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Five different kitchen knifes

Mar 25, 1999
<H3>Hattori Hamono Santoku Kumo</H3>
<A HREF="http://www.canit.se/%7Egriffon/knives/kitchen/sk170.jpg"><IMG style="float: left" SRC="http://www.canit.se/%7Egriffon/knives/kitchen/_sk170.jpg"></A>
This is a very good handmade knife in the Unryu series. It's got a 63 layer stainless blade with VG-10 for cutting edge, full tapered tang and laminated ebony handle slabs.

The blade geometry is a full convex grind with no edge bevel, which makes for good cutting performance. Weight, balance and handle are very comfortable, so this has become one of my most frequently used kitchen knifes for everything but meat and the like, even though it's a bit on the large and heavy side. The only downside to it is that the handle leaves a faint smell of ebony on your hand, so you may not want to touch food with it before washing it.

I haven't been extremely careful with it, just reasonably for any knife, and the edge has stood up well for lots of use.

There's no doubt at all I'd consider this line first, the next time I need a kitchen knife.
Weight: 163 g
Length: 290 mm
Blade thickness: 2.5 mm

<H3>Kai Bonvivant BV-16</H3>
<A HREF="http://www.canit.se/%7Egriffon/knives/kitchen/bv-16.jpg"><IMG style="float: left" SRC="http://www.canit.se/%7Egriffon/knives/kitchen/_bv-16.jpg"></A>This is a good stainless knife with a bit thicker edge than the other Japanese knifes here. I find it very suitable cutting meat where it may come in contact with bones, where the more durable edge is good. But it's sharp enough and easily resharpable so cutting other things is no problem either.

The handle consists of two hollow pieces of stainless which have been seamlessly fitted to the sides of the tang. This makes the grip comfortable and the knife easy to keep clean.

The only reason I haven't got more knifes from this line is that I like variety and I already have good knifes of almost all kinds you need in a kitchen. Its price/performance ratio is very good and it seems to stand up for careless users very well.
Weight: 145 g
Length: 280 mm
Blade thickness: 2 mm

<H3>"RH" santoku</H3>
<A HREF="http://www.canit.se/%7Egriffon/knives/kitchen/rh.jpg"><IMG style="float: left" SRC="http://www.canit.se/%7Egriffon/knives/kitchen/_rh.jpg"></A>
This knife I bought as the result of a demonstration, where the maker (or probably a pair of assistants) were selling knifes at a temporary display in a department store. The very thin edges made it extremely easy to cut very thin slices, so of course I couldn't resist getting a knife to a pattern I didn't have enough of.

Language problems prevented me from learning more about the knifes than that they are handmade and that the middle cutting layer is of stainless steel.

Construction is similar to the Hattori and "49 layer" knives, but fit and finish is much rougher, especially around the ebony handle slabs. Also the blade only consists of three layers with the outer ones hammered to an uneven finish, but the tang is tapered, so it's clear that the focus of the design has been on performance and balance of the knife, not looks.

The uneven sides actually do serve a practical function, as they make it harder for what you just cut to stick to the sides of the knife.

In use, its performance is good, but the thin edge does have a tendency to roll and I got a small nick in the edge the first week I used it (I don't know what I did to get it).

It's not hard to keep the edge in good condition, but I wouldn't recommend this knife to anyone who isn't used to knives with very thin edges and who is prepared to spend some time on maintenance.
Weight: 133 g
Length: 265 mm
Blade thickness: 2 mm

<H3>"49 layer" knife</H3>
<A HREF="http://www.canit.se/%7Egriffon/knives/kitchen/49l.jpg"><IMG style="float: left" SRC="http://www.canit.se/%7Egriffon/knives/kitchen/_49l.jpg"></A>This is another knife I brought home from Japan recently. It's very similar in construction, fit and finish to the Hattori one, but the handle is some other kind of wood, also untreated, and there are 49 layers of stainless in the blade.

Good balance, cuts well, very nice looking. The most expensive knife in this bunch, which may have to do with where I purchased it (a department store in the second or third most expensive part of Tokyo - but I simply didn't find any knives in this class on the street where they
specialize in all sorts of kitchen-/restaurantware), but
rather good value for the money anyway, so I don't regret buying it. If the price was the same as the corresponding Hattori models, choosing between them wouldn't be easy.

