mystical, unwarranted, or unsubstantiated claims about knives, their properties, their history and origin, their design, function, durability, and their construction. That would be an attack, not some experienced professional knifemaker's opinion simply resting on his own website.

What you are reading here is my own experience, and as you read, you'll recognize your own experiences about knives, I'm certain. You'll probably be able to relate your own encounters of knife failings, limitations, and advertising hyperbole because they are so prevalent in this industry and art. My goal is to simply tell the truth: the mechanical, design, functional, material, and experiential truth about an industry that is rife with misdirection, exaggeration, and outright lies. This is my profession; I am tired of the bull that permeates it, and I'll do my best to educate anyone who will bother to educate themselves about it.

If you are a knifemaker, a knife collector, a knife enthusiast of any kind, you would do well to learn about knives, modern knives, their place, their types, design, function, materials, construction, limitations, and advantages. For some reason, many people think that what they learned when they were kids, or what they learn on a factory website, popular movie or television show, or what they heard about from their friends in forums is good enough and complete enough for everything known about knives, swords, or edged weapons or tools. They may invest more time learning about the personal stats, scores, personal relationships, and earnings of their favorite sports player or Hollywood celebrity than about a tool or investment that they may use every day, or the tool that may save their life. Are you a person who knows more about your favorite musical group, artist, or entertainer than you do about knives?

Please understand that there is nothing right or wrong about any particular knife.

Please read that sentence again. The failings occur in what value, cost, or position of use any particular knife occupies. A cheap knife is fine, if made and sold cheaply. It is not acceptable if that cheap knife is accompanied by lies, falsehoods, lack of information, misdirection, and mystical claims by the purveyor in order to make a dollar, often much more than it's worth. And in this field, it happens all the time.


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Here's an email from someone who just needs a good knife. They've gone the factory route, and can't seem to get the job done. Most people who use knives do so only occasionally, so they might not even notice a problem. But for someone who's livelihood depends on the performance of a simple knife, the longevity, durability, usefulness, and value of a knife is paramount.

Jay---
Thank you, thank you! Your website is the most informative & easy to understand & set up to be user friendly. I was just surfing to find information to purchase skinning knives for my husband and me and found myself staying up late to learn more about handles, blades, steel types, uses, etc. There is much more to a knife than I thought, and you make it interesting.
Any suggestions for a couple of farmers? We put down & field dress our own pigs & steers. We use drop point B*** knives and I find myself constantly walking back to the table to sharpen them during the process - we usually take care of 2 pigs at one time. Would like good quality, don't mind sharpening a couple times, need a handle for my husband that is easy to hold onto - he has arthritis & his grip is not always good.
Would appreciate any comments or suggestions from you.
Thank you again for your awesome website - you have sparked a new interest for me.
K.

My response:

Hello, K. Thanks for writing and thanks for your kind words about my site and work. K., there are several reasons that a knife will not hold an edge throughout the tasks you describe. The first and most predominant issue is usually the blade grind. The blade at and just behind the cutting edge should be thin, particularly with skinning, fleshing, and butchering knives. This will allow a very low edge face angle when sharpening, and thus, a very keen edge. Factory knives simply are not ground thin enough, because it takes a lot of skill and careful practice at the grinder to do this. Factory knives are quickly and lightly ground, quickly machine sharpened, and sent out the door. They are built with the expectation of one to two seasons of use and then they hope you’ll purchase another. They cannot be successfully and continually resharpened without first correcting the thick blade geometry.

Another concern is the steel. B*** makes most of their knives with 420 stainless steel. This is a very poor, cheap, and inferior knife steel, no matter what their web site claims. It does NOT have excellent wear resistance; it has poor wear resistance. This is due to a lower chromium content, so the very hard and wear resistant chromium carbide particles simply are not present. It cannot compare to many of the finer stainless tool steels like 440C, ATS-34, or even D2. It is the same steel used in cheap kitchen knives from China, so that should tell you a lot. The reason that they use it is probably because it is very inexpensive, and can be stamped out of sheet with a die press, so high production runs of blades are less expensive to produce. Compare this to the steels I just listed, which have to be sawn out individually with high cobalt, high alloy saw blades. For the user (you), this translates to a cutting edge that simply does not last due to low wear resistance.

A third concern is heat treating. How the blade is heat treated often remains unknown, and undisclosed to the customer. Is the blade the proper hardness? Unless it’s tested on a scientific, calibrated hardness penetration tester, you can’t know.

Okay, I’m sure you get the picture.

What I would suggest depends on what your specific needs are. If you want a blade that can dress 3 or more pigs without sharpening, you’ll have several choices that should be able to perform. If you’re after the ultimate in wear resistance, D2 or CPMS90V are hard to beat. These steels will maintain an edge for a very long time, but when they do need sharpening, usually a diamond hone is required. If you need a tougher, thinner blade, ATS-34 or CPM154CM can be ground very thin and are less brittle. There are others, of course. I remember many years ago, a professional elk hunting outfitter had me make him a skinning/field dressing knife from 440C. He had a B*** knife that he had to sharpen three times to get through a single elk. With the 440C blade, properly ground, heat treated, and finished, he dressed three elk without ever touching the blade…

For a custom handle for your husband, it sounds like he’ll need to get an idea of what shape works for him. For instance, can he grip a shovel handle easily, or does it need to be larger? How about the size of a pickaxe? This customization would only be available through a custom maker.

...please do find a custom maker who can get you the very knife or knives you need for your important tasks!

Thanks again,
Jay


More about this Aries

Why I don't name names (except on the Funny Pages)

Once or twice, an argumentative type will protest that my comments on this page are generalized. They think that in order to be validated, I should disclose names, manufacturers by company, and specific models, false claims, or types of product sold by exact number. Otherwise, they think my statements must be false... right?

The main reason I don't name names is that most people can see and understand the details that I list. It doesn't take a genius to know that if knife components have bad fit, it's easy to see, and I don't need to list every knife made that has a bad fit by manufacturer and model number. The same goes for poor finish, bad balance, and weak design and inferior handle materials. Anybody can spot a three-rivet handle, anyone can see the bad knife that does not have bolsters. Order from a small supposed "combat" knife manufacturer and you'll find out right away whether or not they even make a sheath to wear their knives! Most people can see the difference in a durable, well-made sheath and a flimsy, thin, weak (or non-existent!)sheath. If they can't, they shouldn't be investing in expensive custom handmade knives.

Interestingly, it seems perfectly acceptable to identify me by name, call me offensive or even profane names, and insult my opinions from an anonymous position such as a forum, bulletin board, or discussion group.

This prevalent practice is one of the reasons why large manufacturers aren't too troubled by the comments of a singular knife maker on his own website. These large manufacturers have plenty of defenders: guys who have spent their peanuts on factory knives that depreciate in every way the minute they are purchased, yet swear they are the best knives ever. Really? Then why can't they be resold... at a profit?  In the rare cases where one or two models do sell for a few dollars more than they were purchased for because they were manufactured as "limited runs" and in "numbered lots," I'll simply ask, "What will their heirs think when the factory or manufactured knife is handed down?" Ask anyone who's bought "commemorative" knives from the back pages of a magazine and then tried to recoup their investment. The truth is a factory knife is a clone, and that will always be the case, a numbered, original clone with options.

If you are insistent on seeing individual knives named and detailed in their descriptive properties from manufacturers and knife companies, I'll refer you to my Funny pages. These are pages of interesting, humorous, and curious emails that people have sent me over the years, and I've included them for some clear understanding of why people write. After the fifth page of these, and after realizing that they clearly won't stop, I tried offering more responsive detail to the topics, so that others may benefit from the topic. If you are intensely supportive of factory knives, manufactured knives, or small boutique shop knives, I'll advise that you never, ever go and read any of these; you will most certainly become inflamed. While it's okay for some factory customers to be critics of my knives, it's not okay for a professional knifemaker who has been doing this for over three decades, making knives for some of the top military, counterterrorism, collectors, and knife-using professionals in the world to have an opinion based on his experience... ahem.

For a deeper discussion of this topic, my "Business of Knifemaking" page explains it in detail. The topic is called: The Truth Can be Painful.

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Dear Mr. Fisher,
I wanted to take a moment and send a word of thanks to you and your organization for having such an informative website. I was trolling the web for grinding ideas when I happened upon your site, and I have to say, wow. I am a hobbyist maker on my best day, but, I do have a set of successes that I take pride in. I have a severe aversion to making "crap," so when I get solid advice on making a better product by veterans, I am all ears.
When I first started in on your site I thought, gee, this guy is full of himself. However, even if you are a cutlery steel sales rep with tons of book smarts behind you, I think there is no better schooling than listening to those who have trod where you are now treading. Your site should be sold as hokum repellant.
Seriously, thank you for giving of your knowledge and time to those of us who need a good tuning up occasionally.

