Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Damasukasu Japanese chef's knife sets are fake

What looks like a great deal on Japanese chef's knives is popping up on various web sites (e.g. Salon, The Daily Beast, Groupon).  Unfortunately the knives aren't at all like what's advertised.
It's a set of three handmade carbon-steel chef's knives from Japan.  The price is great:  regularly $599.99, on sale (one day only) for $49.99!  

Here's the accompanying description:

I've been looking for reasonably priced knives made of carbon steel (not stainless steel), and these sizes are just right, so I bought them with a One-Day Sale offer from the Daily Beast.

But now they're in my kitchen I can see that:

1. They're made of stainless steel, not carbon steel.  I wanted carbon steel for its fine edge and easy sharpening; I don't mind that it stains and rusts when treated badly.

2.  They're machine made, not hand-made.

3.  They don't contain 67 (or any) layers of steel.  Blades made by hammering together many layers of steel have characteristic rippling patterns resulting from minor random variations in the thicknesses of the layers.  But these blades are single solid pieces of stainless steel, with the rippled patterns faked by etching rows of tiny dots in the surface (probably with a laser).  Each blade has exactly the same pattern on both surfaces, and, as can be seen in the photo below, the three knives all have exactly the same pattern (scaled up or down to fit the different blade sizes).

4.  The cutting edges show tiny ridges, suggesting that they were laser-cut, not honed and polished

5.  The handles are resin, not wood.

6.  The box is not cherry oak but cheap wood covered with woodgrain vinyl.

I can't tell where they were made; the only identifying mark is the logo stamped onto the knives and the box. 

Don't get me wrong - these aren't bad knives.  They seem to be very well made and feel good in the hand (well balanced and not heavy).  I think they're excellent value for $50.  But they're certainly not as advertised.

No comments: