Kai USA returned home from the Blade Show with four Blade Magazine Knife-Of-The-Year® awards. Considered the Oscars of the knife industry, BLADE’s Knife-Of-The-Year Awards are the most sought-after honors in the industry, with winning knives and accessories chosen and voted upon by industry peers with booths at the Blade Show. Winners are judged on a range of criteria, from design, innovation and function to craftsmanship and quality.
“We are very proud to be recognized by our respected peers in the knife industry for our ability to create top-quality knives and innovative designs,” said Jack Igarashi, chief of North American operations, Kai USA Ltd., and managing director of Kai Corporation.
Here’s a brief rundown on the winning entries:
Zero Tolerance 0888—2012’s Overall Knife Of The Year®
Blade Show judges were impressed by the clean, bold looks and advanced materials Zero Tolerance used to build the new 0888. The knife was designed to show off the metal—a Composite Blade of high-performance S110V and 14C28N stainless steel and a titanium handle. Except for the decorative pivot, there’s no visible hardware on the front side of the knife to interrupt the visual flow. To ensure the pivot aligned perfectly with the deep groove in both blade and handle, Zero Tolerance used an eccentric (off-centered) pivot shaft. The blade opens smoothly and easily with a flipper. Visually integrated into the design, the unusual pocket clip slides left or right for the user’s choice of carry options.
“Everybody here is pretty excited about the 0888 and it was great to discover that the rest of the industry shared our excitement,” said Thomas Welk, director of sales & marketing, Sporting and Professional Divisions.
Zero Tolerance & RJ Martin ZT 0600—2012’s Collaboration Of The Year®
Zero Tolerance collaborated with custom knifemaker R.J. Martin to bring a version of his award-winning Q36 to the public. The ZT 0600 features a B75P stainless steel blade and a titanium and carbon fiber handle. B75P is the new powder metallurgy version of the near-legendary BG42. For the award-winning knife, ZT thickened the blade stock to 3/16 inch, and gave it a handsome, stone-washed finish. The titanium pocketclip carries right or left, and a recessed lanyard attachment point means nothing interrupts the great look of the knife.
“Our goal is to create products that are handsome, functional, and innovative. Whether it’s an in-house design or collaboration with a custom knifemaker, our R&D team works hard to make these designs become reality. We’re lucky to have such a talented group of people, and I believe the extra effort they put in can be seen in the finished product,” said design engineer Jim McNair.
The Kershaw Cryo—2012’s Best Buy Of The Year®
The Blade Show judges chose the Kershaw Cryo, model 1555TI as the year’s Best Buy. The Cryo is a classic Rick Hinderer design, but built in stainless steel with matte-grey titanium carbo-nitride coating on both handle and blade. It opens quickly with either flipper or thumb stud, and has a sturdy frame lock with lock stabilization. With a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of just $49.95, the Cryo is indeed an excellent buy.
“With Hinderer design’s hard to get, and Kershaw is proud to be able to create a Rick Hinderer design at a price almost everyone can afford,” Welk said.
Shun Cutlery Taiyo—2012’s Kitchen Knife Of The Year®
Taiyo means “sunrise” in Japanese, and Shun named this limited-edition kitchen knife “Taiyo” for the sunrise-like rays that illuminate the blade surface of this spectacular knife. “We aspired to the highest level of quality on the Taiyo,” said Steve Grutbo, vice president of sales and marketing, Housewares Division. “Absolutely nothing was left undone on this superb knife.”
The Taiyo’s blade is a traditional Japanese kiritsuki blade. Japanese master chefs favor this multi-purpose blade shape and use it in ways similar to the European chef’s knife. The Taiyo’s blade has a cutting core of SG2 “micro carbide” steel. With SG2’s incredibly dense and pure grain structure, it takes and holds a fine edge with unparalleled durability. 160 layers (80 on each side) of damascus cladding support the SG2 core, add beauty, and are part of the sunrise pattern. The handle is a traditional Japanese octagonal shape, but it twists and becomes rounder as it nears the bolster in order to provide a comfortable grip.
“We have challenged ourselves to be the one knife maker that stands out in the minds of the consumer for quality, design and value,” said Igarashi. “Our ultimate goal is to create a deep connection with the knife user and a sense of pride in owning a Kershaw, Shun or Zero Tolerance product.”