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A Henckels that costs more than my car

http://www.williams-sonoma.com/produc...

Ok, $1K for a Henckels. It's damascus forged (as opposed to the damascus clad of a Shun or whatever, though not lost-to-the-ages wootz crucible steel or anything). Profiled like traditional German made Henckelses. No full-length bolster. I don't know the weight or thickness, but I feel reasonably comfortable guessing that it is in line with other German chefs knives. African blackwood handle. Oh, and they use lasers somehow (though AFAIK the Henckels people don't come to your home and cut your food with said lasers).

I'm trying not to bias people, but my views will probably quickly become obvious, so let's get it over with: I'm not impressed.

What I'm wondering is who the target demographic is for this knife. It would seem to me that for the same amount of money, you could get a custom knife with more collectors value/better performance/greater potential as a conversation piece.

So if this knife appeals to you, I want to know. I promise not to ridicule. I just want to know why. Any reasons whatsoever will be accepted.

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  1. "No bolster"

    I think they call it a partial or reduced bolster.

    "What I'm wondering is who the target demographic is for this knife"

    Everyone really. At least that is why I read. I read that most cutlery manufacturers do not earn money from their very top line of knives. In fact, they lose money from a pure sale point-of-view. These very expensive and beautiful knives are really used as a promotion/advertising tools to draw people in. Yes, 99.99% of buyers won't buy these knives, but they will admire the knives over and over and then buy another Henckels.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

      ""No bolster"

      I think they call it a partial or reduced bolster."
      _____
      You're right - i was already editing that as you wrote your reply.

      As to the rest of your response...
      I dunno - it just seems to be an odd strategy for Henckels. Their high end lines had been moving more towards a Japanese design until recently. Amongst knife enthusiasts, they were gaining back a little respect for offering high-end, quality products. I know that knife enthusiasts make up a very small part of their customer base, but still it begs the question - what line are they trying to push on their newer customers?

      It sorta looks like they're just trying to justify the cost of the Cronidur chefs knives (also at williams sonoma) by making another even more outrageously overpriced mass produced knife and selling it at the same store.
      http://www.williams-sonoma.com/produc...
      Which is fine I guess. Looks almost like a bargain, comparatively. But then who do those appeal to?

      1. re: cowboyardee

        Cowboy,

        I see this Damascus Forged series as a replacement of their previous 1731 series. The 1731 series was its most expensive series above Cronidur, above Perfection. Now, it appears the 1731 series has been discontinued, so this Damascus Forged series must be it's replacement.

        http://gearpatrol.com/blog/wp-content...

        http://www.zwilling.com/en/knife-seri...

        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

          Hmmm

          I seemed to have missed that line. I actually like the handles on that one better than the blackwood on the Damascus line. Do you know what they cost?

          This might be a marketing improvement for Henckels. People are still confused enough about damascus that they might think it will perform better. And it does look more expensive, handle aside.

          1. re: cowboyardee

            Cowboy,

            Ok. Somehow I thought it is $700, but I must be wrong. Because it is 350 Euro on Henckels' online store.

            Edit: Both wrong. A old data from Amazon shows the Chef knife (1731) was sold for $450. Not as high as I thought, but more expensive than buying it now. I guess it is consider as a real clearence item.

    2. Ha! I saw this a couple days ago.This knife will appeal to people who shop at Williams-Sonoma
      with too much money and who don't cook much.They don't know or care about all the amazing custom knife makers in North America,never mind the fine Japanese steel now available from many fine purveyors in their own backyards.
      To each their own I guess.

      1. cowboy: "What I'm wondering is who the target demographic is for this knife. It would seem to me that for the same amount of money, you could get a custom knife with more collectors value/better performance/greater conversation-piece value."

        Yes, right on all points. The demographic is IMO, sadly, somewhat typical of W-S these days: folks who don't know any better, yet want to feel special, yet have a lot of disposable cash. Maybe it's true that the "superluxury" goods are selling better than ever.

        Melted meteorites aside, 160 layers of Damascus really isn't all that, as you know. 4+ folds? A better question is how you fold two layers of material to end up with 160? 5 bends of 5 layers? Wow, they pulled out all the stops.

        As someone who's into blade profiles, I have to say I like the geometry. It's got a little "ham knife" in its pedigree, don't you think? But, hey, I'm a sucker for a touch of drop-point *and* a big belly.

        I'm sure Chem will report what it's vitals are.

        23 Replies
        1. re: kaleokahu

          "I'm sure Chem will report what it's vitals are"

          Hmm, between the four of us, I am guessing you have the best mean to purchase one.

          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

            Yeah Kaleo - take one for the team.

            1. re: cowboyardee

              Not even enough room on the credit cards for a buy-and-return test drive, sorry!

            2. re: Chemicalkinetics

              Kind of "Kramer-ish" no?

               
               
              1. re: petek

                Shh.... don't use that term. We are luring Kaleo to buy this Henckels Damascus knife. You will startle him with that word.

            3. re: kaleokahu

              "But, hey, I'm a sucker for a touch of drop-point *and* a big belly."
              ________
              Wait, are we still talking about knives?

              I assume at this point that we have scared away anyone who would be inclined to say anything nicer about this knife than you just have. So I'll float this question after your post, seeing as you at least like the German profile and you've made knives (and I'll agree that the little bit of drop point there at the end is at least stylish):

              What's the point of using harder steel on a knife with a traditional German thick grind? (I'll assume that this and the Cronidur and the 1731 have standard thick-ish grinds, since that would help sell their more affordable knives, but who knows - maybe this could be Henckels' $1000 version of a Shun) Seems to me that you'd be better off just using a steel that still has some toughness and impact resistance, steeling the crap out of it between sharpenings, and using it as a meat cleaver when the urge strikes - it's the main virtue of that grind anyway.

              I can appreciate working with that profile and grind as a custom knife maker - some people like that style and want something unique and handmade and with a personality of its own. But the whole concept of pricey, high end, mass-produced German style chef knives just comes off as odd to me.

              1. re: cowboyardee

                "What's the point of using harder steel on a knife with ..."

                Do we know it is made from hard steel knife (>HRC 60)?

                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                  Not really. They're not publishing. We can sorta assume so since the description lists it as "exceptionally hard" and boasts about their ice-hardening making a harder blade. Not that this translates to anything specific on the rockwell scale.

                  I wouldn't expect HRC 66 like their powdered steel lines, but I would be surprised if this wasn't a little harder than the 54-58 HRC of standard German knives.

                  1. re: cowboyardee

                    Cowboy,

                    Yeah, but I feel like it is a recital. Henckels repeats the same thing for about anything.

                    Here, Henckels Pure Chef's knife:
                    "Each knife is precision forged using Zwilling’s Sigmaforge process resulting in an exceptionally hard yet flexible blade."

                    http://www.williams-sonoma.com/produc...

                    Henckels Cronidur Chef's knife:
                    "Each knife is precision forged using Zwilling’s Sigmaforge process resulting in an exceptionally hard yet flexible blade."

                    http://www.williams-sonoma.com/produc...

                    Of course, Henckels Damascus:
                    "Each knife is precision forged using Zwilling’s Sigmaforge process resulting in an exceptionally hard yet flexible blade."

                    http://www.williams-sonoma.com/produc...

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      Fair enough. As I said in a post below, this could just be a prettied-up version of a henckels twin Profection sold for a ridiculous price

                2. re: cowboyardee

                  cowboy: Oops, I see now the double entendre ramifications.

                  "What's the point of using harder steel on a knife with a traditional German thick grind?"

                  Not much. Not being a big Nipponophile (mostly out of sheer ignorance), I don't really subscribe to the Euroknife-as-Cleaver generalization. Sure, you can use them to bust down with, but that's what my cleaver is for. Personally, I think a little too much is made of hardness all around. Harder makes some sense if hardness/toughness are not opposite spectrum ends, but there are more variables in the steels these days. And frankly, even if everyone reading here got the hand-sharpening Jones, they would be a tiny minority of the people buying this kind of knife.

                  I'll also take partial issue with the characterization that this particular blade profile looks German. To me *the profile* looks like "Germans interpreting 1800s American Ham Knife." If you add in the tapered bolsters and hidden tang, it looks vaguely Modern Japanese artisanal to me as well--sort of design by Kommittee.

                  To me high-end and mass produced don't go well together regardless of grind or profile. I think this is something a well-meaning, unwitting person would give his chef as a retirement present.

                  1. re: kaleokahu

                    < this is something a well-meaning, unwitting person would give his chef as a retirement present>

                    That is how I acquired a Michel Bras Santoku that I assume was purchased at WIlliams Sonoma by a good friend, although it wasn't for retiring. Nice gift!

                    1. re: la2tokyo

                      Michel Bras looks nice. The construction is probably the same as Shun Classic (VG-10 core... etc), but it is coated with a titanium layer and it has Bras's signature emblem and has a knife shealth.

