Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Hi Folks.

 

Ive been making knives a little while now and thought I’d get some feedback on them from the pros ;)

 

I generally make chef/kitchen knives as I’m UK based and not much call for hunting, skinning knives and the like.

 

Id appreciate some general feedback on things like handle shape, blade length, quality, thickness etc.

 

EF8AA503-71E9-4DB9-8A1E-8DCCEE37AF4F.jpeg

72D7255F-FB40-4987-9E3E-367D06DC2FCB.jpeg

94D6679A-0D71-4E09-AA52-15FE7F135461.jpeg

7804A527-27C2-4024-B5CC-0700CEE8812F.jpeg

4C3608D5-4D0C-49B1-AC7C-7BAADA1C8164.jpeg

B3CACD17-5202-45ED-AEC8-EC45B2AC1FF6.jpeg

89253594-9E83-4A22-9F48-8946821C0051.jpeg

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Ben and welcome. Could you perhaps add some info such as dimensions and intended use for each knife? Thanks 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Great start, but I think your blade profiles , and handle to blade angles are pretty off on most of them (the last 2 look a bit better though). 

 

The cutting edge of your knives roll up towards the handle, which is where you generally want the 'flat spot' for contact with the chopping board, with adequate 'knuckle clearance' to the chopping board (edge to handle 'angle') - as you have profiled a few of the pictured ones, the 'heel' end of the edge could not be used against a chopping board without 'concertina cutting' 

 

The blade profile of kitchen / chefs knives has evolved over many hundreds of years , and good performing knives in the kitchen all follow a similar formula.

 

When I started getting a bit more serious about making good chefs knives (im also in UK) I bought a couple of knives from asda, for about £5 ea. The basics of profile & handle angles were great (better than I was making at the time) and they cut surprisingly well  - I followed the tried and tested blade profiles and handle to blade angles, (as a guide), tweaked it, then worked on making mine cut better, nicer in the hand, take a better edge, and look (hopefully) nicer. 

 

It took longer than I would like to admit for my knives to perform better than the £5 asda ones, but I got there, and people seem to want to buy them now :)

 

The other thing I did to improve my making was to cut lots of basics like potatoes / tomatoes with various knives, and my own, and compare how the knives felt and performed. You just know when you have made a good kitchen knife as it 'sails' through food, with good release. Hard to describe, makes you smile when it happens. 

 

The problem, and beauty of making kitchen knives is it is all about how the knife cuts. Way more so than daggers, pig stickers, hunting knives, swords etc which might get used once in a blue moon. Chefs are really tuned into it as they spend hours a day using the tool. 

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
46 minutes ago, John N said:

which is where you generally want the 'flat spot' for contact with the chopping board

I'll agree with what John said, but will add my clarification.  John put the term 'flat spot' in quotes for a reason (I think).  I was taught that for most styles of chef's knives that there shouldn't be any truly flat spot towards the heel.  I was taught that when looking down the edge from the handle, you should see a curve, but it should be ever so slight enough so that when you rock the edge on the cutting board from the tip to the heel, you feel a 'stop' as the heel hits the board.  I hope that makes sense.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks @John N I really appreciate you taking the time to go into so much depth! 
 

I really like the idea of buy some basic knives and cutting loads with them to get a feel for the cut and release. 
 

Can I ask what grind you use typically? Do you favour a full flat along the bevel, a flat point then primary bevel or hollow grind?

 

So far I’ve done mostly full flat but the final chopper is a hollow grind (mostly because I wanted try it out).

 

@billyO thanks for the further explanation! Would this slight curve be toward the handle or the tip?

Link to post
Share on other sites

I like what has been said I think trying out different knives is very helpful for example I don't like German style profiles but do like some Japanese profiles similar to Sabatier's. I would suggest reading "An edge in the kitchen " or a similar book to learn knife skills and explain uses of different knives, you could probably find the same info online. Full flat grind for me as thin as the steel will take for the intended use.

Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Ben Iles-Smith said:

Would this slight curve be toward the handle or the tip?

I was referring to heel (handle) in my answer.  When mincing garlic or onions, say, a lot of folks will keep the tip of the knife on the cutting board and pump the handle up and down to rock the blade, so the heel (handle) side of the blade comes off the board, but the tip never does.  Too much of a curve toward the heel will cause the handle to rock down towards the cutting board and smash your knuckles.  

It may be that others (please chime in here) were taught the it's OK to have the last inch or so of the blade be completely flat.

 

Looking at your pictures, in the first one, it looks close, but there might be a bit too much curve at the heel, but this could also be just the shadow I'm seeing.  The 2nd, 3rd and 4th and 6th pictures look like they might be pretty good (the 4th and 6th one might be a bit flat at the heel, but could be good, it's hard to tell in the pics).  

 

Finally, I should say that for the nakiri (the last one) everything I've written doesn't hold, I've seen very flat versions to very curved blades on these.  

 

I encourage others to chime in and set me straight (pun intended).

Edited by billyO
Link to post
Share on other sites

This is a good video on the different chef knife designs

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Some really great advice and explanations here. Thanks very much!

 

I've had a look through some sources and pictures etc and come up with a new design that's more of a traditional shape with no profiling of the heel. I also tried to include the very slight upward curve on the heel as suggested above!

 

Its about 335mm total length. 200mm blade length and 135 mm handle length. Widest point is about 40mm.

 

I like the shape of the blade but something feels off about the handle. Particularly the top and flare but i cant quite put my finger on it.

 

Anyone got any ideas what might throwing it off?

 

 

Chef 1.png

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm still relatively new to blade making, and I sometimes, mostly on wider blades like chef's knives, have a problem with what is discussed here regarding the angle of the blade heel. When I'm doing the final grind, everything will be going smoothly and then suddenly I realize the heel has ground down way too fast and is now at a different angle to the rest of the edge.  [Not too proud to admit it, definitely too proud to market it without re-profiling the whole edge.]

Does anyone here have a good tip for preventing this [other than "pay more attention", please, 'cause there is already too much snark inside my head]?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Good morning, Jacob.  Hopefully others with more years of doing this will chime in as well, but I think we've all been there.  And I'm sure some of us still go back there occasionally.

I won't add to your head snark (but... ;)... I guess it depends on what you're meaning when saying that).  The progression I went through (or should I say am still going through???) is that I was running into what you described by grinding full passes each time starting at the heel and pulling the blade across the platen to the tip.  So I changed my process a little, and instead of making full passes, I'd start the grind more towards the middle of the blade, then pushing it towards the heel, and then pulling it back towards the tip.  But then I found myself starting to thin out the belly too much/too quickly.  But again, I was grinding the whole blade length each pass.  Now what I do is not worry about necessarily making a full pass, but only grinding where needed.  

Another thing that can be a contributing factor for this is if you are forging your blades and using the cross peen to draw out the heel which tends to make this part of the blade thinner than the rest if one isn't careful during forging.  

Hopefully these suggestions don't fall under the category of 'pay more attention'...if they do, I apologize.

 

Edited by billyO
Link to post
Share on other sites

I ground my last chef purposely thicker at heel. The edge was 0.010" at heel and would progressively thin out to 0.005" over around 1.5" length. 

 

The idea came from a retired pro chef who told me he often used the heel to break small bones so he liked the German type knifes for that reason, because they have very strong heels. Problem with those knives is they are awkward to sharpen on the stones. So I kinda made an in between. It's only noticeable when you look at the edge bevels that become wider at heel, but the edge feels much stiffer there than my previous chefs. 

DSC_1510_edited~3.jpg

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/16/2020 at 10:07 AM, Ben Iles-Smith said:

Thanks @John N I really appreciate you taking the time to go into so much depth! 
 

I really like the idea of buy some basic knives and cutting loads with them to get a feel for the cut and release. 
 

Can I ask what grind you use typically? Do you favour a full flat along the bevel, a flat point then primary bevel or hollow grind?

 

So far I’ve done mostly full flat but the final chopper is a hollow grind (mostly because I wanted try it out).

 

@billyO thanks for the further explanation! Would this slight curve be toward the handle or the tip?

 

My grinds (at the moment, its an evolving thing) are nearly flat, but with a hint of convex. but... I forge pretty close, so only the bottom half of the blade is ground, which makes a difference to how it cuts. As the top half of my blades are 'as forged' and at a shallower angle than the primary grind the food never touches it, which makes food release much better ( verses a full flat grind up to the spine of the blade) 

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/17/2020 at 12:24 PM, Ben Iles-Smith said:

Some really great advice and explanations here. Thanks very much!

 

I've had a look through some sources and pictures etc and come up with a new design that's more of a traditional shape with no profiling of the heel. I also tried to include the very slight upward curve on the heel as suggested above!

 

Its about 335mm total length. 200mm blade length and 135 mm handle length. Widest point is about 40mm.

 

I like the shape of the blade but something feels off about the handle. Particularly the top and flare but i cant quite put my finger on it.

 

Anyone got any ideas what might throwing it off?

 

 

Chef 1.png

 

To my eye, and its subjective, and hard to explain............. you blade profile is perfect, handle profile......... perfect. (but does not need to go 'parallel' for the bolster section)

 

Handle should be 'up' a couple of degrees to how its sitting now (using the bolster as the 'hinge' point for the couple of degrees) - This would move the 'beak' at the tip of the handle up by 1/8" or 3/16" , improving knuckle clearance on the chopping board. 

 

Its a funny thing when you are grinding knives. Ive hated stuff Ive made (I just lay into the steel, never draw before hand) - change the profile by 1/16" and suddenly back in love with it, and its virtually no different, but aesthetically a mile away.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...