Archive for the ‘Kitchen Cutlery (Western and Asian)’ Category

Some New Japanese Knives at Jende Industries

November 23, 2016

We’ve been slowly adding to our knife line, and have recently added several Japanese knives, including some Gyutos, Santokus, Yanagis, Debas, and Tacobikis. These are all high quality blades, using Aogami Super Blue, Shirogami White, and VG-10 Steels, and come with and without damascus patterns. Our favorite to look at, by far is the Sakimarutako by Tanaka Kazuyuki, which is an octopus knife with a rounded samurai sword tip instead of the usual squared off tip of conventional takobiki blades. It features a Damascus Clad VG-10 core with  and ebony octagon handle and horn ferrule. kiritsukegata-takohiki-6

We also have a traditional Santoku by Maruyoshi, featuring Aogami Super Blue steel with a walnut octagon handle.

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If you’re in the market for a Gyuto, we have 180mm and 210mm Gyutos by Shiro Kamo. Both of these knives feature damascus clad VG-10 core steel with a red sandalwood handle.

shiro-kamo-180-gyuto-1

 

The Jende Knife Roll – Truly Inspirational

November 1, 2016

The Jende Knife Roll has come a long way over the past few years, and here is our latest version. Be sure to turn your volume all the way up!

We make several versions of this bag, including the Reaper Roll, which is black leather with red stitching, the Think Pink Roll, which is hot pink with yellow stitching, our Blue Period Roll which is Black and Royal Blue leather with blue stitching. These rolls can hold knives up to 17.5″ (45cm) in total length.

Jende Blue Period Roll

Jende Blue Period Roll

 

We also offer the original Jende Knife roll in a sushi knife sized roll, which can accommodate blades up to 21.5″ (55cm) in overall length.

Top: Jende Sushi Roll Bottom: Jende Knife Roll

Top: Jende Sushi Roll
Bottom: Jende Knife Roll

Jende Kangaroo and Leather Strops – What’s the difference?

October 17, 2016

We’ve recently introduced the Jende Kangaroo and Leather strops on color coded acrylic to our lineup. One of the questions that will inevitably be asked is “which one is better?” As usual, the answer is “it depends”. They are both excellent mediums, and this article is designed to allow you to make a better informed decision about which is better for you and your particular needs.

 

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Jende Leather Strop (acrylic side)

Kangaroo and Cow leathers are both tanned animal skins, In this case it is vegetable tanned, which is basically untreated with any oils, waxes, etc.. It’s the most natural foundation which can then be used as a clean, final strop or be loaded with pastes, sprays, compounds or emulsions of your choosing. Cow leather has a much longer history of use for stropping, with Kangaroo leather only becoming more accessible since Crocodile Dundee first appeared in the 1980s. 😀

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Jende Kangaroo Strop (acrylic side)

Ounce for ounce, kangaroo has about 10 times the tensile strength as cow leather, meaning a thin 1mm strip of kangaroo is about as strong as a 2-3mm strip of cow leather. This translates into less compression of the kangaroo strop over the cow strop, which can be advantageous in certain situations like straight razor honing. But the compression of the cow leather can be more suitable to matching the shape of convex edges.

In order to better describe more of the differences between kangaroo and cow leather, we need to look more closely under the microscope. Here’s a side by side macro view of the Jende cow and kangaroo leathers. Pictures are taken with a Veho 400x and the actual resolution is 1.3mm wide x 1mm high.

 

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Cow Leather, Macro

 

roo-macro

Kangaroo Leather, Macro

At this level, the cow leather looks very consistent and smooth. There is what’s best described as a “spotted” texture to the leather, but it seems flat, overall. (It reminds me of the surface of painted drywall, actually.) The Roo, however, looks like an army of ants are embedded in the surface. These are the hair follicles of the skin. Overall, the surface looks smooth, even with the contrast of the black follicles. Honestly, there’s not much difference to be seen between the two skins here.

Where things really change are at the micro level. This resolution is 1mm wide by 0.75mm high.

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Jende Leather Strop, Micro

roo-micro

Jende Kangaroo Strop, Micro

The spotted surface of the cow leather reveals a smooth surface with raised polyp-shaped mounds. The kangaroo leather shows a smooth surface with divots where the hair follicles are. It is this difference that really influences the the way each strop works.

My theory is that he raised polyps on the cow leather will come into contact with the blade when stropping, making the strop more aggressive but arguably slightly less consistent. If you were to load the strop with an abrasive, the abrasive would leave deeper scratches at the polyps and more shallow scratches in between. Again, arguably more aggressive but less consistent.