                    2. re: kaleokahu

                      "I'll also take partial issue with the characterization that this particular blade profile looks German. To me *the profile* looks like "Germans interpreting 1800s American Ham Knife." If you add in the tapered bolsters and hidden tang, it looks vaguely Modern Japanese artisanal to me as well."
                      ______
                      I'll defer to you here - I don't know anything much about the history of American/German knife making, and a quick google search for 'Ham knife' turns up mostly knives for slicing prosciutto and serrano ham.

                      There seems to be a common misconception that increased hardness makes for sharper knives. That has more to do with grain structure, and the grain structures of Henckels' standard lines of German knives aren't bad. I do think that hardness has value in edge stability for acutely angled knives, as long as they aren't used like meat cleavers.

                      It's not that anyone has to use Euro knives as a cleaver. But those thin, hard, acutely angled Japanese knives just cut better than German knives if you avoid impact work. And they seem to have a little more variation to blade geometry, steel, and technology to justify slightly higher prices, so I can see spending a little extra money on one if it translates to cutting performance. As you implied, these differences aren't very useful for people who don't maintain their knives very well in the first place. And still, I can't imagine paying a grand for a Japanese mass produced knife either.

                      1. re: cowboyardee

                        cowboy: This is not directly on thread, but have you ever played with a microtome? My B-I-L is a histologist, and among his other gifts to me was a box of microtome blades (and a 14" rotatating bench stone/strop and an evil-looking brain sectioning knife). As you probably know, microtomes are used to cut tissue samples as thinly and cleanly as possible for microscopic pathological anaylsis. In some cases only 1 or two cell layers thin.

                        These straightedge blades, at least the ones I got, are quite thin at the very edge but very wide (maybe 5-6mm) at the spine, which sits maybe 2" over the edge. Their primary bevels are hollow-ground with a much smaller wheel than most knifemakers use. I believe the edge bevels are put on flat.

                        I raise this because I have always considered it a bit of a myth that thinner stock yields a sharper knife all other things being equal. With a very sharp, finished edge leading the way, what follows afterward is, IMO not as important. In fact, the sharpest (knife) blades I've ever handled were full-convex ground with a relatively thick "supported" cross-section right behind the edge. Kramer always told me that the thick support in a convex edge actually enhances cutting ability by leveraging the cut. Does this have credence for you?

                        1. re: kaleokahu

                          "In some cases only 1 or two cell layers thin. "

                          It is exactly because it is cutting a thin layer that the blade thickness does not matter, just like a yanagiba is actually very thick at the spine.

                          http://lh3.ggpht.com/___fzu8Ptz-o/ScU...

                          Thick blade cutting thin/soft objects - fine.
                          Thin blade cutting thick/hard objects - fine.
                          Thick blade cutting thick/hard objects - no

                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                            Chem: You've never met my axe. Cuts wood better than my machete.

                            1. re: kaleokahu

                              Now you're talking about something different than sharpness and angle of attack. Now you're introducing velocity and head speed and the dynamics of a moving cutting edge. I would guess that if you could get the same mass in your machete as you have in your axe you would see different results, although only for a short period of time as the finer entry of the machete would dull quickly compared to the more obtuse angle of the axe.

                              I have no idea why I responded to this, and with this degree of detail, I've lost it, it's finally happend. There's men at my door in clean white coats.

                              1. re: kaleokahu

                                Kaleo,

                                Well, that is not exactly what I original meant to address. I wanted to respond to the "wedging" resistance for a thick blade knife. Not the mass x acceleration and not considering the splitting property of wood. In responding to your microtome example, it is exactly because one is slicing a very thin and soft layer of tissue that the resistance is less of a problem. In other words, when slicing a soft and thin layer of tissue, a thin blade has less to offer than a thick blade. When a sushi chef uses a yanagiba (often has a rather thick blade) knife, it is also not a huge problem as well. The same yanagiab trying to cut open a butternut squash will be different.

                                Some day you can introduce me to your little friend (axe), ok? Maybe after your other little friend (Le Creuset)

                            2. re: kaleokahu

                              "I raise this because I have always considered it a bit of a myth that thinner stock yields a sharper knife all other things being equal."
                              ______
                              This may be a bit of a myth, but it wasn't quite what I was getting at. You're right that a thick blade can be every bit as sharp as a thin one. But I'm not really talking about sharpness. I'm talking about ease in cutting, which is a function of both sharpness as well as thinness (especially near the edge, but also generally) as separate factors.

