From many hours of personal use of my own chef and steak knives, I can easily answer the question "Why purchase a handmade knife?" I have many handmade knives, many made by Gregg and our bladesmiths, and others I have received as gifts over many years.
When I received my first hand-forged Japanese knife, I was hooked! Immediately! My "old favorite" was so far from a favorite now, it was quickly relegated to the 'garage sale' table! And it was no slouch as production knives go, having been purchased from a chain kitchen gourmet and cooking shop.
Let me back up. I have no professional training, but have been cooking for most of my 68 years, starting at about the age of four, helping my mommy bake cookies and cakes....such help consisting of probably more time helping lick the bowl than adding ingredients! But, I definitely remember her teaching me how to safely use a knife (if only for butter at that point), measure and stir until my arms tired. I remember watching her cook everything we ate from scratch with awe.
Back to the present. Thanks to those golden memories, we almost never eat out. I enjoy cooking. Slicing, dicing, chopping vegetables of all sorts, fish, cheeses, and meats are a daily part of life. Understanding spices, and how to make food of almost any ethnicity, what a joy.
So what is it about a handmade knife? Easy! Three answers:
Quality: The difference is instantly noticed. So much handwork, so much care to detail. Sharp, definitely! Easy to maintain the edge. Simply performs better!
Feel: Great balance. The warmth of a wood handle. The fact that it has been held and tested for feel throughout. And on a custom request, knowing it will be a woman with petite hands or a man with a larger than normal hand means the knife handle is made to feel good by the only person who matters...the person who will be cooking with it.
Artistry: The sheer beauty of both the artistry of the Japanese bladesmith and Gregg's handle. And the wood...with stripes that shift and change, shimmering in the light. Whether plain or super decorative, it fits your own personality. Plain and simple; it's FUN and makes cooking more fun!
I'll continue in more depth in our next blog post. Meanwhile, here are a few from my own collection: