Best fit & finish for $$$

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Best fit & finish for $$$

Post by CacahuateSommelier » Wed May 16, 2018 9:48 pm

I really enjoy a knife that has excellent F&F..... I love it when all of the details are addressed and the knife feels like there isnt anything else that can be done to improve it. Like a fully rounded & polished spine + choil, sealed tang, smooth transition from ferrule to handle, well finished handle with no gaps in materials & crisp lines, well executed blade face finish regardless of finish (polished, hairline, kuriouchi, tsuchime, Nashiji...etc), consistent grit/grain on finish or blade road. Straight & true grinds, San-mai’s that wrap around the spine.... etc

Only area I don’t care about is finish sharpening, its nice to have great factory edge, but my feeling is that it’s going to need to be re-sharpened eventually anyways, soo... yeah)

So, what are the nicest finished products in the following price ranges? ($$$ range assumes 210 Gyuto, but adjust accordingly for different blade shapes/sizes):

Low end - under $120 (hard to find great finish, but some exist)
Entry level - $120-$200
Mid range - $200-$300
High end - $300-$500 (out of my budget, but interested to know)
Ultra premium - $600+ (I expect excellent finish unless exotic materials, custom handle, crazy high demand, collector items, rare/ discontinued)

I personally am looking for knives in the 2nd & 3rd price categories, but all suggestions are encouraged as others members have different $$$ needs & recommendations in other ranges will help out someone else

*** Before anyone replies/advises that “it is easy to adjust F&F to virtually any knife using limited supplies, little time, minimal effort” ..... I realize this & understand, but that is not the question

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Re: Best fit & finish for $$$

Post by CacahuateSommelier » Wed May 16, 2018 10:08 pm

In searching throughout the forum, Ben has single handedly made Makoto a must buy in this category. Want the 240 once restocks come in

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Re: Best fit & finish for $$$

Post by cedarhouse » Wed May 16, 2018 10:27 pm

Do you have a knife that ticks all your example of what success looks like to you?

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Re: Best fit & finish for $$$

Post by salemj » Wed May 16, 2018 10:27 pm

Entry level: This is tough. Honestly, probably a Miyabi or Shun on sale, such as a Miyabi Koh. Maybe a Harukaze or Anryu.

Mid range: My guess is that you'd do best with a Kurosaki or Shibata. Konos are also quite good, but they don't always have the smooth handle transition that some people (such as yourself) really prize. In fact, several of my high-end Konos do not have a perfect handle has never bothered me, and it has also never, ever seemed like it had anything to do with poor quality control or fit and finish. It seemed intended, as the joining of two dissimilar materials. The newer handles are smoother, such as on the MM series, and they are clearly designed that way (and also join two similar materials, such as two woods, rather than two different ones). Maybe some of the new Yahiko lines??

High end: Probably same as mid range...just nicer versions! Haha. You could add a few others: some Sakai Takayuki, maybe some of the nicer Masakage lines, and then the random one-off offerings. Part of the issue here is that you switch from mass-market "brands" and "lines" to more specific and individual makers. I think there are probably a few newer makers in this range that I haven't tried and that are either new to Mark or not sold by him that would fit here. An obvious example in this price range and above would be Gesshin lines; less obvious examples might be some Toyama knives...I haven't tried. And, without doubt, anything custom in this range, such as a Carter Bladeworks.

Ultra premium: I suspect most North American makers. Sukenari. Most honyaki. But honestly, I would not immediately assume a knife 600+ would fit the bill coming from Japan. It is easy to imagine many such knives coming with ho-hum handles and installs, for example, or choils that are sharper than you'd like. For example, my Bloodroot probably has the highest attention to detail of any knife I've used, including an Ikeda honyaki. Second might be a Konosuke Fujiyama with an upgraded handle (under this price range, though). Point is, I think that fit and finish is actually where a lot of American makers and commercial makers really excel. I would definitely - unequivocally - have higher fit and finish expectations buying a $600-1000 knife from a US maker than from a Japanese one. Definitely.

Comments: I'm short, a home cook, prefer lighter, thinner blades, and own mostly Konosukes but have used over a dozen brands.

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Jeff B
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Re: Best fit & finish for $$$

Post by Jeff B » Wed May 16, 2018 11:18 pm

They are yo handle but the Kanehide TK has very good fit and finish. I can't believe these knives never got anymore support than they did as much as the Kikuichi TKC line was loved. They are great performing knives. The 210 gyuto is now only $103 and the 240 just $113!

In that $200-$300 market you need to keep your eye on the Mazaki Hairline and Kurouchi, beautiful knives! The Ikeda AS Gyuto is another. Anything Kurosaki including the Koishi.

Over $300-$400+ the Hinoura, Saji, Sukenari.
If God wanted me to be a vegetarian he wouldn't have made animals taste so good.

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Re: Best fit & finish for $$$

Post by Lepus » Thu May 17, 2018 1:30 am

A lot of the knives with more mass appeal fit in here. Kikuichi does well with some lines.

The best fit and finish I have seen out of the box is my Fujiyama. Wonderfully finished choil, spine, handle, the whole nine yards. The handle has shifted a bit and swelled slightly around the ferrule, but not by much. My Makoto and Kashima were close, just not as perfectly relieved.

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Re: Best fit & finish for $$$

Post by Igalor » Thu May 17, 2018 3:07 am

My shig had the best finished blade and the best stock handle that I've had ootb.spine and choil fully rounded and polished, the blade was beautifully polished, totally smooth, no grind marks or scratches. the handle felt great in hand, the install was straight and tight, no sharp edges at all, everything felt designed and executed to perfection, not just to look, but to use.

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Kit Craft
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Re: Best fit & finish for $$$

Post by Kit Craft » Thu May 17, 2018 6:53 am

Kono in general has had some of the best F&F that I have used on J-knives. Still often not quite on par with some of the mass Euro-nese offerings when it comes to spine/choil/handle and transitions but damn close and with better performance. My Gesshin Ginga has pretty damn good F&F too. Some Kikuichi and Takayuki knives as well. But some of my more expensive knives are rougher around the edges than my cheaper ones. Regardless, I think that most of my J-knives have decent F&F. At least for me as I don't mind eased spine/choil rather than full on rounding etc.

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Re: Best fit & finish for $$$

Post by Hammertime » Thu May 17, 2018 10:16 pm

If the new Takamura Chromax Gyuto lives up to the fit and finish of the Migaki R2 and Chromax Santoku than I believe its level of fit and finish would have to rate pretty high for a knife priced at $125.

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Re: Best fit & finish for $$$

Post by Hammertime » Thu May 17, 2018 10:20 pm

Also, I agree with others regarding the Makoto. To me, my Makoto resembles my Masakage Koishi in alot of ways but the Makoto has a higher level of fit and finish at a fraction of the cost. Very nicely polished spine and choil, all edges are nicely rounded, nice handle with an excellent install, excellent grinds etc.

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