Much respect,
Brian



More about this Argiope

Factory Knives vs. Handmade and Custom Knives

When I started making knives decades ago, I was a bit stunned to realize that there are many people who consider handmade or custom knives not too different than factory made or manufactured knives. Though these same people wouldn't dare make the same comparison with handmade custom jewelry, firearms, and works of art, it seemed that knives were exempt from this distinction, that knives were only products of a simple craft. These same folks consider knife makers as craftsmen, not artists, not creative, and their works not too different than that of factories.

The attitude of comparison is so prevalent in this field that I started illustrating the exact distinctions between well-designed individual works of fine craft and art in handmade knives from factory or poorly produced and manufactured knives on this very website, only to face an onslaught of criticism, negativity, and opposition. For a great point by point comparison, take a good hour or two to read the Tactical Combat Knives page on this very site. Here, you can see the exact limitations, shortfalls, and comparisons of factory or badly made knives in impressive point by point detail. I'm not generalizing; the points are specific and clear. Truth is, most of these masterminds will not take the time to read and educate themselves, choosing rather to share their ignorance than back it up with any troublesome facts. These empty hats then establish running conversations on forums, blogs, and websites determined to defend their factory knives, and attack what I have written on this website. They'll even send me emails directing their rage, simply because they have invested their money in large and small factory knives, and expect me to change my entire belief system to adhere to their spending habits. This continues to this very day.

If someone disagrees with what I write and my opinion, I do not write them raging, incoherent, and fitful emails and comments demanding that they change their entire website, yet that is exactly what some of these people do to me. It's not for me to try to get in their heads and figure out why they do this, but it is quite humorous to see grown men throwing tantrums over a knifemaker's individual opinion. Seems in their mind, I'm not allowed an opinion, unless it agrees with their take on the subject, which is clearly weak and tenuous. If they really believed what they complain about, they could steadfastly claim the reasons, man up with their money, and make a fortune on factory knives while putting individual knifemakers out of business. Do you ever wonder why this is not so? Why haven't the factories overtaken individual makers in volume and quality if factory knives are so great? Why?

You are correct if you assume this is one of the reasons for this very page, my own specific and clear counter to some of those rants. This is my site, and I'm allowed my own opinion here. By the way, the negative attacks, rants, anonymous spews, malicious claims, and flaming emails are one of the reasons why forums are limited in their scope and interest. I know dozens of guys, real knife professionals, who have once posted and participated there, only to leave in disgust. I did. You seldom see any of the very successful makers there, and that is why, several years ago, I quit posting on all forums. There is nothing wrong with most of the knives there, the knife makers who make them, and the people who buy them, but there is a distinct direction of attack and inflame, incite and stir, in order for more conflict, and thus more traffic to occur. This is like the high school kids who gather outside the school after hours to watch a fight between two well-known enemies. Or the look-e-loos who slow down to gawk at an accident scene. People watch conflict. There is some strange attraction to it, perhaps because deep inside, we wonder where our own interest lies, and what we may have to do to respond to impending chaos.

The very same spew happens on blogs, too. Anonymous posters who think the world is in need of their very specialized and detailed opinions decide they will ingratiate themselves into the world of professional knife making by droning on about the products of a real, established, and successful knife maker to make themselves feel better, hoping to curry agreement between other anonymous and ignorant readers. What they don't realize is that merely by posting my name (and other knifemaker's names), they've driven more traffic (and ultimately more knife clients) to this and other maker's sites where readers can get a real education on knives from professionals. This translates to a better understanding of knives in general, so perhaps this is not all bad!

Because name is everything in this field, I felt obligated to respond to some of these comments, not merely to defend my name and reputation in this field, but to plainly and clearly educate those who read about the differences, and to let them know why custom and fine handmade knives are sought after, valued, and cherished by their owners. The long-term investment value of fine handmade knives is also well-established, and knives by well-known makers are known to be one of the top investment opportunities, appreciating year after year. We're  not talking about making 5, 20, or 100 dollars on a knife resale; we are talking about making thousands of dollars, hundreds of percent increases on knives resold that have been made by well-established individual makers. For example, I recently saw a knife I made back in the late 1990s for sale for nearly three thousand dollars on a public site. I sold the knife originally, brand new, for $300.00. A ten times increase in value is a pretty good investment, and you won't find that kind of appreciation in any factory knife. Another example is a knife I sold at a show for $600.00, and I was quite happy with the sale, when I found out that within a month, the same knife sold for $3000.00. In a month. A month!

In case you're thinking that this site is just another blog, just another opinion, please take a few hours to visit a bit of this site. I won't ask you to look at every knife, just take a serious, good look around. There are thousands of knives I've made here, and hundreds of pages of real information. This is not some passing blog opinion, this is my professional experience in the world of knifemaking for more than the last three decades. I do believe I've earned some consideration for my contribution to this field.

If you believe I'm doing this to promote my own work, please note that I'm always busy with orders and professional knife consultation and do not need to convince knife clients of the value of what I do. In reality, it's difficult to get a knife from me, I'm sad to say, simply because demand is high and production is low in the handmade field. The reason for this page is education. People need to know the realities of the factory knife/handmade knife markets, and so very little worthwhile information about the trends, directions, and movement of hand knives is available. It's my contribution to our community, a community that has been my experience since the late 1970s, year in, year out, for decades, a community that is generally kind and supportive and deserves the truth.

While you may be able to find handmade custom knives selling for less than they were purchased for, this is not the norm, unless the knives are used and scarred, the popularity of the maker and knives has declined, or the seller is desperate to make a sale and move his collection. The last reason I listed seems to be the most prevalent. I know of several collectors who have fallen on hard economic times and have had to liquidate their collection of knives. Unfortunately, trying to sell them on forums or online auction sites is a cheap, desperate attempt to move the pieces without paying for the services of a professional dealer, and I don't recommend it. A good dealer knows the market, has access to clients, and can help the owner move the knife more efficiently, but some guys forego this step in order to save a buck. So, the knife sits on a forum for a while, and then the guy tries eBay, or Crag's List, where the likelihood of sales is even smaller (or the price lower), particularly for fine, handmade, or custom knives. For more helpful information on this topic, please read this section on my Business of Knifemaking page.

Custom and handmade knives by established big-name knife makers are typically much better designed, constructed, finished, embellished, and accessorized than factory knives, though factories in recent years have made substantial improvements in their offerings. This seems simple and clear to most people who know this trade, but you might be surprised how many uneducated people think there is no difference. Every time I stumble on or have reported to me that my name is being used in this type of comparison, I remember the two little old ladies that shuffled up to my table at an outdoor art and crafts show in Scottsdale Arizona back in the mid '80s. They looked over my table display and one of them picked up a modest knife to look at the price tag. The astonishment and incredulity washed over her face as she loudly blurted out, "One hundred dollars... for a knife?"

They couldn't wait to slam the knife back down to the table and scurry away. Neither one of them cast one glance in my direction, standing just a few feet away behind the table. They didn't have a clue what it takes to design, construct, finish, and sell a handmade knife, and would be overwhelmed if they knew. After forty years of making and thirty as my full-time career and my only source of income, they might well be astounded to know that most of my knives start at over twenty times as much, and that I'm tremendously busy with backorders and knife consultation, and that I've made and sold literally thousands of knives this way. How could this be? After all, it's just a knife!

"The best education in the world is that got by struggling to earn a living"

--Wendell Phillips

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More about this Bulldog

The Skill Factor

When a person decides they want to try to make a knife, it's usually an enthusiastic affair. Knives are attractive to hold and use, everyone likes a good knife, and they can be beautiful and functional. The initial enthusiasm slowly gives way to determination at the difficult process. Sure, a simple knife can be made simply, just as many manufactured knives are made today, and this simple, repeatable process can even be automated to produce hundreds, or even thousands of knives per run.

 Though the initial project may be a modest one, it doesn't take long for a new maker to realize the difference between quality workmanship and rough shaping, between premium materials and plain, between a high value finish and quick surfacing. I've met plenty of new makers in this career, and the one thing each will tell you is that making a knife by hand is a hell of a lot harder than it looks.

If it were easy, everybody would be doing it-
-and then it would have no value.

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More about this Desert Wind

How can a custom handmade knife be "better?"

