KnifeForums.com - Intelligent Discussion for the knife enthusiast
Recent Members
Welcome them to our community!
Recent Topics
Recent Pictures
thumb_1413801278-100_7971.jpg_big.jpg
thumb_1413312384-Bocote1BF.jpg
thumb_1412800724-1.JPG
thumb_1412652956-24262_1251638018854_7628960_n_1_.jpg
thumb_1412562018-MVP_65b.jpg
thumb_1412353660-2.JPG
thumb_1411961722-374934_2397988276894_1877393445_n_1_.jpg
thumb_1411889958-Summers_131026_-_Copy__617x800_.jpg
thumb_1411695030-100_5450.JPG
thumb_1411471998-MapleBurlHunter.jpg
Current Quote
"To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of people always possess arms..." -Richard Henry Lee, 1788, Member of the First U.S. Senate.
"
~ Richard Henry Lee
0 Online Now
0 viewable users (
    ) and 0 hidden plus 0 guests are online now.
     Page 1 of 4 1234
    Username Post: Enter: NUBATAMA!!!        (Topic#891398)
    theraw
    Master Member KnifeNut!
    *
    01-12-11 07:15.47 - Post#2270434    



    Alright guys, BIG news! We’ve got a new kid on the block! No, no, no, this isn’t just some new Blue or white steel knife, or even something super exotic like a Cowry or ZDP blade, but a whole new animal that I’m willing to bet NONE of you have ever tried. What is it? Do I have your attention?

    About a month ago, Ken daringly sent me out a knife made by a mystery smith during the holiday mail rush. It made it safely to my door; where I unwrapped it like a kid on Christmas.


    Enters NUBATAMA!



    Ok… so it’s a yani. And it’s only 230mm… what’s the big deal?

    Ahhhhh, Look closers. Still can’t see it?

    It’s OK, I’ll give you a big hint. It’s made of Black Steel! :O

    What the hell is Black Steel?!?! Is it Hatachi made?! To my knowledge, no, and sadly I don't know much more about it... yet.

    Also I noticed that even for it’s size it appeared thinner then I was expecting. It was closer to a usubiki then a yanagiba. (Think Shigi, just a tad thicker, but not yani thickness).



    The knife was completely finished on natural stones as well, creating a very nice contrast. It is also of important note that the face of the blade above the shinogi IS polished, but not to a mirror like you would see with a Nenohi, Doi/Suisin, Konosuke, or the like. Nope, this is all natural stones, and since that area is comprised of soft steel it does not reach a mirror. For some this might be a turn off, but in all truthfulness it has a real sense of character about it that I began to notice more and more as time went by. When I first saw it I was disappointed with the lack of mirror as I was used to buying super high end shiny steel. But to my surprise this began to grow on me just as much as the others. It has a real genuineness about it. It radiates with a truly individually hand made “vibe” that you can’t miss. Does this mean it’s poor construction? NO! This is not “rustic” like a Takeda or Moritaka. Quite the opposite. This knife is instead very strongly influenced by the culturally and aesthetic sensibilities embodied in the Japanese concepts of Wabi-sabi .



    I highly suggest reading this link in order to understand what I’m referring to. HIGHLY recommend, as it will be referenced later, if not many times after.

    But enough of the aesthetics. We’ll come back to that. Let's get down to the good stuff. So let’s talk edge retention and performance.

    Well the coin flip says we’re gonna talk about edge retention. In a word: Outstanding! How would I describe it?... sturdy, tough, and HARD. It has no micro bevel or hamaguri bevel on it. So you can’t count that in as being a factor in its toughness.
    Over the past two weeks I was able to use this knife, and there was close to ZERO loss of edge retention in any form, except ever so slightly near the tip, so performance stayed consistent 95% through and through. Another interesting point to make though, and I’m not sure if this is because the knife was finished with naturals, but there was a very minimal patina build up. I even tried to cut a whole bunch a raw bacon (very acidic)with it, and is left close to nothing as far as patina went. I’m still not sure how I feel about this, but I’m leaning towards good as I personally like things to stay shiny.



    So to recap that. Edge retention was stellar. No Chipping either. Which surprised me as Ken has informed me that this steel is treated at approximatively 64 hrc! Considering that it was sharpened with naturals too, there is a theory that says that naturals can increase hardness by 1-2 degrees. Now whether this true or not I'm not sure, but if that's the case, we're talking one damn hard steel! The only other steels I’ve heard of that can do that are Cowry or ZDP-189. Cowry IS brittle. ZDP isn’t and neither is this (Black steel). I think I just might have a new favorite steel.

    Ok so performance. It’s like this, I LOVE big knives. 300mm gyuto is perfect, but I’d go as high as 330 no prob. Yani? 330mm at the least. Get the picture? So this knife, when it came to me, was already at a disadvantage. I like to use a long, slow (knife weight only if possible) draw cut with slicing based knives. You really can’t do that with a knife this size… or can you? OK so I wasn’t able to use just the weight of the knife, but it was damn close. 270 would have been great. I sliced up all the protein in sight that I could find. Fish, liver, bacon, steak, little brothers, you get the point.

    Anyways… like I said earlier it looked thinner then the usually yani, even for it’s size. Not quite usubiki thin, but not quite yani thick. It was perfect. To be honest it was a laser. It glides though everything. Even after I used it to cut tons or protein (some of it being very acidic) I later decided to try it out on some old fish that I pulled out of the freezer. I let it thaw and after, as I suspected, it was very brittle. It would tare looking at it. Well almost.. But exaggerations aside the knife was still, EVEN IN SPITE OF THE POOR STATE OF THE FISH, able to cut paper thin slices of fish with close to no tearing at all every time. This is AFTER extensive prior use, and Ken also had someone else try it out even before me, with no intermediate sharpening or touch ups. I also want to point out that almost NOTHING sticks to this knife. I personally think that this is largely due to the finish that the natural stones leave, but I do not doubt that the thinness of the edge plays its part here to.

    Now how this would hold up on something like a gyuto I’m not sure, but from what I’ve seen… I have no doubts it will perform better then most gyuto’s I’ve tried. And I’ve tried a LOT!

    All in all it’s a top performer, no shred of doubt in my mind at all.

    So what are the down sides?... Not many.

    I wasn’t able to see the saya work, but Ken will be able to show you guys some of that later.

    Other then that, on a scale of 1-10 (As far as the fit goes) I’d have to give it a 7.5… initially that is. Now?... More like 8.5. Here’s the thing, I value comfort almost too much. If the handle, choil, ago, and spine don’t caress my hand, it’s a huge turn off for me. So hence my liking of Nenohi/Nenox. HOWEVER after learning about how wabi-sabi influences ideals of craftsmanship, I was able to perceive this knife in a totally different light, and have come to like it for all of it’s very few and minor imperfections, there by coming closer to perfection (You didn't read the article yet, did you? Oh boy ). I’ll let Ken explain in further detail. But at least help him out by reading the Wiki link I posted for you guys. You won’t just look at this knife differently, but many other smiths’ knives, and other Japanese crafts as well in a different light.

    So to explain what I mean, the spine was very nicely smoothed and polish uniformly with the face of the knife (above the shinogi).

    My initial impression was that the ago-migaki and choil were not as smoothed down as I wanted them to be. They were not by any means uncomfortable, nor were they un-aesthetically appealing, but I like what I like, and I hold things to that standard, while still giving room for appreciation of the works of others and their original intent.

    Ken has informed me that for those who are interested in knives made by this smith, that you can request it to be completely rounded and smoothed out, but it is not necessary.

    The handle is is fused by the traditional burring method, which I have no qualms with at all. My personal preference would be to additionally include some sort of wax treatment similar to Nenohi's. Although I really don’t think it’s necessary [in this case], it would have been nice. Again, just being picky. There were no gaps or holes either.



    While the handle felt great (I love D-shaped) the ferrule was not perfectly flush with the handle in one or two spots.

    So all in all, if I was to rate this knife on scale of 1-10, I’d give it a 9, now that I understand it. Before understanding it… 8-8.5. Hell I’d give it a 9.5-10 just based upon performance but my aesthetic standards required me to knock it down a peg.

    Alright Ken, I’ll turn’m over to you.

    Hope this helps guys!

