When buying a knife as a gift you want it to be the coolest present ever. When the recipient opens the box you want them to squeal with delight. 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!" as they do a victory lap around the room with the knife help high above their head. In a safe manner of course.
This is how to get the right response:
1. You need a knife that has the look. There are tons of average looking knives in the world, but ignore those. For gifts you need something sexy. One that is always a winner, with a beautiful look is the Konosuke Sakura Western Handle Nakiri. (pictured above)
A knife can also be gasp-worthy because of a great shape, like this Kotetsu Bunka.
2. You always want to give a gift thats easy to care for. No bunnies or puppies. I say look for a stainless steel knife because they will not rust. All of the examples in this post fit the bill, but also one of our most popular stainless steel knives is the Haruyuki Kasumi Uchi.
4. Make sure they know what they are getting. We always include a letter with all knives that tell a story of the blacksmith with a picture as well as care instructions. If they learn a bit about the man who made their knife and how to care for it they will value it more I think. In our documentary Springhammer, we let the blacksmiths speak for themselves. Here's Kato-san of Masakage Knives telling us a little of his story about his experience becoming a blacksmith.
5. Don’t forget about the simple touches. They take a 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 like we recommend?) and consider a knife skills class for them to become super confident with their new life-long tool.
6. Some people say that giving a knife as a gift can bring bad luck. They say it can severe a relationship. Be heartened, there is is a sneaky loophole. Include a coin within the knife box. The recipient will use the coin to 'buy' the knife from you. It's sneaky, but I've cleared it with our lawyers. When Shibata-san of Masakage Knives discovered this story he started including a five yen coin with all of his knives. That way he ensured his knives, like the Kumo Bunka shown below, always make a great gift.