Making a miyabi knife in Japan

Maybe large production and small artisan batch processing aren’t so different afterall:

Yep. Seen it. However, your conclusion is incorrect.

Hi Chem,

Not a conclusion—Looking for a meaningful discussion.

Wowzers - knife makers need to get up early! :slight_smile:

I better stick with my day job then.

What is large production to you? How many knives produced per year?

Artisans at work in Europe.

Hi damiano,

I think it’s the other way around. It could start with a single handmade knife–and it really doesn’t have to go further than that. I commissioned an artisan to make a one of a kind musical instrument for me–and he did. I gave him a deposit–6 months later he delivered the finished instrument. I paid him. End of story.

Beyond a single knife, one could scale up to make two or more replications of that single handmade knife. There’s then a scale factor: how many? and how to achieve that scale factor.

With a “scale factor”, the “how” becomes the determining factor. The individual knife becomes a prototype, and a process is put in place to achieve as perfect a replication as possible–with a batch of a certain size.

It’s the scale factor that sets the goal with the process as a limiting factor.

The safest business way to go is to limit production to sold orders–and make them one at a time. To create interest, the knifemaker develops a portfolio. That’s what Eiron (one of our HO posters) does–and makes additional income sharpening knives.

The riskier approach is to set a batch size goal and define a process to achieve that goal.

Japanese knife makers have chosen different scale factors and been very careful to have a viable process to meet those scale factors while generating necessary volume. As the scale factor goes up, the entire process becomes more and more elaborate. Sub processes at a high enough scale factor might be carried out by providers who also produce and sell their own products.

It’s obviously very complex.

Hi damiano,

I think the miyabi production in Japan is operating in a very similar way. Since it is owned by Zwilling–that’s not really so surprising.

You mean similar to the Herder operation? Why isn’t that surprising to you - Zwilling has nothing to do with Herder?

By the way I’m not saying the Herder operation is similar - it’s hard to see what the Miyabi guys and girls are actually doing.

Hi damiano,

Whether it’s herder, or Wusthof, Meissermeister, or Zwilling, the approaches to development and process are very similar–and miyabi is following that model. I think that Kai in Japan would be different–but I’m not sure. I’d like to see something like the miyabi video at Kai.

The usual writeups by large manufacturers just don’t give enough detail. This may be flawed, but I find it very interesting.

Ray, I think your conclusion is way off. While there may be some overlap in the fundamental steps to make a knife, they way they are made couldn’t be more different.

I know you like responses to include links, so here are a couple of videos of an artisan at work. Hint: the manual component and attention to each knife is massively different.

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***Your statements are wrong, Alex. While I respect Mr. Takeda, he is nothing but a newbie. Takeda knives lack cultural fusion. Meanwhile, Miyabi knives are made in a Japanese factory under the umbrella of Zwilling. Don’t you see more cultural fusion from Miyabi knives? The other problem with Mr. Takeda is that he does not do enough home cooking. In fact, he is comical. He has no idea how his knives work for a home cook. On the other hand, Nene and her friends cook. See:

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Hi Alexander,

I agree that artisans that make their entire knife are a breed apart. Where it gets trickier and trickier to make a distinction is when scaling up starts–and there is batch processing.

Production involves teamwork. At Hungry Onion (and at Chowhound before) we have Elon, who makes his knives entirely by himself, and a group that does one or two scale factors higher:

They are the next step up.