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Jan 26, 2010 08:26 AM

Looking for a handcrafted knife

I am looking for suggestions on where to purchase a high quality handcrafted chef's knife. It would be a 10 year anniversary gift for my husband, so I am really looking for something beautiful and of extremely high quality, rather than commercial brands. We currently have Wusthof knives that he likes, but I am thinking a japanese style blade might be the right choice. We both find that the Wusthof's don't slice through as smoothly as we would prefer for items like sushi, even when just sharpened.

I have about 7 months before our anniversary, so I think that should be plenty of time to get most custom made blades or even something from abroad.

Any other suggestions people have for making this a really special gift?

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  1. Ask the same question here:

    and here:

    you will get no shortage of answers. You'll need to make decisions on handle type, steel type, length, etc. You can also look here: and here: and here:

    good luck have fun.

    1. Good news: You have a lot of options
      Bad news: Most of those options will cost you.
      Here are a few I know of by reputation

      You could go after a Bob Kramer - an American knife maker specializing in kitchen knives who has an enormous reputation. You'd have to be willing to search Ebay and the back rooms of knife forums for someone willing to sell you a used one for several thousand dollars, though.

      Cheaper, less pretty, but highly functional are Murray Carter's knives. I've heard some complain about his handle work. Everyone seems to love his blades themselves though.

      Mr. Itou's kitchen knives are very pretty, a little less functionally minded. Still great though.

      A lot of the well known Japanese makers who semi-mass produce knives have lines that their master/namesake atrisan handcrafts. Good example: the Hattori KD. If you want one of these, you would again have to go Ebaying or making inquiries in knife forums.

      There are makers like Takeda that, to my knowledge, hand craft their knives but also really churn em out. Not as pretty, cheaper, sort of charming, often very fine blades.

      Then there are custom knife and sword makers who aren't known for their kitchen knives, but who can nonetheless make an awesome kitchen knife.
      Take a look at Michael Rader's knives.
      And also Thomas Haslinger's:

      There's all sorts of good stuff I'm either forgetting or have never seen. This list is by no means exhaustive. Hope it's a start.

      Also, as Jeffrey said, check out knife forums - they'll have a million recommendations and tips, I'm sure.

      Edit: also keep in mind that many of these knives are made of carbon steel. While there are custom makers who work with stainless, carbon seems to be the preferred medium, by and large, of custom makers. Are you open to carbon? Or should we pare our suggestions down to stainless only?

      1 Reply
      1. re: cowboyardee

        Bob Kramer usually has at least a years waiting list :(

      2. I kinda like the knives from both Mr. Tanaka and Mr. Saji:

        1. Slowgerky,

          Are you set about this "high quality handcrafted knife" purchase? As cowboy said, this will cost you. There are high quality mass producing knives and there are decent handcraft knives, but real high quality handcraft knives are not cheap. You are looking to pay >$1000 for a used one. For sushi, we are talking about a yanagiba and a mass produced good quality yanagiba is at probably in the range of $300-900 I think and those are the mass produced ones.

          I think it is very sweet of you to try to get your husband a great knife, but you probably want his inputs/preference on this. Also a lot of great knife makers have their things. Bob Kramer, probably the best known American kitchen knife maker, works with carbon steel. Forget about the possible ten of thousand dollar cost, is your husband a stainless steel knife person? Would he work with a carbon steel knife which rusts easily?

          Chance is that it will be difficult to give him a true custom knife without his inputs and therefore it cannot be a surprise. If you have to make it a surprise, chance is that you may get him a knife which will go into a display case and not in the kitchen.

          1. both WS and Sur La Table carry some exclusive knives either by shun or Bob Kramer, while not exactly custom, they are a cut (ouch) above. and are priced accordingly. also there is a michael Bras (sp) at WS that look sensational. William Henry is also well known for folding knives andnow pens etc. but they also make (or possibly made) kitchen knives. i know the swiss army store in westchester does display them