Claims of superior cutting performance are made to distract the customer from poor finish, bad fit, weak or amateur design, or lack of the service aspects of the knife.

As you can probably imagine, my take on factory knives gets a lot of interest and comment. Most reasonable people understand the simple differences between handmade custom art work and factory produced products, but once in a while someone will claim that my comments are disingenuous or outright wrong. It's okay to disagree, but be prepared to defend your argument if asked to do so with reason and intelligence. I do appreciate the web traffic they send my way, as long as they spell my name right and include my URL.

An example of one of these non-reasoning complaints is one presented by just such a person that factory-made automobiles are better than handmade automobiles, therefore, handmade automobiles are inferior, and that is why there are few handmade autos. If this person is talking about small shops custom making individual autos, he couldn't be more wrong. The most expensive, most valuable autos in the world are made individually, by hand, in small groups in custom shops. Though they might be occasionally referred to as production autos, mere dozens exist. The custom shops of Bugatti, Lamborghini, McClaren, and Pagani are not prolific high volume production shops, and one could not dispute the extremely high value of their autos. Do they perform well? Of course they do, but how can you compare them to a Hundai which may be a better value per mile? What about fine racing cars, worth millions of dollars? Do these complainers think Indi cars and dragsters are made in some production factory? And what about performance? Sure, they can go fast, but how convenient are they to park; what kind of mileage do you get on alcohol and nitromethane?

Apart from this slight oversight, the complainer decided that the only valid comparison of factory knives to handmade custom knives is one of cutting performance. Performance is a hot topic with knife factories for several reasons. The first is that a measurement of cutting ability is entirely subjective and something that can be constructed, guided, arranged, and presented to portray their particular knife in a good light. Performance of cutting chores in repetition is something everyone, especially those ignorant of value can understand. Knives can cut, be bent, hammered through sheet metal, and abraded. Would you do this to your fine firearm? Who would purchase the IIRC, the Colt Third Model Dragoon given to the Sultan Abdulmecid by Sam Colt in 1853, engraved by Gustave Young and toss it in the back of their pickup truck after plinking cans at the dump? It's worth six million, and I bet it doesn't shoot any better than a Ruger.

If you really think that cutting rope, paper, or special cutting testing has any value whatsoever, please divert from this page for a while and take a good, hard read of my Knife Testing page. There, you'll get substantial and significant facts about the knife testing field, how it's constructed on assumptions, errors, and directed for sales and how no cutting tests by any method are valid when it comes to hand knives. What? Did I just write that? You bet I did, and when you read the page, it will become crystal clear what this is all about. Knife Testing page.

Okay, I don't have any million dollar knives... yet. But this is the grist of the discussion and it stuns me how uninformed these types can be. Would they have compared the cutting ability of the solid gold dagger made by a big-name contemporary knife maker and valued at a million dollars to a common factory knife mounted to a folding pliers? By gosh, that gold sure holds a lousy edge! It would fail any cutting competition, no matter how many beer cans filled with water or hanging ropes it was tested on. So, obviously, it's an inferior knife, and the guy purchasing it is a fool....right?

Taking the same type of argument: is a fine watch better than a cheap watch because it performs better? How could a mechanical antique pocket watch keep better time (perform better) than a modern electronic watch made in China? Obviously, it can't. Even if it kept perfect time, it would have to be rewound, thus reducing the performance. Yet the old watch is worth hundreds, maybe thousands of dollars more.

Does a Vacherin Constantin Tour de l’Ile keep better time (perform better) than a Timex? If it doesn't, then how in the world could one justify the 1.5 million dollar price tag? Could it be that there is much more to the Vacherin than meets the simple requirements of time keeping performance? Could it be the method of construction, the multitude of significant features, the quality of the creation, the reputation of the maker, or the long term investment value known in wide collecting circles that contribute to the value? Could it be that the same features exist in fine custom handmade knives, or is it only about cutting?

By the way, any piece of tool steel, of any type, when geometrically identically ground, shaped, and finished, when properly heat treated and tempered, will cut exactly the same whether it is made by hand by a knife maker, or made in a factory by automated machinery. There is no great mystery to heat treating, sharpening, and finishing the tool steel, this is all fairly simple and documented. Why you see claims of superior cutting performance is to distract the customer or client from poor finish, bad fit, weak or amateur design, or lack of the service aspects of the knife. So, it is not the steel performance that becomes the key here. Otherwise, all knives would look alike, be ground alike, and perform alike, and be made of the same steel, right? So is there more than the steel type and edge sharpness?

Of course there is more, just as there is more to fine handmade knives than there is to factory knives. Just as there is more to fine art than bad art, just as there is more to fine guns, fine jewelry, fine artistic pursuits in every realm. Why is it then that modern knife artists can not be taken as seriously as a fine artist, sculptor, or performer? It is an unusual factor of this tradecraft that I will go into in more depth in my upcoming book.

Do you ever wonder why only blades and specifically cutting edges are the only thing tested? Why is no one testing handle mounting methods, bedding and bonding, bolster construction, fit, finish, balance, or the complex interface of the knife handle with the hand? Why is no one testing sheaths, ever: their potential for security, durability, safety for the user, wear and accessibility options? Why is no one testing stands, cases, or displays? Why is everything, everything of any concern, the cutting edge alone? Could it be that there is more, much more to the knife? Could it be that testing cutting edges is simply a distraction from the rest of the knife which is inferior? More

If you don't understand the difference between simply doing a task and making an investment, you're probably on the wrong website. However, this site is open to all comers and skeptics, and I can only hope that the reader will become educated as to that difference. There is a reason that most fine handmade and custom knives appreciate in value year after year, and are sought after by collector's, users, and knife aficionados. There is a reason that cheap factory knives are cheap, depreciate in value the moment they are purchased, and strive to present themselves by the best cutting performance value alone. There is a reason that factory knives and boutique shop knives are not known for, purchased, and sold for their investment value. When was the last time even the factory itself touted the great investment value of a cheap knife? They don't present their products as investment grade, as worthy of collection or even appreciation of art, because simply, they know what their market is.

To detail the discussion within the simple limitations of performance, please consider this:

  • a bicycle is better than a motor vehicle because it performs with less fuel
  • an actor in a community theatre is better than a big screen actor because they perform accessibly and cheap
  • a cheap wine is better than an expensive one, because they both fill the same sized bottle and have the same alcohol content
  • a cheap firearm is better than a well made firearm because it shoots with less investment and expense
  • a faith healer is better than a physician because they work more cheaply
  • watching a high school basketball game is better than an NBA tournament, because it's cheap and local
  • canned meat is better than a steak, because it's cheaper, and after all, they're both protein
  • a child's finger painting is better than a master's work of art, because it's all just color on paper

Hopefully, you're as sick of these comparisons as I am, but I bet you can add some of your own. The leading thought for the guy who challenges me to make a knife that "outperforms" a $100 cheap piece of junk is this:

  • Any knife can cut; many cut well.
  • Value is not about performance alone, it is determined by the market.
  • The market devalues mass-produced and inferior items
  • The market values finely made, unique, original and artistic works.
  • Critics typically misunderstand the value.
  • The market will demonstrate their beliefs with their money.
  • Critics will never understand this but decry it.
  • The investment will still appreciate despite them.

It's good to understand that these same critics do not have access to the finer things, and their evaluation is based on photographs and information provided to the general public alone. One might think that this is enough to make a value-based decision, but it is not. The true evaluators are ones who not only have the public information about the knife, but also have an actual understanding of it based on their personal and direct possession of the work. Simply put, they have the knife, and are able to judge it personally, intimately, and as actual users, owners, and clients. They have voted with their money, not just an opinion, and the opinion of a person who has never even touched the knife is worth considerably less. Frankly, a critic's frivolous opinions are insignificant. In my own work, since my knives are not returned, and since most clients go on to order or purchase more knives and projects from me, the depth of their understanding of the value of their judgment can not be questioned by anyone who is not one of them!

My clients vote with their money; get over it.

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More about this Triton

What about those legendary Japanese chef and kitchen knives?

This is important: I'm in this business to make the best knife I can for your money. Factories are in it to make the most money they can for the cheapest product.

We've all heard about those legendary blades. Born of the Samurai, forged from the mud of mount Fuji, quenched in the torsos of their enemy slaves. It's time some things were set straight. I don’t know of anything that has been more hyped than early Japanese steel. The reason steels were folded hundreds of times was to define and clarify the grain, because the grain  was so bad to begin with. The reasons blades were made by laminating hard steel over soft steel was because the steels used could not be both hard and tough. Read more details about that at this bookmark on the Blades page. Differential tempering creating the intriguing temper lines (incorrectly called hamon lines) was needed because the steel could not be both hard and tough at the same time, so the cutting edge was left hard while the spine was tempered back.