    Charles A.K.A. 'Kade'

    "Ingredients have no boundaries."
    -Rokusaburo Michiba

    It is NEVER sharp enough.
    -Every sharpness addict


     


    Michiel Vanhoudt
    Master Member KnifeNut!
    *
    01-12-11 19:08.54 - Post#2270768    


        In response to theraw

    1 word: AWESOME

    There is absolutely no info on black steel available wherever I search. This is a pretty unique knife. How was the edge ootb?
    Michiel


    MIKE #506

    My Blog

    Facebook




    Edited by mvh on 01-12-11 19:10.34. Reason for edit: No reason given.
     
    theraw
    Master Member KnifeNut!
    *
    01-13-11 02:33.08 - Post#2270845    


        In response to Michiel Vanhoudt

    Technically I can't comment on the OOTB edge. Because as I mentioned it was used (Bot sure how long) by another person before me, and possibly even by Ken before that to test it out. He can confirm that for you though. I never would have known though. However it was all done on natural stones, and the edge was quite exceptional to say the very least. You'd be hard pressed, but you could probably make it better if you had naturals because you'd most likely have more time to commit to it as the fanatical knife nuts that you/we are. It was about on par (edge wise) with the Nenohi's I've bought. Edge retention and the like, as I mentioned earlier are about on par with ZDP or AS. It lost it peek edge slightly near the tip/curve, but only very slightly. I never had to strop it or touch it up the entire two weeks I had it... I even tested it out on old fish that I knew would tear easily, and it still cut paper thin slices with close to no sign of tearing. I was impressed. This was all done with the OOTB edge.

    Did I answer your question?
    Charles A.K.A. 'Kade'

    "Ingredients have no boundaries."
    -Rokusaburo Michiba

    It is NEVER sharp enough.
    -Every sharpness addict




    Edited by theraw on 01-13-11 02:35.04. Reason for edit: No reason given.
     
    Michiel Vanhoudt
    Master Member KnifeNut!
    *
    01-13-11 03:40.25 - Post#2270877    


        In response to theraw

    You sure did. I know Ken did not sharpen the knife before he sent it to you, so that's an impressive result!
    I don't have any naturals... yet, but I'm sure one could improve the edge even further.
    Michiel


    MIKE #506

    My Blog

    Facebook




    Edited by mvh on 01-13-11 03:41.06. Reason for edit: I wrote English that even Willy Wonka wouldn't understand...
     
    ken123
    Master Member KnifeNut!
    *
    01-13-11 15:34.10 - Post#2271336    


        In response to Michiel Vanhoudt

    Charlie, thank you for an excellent review and putting this knife through it's paces! I'll have a great deal more to say about the Nubatama knives in a separate thread with some announcements.

    The edge on this knife is the 'factory edge'. 'Factory edge' is understating the case a good bit. It is hand sharpened by the knifemaker himself, using natural stones, as are ALL of his edges - both single and double beveled knives.

    He is, as might be expected (I'm pretty picky), an exceptional knifemaker, as evidenced by his technical level of knowledge from his responses to my questions regarding his forging techniques using this unique steel. It is not an easy steel to work with. I wish I could share more information regarding this steel, but I can't as I am not given full details.

    I have a Nubatama santoku that I have been using for a couple of months. I've only touched it up twice using only a few strokes on a CBN eighth micron strop, in part because it has only needed that and because I was specifically asked not to sharpen it as part of my testing for some time after using it to appreciate it's edge retention characteristics.

    These knives have the option of coming with sayas - either a regular Ho wood handle or a more elegant Blue Ho wood. Even the sayas are unique in construction. The Saya maker, a separate individual makes extremely precise sayas and makes them in such a way that he can readjust them over time as the knife wears down, using a special glue that allows him to reopen them and redo the sayas to accomodate for the knife's shape over it's years of usage. How cool is that?

    He has had several pro chefs in Kyoto using his black steel knives with rave reviews. Their comments echo Charlie's, citing excellent edge retention characteristics.

    Before sending the Knife out to Charlie, it was used to prepare a few presentation photos by a local chef at a sushi bar I frequent. I'll post some of these pics in a separate thread. I used the knife briefly to prepare some sushi for myself as well. The knife edge sent to Charlie was the untouched (by stones or compounds, but only by food being cut) edge the knife came with from the knifemaker. I'll also have more to say about the knifemaker's training as a sharpener too.

