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May 6, 2011 12:47 PM

Bob Kramer+Steel Cable=Damascus Blade

How the maestro does it. Check out the workshop toys,,,

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  1. Very cool video.So will he turn that piece of steel into a blade?

    33 Replies
    1. re: petek

      Guess so. He's already almost there. FYI, provided you can worm your way in without a sub, there's a great New Yorker article on Kramer from 2008. Try this:

      1. re: Kagemusha

        Subscribers only for that link,but thanks for trying.The thing I keep hearing about Bob Kramer is that he's the nicest guy in the world to deal with.Really cares about his work.Just for a larf I signed up for his lottery to get on the waiting list.

        1. re: petek

          Too bad, it's a good read on the art+science of the knife trade. Good luck with your "chance to get a chance" bid!

          Surprised the resident knife fanboys didn't weigh in on this.

          1. re: Kagemusha

            Oh they will when I get my Kramer and post pics of it! :=D(one can always dream)

            1. re: petek

              Why not? Just because you're on a diet doesn't mean you can't look at the menu.

              1. re: Kagemusha

                Truism..And I've been on a diet for a while.I don't even know what I would do if I had the opportunity to purchase a Kramer. Would I be stupid to spend that kind of money on a knife,or stupid not to.
                Not that it matters,I'll never get the chance anyway.

            2. re: Kagemusha

              Cool video. Kramer has a nice shop for a custom knifemaker. I guess that should be expected given what he can get away with charging. I'll try to look at the article later when I have time.

              1. re: cowboyardee

                From that video , his shop is well equiped , but it's a friggin mess, typical artist!
                That being said I know his knives are great but I'm just not that impressed, I don't think I would buy one even for a 100$

                1. re: Dave5440

                  How about this one? It's a custom he made for somone on KNF.

                  1. re: petek

                    That is pretty sweet, I might pay for that one

                    1. re: Dave5440

                      "I might pay for that one"

                      For how much? $100? $800? $3000?

                      Me? Not a big super fan of Bob.

                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                        Personally, I'm a little more pro-Kramer than most of you guys. His work looks good to me and I don't have any major quibbles with his design features. Admittedly not having played with one of his knives in person, I still think his workmanship alone probably justifies a price tag in the $500-$1k range for many of his blades (which is not to say I'd personally pay that much for one, but that's because I don't buy custom knives in that price range).

                        Of course, the multi-thousand dollar going rate for his knives right now is ridiculous. But interesting at the same time. He's somehow managed to carve himself a reputation among the general cooking public as maker of The Best Knives Money Can Buy. There's no other maker who has close to his reputation - no Lamborghini vs Ferrari debate (except among knife enthusiasts who realize that there are other makers producing knives that are every bit as good for a fraction of the price).

                        His pricing just goes to show that some people will pay almost anything for something, as long as it's "The Best" of its kind. Now, if only I could think of an easy way to exploit this truism for profit...

                        1. re: cowboyardee

                          "I'm a little more pro-Kramer than most of you guys"

                          You don't know that. You are just guessing. :)

                          "I still think his workmanship alone probably justifies a price tag in the $500-$1k range for many of his blades"

                          But his knives are not in that price range

                          " long as it's "The Best" of its kind. Now, if only I could think of an easy way to exploit this truism for profit..."

                          "The Best" is a concept. It is a idea, even a lifestyle. You are not selling a product per se, but rather an idea. When a person buys a Ferrai, he isn't just buying a car-car. He is trying to buy an idea and a lifestyle.

                          Now come up with an idea you want to sell me.

                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                            "But his knives are not in that price range."
                            I know. I got the impression that some of you think he doesn't make very good knives in the first place (which is fine - I just disagree). I was pointing out that when you take away his mythology and reputation, he's still making a good product that compares well to other high end custom kitchen knives.

                            "Now come up with an idea you want to sell me."
                            As soon as I come up with said idea, I'm selling it to you and the rest of the world at exorbitant prices, buying my own private tropical island, and never wearing shoes again.

                            1. re: cowboyardee

                              "As soon as I come up with said idea, I'm selling it to you and the rest of the world at exorbitant prices, buying my own private tropical island, and never wearing shoes again."

                              There is a thought. Sell us "sand-filled sandals". Sandals which makes us feel like we are walk on a sand beach, as if we are walking on our very own sand beach.

                              (what a freaking mess).

                          2. re: cowboyardee

                            I think Kramer makes beautiful knives,I'm just not into the profile of his blades.

                            The one pictured above is more my style.

                            1. re: petek

                              If you don't mind my asking, what about the profile don't you like? Is your objection stylistic/aesthetic or functional?

                              I've personally grown to like the narrow, slightly angular profile of the yusuke gyuto I bought a few months back. I think my idea chefs knife would be that shape, but with an extra inch or so of perfectly straight edge at the heel end of the knife. The standard Kramer profile, though it looks quite a bit different, would be functionally similar I think.

                              1. re: cowboyardee

                                "Is your objection stylistic/aesthetic or functional" Yes,but I think they go hand in hand. It's something about the drastic up sweep of the tip and the big belly that doesn't look functional or aesthetically pleasing to me.
                                Pictured below is a 10" Kramer chef's knife(which I don't own and have never had the pleasure of using) and 240 Moritaka(which I do own and use daily at work and at home).Now I am in now way comparing the quality or F&F of these two knives(that would be like comparing an Aston Martin to a Corolla) Just the profiles.

                                Maybe If I was ever lucky enough to get a chance to handle a Kramer(maybe one of his knockoffs) it might change my mind completely.