 There are good, finely made knives made by individuals in every country, not just Japan. The interesting thing to note is that there are more Japanese style blades, swords, and knives in the United States of America than are in Japan (John Yumoto, The Samurai Sword). Note that as early as 1958, 70% of the long swords in existence were in the United States of America. I haven't seen any recent data, but I'm certain that the US holds the record for the amount of swords and knives in private hands when compared to every other country in the world. This has more to do with freedom than need, history, culture, or tradition.

Here's an excerpt from my email response to a client interested in why his friend was smitten with Japanese swords and their obviously weak construction:

Japanese swords and steels are full of interest, truly some of the great masters of their time created fine swords in their day. But the steels were poor, thus the many folds, to refine the grain to run along the length of the blade rather than across it. Like a piece of wood, you wouldn’t want a staff cut and fashioned across a board’s grain rather than along it. This is very simple really, but it’s been way-hyped. When they talk about folding, it seems like an immense amount of work, but it really isn’t. A simple fold, repeated, becomes 16,384 “folds” (actually layers) after only ten folds. So why not hype it as being “folded” twenty thousand times? Yeah, ten times.

And the hamon line? Differential tempering. Needed because the steels could not be both hard at the edge and flexible at the spine at the same temper. Modern steels can be. An interesting thought would be that if ancient Japanese sword smiths had access to modern tool steels, would they use them? Of course they would, as all of the masters throughout time used the best tools, technology, and techniques that they could! I believed Michelangelo used a pointing frame for sculpting too, but hid it from his contemporaries.

I’m glad you noticed the handles. The total failing of all of even the historic works of Japanese blade smiths are the handles. Birch was popular, covered over with a layer of rayskin applied with fish glue, wrapped with silk cord. Just how durable, strong, resilient, or trustworthy is that? No one will out-and-out say it, but it’s a very poor way to handle a knife, sword, or weapon of any kind at any time in history. If it were a really good way, why wouldn’t we see it on modern works, like your .45?

Okay so it’s all historic, and when I get asked to do this type of handle, I decline. It’s been done, it’s history, it’s a reproduction, and anything I would do would be just a rerun. There are makers though, who thrive on this.

More about this directional grain elongation and arrangement at this link.

Modern tool and die steels are hard and tough, made with the best metallurgy and chemical design we know. That is why industry relies on fine modern tool steels. Ask the company that’s making a die to stamp out medical parts for a dialysis machine, machine tools to make the helicopter gears of an HH 60G Pavehawk, or shears to fabricate the sheet metal of a car. They're using high tech, high quality tool steels that have been highly refined, and double poured in a vacuum and high purity environment. They are not using carbon steels, or hand-forged steels, ever. Want water-resistant ball bearings at four and a half times the strength of carbon steels? They're the best we've ever made them, and they're made out of 440C. What are the steels used to make the tough, hard, and wear-resistant dies that stamp out factory knife blades? Why, D2, 440C, ATS-34.  Are plain carbon steels used to create high temperature, high wear valve seats, machinery, and cutting blades? No, plain carbon steels are inferior steels: they rust, wear, corrode, and have markedly higher failure rates than high alloy stainless tool steels They are plainly weaker in tensile strength. Their advantage? They are easy to work with, easy to machine, and cheap to make a knife (or anything else) with. And they can be hand-forged in an open furnace, like wrought iron and other decorative pursuits and hobbies. By the way, what people call "wrought iron is, in reality, mild, low carbon steel painted black. They do this to suggest a relationship to a historically valued iron of antiquity. More about the iron of antiquity at this link, detailing how it is different than low carbon (mild) steel, and why people incorrectly do this to make their steel items sound better.

I’ve got to acknowledge this though: many steel foundries that pour some the best machine grade tool steels are in Japan (some are in Germany and others in India). Good old American technology, used by a foreign country, often with raw materials that we send them...and when I was a kid, "Made In Japan" meant the worst sort of cheap junk you could find. How Japan has benefitted and grown from those days; perhaps we have a lesson to learn from them after all. By the way, the basis for this achievement came from W. Edwards Deming, an American. Do an internet search and read up on what Deming gave our conquered enemies after WWII; it will open your eyes.

Look, there are some decent knives originating from many other countries including Japan. Please don't buy the typical hype of an historic association of ancient Japanese sword smiths with modern mass production factories. There is not a descendant of a Samurai sword maker hammering out that knife blade in a clay-lined forge with humble helpers tending the bellows, quench-water blessed by priests, and weeks of meticulous hand-sharpening with rottenstone. These knives are mass-produced in a factory by automated machinery.

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More about this Concordia Chef's Knife

What's wrong with factory knives?

The Inevitable Comparison

If you're buying a cheap knife, that's okay. Cheap knives are a big business worldwide for a reason. People need knives. The issue gets complicated when owners of these cheap knives seek to compare them with fine handmade and custom knives.

No one can seriously expect to compare factory knives with fine handmade and custom knives, and it surprises me that it happens so often. When a person buys a factory knife, it's usually a decision based on economy first, and function second. Factories work hard to create and maintain brand loyalty, and guys fiercely defend their purchases of factory knives, manufactured knives, and boutique shop knives. These guys will go on bulletin boards, knife forums, and any public venue they can to defend their purchases.

There is simply no comparison between the fine construction, unique materials, and craftsmanship that exists in well-made knives individually crafted by a knife maker who has mastered his trade. Every successful individual knife maker makes a knife that is superior to factory knives, or he wouldn't be in business very long. If he's been in business a long time, it's a pretty good indicator that he makes an excellent knife and runs a good business. If it is his full time professional job, and completely supports his family, he's serious about the knives he makes. If he's been successfully making knives for decades, he knows knives. No one has lucky breaks for decades.

One can also argue that a factory that has been in business for a long while is also successful, and knows their market. Otherwise, they would be out of business. The differences are in the market. While factories are geared for economy and volume, a custom individual maker is geared toward extremely high quality.

The knife factory typically makes thousands and thousands of mass-produced knives. Rather than a passion, their industry is simply a business of manufacturing. Manufacturers are governed by the bottom line.

  • No factory is going to take years of losses and struggling to self-train and establish a niche market of extremely fine goods, but an individual knife maker often does just that.
  • No knife manufacturer is going to risk his entire business in order to create new styles, processes, and work with untested materials to be wildly creative and out of the mainstream, but an individual knife maker often does just that.
  • No factory is going to spend six years developing and perfecting a proprietary process without return until it is successful, but a knife maker may do that repeatedly.
  • No boutique knife shop or manufacturer of any size is going to correspond with each individual client to make sure his particular and personal needs are met, but an individual custom knife maker does that on every single custom knife designed, made, and sold.

When carefully considered, these comparisons translate to a simple personal statement:

I'm in this business to make the best knife I can for your money.

Factories are in it to make the most money they can for the cheapest product.

It's funny to read how this statement (used in several places on my site) itself has become the target of attack. Guys read what they want to into it, claiming it means something else; that it is some perverted attack on factories when I'm in the same business as they are... really?

So, in my commitment to education in this field, I will slowly and clearly explain so there is no misunderstanding of what the words mean. That factory is not going to take the time to do this for you; they have no commitment to service in their own industry. But I do, and that is why you are able to read what I'm writing here. Read more about service on my six points at this bookmark.

"I'm in this business to make the best knife I can for your money." This seems pretty clear. I am a professional; this is my business; a client exchanges money for my product. In exchange, I am committed to make the best knife I can for his money, and have, for decades, done this over, and over, and over. I'm not trying to cheapen his knife by cutting corners, I'm not limited by materials and techniques; I'm not focused on cranking out massive volumes of clones of knives. I'm not cutting corners by using automated machine finishing; I'm not neglecting contouring, shaping, and accessories. I make true custom knives that are directly made to order; I feature hundreds of designs and will fit the knife to my client's own hand, his own purpose, with his own artwork, dedication and even a unique stand or case if he requests it. I do not have an advertising department to pay, I do not have a loss control supervisor, a management team, a labor force, or shareholders that I have to make a profit for. I do not have to gear knives toward sales of a hundred thousand units, I do not buy materials and supplies in bulk. I do not have the overhead of a large facility, I do not have a company softball team. Hell, I don't even have a company song!