                              I recently made a thread about buying a very thin blade - the Sakai Yusuke - you probably saw it. Compare to a wusthof classic - standard, thick behind its edge German blade. If you sharpened that wusthof enough to shave your face with it, it still would have a much harder time cutting through winter squash than a slightly dull sakai yusuke gyuto. The difference isn't subtle. It's not sharpness at play here.

                              I pick winter squash because it exaggerates the difference, but in truth many things we cut in the kitchen are subject to this effect to some degree. Likewise, while a sharp thick blade like that of a microtome can cut extremely thin samples in the lab due to superb sharpness and machine guides, in the kitchen it is slightly easier to cut extremely thin slices with a thinner knife (or one with extreme asymmetry or a single bevel edge), sharpness being equal, because in the kitchen you use your knuckles as a crude guide, and because angling to cut paper thin slices with a thick double beveled knife tends to cause steering/uneven slices.

                              Again, I'm not saying thinner is always better - there is a trade-off in terms of what kind of treatment that knife can take. But that goes back up to my original point - if you're gonna make a thick German ground blade, you may as well make it to take a little impact, since if you're gonna baby a knife, something a little thinner cuts better. Your axe example is timely because things change once we start including swinging for impact (like a meat cleaver) in our considerations - then having some extra mass in the knife blade (along with some toughness) becomes more important.

                              BTW- I haven't used a microtome personally, but the unit I work on is directly adjacent to a histology lab, so I am familiar with how they work, with a general idea of the wedge shaped blades they use.

                          2. re: kaleokahu

                            Kaleo and Cowboy,

                            "pricey, high end, mass-produced German style chef knives"

                            "To me high-end and mass produced don't go well together"

                            Let me throw something out just for an interesting discussion. Clearly the Henckels Damascus knives are made by Henckels Zwillings, one of the largest and oldest knife manufacturers. However, does this truly translate into mass production? Like you two, I don't presume a lot of people will buy these knives, and I believe Henckels produces these more so for publicity than direct profit. Conversely, Mizuno knives are about the same price range and they are highly respected, so I won't be surprised that the sale figure of Mizuno knives are about the same as Henckels Damascus. In other words, are these Henckels Damascus knives mass producted when the sale numbers may not be all that high.

                            http://www.japanesechefsknife.com/Miz...

                            :) I thought this is a devil's advocate thinking session.

                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                              Chem: I know W-S marks up their knives at least 150%. Are you seriously contending a German bladesmith is pattern welding these up at the forge, forging/grinding out the bolsters by hand and fitting up these knives (and getting them here, marketing, advertising, etc.) for under $400?

                              This blade has web cutting and CNC written all over it. Remember the lasers? They may not make all that many, but I'll believe they're not mass-produced when I see two that are not exactly the same dimensions.

                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                I'm with Kaleokahu on this one - i thought it was obvious that the Henckels was mass produced - for one there are a lot of Williams Sonoma stores, and for another the description, complete with laser testing, sure makes it seem like a mass produced knife. Frankly, if Henckels produced a hand crafted knife (unlikely), I would expect them to be trumpeting it from the mountaintops.

                                The Mizuno in my mind is a perfect counter example - the description takes pains to make it clear that you're buying a hand crafted blade made by a master craftsman. I mean, I'm not in his shop to verify this and I don't own a Mizuno honyaki, but i'm pretty sure that personal craftsmanship by someone who's spent his life making knives is what is supposed to justify the price.

                        2. I read the description and the way I take it is that they are trying to say they found the formula for
                          "true Damascus steel" which I find hard to believe, see wiki

                          "The original method of producing Damascus steel is not known. Due to differences in raw materials and manufacturing techniques, modern attempts to duplicate the metal have failed. Today, the term is conventionally used to describe steel that mimics the appearance and performance of Damascus steel, usually that which is produced by the techniques of crucible forging or pattern welding."

                          A grand for that, nope not a chance

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Dave5440

                            I believe the method to wootz damascus was more or less rediscovered in the last few decades.
                            http://www.tms.org/pubs/journals/JOM/...

                            The henckels in question is pattern welded (wootz damascus was not folded), which makes for a pretty pattern and can produce a nice blade but doesn't have any functional advantages over other common knife making techniques. I don't have anything against pattern welded knives - Bob Kramer and Devin Thomas make some nice ones - but $1K for a mass produced knife seems pretty optimistic of Henckels, much less one with old school German geometry.

                            1. re: cowboyardee

                              cowboy: Separate quick response here. If that's pattern, it's pretty darn ugly or I need new glasses. And if it's pattern, why brag up 160 layers. At that price they ought to have the Bundeswehr insignia in patterned into the blade.