                                1. re: petek

                                  Ah, so you like nearly straight edges. Your Moritaka does look particularly straight, even for a gyuto.

                                  And you're right that the Kramer does have a little more curve or belly than most gyutos. But I wanted to point out that I think there is also a bit of a visual illusion going on in Kramer's knives. The spine doesn't run parallel to the edge over the heel, like it does in most gyutos and even classical German chef knives. This makes it look like the edge is more curved than it is, like it has more belly than it does. This would actually be most evident when the heel end of the knife is flat on the board - the handle and spine are up at an angle (of course, you may object to this as well).

                                  Here's a picture of a Kramer custom and a Shun Kramer, taken at an angle that makes the illusion a bit more obvious. The Shun is on the bottom (as I'm sure you can tell). The edge itself, especially on the custom Kramer, isn't that far from a gyuto in terms of curvature.

                                  1. re: cowboyardee

                                    The profile on my Moritaka is more like a suji than a gyuto which has helped me learn to push cut rather than rock chop,which is a good thing.

                                    I see what you mean by the visual illusion on the Kramer.what a difference.The Shun looks almost twice as fat as the original.The angle of the handle and spine are even more evident from the photos on his website. I certainly don't object to any of Kramer's designs but without being able to handle or use one it just looks(to me) a little unusual for a chefs knife.if that makes any sense.:)

                                    1. re: petek

                                      "Kramer's designs but without being able to handle or use one it just looks(to me) a little unusual for a chefs knife.if that makes any sense.:)"

                                      And a Moritaka gyuto does not look strange for a Chef knife? :P

                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                        You got me there Chem! Like i said,my gyuto looks more like a sujihiki, so I guess you're right.

                            2. re: cowboyardee

                              Kramer's bespoke knives have nothing to do with the inane concept of "The Best." They're one-off, custom products made to suit you, not "off-the-peg" merch. That's the difference you pay dearly for.

                              1. re: Kagemusha

                                There is a growing pool of makers who will make you a fully customized knife, and a good one at that - just as good as Kramer's knives, I'd say in many cases. They can't get away with charging $5k+ per knife. Not even close. Kramer can because of his reputation. As the 'best.'

                                It may be an inane idea, but that's the way he seems to be percieved. Or even more accurately, he is perceived by many as some cross between "the best" custom maker of kitchen knives and 'the only" custom maker.

                              2. re: cowboyardee

                                CBAD, I'm very pro-Kramer, but I'm no longer lustful of his products. Handling the Shun-Kramers cured me of the desire to own one. No issues at all with edges or profiles or appearance; just don't like either of his handle designs, Euro or Asian.

                                I think you should definitely make a trek to both W-S and SLT to try out both designs. I've become "spoiled" by the feel of my Kanetsune, & I think you'd experience the same epiphany after using your Yusuke for this short amount of time.

                              3. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                It would depend on the handle, I can't tell from the pic but if I liked it 300$, I'm also not a big fan either.

                                1. re: Dave5440


                                  :) Bob's knife will never be sold at $300. Probably not even at $3000 for the one we looked at. I just wasn't sure how committed you were when you wrote "I might pay for that one"


                                  I think Bob makes great knives. I just don't think they are justified for the price range -- not for me. I don't know if I told you that, but I also not a fan of the concept of "$100 hamburger".


                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                    "$100. hamburger"

                                    Even if it was stuffed with foie truffles and short ribs??? :-D

                                    1. re: petek

                                      :) No. I think it goes against the very ideal of a hamburger.

                                    2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                      Chem, I would be commited to 300$ I know his knives go for a lot more than that, but that would be the highest I would go. Making a knife isn't brain surgery it's pretty simple with the right equiptment, hell my grandmother made one on the farm 50yrs ago, (it isn't pretty but it sure works, still). Making a good living making knives is the trick, but I still can't get over what a mess his shop is, and to let someone film in it without cleaning it up first, shamefull.
                                      175$ for a burger, not a chance, but I'm sure he'll sell lots of them on wall st. , spreading that bail out money around.

                                      1. re: Dave5440

                                        "Making a knife isn't brain surgery it's pretty simple with the right equiptment"

                                        Yes, but you are not paying for just any other knife. You are paying for a very well made knife. Think of it like a painting. Any 3 years old can draw, but high quality paintings are worth thousands of dollars or more.

                                        Of course, I am playing a bit of a devil's advocate here. I agree with your view that Kramer's knife are overpriced. I am surprised how many of us openly agree on this.

                                        Edited: Just read the bail out money part.... it is funny.

                                        1. re: Dave5440

                                          Dave, I think that's just the way a lot of creative folks operate. The guy who built my custom lugged steel bicycle has a shop that looks like a bull ran thru it. But he's been building in this shop/location for the past 30 yrs, & besides his own frames he also makes the frames & all of the custom accessories for the $10,000 Rene Herse bikes. Oh, & the Rivendell customs, too. (OK, yeah, a couple of others as well.)

                                          1. re: Eiron

                                            Well it's a sad reality that some pretty simple things cost so much money, because people get convinced that they can't do it or are unwilling to get their hands dirty to do it. Oil/filter change on your car for instance 30$ in parts 20 min in the driveway VS 100 at the dealer, brake job same thing, nobody I know over 55 ever paid anyone to do routine maintenance on anything. Their kids, most don't attempt anything. But more on topic is those 200$ cutting boards, I was making those in the 7th grade , we banged them off in a week of 2.5 hr classes, I could probably do one a day now if I didn't get so bored doing it.