View Full Version : time, use, value
02-13-2007, 01:17 AM
This one goes out to the knife nuts, but I post it here because its also kind of a more generalized idea --
I tend to shy away from collecting objects just to have and look at. I like things that are both artistic and useful, like a well crafted gyuto. Trouble is, most things lose value and utility as they are used (knives get dull and are ground away through sharpening). So far, I have found only two things that actually gain in value and utility with careful use, and for that reason these are some of my favorite objects. One is the cast iron skillet - every time it is used properly it becomes easier to use the next time, and I for one would gladly pay double for a well seasoned 20yr old pan than I would for a brand new one. The other is the yixing teapot, an unglazed clay pot used to brew tea Chinese style. Over time, oils from the tea give the pot a beautiful patina and contribute to the flavor of the tea brewed in the pot. Teapots made by master craftsman from finest clays can be very expensive, and pots with tea stains from years of use are even more prized.
Can anyone think of any other object, food related or not, that gains value and becomes more useful through both time and use?
02-13-2007, 12:59 PM
Your brain if properly cared for :)
Also, a good pair of handmade shoes in Tan leather will gain an aged depth to them and soften into a second layer of skin on your foot (well that's my experience with my Cheaney shoes).
02-13-2007, 05:29 PM
Knives might get ground down during use but there is most definately a time, use, value association with them. People say these knives will last a lifetime and are to be handed down to your children. Let's say I get 15 years of use out of my $1,200 Hattori KD. That equates to $1.25 per month and one hellofa value in my eyes. I know for a fact my knives will out live me as I'm a home cook with several gyuto's to rotate around lessening the grinding affect of sharpening them as often as I would if I just had one knife.
People make investments in items that bring them joy during their use or make them money after a period of time. Frankly, I'd rather spend my money on the former as the latter is so subjective and is a function of the time value of money. Sure that well seasoned cast iron pan may be worth more to you in 20 years but the value of money 20 years from now may dictate you have no choice but to spend more for it. If you buy a cast iron pan now, at least you will get the enjoyment of working with this pan for the next 20 years. Same idea with that piece of art used every day I call a KD.
You are right in that there's not too many things that you can buy that will give you long lasting value but I don't think you should exclude knives from that list. Copper pots/pans fall into this category too.
02-13-2007, 07:18 PM
I'm fully with you about getting enjoyment out of items. To go back to that cast iron pan as an example: I would rather pay $10 for a brand new pan and enjoy the process of adding value to it by seasoning it properly myself over time than just buy a preseasoned one. And I also am very appreciative of long lasting value, and I would put quality knives in the category of things that I love because they will last longer than me. But what I am truly amazed by are the things that will last longer than me, that can be used over and over again, and will actually get more useful and more valuable because of that use. To add another few that were pointed out to me recently - recipes, sourdough starter, and violins. If they aren't used, these things will actually lose value and may become useless. (is this a strange thing to be obsessing about? maybe this is a strange thing to be obsessing about. I have these phases...)
02-13-2007, 07:21 PM
So to add to this with my own 2 cents for my understanding I guess. Is this only referring to cash value or sentimental value?
02-13-2007, 07:51 PM
well, both I suppose. bonus points for sentimental value that can be transferred from one person to another (like passing down a wedding ring from mother to daughter), which has more lasting power than sentimental value that is tied to just one or a few people.
lucas dont feel bad.... im just as obsessed with this if not more. actually i wont buy a carbon knife because im paranoid that if ever in like 200 yrs and the human population is gone then the next enhabitants might not beable to find my knife like we did with the cavemen because im worried it will rust away in the ground and a stainless steel knife might make it that long...
still not convinced?ok how about the violin example? like a stratovarious.... while this may be worth say idk $300,000 today, well what if one of the tuning pegs break? or the neck warps? or you get a crack? or the grinding away of the frettboard? some things just cant be avoided with this peice and it will surely lose value when it does happen...
think about in this world today where most "big items" purchased in america consist of plasma t.v.'s, or computers, or cars.. things with hundreds if not thousands of little parts and if one goes out guess what? yep.. it all goes out.. forget the good ol days when there were repairmen, now they just throw it away and get a new one... seriously lucas, your not alone, it drives me crazy....
but i think given the flakyness of all stuff today knives are a pretty safe bet.
if octave ever sold that KD he could almost recoup his price and most japanese knives sold used on KF go for almost what they costed new. and seriously if you use a aogomi steel true honyaki the japanese sushi chefs( who sharpen every day) say the knife will last 10 to 15 yrs... forget a KD!!!! or if you sharpen that blue steel knife once a week? maybe 50 yrs?
anyway these knives last so i wouldnt worry.
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