Sometimes I get emails asking me why the KNS Tanaka are more expensive than some other (Japanese) retailers. I decided to take some photos to explain why KNS Tanaka is packed with value that is a lot more than just another ordinary Tanaka.
I am using a Blue 2 Damascus Gyuto as an example. One KNS blade and one stock blade.
There are three major differences:
1. Improved Fit and Finish
Every KNS Tanaka now has a FULLY rounded spine and choil
2. Custom Handles
Every KNS Tanaka has a elegantly crafted custom octagonal wa handle fitted, compared to a sometimes mediocre ho-wood handle with a plastic ferrule.
This part is often overlooked, but I consider it really important. Each Tanaka knife is sharpened and inspected by me and I do so on every KNS Tanaka before it leaves the shop. Knives fail QC for various reasons (bent, rusted, edge not straight), and I do send them back to Japan if that was the case. This is particularly important since international shipping is slow and costly.
Now, with all the added feature and confidence, I'd take a 240mm Ebony handle Blue 2 Gyuto as an example, the KNS price is roughly about US$80 more expensive than the Japanese price. Expensive? Well, it costs less than the ebony WA-handle (if you were to buy it retail, let alone the installation time and effort). All the rest of the F&F improvement, sharpening, QC are basically free. If you were to purchase two of these Tanaka, the shipping will be free via DHL. That will just make the deal that much better.
If you compare the KNS price with a well-known US vendor, you are basically getting a much improved knife for the same price :)