Lets Get to Meet The Name Everyone In The Knife Business Knows.
I asked Shibata-San (Makes me call him Shiba) to send me a quick interview as well as some history about himself. Many on you don't know (well maybe you do because u follow him on Instagram) he drives a Harley, he wears american fashion, seems like he loves our culture. While were overhear just infatuated with the Japanese culture, cause lets get it straight a lot of us could do more but we choose to enjoy life. The Japanese choose to enjoy work. Shit years ago people were often worked to death.
Anyway lets get back on track Mr. Takayuki Shibata and what he had to say. First i want to clear some things up. Shibata-San does not forge his blades, Kato-San does, not Takumi Ikeda. When have you seen a Anryu Sg2. Now Ikeda-San is very involved in Tinker knives another project of Shibata-San's. Kotetsu knives are forged, hardened, and straightened when they arrive at Iron Clad. Then their profiler and polisher does his thing and makes those perfect grinds. Then Shibata-San himself sharpens them and inspects them. Did you know he started Masakage, West Japan Tool, Iron Clad, and Traveled around and still sharpened.
Here it is from Shiba's mouth himself well his fingers. He visited U.S.A. when he was 24 and now he is 42 (I know he doesn't look a day over 23). He drove with his friend from Vermont to Florida and thought we should sell something Japanese here.
After going back home he saw a failing blacksmithing business that no younger people wanted to learn. Then working with Takefu Knife Village he created Masakage knives and brought them here. I hear Kevin Kent had a big hand in that also. So say a thank you to Shiba and Kevin for bringing these pieces of Artwork and beauty and fun here for us to play with.
I am privileged to own a Kotetsu 195mm Battleship gyuto, a Tinker Tank, and most recently, a Tinker Sabertooth. The designs are all very unusual if not unique, the work is superb, and the edges screaming sharp. I have never had any blade as sharp as the Tank right out of the box (although Tinker blades do not come in a box). More of a privilege is that I have come to feel I know him, if only by correspondence at this point. Although he is the “Wayne Gretzky” of sharpening (sorry, we Canadians use hockey references regularly) and very much in demand, he is genuinely modest and personable, and always seems to make the time to interact. I hope to go to Japan to visit one day and hopefully meet the master. If you can ever lay hands on a Tinker – ANY Tinker – buy it. You will not be disappointed.
Thank you ‘Shiba’!
One day I hope to get my hands on a Tinker Tank or Masakage (kumo) knife.