How is this different from factories, large or small? If you don't get it yet, please read on:

"Factories are in it to make the most money they can for the cheapest product." Factories are not professionals, they are a factory, a large entity of workers assigned different duties within the company. For instance, an accounting worker could claim he is a professional accountant, but he would not claim to be a professional knife maker. A guy (or gal) who works on the line pushing the button on an automated disc sander that grind-sands 20 blades at once is a professional machine operator, but they are not a professional knife maker. The guy who drops the boxes at the end of the packaging machine is not a professional knife maker, and neither is the head of the company; he's a CEO and owner. What this means is that there is NO communication between a factory and a client: absolutely none based on professional knife making. Just try to reach that CEO and ask for a custom knife; I dare you. Factories have tremendous overhead: facilities, automated equipment, loss control, advertising, labor forces, management, softball teams and rah-rah company events. This overhead has to be paid for; they have to cut corners somewhere in order to make money for their shareholders. Where do they cut? Why, the products, of course, and this is why they don't finish, don't contour, don't offer premium materials, don't offer a variety of designs, use plain steels, don't grind properly, and offer next to nothing in accessories for their product. They must be able to sell knives by hundreds of thousands in order to still make profit, so they direct the knives to the masses. Their idea of custom is a unique number somewhere between 67,895 and 67,897. Get it?

Value and the Market

So, if I don't have the overhead that they do, why do my knives cost so much? It's the market. Why does an NBA player get paid so much? Because his work is in high demand, people recognize the value, and can afford it. Why does a studio actor get paid so much, when a community theatre actor does the same thing? Because his work is in high demand, people recognize the value, and can afford it. Why does a successful painter sell his art for so much? Because his work is in high demand, people recognize the value, and can afford it.

To none of these would a blog, forum, or internet flamer complain, but for a knife maker? Well, it's just not right! Because the successful professional knifemaker's work is in high demand, people recognize the value, and can afford it, they offer more. How does this work? Time for some economics 101.

There are simple reasons things cost what they do.

Here is an easy way to understand this:

  • Demand: If there is a high demand for a product, any product, the price will go up in direct relation to its scarcity or lack of availability. If demand is high, and availability is low, the price will rise. If demand is low and availability is high, the price will go down. If demand is low, and availability is low, the product will disappear and the company making it will fold. If demand and availability are flat, the product and price will stay the same.
  • Value: The value of a product depends on the appeal. If a product has high appeal, it will be in high demand. If a product has low appeal, it will not be in high demand. Simple, yes?
  • Means: The transaction occurs because the customer has the means. If the customer does not have the means, the transaction will not occur.

How do these three factors affect the transaction, the business, and its success?

  • The Transaction: If a product is in high demand, and the value has high appeal, and the customer has the means, the transaction will occur. If the product demand, value appeal, or means is low, the transaction will not occur.
  • The Business: If any one of these three is low, the business will be in trouble.
  • The Success: If all three of these are high, the business will do well.

I could get into the economics and global impact of these, expound upon transaction restrictions and regulations, detail the components of various business models, but this is really enough for most people to understand, even for the complainers who can't seem to see the differences.

The same guys who insist on comparing handmade custom knives with factory or manufactured knives often complain that I'm too hard on factory knives. Is it being too harsh to reveal the truth? The complaints are typically rooted in one of the three factors above.

The demand argument: They just don't understand the demand. Why would my fine handmade custom knives be in high demand? They don't see or acknowledge the multitude of specific knife details made on the hundreds of pages of this website. It's like saying: I don't like Joe NBA player's work, so why would anyone else like his work? Evidently someone does, or he (and I) would be out of business.

The value argument: They don't see the value. To them, a knife is just a blade and handle, something to cut with. They don't value the materials, finish, accessories, embellishment, or execution. Worse, they don't understand a following, an appreciation of those who do understand and value the works I do. It's like a painter whose work you don't care for. You see he has a following (people who value his work) but just don't "get" his work. Evidently, someone recognizes the value of the work, or he (and I) would be out of business.

The means argument: They don't have the means. This is, perhaps, the most persistent (yet unacknowledged) reason. Maybe these guys who defend factory knives have spent their own hard-earned money on them and feel the need to defend their purchases. Maybe they hope that the value of their dollars are well-applied, and they won't be seen as mere consumers of a mass-marketed manufactured product. Perhaps they can't afford a fine handmade knife, so try to berate them while building up the image of their factory knife purchase. This is all part of class warfare between the have and have-nots, and it's based in simple jealousy. Evidently someone has the means or I would be out of business.

When you openly compare factory knives to knives made by well known established knife makers, you open the conversation to reveal the differences in glaring reality. Then, the details are fair game for comment from this (and other) professional knife makers. The most important thing to realize is that:

Factory or manufactured knives depreciate from the moment of purchase.

Fine handmade custom knives from well-known makers appreciate from the moment of purchase.

Though there are a few good knife boutique shops and knife production factories that make a decent product for a modest price, none can compare to finely handmade knives. If there were a valid comparison, you would see factory knives selling for over a thousand dollars each. All custom knife makers would be out of business because of the intense volume of production knife factories. Instead, what you see is custom knife makers with deep backlogs of orders, significantly appreciating values, and high demand. When was the last time a knife manufacturer put a client on a one, two, or three year wait?

The myth of knowledge and professional experience

I read in an Internet post once that the writer believed factories excel over custom makers because they have quality control inspectors and trained metallurgists. Evidently, the guy who wrote this has never had any contact with a real production factory. Quality control in factories is a woman sitting at the end of a line, looking for a bent or discolored blade coming out of the end of an automatic tumbling machine which is used to put the finish on two hundred blades at once. Quality control inspectors look for workers who slow up the production line, cost the company money, and are safety hazards that bump up their insurance rates. They look for ways to make more profit while spending less on the product. No one is sitting at the end of the line with a ten-power magnifier scanning the grinds, looking for hairline cracks and uneven grind lines or a flaw in the finish.

A good custom maker constantly examines all the facets of each individual knife, comparing how his operations and results interact with each other, improving his skill and execution on every single knife. Though he is concerned with safety and loss control, he does not pay for or pass on these expenses to his clients. If a change is needed in his studio or shop, he makes it, without review by the safety department, analysis by the accounting department, and companywide education plans and schemes initiated by the training department.

And trained metallurgists? Please. Just like individual knife makers, knife factories do not smelt their own ore, forge their own blades, and many do not even do their own heat treating. No knife factory is going to be bothered with someone analyzing tool steels when the exact methods of steel alloy composition, heat treatment, and usage are carefully and clearly prescribed by the steel manufacturer.

These hyped-up concepts of high quality factory work are pervasive in every industry, and they're promoted by industries that want you to think that they are more than they really are. I spent 15 years in industry; you can read about my background here. I know how factories, plants, and production facilities are run: low budget, low quality, with lots of hype and advertising. Get as many units as possible of the product out the door as fast as possible with as little investment as possible. Cut corners on safety, health insurance, retirement, and quality left and right to save a buck. If you think you know how bad industry is, talk to someone who's spend 15 years there, and they'll probably tell you it's a lot worse than you imagined. They even give bonuses for workers who figure out how to cut corners! If the unions let them, that is...

You often get just what you pay for, and sometimes a great deal less. A good custom knifemaker will understand and be able to illuminate the difference and advantages of his knives and knife making skill compared to both other makers and factories. The points listed below and on other areas of this site will help you get the facts from my perspective. Some readers may disagree with my concepts and opinions, but after about 40 years of making fine custom and handmade knives, and about 30 years as a full time professional knifemaker to the military, counterterrorism units, police, collectors, and professional knife users, this is what I have learned.

Look, there are many decent factory knives, suitable for many uses. Factories have had many years to determine what makes a knife attractive and saleable, and what makes the knife buyer have loyalty to the factory. Not all factory knives are junk, just most of them. And none of them are better than custom knives by well known makers. If you need a cheap, junky knife to use and abuse, without concern for quality or value, you can buy the latest popular factory knife and that will work okay for you. But if you buy knives like that, you're probably not even reading this...

Please remember this simple, clear fact: knives by custom makers appreciate after they're purchased, and factory knives immediately depreciate.

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Hello Mr. Fisher,
As the title of this email already says, each time I am visiting your website (daily :) ) I become even more and more impressed.
You are for sure the best knifemaker alive and not only for your gorgeous work but also for your vast knowledge.
Any visitor, no matter of his profession will definitely find in your website a reason to go further, to learn more and to improve reaching for perfection. I never tried to find a fault in your work as I am sure it would be a waste of time, the way you are judging things, the sack of knowledge behind each and every thing you make is enough to know that you are facing a very fine educated man and craftsman.

I simply adore your courage to face and combat the lies promoted by the huge "sharks" on the market, never seen this before and maybe I will never see it again; it requires arguments, self trust and motivation for the good of the customers. Once again thank you very much for all your efforts to share your vast knowledge with us! May God bless you for long and peaceful years in the Enchanted Spirits Studio! :) All the best,

--A.



More about this "Kairos" counterterrorism knife

Here are some dirty little knife factory secrets:

Factories are limited by their process.
Artists are limited by their vision.

It's often said that you get what you pay for. If you're looking for a cheap knife, that's okay; this is probably not the website you should be looking at. For those who insist on comparison and a quick education into the differences between manufactured knives and knives by well-known custom knife makers, here are some points to chew on:

  • Factories often use the cheapest steels and materials possible to make their knives, so that their profit margin is high. The only way a company can make money is to buy their materials as cheap as possible, sell the finished product for as much as the market will bear, and pay their workers as little as they can get away with. This way they pocket all the rest, and that's called profit. Any narrowing of the margins, i.e., more expensive materials, a lower sale price, or higher wages cuts into their profit. Remember that they're in this business for one thing: profit. It's not art to them; it's not a lifelong endeavor to create superior knives and lead the field in innovation and creative application; it's only about the dollar. No matter what they tell you on their mission statement, they are not dedicated to your personal satisfaction. If they were, they'd be custom knife makers. Most of them don't really care if your knife isn't up to snuff, or fails when you need it most, or causes accidents if you slip because it won't hold an edge.
  • Many factories have blades and knife components farmed out (made by outside contractors and companies) overseas, sometimes by child labor, with workers earning literally pennies a week. Pakistan, India, China, and Taiwan are notorious for this. This leads to unregulated materials and metallurgical alloys, ill-fitting parts, bad finishes, and questionable moral issues. It also destroys their guarantee, because foreign factories cannot be held responsible for failures. But factory knives are usually so cheap, they'll just replace a bad knife with another bad knife. You might be surprised to learn that many of the American knife factories use parts that are farmed out overseas, but they won't admit that. How do I know this? I get queries all the time from those very foreign companies, wanting to make parts for my knives. They tell me the names of the manufacturers they make knife parts for for reference. But you don't have to go that far. If a video of a knifemaker's shop, facility, or operation shows 50-300 knives, knife parts, components, or bins of identical pieces, he is having this work farmed out. This is almost always done in Pakistan, India, Taiwan, and China; this is simply how the process works. Then, the maker puts his buckets of parts together and claims he made the knife. As knifemakers, we all know about this practice; it has led to more than one maker being kicked out of an organization, show, or group for misrepresenting his work as "made by hand."
  • There is no law that prevents factories from marking or stamping anything on a knife blade, possibly misleading the customer to think that the steel blade is something it's not. I've had blades professionally analyzed that are marked ATS-34 and they are not. There is no standard or law in this industry to prevent this type of misrepresentation. A factory can simply claim ignorance (since many of their blades are farmed out), or they can say that ATS-34 is their model number. But they would have to be sued into disclosure to reveal even this, an event not likely to happen. If you have a valid complaint, they'll just give you another bad knife or maybe your money back.
  • Factories purposefully list stainless knife steel as Surgical or Solingen (there is no such thing), or other descriptive text that has no reference or meaning in steel technology or industry. Often, factories will create their own designation of letters and numbers that are not listed in the Machinists Guide©, AISI, or SAE designation, or any steel engineering references. Then, they'll claim it's a special steel unique to their product. This is just a ploy to sell knives; any manufacturer should be up front about disclosing the exact material and alloy components unless he has something to hide. He ought to be able to elucidate why he's chosen that particular material, what it is made out of (alloy content and percentages), the process he uses to manufacture it, and why he claims it is superior. There are no secret steels in this industry. Claiming some superior steel properties is often an attempt to draw attention away from poor design, bad fit and assembly, and low quality finish. Think about this: if there really were a "super steel" that only this one knife manufacturer, boutique shop, or knife maker supplies, and it is superior to all other known and engineered tool steels, wouldn't the military industrial complex keep this business buried in specialty orders? Orders that overwhelm the small and meager knife blade industry? This is an often-used tactic. Take CPMS30V, for instance. More than one knife manufacturer claims that this steel was developed for the cutlery industry. This is false; simply contact the manufacturer of this steel to find out that 1 to 1.5 percent of their business is in knife blades. What is this steel designed for? What are 90 percent of their sales for? Plastic injection molding dies.
  • Factories will misleadingly list stainless knife blades as 440 Stainless, when what is important is the letter designation after the numbers. 440a is much different than 440c; 440a has significantly less carbon than 440c, barely classifying it as a martensitic tool steel. To the uninitiated, an incomplete 440 designation is a blanket that less suitable steels hide under.
  • Factories can mislead by using steel designations from other countries, because a new letter and number set is intriguing, mysterious, and beguiling to the knife customer, who may want to try that new stuff he's been seeing so much in advertising. After having an inferior factory knife, who wouldn't want to use a new type of super steel? Again, focusing only on steel alloy and designation ignores fit, finish, balance, design, accessories, and service.
  • Most factory stainless kitchen knives are made of 420 series stainless steels, which are nothing but thin, sharpened springs. They are only suitable for light duty food service. These are the steels that have given stainless tool steels a bad name, originating on cheap kitchen and service knives in the 1960s and 1970s. The origin of these cheap kitchen knives? Japan and China. More about 420 series stainless steels here.
  • Some are using 420 stainless steel (a very poor performer) and claim that it has more carbon than "regular" 420 so is better (and is also the description for 422 stainless, another poor performer). By the way, all 420 series stainless steels that can't be hardened any harder than 52C Rockwell! That's softer than a drill bit or a hand saw for wood! More about 420 series stainless steels here.
  • Some knives are absolutely rust free, and the factories will tout this as a great feature. Usually this means that the knife is made of stainless like 316 stainless steel, which is used in industry for pipes and mechanisms that work in acids or caustics. 316 is NOT a tool steel, and cannot be hardened. It has horrible wear characteristics, and is not a suitable knife blade. It is usually used on dive and scuba knives, and left very thick. It's fine for scraping around in coral beds and sand and mud, and once in a great while cutting a line, but very little else. It does polish nicely though.
  • Titanium blades? Titanium's main advantage is its light weight, corrosion resistance, and toughness. Toughness is not hardness. Titanium cannot be hardened anywhere near knife hardness, only to about 35 on the Rockwell C scale. It is not durable enough to hold an edge. It has its uses, in handles, fittings, and springs, but it is not a working knife blade. While there are specialty knives made with titanium blades, they are usually used for dive knives where they are not expected to perform and the main concern is corrosion resistance with lack of care.
  • Ceramics? Where did they go? There was a great push in the late 1980s and early 1990s toward ceramic blades, but they are not tough enough to resist breakage and chipping, and couldn't be sharpened, so they are all but gone. Ceramic-metals, cermets (used on metal cutting machine tools like lathes and mills), are too expensive and brittle for knife use.
  • Factory blades are ground often by automated machinery (CNC machines) , so there is no specific and accurate control of blade grind geometry following the edge profile. Sure, there is repetitive machining, but no fine finishing, and no custom or variation of styles. I go into blade geometry on my Blades page, for this is extremely important and has many components, factors, and specific properties that contribute to a finely designed, ground, finished, and serviced blade. The reason handmade knives excel is because CNC manufacturing limits the amount of work, geometry of the grind, accuracy of the grind, and variability that the human hand can apply to fine tune a knife shape. Also, no CNC can finish any knife blade! This must be done by hand, as minute changes in blade grind geometry take place that a machine can not adjust or accommodate for. This is why NO factory knife is finished, ever! No mirror, no fine satin, no polish.
  • Factories purposefully leave blade grinds thick in hunting, utility, and defense knives, so that the knife appears heavy and strong, and after three sharpenings and a season of use, the knife is not capable of being sharpened without blade regrinding and relieving of thickness behind the cutting edge. More on that on the Blades page. After three sharpenings, you'll be frustrated with the tremendous time and effort it takes to relieve the knife because it's too thick, and they'll hope you just buy another knife.
  • Factories know that brand loyalty is a powerful thing, and use it to sell knives. Guys will say, "I've always bought (Brand) knives, and they've seemed to work well and last a few years, so I'll always buy (Brand) knives. After all, my (Dad, Cousin, Grandpa, Buddy, etc.) said they were good enough for him." They don't want to be embarrassed by making a poor buying choice, so constantly reinforce the manufacturer's hype to make their buying decision seem more logical.
  • Most factory knives are designed for a limited time use. The only way to capitalize on brand loyalty is to limit the functionality of the knife to a couple of years. That way, the consumer will be back for another knife, because he's loyal to the brand. Though one may argue that a group of used factory knives is a collection, the resale propensity and value of that collection is extremely limited, or non-existent.
  • Factories don't really know what you need to maintain a sharp cutting edge, and they don't even send the knife from the factory with a sharp edge! In fact, most people have never even seen a knife with a truly sharp cutting edge, and are astonished and frightened when they drag their finger over one. I've seen this again and again, and it's very sad. Mostly, factories use a fine, hard buffer and light abrasive to quickly rough in an edge, then out the door it goes. But a dull knife is a dangerous knife, because you will apply more pressure to achieve a cut, and then you will slip. And a slip is a knife out of control, headed at high speed towards a soft body part. Most cuts are from slips! Want to know just how sharp a knife edge can be and how to apply it? Get John Juranitch's book, "Razor Edge Sharpening." A 40 year consultant with the meat packing and textile industries knows cutting edges.
  • Factories are always on the lookout to capitalize off someone else's work, and attempt to copy custom knife makers, as it is custom knife makers that are at the forefront of blade design and thus the real innovators. They will often contract to use a custom knife maker's name or design to promote their product. It might surprise you to find out many makers (including me) have been asked by factories to endorse a design or line with their name. Though many have agreed with some small percentage of monetary compensation for each knife sold, I've personally refused, as my name is more valuable than the knife they manufacture.
  • They use words in their name like bench or tech to gather their product under the umbrella of fine craftsmen and handmade custom work. This is because it is understood that a huge difference exists between a handmade, finely tuned, unique custom knife made by an experienced craftsman, and a piece of steel, stamped out of a sheet or cut out by an automated plasma or water jet cutter, ground on an automated computer numerically controlled system, and assembled in America (thus deserving the Made in America stamp) with parts made by little kids in Pakistan.
  • Factories are limited by bean counters, safety loss control, and materials cost and availability. This effects the geometry of your knife, the shape, the finish, the fit, the feel, the balance, the materials, the performance, the cost, the reliability, and your own safety and trust of their product. All these factors are marginalized by bean counters and accountants. Remember, with factories you WILL get less than you pay for, and the guarantee is backed by a replacement of another inferior knife, and your purchase is not an investment.
  • Fit on factory knives is always poor. Handles are not bedded to each individual knife, components are rarely finished together as this would increase the hand work and slow up production.
  • Factory knives are NEVER finely finished. Finishing is an extremely labor intensive process, and takes skilled hands because the geometry of materials changes as they are finished. Factories opt for flat, "textured," or coated finishes because they are quick and cheap. More on finishing and value.
  • Jimping and machine cuts on factory knives abound. No one expects to see factory knives embellished with hand work, and that is one of the value arguments for fine handmade knives and artwork.
  • No factory knives are personalized or embellished individually, ever. This simply is not done because that would require a conversation between the manufacturer and the client, and factories don't talk to clients, only to distributors and their research department. The only deviation from this is large group input, like large military units and advertisers for commemorative and popular causes.
  • Because most blade grinds are done by machine, there is no carefulcontouring of the grind termination, leading to a weak blade where the grinds meet the flat near the handle junction, the most critical part of the blade construction. Details on my Knife Anatomy page.
  • Factories limit their use of bolsters, or delete them altogether due to difficult and challenging making and finishing of these small parts to suit individual knives. These critical components reinforce the blade to handle junction, bed and reinforce the handle, and reduce wear areas of the handle by framing the handle materials in tough metals.
  • Factory knives often have meager mechanical attachment points of the handles to the blade tang. Often, only a machine screw or two holds it all together: a weak short lived, poor way to handle any knife.
  • Factories and boutique shops do not typically make a sheath that is worthy of any knife. The sheath for nearly all factory knives is an afterthought, and is probably more of an inconvenience to the manufacturer than a useful accessory for the knife owner or user. This is a sadly neglected part of this tradecraft that I go into in great detail on my Sheaths page.
  • Factories never use rare, unusual, proprietary, or high value materials, like precious metals, gemstone, exotics, or any material that is limited in availability. Otherwise, how could they produce one thousand or ten thousand or one hundred thousand in a run?
  • Some materials used on factory knives are purposefully jigged, textured, cut, or scarred, not mainly to give texture to grip, but to aid in hiding imperfections in the surface. This is an old trick well known in the jewelry trade.
  • Factory knives are rarely contoured, rounded, or comfortably finished to be inviting to the hand. The trends are often to make the knife look macho or techie, but the reality is that contouring is an expensive, labor-eating skill requiring off-hand control.
  • Factories never include finely made or custom display stands, cases, well made blocks

You can now see these two styles of knives at their storefront. but they are actually naturally-made patterns formed during the production.

To understand the type of product we’re buying in today’s world, it’s important to know what the best kitchen knife brands stand for, what they’re good at, and how experienced they are.  The list below includes many of the globe’s top knife manufacturers.  Some of them have been around for hundreds of years and others are mere toddlers in the knife making field.  Many of them make knives of very high quality, including some that are hand-made, while others pride themselves and producing an affordable product for the masses.

It’s true that materials, processes, and customer reviews are an integral part of the kitchen knife buying process.  You can read all about that in our buying guide for each individual style of knife. But to truly understand the best brand of kitchen knives, we needed a place to dive deeper and compare these great companies, many of which have made knives the same way for over a century!

First we’ll cover several of the top kitchen knife brands, where they’re from, and what they are known for.  If you’re interested in more information, you can follow through to a more detailed review of each particular brand’s knife models.  At the bottom of the page, we’ve also provided links to some head-to-head brand comparison pages that we’ve designed around popular queries.

The Best 25 Knives Ever Made

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The cost and the fear of getting it wrong can be stressful but don't worry, we're here to help you figure it all out and get you a knife so sharp your onions will cry in fear.

Our promise - All our knives are great

Let's cover one the biggest fears first - a good knife is an investment and we appreciate that it's a considered purchase so we do all we can to help ease any concerns when you're hovering over that "buy now" button.

When you buy a Japanese knife, you're buying something you should be able to use for the rest of your life if you look after it.

When we decide what to sell on the site, we look at knives we'd only be happy using ourselves and would personally recommend. It's why we don't have hundreds of ranges.

Everything on the site is of a quality we love and stand by so you can be assured that any of the knives you like the look of are of a high standard and if for any reason you're not happy after your purchase, we also offer a 30 day money back promise. 

Choosing your knife

We often get asked for a recommendation and we nearly always give the same answer if a customer doesn't have a specific style or budget in mind or they're after a general use chef knife and that's to buy something from the Masakage Yuki range.

If you're looking for something a little more specific or want to view everything we sell on a single page then

Visit our product picker page

Don't hesitate too long

It's worth bearing in mind that because nearly all of the knives on the site are handmade in small forges by one or two blacksmiths and as such supply is not guaranteed and when a knife has sold out it can sometimes take months to restock. 

If you're keen on a particular knife don't leave it too long to buy it because it might be gone and in the case of some ranges for several months or more.

How to choose the best kitchen knife for you

What style of kitchen knife do I need?

Start with one good kitchen knife and build your knife set/collection from that.

We typically recommend a "Santoku" or "Gyuto" knife as a first purchase if you're looking for an all rounder with a blade usually around 6-7 inches long, it's not too big or small and so is usually the one knife type you'll use daily.

We have a whole page devoted to which knives you really need but in short the order you should be buying are Chef, Paring and optionally a Santoku (that's pronounced "san-too-koo", it's a Japanese style of knife and pretty handy at chopping veg and meat), carving and bread knife. 

Learn more about the various styles of knives.

How sharp is Japanese knife steel?

We've all owned a "supermarket special" kitchen knife in our life, the one that stays sharp for about two meals. Don't judge all knives by these, real kitchen knives are in a completely different league.

Knife steel has come on leaps and bounds in recent years, the new steels are simply amazing for making knives and we really mean it, they really will make you say "holy sh*t" when you first use them.

Ones to look out for are VG-10, Powder Steel and High Carbon steels. Why are they so good? They take and hold an edge better and simply put, we are all lazy at heart, we don't want to keep sharpening knives every time we use them. The newer steels are made from super hard steel that simply does not blunt as fast, you can go months between sharpening your knives.

Perfect for us lazy home cooks who already have too much on our plates. These steels simply stay really sharp for much longer, that's why we sell them.

Learn more about the types of steel

Looks

How a knife looks should be the last thing you buy a knife for, but that being said, a good looking knife is a real treat. As we've picked only awesome knives feel free to pick a pretty one and buy it safe in the knowledge it will be a great performer.

Ease of care and protection

Let us make this easy. No kitchen knife should be put in the dish washer. Wipe them clean, dry and store them after each use. Simple.

When it comes to storing and protecting your knife, we suggest a magnetic wooden knife rack. We're exclusive suppliers in the UK of Magblok knife racks which are handmade in the US and come in a range of sizes and woods to compliment your kitchen.

If you're travelling or want to store your knife in a drawer - we'd recommend a wooden saya or blade guard to protect not only the blade but your fingers when you reach for it. 

Learn more about ease of care

Knife weight

If you use a knife all day every day then you want a light knife to reduce fatigue. Light knives are a joy to use and so nimble. If you are not a professional though then knife weight really is not an issue, you simply won't be using them long enough to get fatigued in the first place.

If in doubt pick one you like the look of and that will do. Remember we only sell great knives so the choice is easy.

Blade length/size

This relates mostly to Chef's knives. This topic is the one that probably gets the most discussion and the most disagreement. As a result we can't really give you a definitive answer.

At the end of the day it comes down to personal preference. How often do you get to try out a selection of the same knife in different sizes to make your mind up? If you're in doubt for your first knife or just a good all rounder, we recommend a middle ground of a 6.5" to 8" inch chef's knife (a "Santoku" or a "Gyuto" typically) which will cover 95% of kitchen jobs.

Handles & Grip

If in doubt follow this route. However if you are a bit more adventurous we would say it is worth trying a longer knife especially if you hold it the right way using a pinch grip.

There are two main styles to choose from. The traditional Western style we typically know or the Japanese "wa" handle.

Western are the style most of us will be familiar with, full tang (where the blade goes all the way through the handle), often riveted and pretty damn sturdy. You feel like you could fell a tree with one.

The Japanese "wa" handle is light weight and as a result feels like it is barely there. This is a centuries old design and typically when combined with a half tang makes the knife feel significantly lighter and more nimble in your hand.

Tang

Japanese handles use a half tang (the blade only goes half way or less into the handle) and as a result are lighter but no less robust for the task in hand, it's a kitchen knife at the end of the day not an axe.

So there you go, that's just about all you need to know. Remember the knives we sell on this site are not mass produced rubbish you might have used in the past. These really will change the way you think about knives, the way you cook and will certainly give you that "Where have you been all my life?" moment that will make you want to tell your friends about.

Seen our high-end handcrafted Japanese knives and wondered why looking for beautiful knives you can actually use and buy, check out a.

The Knife District of Chania

Located between Ginza and the Sumida River, Tsukiji is one of the most well-known areas for tourists as well as locals in Tokyo. Although Tsukiji is famous for its delicious fresh seafood, it also holds notable knife shops that support many of the stores in the area!

Azuma Minamoto-no Masahisa, a shop specializing in a diverse range of knives, is now in its fifth generation of service, continuing a tradition established over 145 years ago. But what makes Japanese knives and Azuma Minamoto-no Masahisa different from the rest?

Traditionally Hand-Crafted Quality Knives in the Heart of Tsukiji

Date published: 19 December 2017
Last updated: 18 October 2018

About Azuma Minamoto-no Masahisa

Founded in 1872, Azuma Minamoto-no Masahisa was originally based in a fish market in Nihonbashi and was relocated to Tsukiji along with most other shops from the market after the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923. Since its relocation it has been servicing many businesses around it and catering to countless knife enthusiasts! Originally specializing in “wa-bocho” (Japanese-style knives), one of the knife makers went to Europe to learn the ways of “yo-bocho” (western-style knives). You can now see these two styles of knives at their storefront. In the cases to the left you will find the wa-bocho, and to the right you will find the yo-bocho. The most distinct differences between the two are easy to spot: Japanese-style knives usually have light-colored, straight, rounded wooden handles, versus the western-style knives which are generally a dark brown or black and feature a slight curve at the end of the handle.

These unique and eye-catching knives look as if they were made to have these beautiful designs on them, but they are actually naturally-made patterns formed during the production process! These knives are created by using layer after layer of material, which can make these shapes on the knife’s blade, Azuma Minamoto-no Masahisa explains.

Although most knives are now made by machine, Azuma Minamoto-no Masahisa is still continuing their tradition by making knives by hand, one by one. Some of their special knives may even take up to a year to make due to the difficult process!

A vast selection of only the best

Because of the location, many of the knives being sold are for slicing and cleaning fish. However, there are countless more kinds than just these! There are numerous shapes and sizes of knives being sold at Azuma Minamoto-no Masahisa, some of them rather rare and unique pieces! One of these specialty knives created by this shop would be the gigantic maguro bocho, most likely to only be seen in Japan!

The one-of-a-kind Maguro Bocho

A “maguro bocho” is a knife used exclusively for cutting tuna and requires two people to handle it due to its length! Because this tuna cutting knife is so long, it’s actually quite flexible. To cut a tuna, normally one person will hold the handle and another will hold the blade (wrapped with a cloth for protection, of course!) and fit it to the shape of the fish to cut it. The flexibility of this lengthy blade ensures that they can get as much meat as possible from the tuna.

Few shops are able to make, let alone sharpen these particular knives. The head of the fifth generation of Azuma Minamoto-no Masahisa is one of the only people in Japan who can do this job!

The maguro bocho used in this photo is over 170 centimeters (around 5 feet 6 inches) long!

But which knife do I choose?

Keeping in mind these knives can last a lifetime when maintained the right way, choosing the right knife can be challenging! Just looking at the wide variety in the shop can be overwhelming! However, there are of course always factors to think about when searching for the right knife for you.

For example, the shape and weight of the knife can determine what you should cut, how long you can continue cutting (a key factor for people who perhaps own a restaurant or cut things for long periods of time), how long the knife can last, and more.

In addition, the price of a knife can change drastically just based on how it is put together. As you can see in the picture below, the blade on the knife to the left is connected directly to the handle. However, the knife on the right has a prominent bolster (called a tsuba) added for overall durability and weight between the blade and handle. This alone can change a lot! The type of steel used can also cause the price to vary considerably. While the knife on the left is a great knife for at-home use, the knife on the right could really make all the difference for someone who cuts for hours a day!

Another factor that will change the price is the material that the handle is made of. The sturdiness and general quality of the handle can determine how well the knife will perform in the long run. For example, many of the high-grade wa-bocho will use a bolster made from water buffalo horn, while a slightly lower-priced knife’s bolster is usually made from plastic.

While it depends on how you intend to use it, those who want a reliable and sturdy knife at home are recommended a “santoku” knife. Meaning “three uses”, these triangular-bladed knives are intended for slicing, dicing and mincing. One type of santoku knife, known as “banno hocho” (general-use knife), is designed to cut most food items! These banno hocho are sold at a reasonable price, especially when you consider the quality and effort put into crafting them by hand!

Maintaining the quality

To preserve your knife in the best condition, Azuma Minamoto-no Masahisa recommends to always dry your knife right away after cleaning to prevent rusting and to sharpen them properly yourself.

Even though these knives are of the best quality, if not taken care of properly they are susceptible to rusting. This is why they recommend to wipe and dry your knives after you’ve finished washing them. If you are able to do this, these knives will last much longer!

Be careful though: just because these knives are all-use, Azuma Minamoto-no Masahisa’s workers strongly advise against cutting hard objects like bones which will depreciate the quality of and damage your blade quickly.
Another thing you should be sure to do is sharpen your knife. Sharpening your knife will help to keep it in the best state possible and of course help for longer use!

The friendly staff, amazing assortment of materials, and unparalleled craftsmanship are unarguably the key to Azuma Minamoto-no Masahisa’s success. So whether you are just curious about knives or want to purchase a quality knife for use at home or perhaps your own restaurant, this business is definitely worth the visit while in Tsukiji!

* Knife sharpening services are also available for a fee and, depending on season, may take several days to complete.
* Note that the maguro bocho pictured above is typically for display only.
* Lectures or experiences on knife sharpening are also unavailable.

Azuma Minamoto-no Masahisa

Written by Lindsey Schultz

*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.

how to know when a knife is actually crafted

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how to know when a knife is actually crafted
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