If you're giving a knife as a gift, it's obviously because you want to give the coolest present ever. You want the recipient to squeal with delight after opening the box! The last thing you want is for them to say "Oh, a knife. That's nice thank you." You want them to shout “Holy Bananas! that is the coolest thing I've ever seen!” while doing a victory lap around the room with the knife held high above their head... In a safe manner, of course.
This is how to get the right response:
You need a knife that has the look. There are tons of average looking knives in the world, but ignore those. Gift knives need to be sexy.
You always want to give a gift that's easy to care for. Giving someone a knife that could rust is like giving them a puppy to look after. Go with stainless steel.
Get something they can use every day. If this is their first Japanese knife, we recommend a multi-purpose knife like a 210mm gyuto. Here are some of our favourites. If it is not their first, a supporting knife like a petty or nakiri is a great option.
Let them know the story of the knife. Each knife from us includes a letter that tells the craftsman's story, along with their picture and vital knife-care instructions. If they learn a bit about the people who made their knife and how to care for it, they will treasure it more. In our documentary Springhammer, we let the blacksmiths speak for themselves.
They need to keep it sharp, store it safely and cut on something. Considering how they will use and store the knife can take your gift from great, to amazing! Think about how they will store the knife, (do they require a blade guard?) how they will keep it sharp (do they have a destructive steel honing rod, or do they have a ceramic honing rod which we recommend?) and consider a knife skills class for them to become super confident with their new life-long tool. If you really want to blow their mind, add a cutting board in with the knife!
Some superstitions say that giving a knife as a gift is bad luck. They say it can 'sever' the relationship. Be heartened, there is is a sneaky loophole if you are superstitious. Include a coin in the box, and the recipient can use the coin to 'buy' the knife from you. It's sneaky, but I've cleared it with our lawyers.
We’ve helped loads of people find the best gifts for weddings, anniversaries, birthdays and Father’s Day. Now Christmas is coming, and we can help.
All of the knives I suggest here have that “wow”-inducing look. They are easy to care for, are something you can use every day, and they all come with a care letter so the person receiving the gift will know the story of their knife. Don’t forget to put a coin in the box and get a blade guard for storage.
Here are some of our top selling gift knives of the year!
Perfect for the BBQ king/queen or head turkey-carver. One of the sexiest slicers on the planet.
Kevin Kent’s fascination with Japanese knives began while he was working as sous-chef for the legendary chef Fergus Henderson at St. John restaurant in London, England. In 2007, he began selling handcrafted Japanese knives out of a backpack on the back of his bicycle, while working as a chef at River Café in Calgary, Canada. Kent is just as obsessed with Japanese knives as when he first held one, and a few times a year, he travels to Japan to meet with his blacksmith friends, to drink far too much sake, and to learn more about the ancient art of knife-making. Born and raised in Saskatchewan, he refuses to confess how many Japanese knives he owns….but he admits the number is rather high. Follow Kevin on Twitter @knifenerd