                          2. This knife appeals to me because if I buy it I can tell my friends "That Henckels cost more than cowboyardee's car!"

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: la2tokyo

                              I love it!

                            2. It does very much appeal to me since I have a geeky attraction to knives, probably courtesy of my dad. It's genetic in some cases.

                              I won't buy one, because I don't need a knife like that, I don't treat them as well as a knife ike that deserves, but I will dream of owning it. 8^)

                              There are knife/sword/etc geeks out there, and I can see this knife totally appealing to that demographic. If they have the money, they will buy it. I'm that way with shoes, FWIW.

                              1. BTW- check out valyriansteeldotcom as an intro to knife/sword geeks.

                                1. I think it's obvious, amoung the non knife geeks, Henckels is one of the best names in cuttelry with a very old and established reputation. Why shouldn't they be able to throw out a few high tech words and sell a knife that costs more than your car? There are plenty of people that buy for show and what says great ktichen better than the most expensive model of a very popular brand. What better way to impress the frends and neighbors. Consider, if your frends don't recognize what you have is a Ferrari, there's really no reason to have one, you can only drive 70 and can't thake advantage of the 140 potential anyway. So if they don't recognize your custom knife as expensive, and they wouldn't if they weren't into knives as much as you are, then they won't be impressed by it. On the other hand if all your friends shop WS they will know how expensive your Henckels is and that's impressive.

                                  My grandfather always said gon't buy a better brush than you are painter, a 1K knife would be waisted on me, and my friends would be more impressed with the Ferrari anyway.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: mikie

                                    "My grandfather always said gon't buy a better brush than you are painter,"
                                    _________
                                    Mikie, what I've been implying with my posts on this knife is I suspect you are fully qualified to use it. I think it's more or less a $1000 prettied-up version of Henkels Twin Profection.

                                    So buy it AND the Ferrari. Drive home at 140, and when the cops pull you over and search your car, they'll find the Henckels in your trunk and be all, "Dude! That's the height of German mass-produced kitchen knife technology!" And you can be all, "I know, Officer - take special note of the first fully damascus forged seemless bolster EVER made in the history of time!" Maybe they'll let you off with a warning.

                                  2. "What I'm wondering is who the target demographic is for this knife. It would seem to me that for the same amount of money, you could get a custom knife with more collectors value/better performance/greater potential as a conversation piece."

                                    First off, +1 on what mikie said.

                                    Now, I'll also add: I believe The Great German Marketing Machine has taken note of recent boutique custom brand price escalation, & is trying to grab some market share by combining a globally-recognized brand name with some white-hot knife-geek buzz.

                                    I mean, honestly, with people fighting to get on Kramer's 3 yr waiting list for the priviledge of spending $4,000 on an 8" knife, why wouldn't ANY production-capable manufacturer NOT try to ride that gravy train?

                                    Sure, these blades are whomped out on huge forging machings the size of a small garage; but that doesn't mean we can't fantasize about wizened, Teutonic craftsmen with sinewy muscles, hunched over generations-old anvils, beating the snot out of red-hot steel with hammers the size of a small dog, & then plunging those angry shanks into tubs of ice amidst clouds of acrid steam.

                                    Yes, we can imagine it!

                                    Lasers & knife edges: what doesn't sing about that?!? You put those two together & that has GOT to be one helluva sharp knife. Granted, the lasers are probably only used as measurement devices, but if you don't give out too many details, then the reader gets to fill in the blanks.

                                    African Blackwood: Ooooh... That HAS to be helping out those poor, struggling citizens of the ever-oppressed Dark Continent, no? African coffee, Afrcan micro-loans, African re-usable grocery bags, African Blackwood.... SO much hipper than tired, old Ebony!
                                    And there's no need to worry about your friends drooling over your new knifey purchase: it has a natural resistance to saliva! That's right! What used to require cheap plastic slabs (even if you DO dress it up by stuffing it full of easy, breezy linen) can now be yours in beautiful, au naturel wood!
                                    http://www.exoticwood.biz/africanblac...
                                    _______________

                                    Whew! Sorry everyone.... so sorry.... having your imagination run wild is one thing; having it run amuck is something else entirely....
                                    _______________

                                    CBAD, I'm sorta jesting, but sorta not. I can see these knives actually selling out, then showing up on eBay priced at 50%-100% over original. People will dig this stuff BECAUSE it's from Henckels & BECAUSE they recognize the features as being desireable from a craftsman's blade. Throw in the no-waiting accessibility & dramatically reduced price (over a Kramer) & it's a win-win.