The divots on the kangaroo leather do not interfere with the stropping action of the rest of the surface of the strop, meaning you get more consistent contact with the strop when stropping. When the kangaroo is loaded with an abrasive, the contact between the blade and the strop is much more constant as well since the abrasive fills in the gaps. The catch here is that this could be considered less aggressive since the surface scratches are not as deep, but because more edge is in contact with abrasive throughout each stroke, it could still be described as as aggressive since there is more shallow depth of scratch per stroke, but a whole lot more of it. It’s a different kind of aggression.

So what does all this rambling mean? Well, based upon the picture evidence, there is a strong argument to be made that the polyps of the cow leather make for a more aggressive stropping medium and the divots of the kangaroo make a smoother stropping medium. This is the simple answer, of course, and doesn’t factor in things like stropping technique and pressure. But is does remain a constant that the cow leather has raised polyps and the kangaroo has divots, and this is the information needed to begin making an informed decision as to which stropping medium is better suited for your needs.

To give an example, a 2K edge on a hunting knife can get more out of a cow leather strop since it will push the edge back into position with more force. That same cow strop loaded with a 4 micron (4K) Jende emulsion takes the knife edge up a notch while still being aggressive enough to maintain the edge between sharpening sessions. On a straight razor, a kangaroo strop will push the fragile edge back into a more uniform position. The same kangaroo strop loaded with 0.25 or 0.10 Jende emulsion will abrade the edge of the razor more evenly, thus minimizing microchipping while keeping the scratches very consistent. You can just imagine the possibilities from here!

Loading and Using the Jende Nanocloth Ultra Color Coded Strops –

September 20, 2016

We’ve done a quick and dirty video on how to load your Jende Color Coded Nanocloth Ultra Strops. These are the 4 micron 2×6″ with 4 micron CBN Emulsion and the 210×70 mm 0.25 Micron Poly Diamond Emulsion. Both strops and emulsions are color matched for easy recognition. 210×70 mm strops are designed to fit most stone holders as well. These strops are 3/4″ thick acrylic.

A special thanks to Mike Martinez of Martinez Blades and to Mark Reich of Reich Precision for allowing their razor and knife to make a cameo appearance.

Jende Nanocloth Ultra Strops – Color Coded for Your Pleasure!

September 9, 2016

We are happy introduce Jende Nanocloth Ultra, our newest innovation in stropping mediums!

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Jende Nanocloth Ultra Rainbow

  • The Jende Nanocloth Ultra is a synthetic stropping material that has no weave, so feedback is the same in all directions. Other weaved strops tend to have noticeable resistance change feedback variations, like a rug when vacuuming, which can make you second guess your stropping stroke.
  • The Honeycomb structure is very consistent. The shape allows the emulsions to fill up the honeycombs, keeping more abrasive on the strop and off your knife. The shape also fills up and beads on the surface, giving a snow-shoe effect with even scratches when stropping.
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Jende Nanocloth Ultra – 400x

  • The depth of the honeycomb has little compression – less than leather in general.
  •  Because of the depth of abrasive in the honeycomb tubes, differential pressure can be used to give the strop more or less aggression by adding pressure for more aggression, and super light strokes to just tickle the edge for finish stropping.
  • The color-coded Acrylic base allows you to instantly recognize the grit strop you desire to use, saving time and confusion.
  • Laser etched to ensure long-lasting and clear identification marks.
  • Works equally well with our Jende Poly Diamond Sprays, Jende Poly Diamond Emulsions, and our Jende CBN Emulsions.

We are offing a huge variety of sizes on color coded acrylic, including 210x70mm and 2×6″ Bench strops on 3/4″ thick acrylic blocks, and for a full array of guided sharpening systems, including the Edge Pro (EP), Hapstone Sharpener, KME Sharpener, and Wicked Edge (WEPS).  Stropping will never be the same again!

TOG Elite Japanese Kitchen Knives Review

April 25, 2016

We recently received a TOG Elite Japanese Kitchen Chef Knife Santoku for testing. Bottom Line: This is one very nice knife that handles well, keeps its edge, and just plain looks good.

TOG Elite Japanese Knives

TOG Elite Japanese Knives

 

On the TOG website, there is a “Tech Specs” page that lists all the wonderful, interesting, and even nerdy things about the knives.  I’ve decided that my review will focus around the claims on that page.

  • “TOG blades are made from a special steel… to produce the ridiculously sharp blade and ensure that it stays sharp.” 
  • “Incredible cutting performance from a central layer of high-carbon (1%) steel. This core is made from… Acuto 440 that is similar to Western ‘440C’. This is hardened to Rockwell Hardness (HRC) 58-60…”

As an OCD sharpener, any claims to sharpness are always met with (rolled eyes or yawn) “Oh, yes, it is.”  I then proceed to lick the entire edge of the blade  – twice.  🙂 The TOG blade, however, actually looked and felt surprisingly sharp upon checking the edge right out of the box – sharp enough for me to not employ the old tongue test. So I went straight to the paper cutting test, expecting a typical 240 grit with a buffed edge feel. I was shocked by my first cut, so much so that I took another slice into the paper just to make sure. This thing cut -no- SLICED through the paper in a way that was not the usual factory edge. This was much, much better. I was truly impressed. If I had to call the grit, I would say about 3K. Score 1 for TOG right out of the box.

Edge retention is always going to vary depending on the user and the tasks performed, but when I sharpened up the TOG to my usual angles and finish, it kept up as good as, if not a little better than my usual knives (RC57-58). The knives in the rotation were all freshly sharpened by me, and used in a professional kitchen over a 2 week period with no special treatment (believe me!), and were only adjusted with a sharpening steel by the sometimes brutish kitchen personnel.

Steel junkies say what you will about 440C, but the Acuto 440 steel in this blade is perfect at RC 58-60. IMO, RC 56-60 is the Goldilocks hardness zone for high quality, non-custom kitchen knives – hard enough to hold the edge so that it does not require steeling after every cut, and flexible enough so that the edge won’t chip out. RC 58-60 also makes maintenance on the edge easy and straight forward on just about any good quality sharpening equipment, be it a steel, stones or mechanized sharpeners. I used 220, 1K, and 4K sharpening stones and got a smooth edge with just enough bite. As a sharpener, I am quite satisfied with the quality.

As for the feel of the edge when in use, it actually felt more akin to VG-10 steel, and not even remotely close the soft mushy stuff that your 29-piece knife set in a woodblock has (usually RC ~52). The overall balance and handling of the knife was easy and light, and the thinness of the blade allowed for easy cutting and slicing.

So to sum it up, this is one very nice knife that handles well, keeps its edge, and just plain looks good.

Thank you to the fine people at TOG for the opportunity!

Breaking the Jende Ceramic Sharpening Steel

October 23, 2015

Talk to anyone who has a conventional ceramic sharpening steel and they most likely will only let you look at it from a distance – which is dangerous enough in itself – and you’ll never get to use it, of course. That is because ceramic sharpening steels are notoriously fragile, and have taken on the same stigma as the famed Ford Pinto, whose gas tanks famously exploded on the slightest impact.

Well, let me tell you – our Jende Ceramic Sharpening Steels can take some of the meanest looks out there, and even hold back the tears when getting a good verbal lashing.  The anti-break technologies incorporated into the handle, the rod and the tip allow the Jende Ceramic Steels to take a good beating, too. We’ve done a previous “bam bam bam bam bam” test, which can be seen here, and now we have done an official drop test, showing that it is now safe for your friends to at least hold your ceramic steel, even if they are not worthy of using it!

Now, as much as we’d like to, we are not claiming the Jende Ceramic Sharpening Steels to be indestructible. They employ anti-break technologies that are designed to allow the steel to stay intact if dropped accidentally, or if bumped into another object, etc. during the rigors of everyday commercial and/or home use. For due diligence, we escalated our tests to see what exactly it would take to break one of our steels, and this was the last known surviving picture of the poor Jende Ceramic Steel that sacrificed its life in the name of science. His name was Brian, after the bastard that killed him.

jende ceramic steel

 

We’re Fundraising for Breast Cancer Awareness Month! Donate and you can win a Chef Knife Roll!

October 8, 2015

Everybody here at Jende Industries loves breasts, but hates cancer. So we put together a fundraiser to celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and will donate 100% of the money raised to the American Cancer Society! For a donation of only US $10.00 you can enter to win a custom pink Jende Chef Knife Roll along with a matching chef’s coat from Chef Works! A winner will be announced November 1, 2015. You can donate at our fundrazr page, here: https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/812rAd  Our collaborators include Olga Liao of Creep Leather, Colin Brown of Model Mosa, Amanda Stuckey of Chef Works, Frans van der Lee of Chef’s Roll, and Nicko Salas of Chefs Talk. Even if you don’t want to win the bag, you can still donate! Thank you!

 

 

Jende Ceramic Sharpening Steels under the Microscope

June 22, 2015

We wanted to document the speed and ability of our Jende Ceramic Sharpening Steels. Aside from having remarkable anti-break technologies in the tip and handles, they also actually work really well, as the microscope pictures will show. We freehand sharpened a couple of  Maestro Wu D-8 Nikiris (RC~58) from scratch and finished on both steels, and also demonstrated the speed of the steels by removing a chip on a customer’s custom Maestro Wu D-9 Damascus (RC~60). Pictures are with a Veho-400 USB Microscope, and the actual picture size is 1 mm wide by 0.75 mm high.

First, a picture of the steels – The white steel was difficult to see, so I also added a picture of a “dirty” section that had been used so the texture of the materials could be seen. Getting a picture of the black steel’s “dirty” section proved to be difficult as well. Basically, the surface of the steels is scaly looking, much like a reptile’s skin.

Jende Ceramic Sharpening Steels

Jende Ceramic Sharpening Steels

White Steel clean

White Steel clean

White Steel dirty

White Steel dirty

 Black Steel Clean

Black Steel Clean

Black Steel Dirty

Black Steel Dirty

For new sharpening, I generally start with an #80 Grit belt, followed by a #240 Grit belt, and follow with a #1,500 Shapton Pro stone. This is my “basic sharp”, and it will shave hair and juuust push cut. The picture below is the edge off the #240 belt, which is jagged, and usually has a significant burr, which is pictured in the picture below that.

1. 240 Belt A

1. 240 Belt A

 

2. 240 Belt B

2. 240 Belt B – notice the gem-like burr

I then cleaned up the edge on the #1,500 Shapton Pro stone, roughly 35 back and forth passes per side, followed by a series of about 15 single-sided strokes:

3. 1500 Pro A

3. 1500 Pro A

You can clearly see a micro bevel from the stropping strokes vs. the knife strokes. This is pretty much the result of using less pressure with single-sided strokes, and it helps put the apex on the edge of the edge. While some haters may have something to say about my lack of precision, in reality the micro bevel is only 0.04 mm high – meaning my variation is pretty darn low. What matters most is that my stropping/steeling strokes are consistent, which they are.

3a. 1500 Pro A Measured Variation

3a. 1500 Pro A Measured Variation

After the 1,500 Shapton Pro, I did 10 light, alternating strokes on the Jende White Ceramic Sharpening Steel:

5. White Steel A  x10

5. White Steel A x10

The result shows a noticeable increase in reflection at the edge of the edge, indicating some cutting/burnishing action. The apex of the edge has evened out a touch, but is still quite similar to the edge from the just the stone. The cutting test determined that the edge was more aggressive than that straight off the #1,500 Shapton Pro stone. The White Steel cut very quickly and aggressively, which is the way it’s meant to.

I then sharpened up a different D-8 on the belts followed by the #1,500 stone in the same fashion, and then went straight to the Black Steel and did 10 light, alternating strokes:

7. Black Steel A x10

7. Black Steel A x10

As my micro bevel shows, I am pretty consistent from knife to knife. But back to the point – the difference here from picture 3 above shows noticeable cutting/burnishing of the bevel, but less than that found in picture 5 from the White Steel – which is the way things are supposed to happen. More importantly, the edge of the edge smooths out, and the cutting test produced a practically indistinguishable result from the #1,500 Shapton Stone. That’s friggin’ impressive because my results off the #1,500 Shapton Pro are very difficult to beat. 😀

For the next trick, I used a customer’s D-9 Damascus (RC~60) that came in for sharpening. There was a nice little chip in the edge which would’ve been easy enough to remove on the stones and belts, but I wanted to see how many licks it would take with the steel to get to the center of this chip. I also measured the “gap” along the way. Here is the “before picture”, and the same picture below it with the measurement of the width of the chip:

10a. Chip Before

10a. Chip Before

10. Chip Before

10. Chip Before

Then, with 10 strokes of the White Steel: I used what I would call an aggressive amount of pressure since I knew I was trying to fix the chip. Again, the picture followed by the same picture with the measurement. The chip which initially took up the majority of the screen width at 0.77 mm, was now only 0.46 mm – generously. The deepest part of the chip was about only half of that.

11a. Chip white steel x10

11a. Chip white steel x10

11. Chip white steel x10

11. Chip white steel x10

 

Then I did 10 more aggressive strokes on the White Steel, bringing it up to 20 strokes. Only the deepest part of the original chip remained, with a width of only 0.24 mm.

12a. Chip white steel x20

12a. Chip white steel x20

12. Chip white steel x20

12. Chip white steel x20

 

I followed this with a third round of strokes, bringing the total up to 30. There was no real evidence of the chip left at this point. I looked up and down the blade for any other indications of the chip, and there were none.