    His knives are not a high volume item. They are a work of an individual craftsman, coming from a family of knifemakers. He does custom work. I want to make this aspect very clear. He will have a few standard knives, but is QUITE interested in doing CUSTOM work. More than just a length spec, but complete customization of the blades. Single bevel, double bevel, any shape or style. For his more standard items expect a reasonable time to receive them, but custom work will typically take at least 4 months.

    At the moment I have - in unused condition - another santoku with Ho saya, two 270 mm wa-gyutos, one without a saya and one with a Blue Ho Saya. He prefers to refer to them more correctly as a ryo-ba rather than a wa-gyuto.

    I'll be glad to answer more questions about Nubatama black steel knives, either from PM's or here in this thread. I can also forward requests for specific knife specifications you might have to get quotes and estimated delivery times. I strongly suspect that he will get more and more busy over time, so this might be a good time to get in the que.

    Again more to follow.

    Ken
    Facebook
    Nubatama Stones, Diamond/CBN Sprays
    Natural Stones
    Atomas

    Ken's Corner


     
    Mattias504
    Master Member KnifeNut!
    *
    01-13-11 15:43.18 - Post#2271342    


        In response to ken123

    Sounds awesome. Any ideas of price ranges for these knives?

    They sound like masterpieces and I'm sure the cost reflects that.
     
    Marko Tsourkan
    Master Member KnifeNut!
    *
    01-13-11 15:44.00 - Post#2271343    


        In response to ken123

    • ken123 Said:
    T
    he Saya maker, a separate individual makes extremely precise sayas and makes them in such a way that he can readjust them over time as the knife wears down, using a special glue that allows him to reopen them and redo the sayas to accomodate for the knife's shape over it's years of usage. How cool is that?
    Ken



    I am a little puzzled how one can readjust a saya to fit a smaller knife. Can you elaborate Ken?
    I love fools’ experiments. I am always making them. C.Darwin

    Join Me on Facebook

    www.markotsourkan.com


     
    echerub
    Journeyman KnifeNut!
    *
    01-13-11 18:02.12 - Post#2271401    


        In response to ken123

    My interest is certainly piqued for the 270mm w/ saya... but I should probably hold out for a few photos and pricing before throwing my wallet over the fence
     
    ken123
    Master Member KnifeNut!
    *
    01-17-11 00:59.54 - Post#2273272    


        In response to echerub

    Here's some pricing information for what I currently have. At the moment I have two gyutos, two santokus and two yanigis. The two gyotos are $800 and are 270mm long. One of these has a blue Ho wood saya for an additional $210. The two yanagis are 230mm and go for $475. One of them is a demo - the one in the review and the other one for sale has a blue Ho saya for $200.

    The two santokus I have include one demo unit and another new one with a plain ho saya with a pin. The santoku is $330 and the saya an additional $60.

    He can also make custom knives to your specifications - to your desired length and any other specifications. Both the D shaped handles (which I have) or octagonal handles are available. I am getting information regarding a kiritsuke and cleaver (chukobocho).

    I do have pricing for yanagis and gyutos (ryo-ba) up to 330 mm.

    For special orders, lead time is approximately 4 months.

    All single and double bevel knives are finished with a natural stone finish.

    As far as the sayas, I don't have any additional detail as to how he adjusts sayas, just that it is an option he offers and that it uses a technique that swordmakers use for their sayas.

    I'll post a few pics of the 270 gyuto (ryo-ba) next.

    ---
    Ken
    Facebook
    Nubatama Stones, Diamond/CBN Sprays
    Natural Stones
    Atomas

    Ken's Corner


     
    ken123
    Master Member KnifeNut!
    *
    01-17-11 01:17.56 - Post#2273275    


        In response to ken123

    Here's a few pics of the 270 mm ryo-ba or gyuto with the Blue wood saya.




    ---
    Ken

       Attachment

    Facebook
    Nubatama Stones, Diamond/CBN Sprays
    Natural Stones
    Atomas

    Ken's Corner


     


     Page 1 of 4 1234
    Icon Legend Permissions & Sharing Options Topic Options
    Print Topic


    4297 Views
    KnifeForums.com - Intelligent Discussion for the knife enthusiast
    KnifePromotions

    arenaro@verizon.net

    FusionBB™ Version 3.2 | ©2003-2014 InteractivePHP, Inc.
    Execution time: 0.255 seconds.   Total Queries: 175   Zlib Compression is on.
    All times are (GMT-12.0). Current time is 01:06.38
    Top