                                    19 Replies
                                    1. re: Eiron

                                      If one of you guys buys it please don't let this thread stop you from posting a review about it.

                                      1. re: la2tokyo

                                        Oh please, oh please, oh please, someone review this knife.

                                      2. re: Eiron

                                        "I mean, honestly, with people fighting to get on Kramer's 3 yr waiting list for the priviledge of spending $4,000 on an 8" knife, why wouldn't ANY production-capable manufacturer NOT try to ride that gravy train?"
                                        _______
                                        I guess that's my point - In my eyes, this knife lacks the appeal of a Kramer (which I'll never buy anyway, but that's beside the point) or an expensive knife from another custom knifemaker. After a point, those custom makers aren't selling performance or design (though many of them offer excellent performance and top notch design) - they're selling exclusivity and 'personality' to the extent that knives can have such qualities. They're selling functional handmade works or art.

                                        I just don't see that here. This seems to have almost as much to do with spending a fortune on a vintage coke machine or Colonel Sanders' dapper, white, chicken-smelling suit ( http://goliath.ecnext.com/coms2/gi_01... ). Even that I understand as a concept, though I can't relate to the urge to pay lots of money for iconography of branding. But does Henckels as a brand really have THAT kind of love?

                                        Or, the more cynical side of me suspects that Henckels is trying to sell this knife to people who don't understand that custom makers* justify their prices by the cost and time needed to handcraft a show-quality knife; to people who don't understand that this knife is not made the same way.

                                        *Kramer aside, whose prices are justified additionally by an almost mythic notion of making the 'best' knives to be had, as well as a dubious notion that the cost of his knives will continue to increase indefinitely making them a worthwhile financial investment

                                        1. re: cowboyardee

                                          "I guess that's my point - In my eyes, this knife lacks the appeal of a Kramer. . . " And my point is that you know that, and the people on this thread know that, but how many people have mone, know the Henckels name and have no idea who Kramer is (other than the guy on Senifield)? I've got to agree with Eiron, this is for those who are really not in the knife know.

                                          1. re: mikie

                                            "how many people have mone, know the Henckels name and have no idea who Kramer is (other than the guy on Senifield)? I've got to agree with Eiron, this is for those who are really not in the knife know."
                                            _______
                                            I didn't realize those people spent a thousand bucks on a single knife. I guess I can't fault Henckels for floating this out there to see if they will.

                                            But using that logic, why not charge $2k or $5k for the same knife? If price has nothing to do with production costs or scarcity of supply, if indeed high price is a reason in itself to buy this knife, why not just give the people what they want? In my mind, once you're spending $1k on a single knife, you're already damn close to 'money is no object' territory.

                                            1. re: cowboyardee

                                              The Shun brand has been hurting Henckels both in sale as in reputation. More people are starting to consider Shun, and the reputation of "Henckel is the best" is getting weaker by the days. I had a Williams Sonoma sale telling me that Shun knives are better than Henckels. I overheard a Bed Bath and Beyond employee said similar things to a couple doing their wedding registration.

                                              Having this knife sitting in the glass show case is an answer to the $400 Shun Kramer's knife. For a long time, Henckels knives just look relatively boring compared to Shun and Global behind the glass case. I have seen people ask the employee to open the glass case to take a look for the Shun knives. I have not had a chance to see people asking to hold a Henckels. Having this $1000 knife will surely generate a lot of attention. Yes, I may not consider buying it, but now I know Henckels can make knives even prettier than Shun can. Therefore I still believe Henckels is the best. My faith has been reaffirmed. ... etc...etc

                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                "Yes, I am even consider buying it"
                                                ______
                                                OMG - DO IT!

                                                DO IT DO IT DO IT DO IT DO IT DO IT DO IT DO IT!

                                                You'll never have to take one for the team again.

                                                More seriously, I think that you're onto something about the Ken Onion and more recently the Shun Kramer - more than other Shun knives, they really seemed to send a ripple to other large knife manufacturers - something along the lines of "wait - people are willing to spend several hundred dollars on a widely available production knife? You don't have to invent a new steel or put diamonds in the handle or anything? And doing so helps our brand even when people don't buy the expensive knife?" It seemed to make big manufacturers re-evaluate their high end. We could see this Henckels as the logical conclusion to that line of thought.

                                                At the same time, I knew the Shun Kramer was overpriced. But it doesn't seem nearly as hilarious at $400 as this one does at $1000. I hope wusthof comes out with a $10k offering, but so far they don't seem to be playing this game.

                                                1. re: cowboyardee

                                                  ""Yes, I am even consider buying it""

                                                  Man, I really need to spell check . Not taking one for the team today. :)

                                                  I meant to say that "Yes, I may not consider buying it, but now I know Henckels can make knives prettier than Shun can....." I am sure you have noticed this slow shift of perspective that Henckels is losing its reputation to Shun -- among the larger customer population.

                                                  Wusthof, historically, is a lot more conservative. I don't think Wusthof cares to appear as "number #1". Wusthof may come up something, but I doubt anything in that price range.

                                                  "But it doesn't seem nearly as hilarious at $400 as this one does at $1000."

                                                  Consider at least the $400 dollar Shun Kramer is a SG-2 knife at the very least. Who the heck know what this $1000 Henckels is made of anyway. For all I know, it could be a very unimpressive steel. Yet this $1000 knife surely radiates a "statement" to the general public. The statement of "We are still the best" (You may not able to afford me, but now you know Henckels make the most expensive and best looking knives)

                                                  I think making a very expensive and eye-catching knives like these is a far more cost effective (and cost saving) strategy than buying ads space in magnezines or getting celebrity endorsment. Getting Rachel Ray to hold one of your knives is not cheap. I am guessing that having 5-10 of these knives sitting behind each Williams Sonoma knife case will be cheaper and will be more impactful.

                                                  Just look at us, even we won't buy it, we will probably check out this Henckels Damascus knife and then we may consider their cheaper lines. Whereas I never have the slightly urge to check out the knives hold by celebrity chefs.

                                                  1. re: cowboyardee

                                                    So does anyone think that this will start other popular knife brands to start 1 upping the competition?. $1000.00+ Shun,Global,Wusthof..?

                                                    1. re: petek

                                                      I think a lot of those companies will make more knives in $300-$500 range. With people in Williams Sonoma spending $250 for a copper pan, and $100 per stem of Riedel Sommelier glasses, $400 for a knife seems to be reasonably easy to charge. The Michel Bras knives are in every store, so I assume someone is buying them, and the markup must be huge for them considering it's roughly the same as a $150 knife with a kicked up F&F. Funny how they can sell all those knives but no whetstones isn't it?

                                                      1. re: la2tokyo

                                                        Whetstone sharpening is a dirty job for lowly people. Why get your hands all dirty and muddy and most importantly, bad for your fingernails.

                                                        The expensive knives are the signs of our strong economic recovery. People are spending excessive money again!

                                                        1. re: la2tokyo

                                                          They might not sell any whetstones,but I did see a $1200.00 Michel Bras knife storage block!! Wow!
                                                          edit: Sorry it's on sale for $890.00...

                                                          1. re: la2tokyo

                                                            "Funny how they can sell all those knives but no whetstones isn't it?"
                                                            _____
                                                            Why would you need a whetstone after spending hundreds of dollars on a knife? Sounds unpleasant.

                                                            1. re: cowboyardee

                                                              Maybe it stays scary sharp without sharpening it. Then it could be a steal at $1000. Maybe it belongs in the same category as the Denon AKDL1 Dedicated Link Cable.

                                                              1. re: la2tokyo

                                                                All I am saying is that if I spend $1000 on a knife, I don't expect it will ever need to be sharpened.

                                                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                  I spent $1000 on a knife and it didn't even come sharpened, so maybe the joke's on me.

                                                                  1. re: la2tokyo

                                                                    Yeah, and your knives rust. Bad deals. :)

                                                                    1. re: la2tokyo

                                                                      You should buy all of your knives at Williams Sonoma. They'll ship to Japan, right?

                                                2. re: Eiron

                                                  As always, you are funny as heck. I did see you have toned it down a bit on the "Yes we can imagine it!" phrase.

                                                3. I don't see what the point is of villifying either Henckels for producing the knife or anyone who happens to buy it. It's a knife. If people want it and have the money to buy it, they will.

                                                  I'm fairly certain that the people that designed, fabricated, and market this knife know more about knives than most of the people on this forum. They certainly know more about Henckels' market and customers.

                                                  To criticize the specific features of the knife with the purpose of undermining the suggested retail price is misplaced antipathy. It's a collector's knife and it is, from my perspective, rather beautiful and unique. As to whether it is the "best" possible design for a chef's knife is entirely immaterial to what its purpose is.