13. Chip white steel x30

13. Chip white steel x30

In keeping with the mentality of these steels, the White (Mohs 9) is the aggressive steel while the Black (Mohs 8) is the finishing steel. I then took 10 light, alternating strokes on the Black Steel.

 

14. Black Steel Final x10

14. Black Steel Final x10

I’d say this looks pretty freakin’ good! At a macro level, you can visibly see the micro bevel from the steeling (picture size is 13 mm wide by 9.75 mm high, and the actual micro bevel is approx. 0.22 mm wide). And because of the geometry behind the edge is still established and intact, the knife actually still cuts very smoothly despite it not being a 5K edge anymore.

15. D-9 Macro Black Steel Final

15. D-9 Macro Black Steel Final

Overall, the Jende Ceramic Sharpening Black and White steels can do quite an amazing job of maintaining knives – and can even handle small chips. More importantly, when used in conjunction with one another, they can help your knife maintain its edge for an extended period of time before needing a full resharpening.

The Magic Flute and Knives – Mozart’s Opera Masterpiece Made Better by Jende

June 17, 2015

Many people don’t know (but they will in a second!) that the very first opera I ever played was Mozart’s The Magic Flute my freshman year in college. It has a special place in my heart because I played second clarinet to my teacher at the time, Roger McKinney. Aside from that, I was never much of an opera fan because the stories are just too complicated to follow (but here’s the Cliff’s notes version), and while Die Zauberflöte is dear to me, I never saw it because I was sitting in the back row under the stage in the pit in college, and I never watched or listened to it since (except for The Queen of the Night’s Aria when soloists sang with the orchestra).

Well that all changed this past week. The Kaohsiung City Spring Arts Festival featured a full blown opera production of, you guessed it, Mozart’s The Magic Flute. It’s been a while since a professional level staging of an opera or ballet was done in Kaohsiung, so I was happy to secure tickets to finally see the show with my children some twenty-odd years later! It is common for outside talent to be brought in for the major solo parts, in this case The Queen of the Night, Papageno, and Sarastro were performed by famed Hungarian Colorarura Erika Miklósa,  American Baritone Philip Cutlip, and American Bass Jeremy Galyon.

Whenever soloists come through Kaohsiung, a group of us try to meet up with them for coffee or dinner to help with the some of the culture shock, and to give them a real taste of our wonderful little city instead of being carted around to the touristy places by overworked and underpaid cultural department workers. 🙂 And this time we hit the jackpot – There was some interest in knives as gifts, so we suggested they swing on by our new workshop to see what all the fun was about. I can’t give all the juicy details of the fun we had without having to kill you, but we showed them EVERYTHING in the shop! and got a great video with a surprise cameo from Philip at 0:17 (don’t tell his agent!), and some great pictures of the aftermath:

Here’s the cameo video of our now famous Jende Ceramic Sharpening Steel Whack!,Whack!,Whack!,Whack! video:

And some nice family friendly pictures of some proud new owners of some Spirit Blades:

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At Jende Industries L-R: Erika Miklósa, Chris, Tom, Philip Cutlip

 

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At Jende Industries L-R: Erika Miklósa, Tom, Jeremy Galyon, Philip Cutlip

But that’s not all – We also secretly placed a 6 foot walking billboard at the opera rehearsal… When my wife (who is in the orchestra) saw it, she called me up and yelled at me – after getting pictures, of course!  😀

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Nothing says “Bass” like a Jende T-shirt!

Jeremy Galyon loves his Jende Shirt!

Jeremy Galyon loves his Jende Shirt!

So the big night finally arrived – The opera was a huge success all around! The most interesting thing was when the Queen of the Night was singing her famous aria, she gave Pamina a knife to kill Sarastro… I couldn’t help wondering at that point if that was why Erika had purchased 2 knives earlier in the week….

We were lucky enough to score a slightly blurry selfie with one of the Three Ladies (who were amazing together!)

One of the Three Ladies with my ladies!

One of the Three Ladies with my ladies!

With the closing of the opera’s run, we were lucky to spend a little more time with our new found friends before they had to depart for home. Jeremy joined us for breakfast, and had to leave first, but we were able to have a light lunch with Erika and Philip at one of my favorite places in Kaohsiung – Chung-Shan University, which has an amazing view, and is right on the beach.

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The sun deck at Chung Shan University

View from the sun deck at Chung Shan University

Sadly, the time came for us to say our goodbyes, and we turned the page on yet another amazing encounter with great people! We did get some good souvenirs, though… We had the entire cast sign the program for our daughters, and Erika and Philip left a little something extra for them as well.

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