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The latest piece I'm working on is a chef knife. This one is 192 random layers of 15N20 and 80CrV2. Got done grinding and finishing the bevels but had something happen I've never had happen before. Kind of knew it was going to because the billet was a bit thicker than I wanted. But here is the question. I have these "shoulders" in the ricasso and I'm wondering what to do. I don't think they look bad, but I'm wanting opinions on what other people would do. Figured I'd get some help before the final product this time.

IMG_1702.jpgIMG_1701.jpgIMG_1700.jpg

 

I'm thinking I could gently grind down the ricasso and tang until they just meet the top of the blade but do I need to? 

 

And for reference:

Blade is 7" from tip to leading edge of ricasso.

The blade at ricasso is 5/32"

Ricasso and tang are 11/64"

 

Suggestions and recommendations on this issue and anything else.

Thanks!

 

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If it doesn't look right, it probably isn't.

If it bugs you, change it.

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It's just personal preference, but I'd grind the step out.  I think it would have better visual flow that way. But it's up to you. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

Following on the original post, looking for advice before going to that "point of no return (without major hassle)" i.e. spending more time finishing the handle off blade and then gluing the handle together. I have the handle squared and roughed to 150 grit. It is composed of a block of "Gerhard micarta" (cool stuff!), brass spacer, and Patagonian rosewood (or better known as curupau).

Questions:

1. Opinion on how the handle looks relative to the blade (good, bad, indifferent, throw the whole thing out and start again...)

2. Placement of the pin (I am thinking of drilling back an equal distance as the micarta is thick)

 

Thanks for feedback

 

And I do need to re-etch the whole thing. The ricasso is shiny from having taken down the shoulders...

 

IMG_1734.jpg

Edited by Bill Schmalhofer
Added P.S.
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Given the relative strengths of wood and epoxy, a pin is mostly for looks, it's not needed for strength.  I don't pin any of my kitchen pieces.  The one that is in my kitchen that was the prototype of this one, has no pin.  It been used every day for the last five years.  It's been dropped on granite counters and wood floors and it's as tight as the day I built it.

 

IMG_1699 (Medium).JPG

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Form follows function. Ask yourself what this knife will be used for. That is the function. The form of the handle will be dictated by how the knife is used. 

IMNSHO, the bird's head is gratuitous on a chef's knife.

These are the 5 blades I use in the kitchen on a regular basis.

My personal set.JPG

 

The handles are really quite small and plain compared to a lot of other knives I make. Quite frankly, the second from the top is too large and needs to be reduced. I just haven't gotten around to it yet. The top and bottom ones are only used as a meat slicer. They do not chop well. The three in the center work for just about everything. There is enough room in between the handle and the blade heel for the fingers to not hit the cutting board/counter top.

 

Take a look at some of @Joël Mercier work. Maybe he will post some ideas. He does a lot of kitchen knives that, if the truth be told, I wish I had made.

 

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Posted (edited)

The bottom one brings back memories! My mother had what she called her butcher's knife that had the same handle. I don't know what it actually started out as, but it was old! The blade was thinner than a fine Japanese hand saw, covered in decades of patina, worn down to about a 1/2 in height and sharp as a razor. The day it finally broke from being too thin she nearly cried.

 

As for your blade Bill, I feel you were right to grind down the shoulders to just meet the blade thickness. Its an aesthetic choice, but one a lot of kitchen knives follow.

Edited by Brian Myers
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Posted (edited)

Thank you @Joshua States for the kind words.

 

Taking down the shoulders was the right choice. Those would've made the blade annoying to use in pinch grip. 

 

As for the handle, I am still figuring this out, but I think your profile is good. For the cross section, I like to use the reversed egg style because it's comfy and gives a strong grip. And I sculpt it thinner at the shoulders. It all comes down to making sure it's comfortable in both regular and pinch grip. 

 

One more thing that catched my attention was the belly of your edge. IMO I think it needs a bit of tweaking to be more progressive, especially it this area.

 

All in all, good work man. It's going to be a very nice tool. :)

IMG_1734.jpg.ac32fe4d94db25f01b8e145a62d9acc0~3.jpg

 

Edit: here's what I mean by "reversed egg" cross section. 

DSC_1518_edited~2.jpg

Edited by Joël Mercier
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On 5/18/2020 at 10:39 PM, Joshua States said:

Take a look at some of @Joël Mercier work. Maybe he will post some ideas. He does a lot of kitchen knives that, if the truth be told, I wish I had made.

 

Joshua thanks as always for your comments.

 

I agree with your statement about Joël. He does very nice kitchen knives.

 

On 5/19/2020 at 6:35 AM, Joël Mercier said:

Taking down the shoulders was the right choice. Those would've made the blade annoying to use in pinch grip. 

 

As for the handle, I am still figuring this out, but I think your profile is good. For the cross section, I like to use the reversed egg style because it's comfy and gives a strong grip. And I sculpt it thinner at the shoulders. It all comes down to making sure it's comfortable in both regular and pinch grip. 

 

One more thing that catched my attention was the belly of your edge. IMO I think it needs a bit of tweaking to be more progressive, especially it this area.

 

All in all, good work man. It's going to be a very nice tool. :)

IMG_1734.jpg.ac32fe4d94db25f01b8e145a62d9acc0~3.jpg

Joël, I had already started finishing the handle ( and thought I was  pretty much done) until your post showed up. Got me thinking a bit. In handling it some more  with the blade in, it was a little thick at the shoulder for a comfortable pinch grip. I don't think I have ever used a pinch grip myself so I have to remember to think about it. Going back and re-profiling it a bit. 

 

I noticed the spot you circled after I had posted the pictures. I actually think it looks worse in the pictures than it actually is (optical illusion from the patterning?). I've rocked it over a straight edge and it is pretty progressive without a  "sharp" catch in the rocking motion But there is truth to your comment. Right now there is a really good rocking motion from tip to heel and I have been debating whether it is "too good" - meaning it doesn't have a stop when it gets to the circled area- it just keeps going. I think that is what makes it look off. The edge keeps curving past the circled spot to the heel and doesn't come to a flat. Will have to play with some more patterns before making a change. Thanks for the comments.

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I use pinch grip a lot with my chefs and I think it gives the most control, agility and precision. Try it for a while, I'm sure you'll be sold.

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Now that Colonel Mustard has weighed in, :P I can offer my 2 cents on the edge.

I prefer a little more straight and less upcurve with a lower tip. Makes slicing easier. Too much upcurve and a high tip, and your slice that starts at the heal loses the cut too early unless you raise your wrist significantly.

Speaking of which, unless I am doing long slicing, I use the pinch grip. It works wonders on a carrot.

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3 hours ago, Joël Mercier said:

I use pinch grip a lot with my chefs and I think it gives the most control, agility and precision. Try it for a while, I'm sure you'll be sold.

 

10 minutes ago, Joshua States said:

Speaking of which, unless I am doing long slicing, I use the pinch grip. It works wonders on a carrot.

I will have to give a pinch grip a try. Main problem is I am not much of a cook, and (sacrilege here) I use a medium paring knife (about a 4 inch blade) for most of my cutting. Only time I use a chef knife is for slicing meat. This knife I'm working on is for my Aunt who wants to give it to her grandson (who supposedly IS into cooking) as a present. This is why I'm asking so many questions concerning this knife. I don't have much experience using one, and this is the first one I have ever made.

 

14 minutes ago, Joshua States said:

Now that Colonel Mustard has weighed in, :P I can offer my 2 cents on the edge.

I prefer a little more straight and less upcurve with a lower tip. Makes slicing easier. Too much upcurve and a high tip, and your slice that starts at the heal loses the cut too early unless you raise your wrist significantly.

 

I noticed that about your "favorite" three in the middle. It is like the edge and spine are almost parallel and then BOOM, they drop to a point (at least two of them do). I had toyed with a geometry similar to the top knife in your lineup but my aunt wasn't keen on the shape. She said the current shape is more similar to the other chef knifes her grandson has. Seems he likes collecting chef knives... Buyer is "always right".

 

It's not too late to make some changes to the blade profile (that will still satisfy the customer) and as I said, i'm playing with some patterns. Thanks for all the feed back.

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Posted (edited)
17 minutes ago, Bill Schmalhofer said:

Seems he likes collecting chef knives...

Could just be that he hasn't found one he loves yet.

Edited by Joshua States
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12 hours ago, Joshua States said:

Could just be that he hasn't found one he loves yet.

That could be, but based on descriptions of his habit from my Aunt and cousin (who is in on the present), I tend to think he collects chef knives like some people collect bowies / swords / etc. He has a LOT :D! I do know he has no Damascus blades, so this one will be his first.

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