Weight: 89 g
Length: 245 mm
Blade thickness: 1.5 mm

<H3>Böker Ceramic C-X</H3>

<A HREF="http://www.canit.se/%7Egriffon/knives/kitchen/boker_c-x.jpg"><IMG style="float: left" SRC="http://www.canit.se/%7Egriffon/knives/kitchen/_boker_c-x.jpg"></A>
I used to be a bit doubtful about the utility of ceramic knifes, as they do have a reputation for being fragile and hard to sharpen. Therefore, I decided to try out one of the smaller, less expensive models first.

All of Böker's ceramic kitchen knifes have good ergonomics in my opinion, so I simply choose the smallest one.

I've used it for almost everything in the kitchen, except meat with bones, and it's done a good job of everything, apart from where its size makes it less suitable.

To begin with, I was probably too cautious using it, nowadays I use it like any of the other knifes and no longer would feel doubful about getting one of the larger ones and use it for meat too. It seems to stand up well for regular use, but dropping it could of course break it, but I think it could be used by anyone who takes reasonable care.

It cuts differently from most other knifes, in that the edge is much smoother, so drawing the knife when cutting a soft vegetable doesn't help at all, but it's very sharp so pushing straight down works very well.

I really like that it's so easy to keep
clean, so it's far from unlikely I'll actually purchase a larger one, even if I've really got as many kitchen knifes as I need.

Weight: 38 g
Length: 190 mm
Blade thickness: 2 mm

<small>Photos of the
<A TITLE="Text in Swedish" HREF="http://www.fallkniven.com/shop/hattori.htm">other <strong>Hattori kitchen knife</strong> models at Fällkniven</A>, text in Swedish.</small>

<small>The maker of the "RH" santoku does have <A HREF="http://www.ops.dti.ne.jp/~teruyasu/">a web site</A>, but in Japanese, so I don't know what it says.</small>

<small>Böker's <A HREF="http://www.boker.de/ceramic.htm">webpage about ceramic kitchen knifes</A>, text in German.</small>

Urban Fredriksson

[This message has been edited by Griffon (edited 14 December 1999).]

[This message has been edited by Griffon (edited 14 December 1999).]
Thanks for this excellent review. It is always nice to see kitchen knife reviews. I normlly have a knife or three with me but most of my cutting actually happens in kitchen with kitchen knives. Why do I have only a couple of decent kitchen knives but many fine sport utility pocket knives and fixed blades?

There seems to be a problem with your pics. Atfer looking a larger version of a pic smaller pics seem to move or disappear?? I noticed this problem with moving pics in the first time I read your review and now it happens again. Strange.

Could you tell how much these knives cost in Sweden.

God Jul och ännu bättre nästa År!
Thanks for the review! I just gave the Hattori a great review, based on cutting performance in my kitchen. 'course, I was just comparing it to some German kitchen knives with thicker edges, not to Japanese knives. Good to see the Hattori still stands up, especially since I bought the knife I reviewed!

Griffon, and Joe

PLEASE drop me an e-mail. I would like to know where you purchased the Hattori knives.

Here is a pic of one that Sal Glesser of Spyderco sent me to try out.

Thanks for any info!

Ray 'md2020'

[This message has been edited by maddog2020 (edited 15 December 1999).]

I got mine from Jim Mattis. The importer (or distributor, not sure which) is Tim from Laganet.

Is that Hatori Brothers knife you reviewed the same as the Hattori that we reviewed?

I am not sure (I think I copied tha name correctly off a letter that accompanied the knife - it is so close to spelling, that I would think it could be...LOL). I ranted and raved about this knife in the Spyderco Forum, if you haven't read it.

This Hatori (however it be spelled...) was the nicest slicing kitchen style knife I had ever used. I could slice meats so thin, and so effortlessly that it scared me! Wonderful knife - weighted almost nothing (I should have weighted it, but I didn't have a good scale any where at home).

Ahhhhhh....I should have guessed that James @ Chai would have them.....LOL. He cares some really neat and totally functional inexpensive knives (Puukkos - sp?).

Thanks for the info, Joe!

Ray 'md2020'
Seems like the question on where to get the Hattoris in the US has been answered, if anyone in or near Stockholm wants to know where you can go and check out [some models of] and buy them, drop me letter.