                                                  And to those of you who go on about how the customer is definitely someone with too much money and too little knowledge about cooking, all you do is betray your own discontent. The customer for this knife is someone who wants it and can afford it, pure and simple. No doubt there will be well-heeled purchasers who are very skillful cooks. Some of them might even actually use the knife instead of hanging it on the wall with their other collectible kitchen knives.

                                                  It's just a knife. Don't be hating on it.

                                                  10 Replies
                                                  1. re: LovinSpoonful

                                                    Don't take it personally. Most of the criticism here is in part for comedic effect. Really, I'm just trying to drive a discussion about what factors make a knife worth spending a lot of money on. This knife, in my eyes, doesn't fit the bill.

                                                    If you dig it and have the cash, more power to you.

                                                    But in keeping with this thread - what is it about THIS knife that might make you want to blow a grand on it versus other knives in the same price range?

                                                    1. re: cowboyardee

                                                      I was not taking it personally...quite the contrary, it seemed to me that others were...that some were in fact quite angry that such a knife would be marketed and that people would buy it.

                                                      Me? I'm not in the market for anything remotely like that. All of my knives are hand made in Japan by individual craftsmen and I buy them direct but I have rarely paid more than $60 for one. Then again, I probably have a few thousand dollars worth of Griswold skillets, which is clearly a more baffling disease than knife collecting.

                                                      1. re: LovinSpoonful

                                                        $60.00 for a hand crafted Japanese knife!! Hook me up...

                                                        1. re: petek

                                                          http://www.japanwoodworker.com/dept.a...

                                                          Beware - masterpieces these are not.

                                                          1. re: cowboyardee

                                                            I guess they get the job done.don't let any William's Sonoma fans get wind of this site...

                                                            1. re: cowboyardee

                                                              does anyone own any of these knives, or know where any are reviewed? Some of them claim to be either white or blue steel individually tempered to 63 HRc. If that is the case, a 35 dollar knife straight from Japan with aogami steel is a steal, so to speak. I just bought a Tanaka nakiri, which pretty much meets the same description, and the price was similar from Chefknivestogo, but there are limited blade designs in that price range. The knives on japanwoodworker seem to be available in many more shapes/sizes. perhaps the lesser-known maker and less refined FandF are what's keeping the price low, and if that is the case, these could be great knives, even if you have to touch up the blade once you get it home. any thoughts?

                                                              1. re: motownbrowne

                                                                "does anyone own any of these knives"

                                                                Many people do. Cowboy for one. Their FandF is about the same as your Tanaka maybe worse.

                                                                1. re: motownbrowne

                                                                  I have the $45 nakiri and the paring knife. Also a friend of mine liked my nakiri so much he went and bought one himself.

                                                                  I've heard from others that the grind on many of these knives is too thick for most Japanese knife designs. From the paring knife, I don't doubt that's the case with many styles - the grind is quite thick, and I don't use that knife much (in part cause I have a paring knife i much prefer in the Dojo line). Probably wouldn't be a problem with the Deba (i believe they're double beveled Western debas, BTW) for obvious reasons.

                                                                  As for the nakiri - it's got a little weight on it compared to some nakiris. Mine was also thick behind its edge (though the overall thickness wasn't bad) and a little wavy at the edge. Bevel wasn't too clean either. I spent hours reprofiling that nakiri - thinning it behind its edge and straightening the edge itself. It's a great knife now, considering what I paid for it. The steel itself takes and holds a very sharp, acute edge. It is blue carbon steel, but not nearly as reactive as my white steel yusuke - it forms a nice working patina after a while and doesn't give me any problems. Again, great knife for the money, but needed some work.

                                                                  Incidentally, my friend's tossagata nakiri came with a nice straight edge and was comparably thin behind the bevel. He loves it, and it didn't really need any work.

                                                            2. re: LovinSpoonful

                                                              I don't think anybody is angry. Bemused, more like. Most of the guys on this thread know each other (which is not to say that others are unwelcome) and know each other's sense of humor.

                                                          2. re: LovinSpoonful

                                                            LovinSpoonful: You read a lot into the prior posts to find hate, discontent and antipathy.

                                                            The knife is extremely overpriced for a mass-produced blade. As I posted above, I actually like the blade geometry. If my hyperbole went beyond that, chalk it up to comraderie, not a antipathetical intent to undermine the suggested retail price or display darkly disturbed motives.

                                                            But since you're a contributing member, what is it, in your 3rd paragraph, you meant by the immateriality of design to purpose?

                                                            To paraphrase the Mods, Hate the knife, Love the knife geeks.

                                                          3. Shaking head in disbelief.

                                                            1. The knife steel alone is 400.00 plus dollars, before anything else is done.