Sunday, May 9, 2010

Bob Kramer 9 Inch Meji

I returned the original knife I received from Bob Kramer for what I saw as a flaw in the grind. It was strictly an aesthetic issue because the knife performed beautifully. Bob immediately offered to replace it with a perfect knife. At first I declined because the knife worked so good. I was thinking, "bird in the hand". Bob pretty much insisted and I agreed. I received the new knife about two weeks later. Not only did he replace it he replaced it fast.

I assumed he was going to make me the standard 9 inch meji pattern. He didn't. He asked me what dimensions and weight I wanted. I was kinda stunned. I get to design my Bob Kramer! wOOt! Besides the grind issue the only other complaint was the shape itself. Kramer's are tall. Some people like them that way. Over the years I've gravitated to Japanese knives with narrower profiles. So I shortened the profile from 2 1/2 inches to 2 3/8 and reduced the machi an 1/8 inch to 7/8ths. I didn't want another skinny mini Japanese knife. I wanted it to be decidedly American. Plush with some meat on it's bones. I often refer to the comparison of a sport bike and Harley Davidson. The Kramer has all the bells and whistles and screams style. And it's comfy as hell. As far as weight, the original weighed in at a hefty 267 grams. With the changes I suggested it may come in at around 240 grams. Damned if Bob didn't make that thing 241 grams. After inspecting it I grabbed the scale and said to myself, "If this thing weighs 240 I'm going to shit", 241, damn impressive. I wouldn't be surprised if my scale is off a gram. 241 is still a hefty knife but both knives are balanced perfectly. Right where the machi and choil meet. It feels light in the hand and with the shorter profile is more nimble than it's predecessor. Although it is a little more flexible and will have a slight learning curve to it. It sharpened up nicely and past the tomato push test with flying colors but for some reason struggled a little on the slicing tomato test. Given how sharp I know it gets it surprised me. I think it has something to do with the learning curve. Once I get to know this knife better it's going to be stellar.
( Edit: I just realized the original Kramer was tested with the blade cutting the longest part of the tomato. A big difference. I will re-test it with the tomato facing the other way and report back)

The above video is the new Kramer in the updated tomato test. It explains alot.

The Damascus pattern is called 'flip flop ladder". One of my favorites. The handle is snakewood which I requested. I think it came out beautifuly. Bob said he liked the pattern and was keeping one for the shop. I assume it will be available for purchase. Just ask for "Salty's pattern".

I've posted some videos on my youtube channel if you want to look. There is a link in my links.

The first photos are comparison shots between the two knives. Both are compared with the same 240 Mizuno Tanrenjo, one of my favorites. It has a relatively narrow profile.

As always you can click on the photos to blow them up. You can click twice. That's why I like to post them here rather than on forums.