An Introduction

Marko Tsourkan makes high-end, high-performance knives, and accessories for professional chefs and home cooks alike.

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Marko Tsourkan
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An Introduction

Post by Marko Tsourkan » Thu Sep 20, 2018 1:46 pm

My name is A. Marko Tsourkan. I live in Mt. Vernon, NY and I work from my workshop in New Rochelle, NY.

As long as can remember, I have always been into knives. A vivid memory from my childhood - my grandfather peeling an apple with his small patinaed carbon folder and me thinking: I want that knife! I got my first folder at the age of 8 and I remember being infinitely happy about it. I carried it in my pocket with me all the time and while that knife is long gone, a reminder of it, a deep scar on my left index finger is ever-present. Helping around the kitchen was part my household chores and that's where I learned to enjoy cooking.

For a long time, German kitchen knives were the best tools I could wish for myself. I have owned knives from Henchkel, Wusthoff, Fissler, WMF. Then about 11 years ago, I started hearing about Japanese knives and how they were a step up from German knives. I came to one of the forums in search for information abouit Hattory HD santoku (!!) and never really left. I started with factory Japanese knives from Hattori, Misono, and gradually eased into handmade knives from Watanabe, Shigefusa and the like.

Back in the day there were only a handful of people making custom handles, and sayas. In fact I can only remember one – Steffan Keller, as another member – Fish, was MIA. Unfortunately, later it turned out that he passed away. I had a little bit of woodworking skills and a lot of desire to learn, so I started with sayas and handles. The learning curve was moderately steep, but I became reasonably proficient in both, so that people started commission custom work from me. About the same time, roughly ten years ago, I met Devin Thomas on the forum. Devin graciously invited me and Mario Ingoglia to visit him in Panaca, Nevada for a free knife-making workshop. He showed us how to make a knife from start to finish. And that is how I got into knife making. We have been friends with Devin ever since. He helped me tremendously on my journey and I am very grateful.

In design, I like simple, elegant forms, and Japanese knives naturally fit in, so profiles and geometry of my knives closely follow those of Japanese. Investing in tools is only a good investment as long as they are high quality and last a long time. That’s what I aim for my work. I select steels that are best suited for kitchen knives, I go through rigorous testing and feedback before I settle on a heat treatment, grind, handle design, etc. I think with proper care, the knives I make will last a life-time for an average user.

Lastly, I strongly believe in sustainability and responsible use of resources. I am phasing out tropical hardwoods past what I already have, as unfortunately it is not longer possible to confirm that any woods from African and South American countries are logged responsibly. I also would not touch elephant ivory, even pre-ban, out of principle. As far as I am concerned, that’s blood money, and I want no part of it.

Thank you.

datster
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Re: An Introduction

Post by datster » Thu Sep 20, 2018 2:04 pm

Marko,
Can't wait to see what you have coming! Words can't even describe how happy I have been with your work!
These are definitely "keepers" in my collection.
Thanks!

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mauichef
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Re: An Introduction

Post by mauichef » Thu Sep 20, 2018 5:37 pm

datster wrote:
Thu Sep 20, 2018 2:04 pm
Marko,
Can't wait to see what you have coming! Words can't even describe how happy I have been with your work!
These are definitely "keepers" in my collection.
Thanks!
Don and Marko...that gyuto is stunning!
Everything about it is pure art.
Love the handle combo.
I have to get one of those!
What steel is it?

datster
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Re: An Introduction

Post by datster » Thu Sep 20, 2018 5:52 pm

Thanks Ray,
It is a beauty for sure. It's a white steel with stainless cladding, I believe they called it Spicy White

Marko Tsourkan
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Re: An Introduction

Post by Marko Tsourkan » Thu Sep 20, 2018 7:05 pm

It is steel similar to White #1. I got it from Devin Thomas. He calls it "Spicy White".

Thanks,

Marko

Robstreperous
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Location: Long Island

Re: An Introduction

Post by Robstreperous » Fri Sep 21, 2018 11:46 am

Hello Marko,

It's a pleasure to make contact with you. I've wanted to for some time. The crazy thing is I live only about 8 or so miles from your workshop (directly across the sound alas...).

I own one of your 250 A2 gyutos as well as a practice 180 paring knife. I love them both.

A question for you if you don't mind? I believe I read somewhere you recommended diamond plates to sharpen your A2? If I may, why is that?

I'm delighted to see you working with CKTG. Using and owning your two knives is a true joy for me.


---Rob

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ChefKnivesToGo
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Re: An Introduction

Post by ChefKnivesToGo » Sat Sep 22, 2018 8:02 am

That’s a great looking gyuto Don. Nice pictures too!
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Mark Richmond
Co-Owner Chefknivestogo
https://www.chefknivestogo.com

Marko Tsourkan
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Re: An Introduction

Post by Marko Tsourkan » Sat Sep 22, 2018 9:10 am

Rob,
A2 is a tool steel and vanadium in it makes it a little more difficult to sharper to razor sharp state on water stones. Over the years I have refined over the years heat treatment for A2, closing the gab in sharpen-ability between it and carbon steels, but I find that it is still best to finished A2 on diamond, be it 8K DMT Diasharp plate, or even 1M diamond spray on felt/leather strop.

Thanks,

Marko

Robstreperous
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Re: An Introduction

Post by Robstreperous » Sun Sep 23, 2018 8:26 am

Marko Tsourkan wrote:
Sat Sep 22, 2018 9:10 am
Rob,
A2 is a tool steel and vanadium in it makes it a little more difficult to sharper to razor sharp state on water stones. Over the years I have refined over the years heat treatment for A2, closing the gab in sharpen-ability between it and carbon steels, but I find that it is still best to finished A2 on diamond, be it 8K DMT Diasharp plate, or even 1M diamond spray on felt/leather strop.

Thanks,

Marko
Thank you Marko. This makes sense to me now.

I'd gotten nice results using Nubatama Platinum but once I started loading my stones with CBN sharpening and loading my strops I found the edge on my knife really sang to me.

Thank you again.

timos
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Re: An Introduction

Post by timos » Tue Sep 25, 2018 10:24 am

Hi Marko, I am sorry I missed introducing myself in Chicago. Welcome to the forum, your work is beautiful. Devin has been a big help to me too , he always answers every question!

Best regards!
Tim Johnson
Oxford, MA

“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few”
--shunryu suzuki
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http://www.timothyjohnsonknives.com
[email protected]

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Drewski
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Location: Manitoba, Canada

Re: An Introduction

Post by Drewski » Sun Oct 21, 2018 1:01 am

Hi Marko, just wondering how I can reach you to discuss a custom handle. Love your work, wish I had the money for a knife. Thanks.

jobone
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Re: An Introduction

Post by jobone » Mon Oct 22, 2018 10:10 am

Awesome works of art, glad to see your spot here

Sharp Knives
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Re: An Introduction

Post by Sharp Knives » Thu Nov 29, 2018 1:22 pm

PM sent

Douglas

Dzieke
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Re: An Introduction

Post by Dzieke » Tue Feb 05, 2019 12:28 pm

Hi Marko,

I have a chance to purchase a Tsourkan gyuto made with 52100 honjaki steel. Some have said a honyaki blade is more difficult to sharpen. What is your opinion? What Rockwell hardness do you temper your honyaki 52100 to?

Thank you

Walt

smcmaui
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Re: An Introduction

Post by smcmaui » Sat Sep 28, 2019 4:35 am

Hi Marko,

Great looking knives, I like the profile and the handles look very comfortable to hold. Looking forward to seeing your knives on CKTG!

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