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Critique and advise wanted.


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Hi, here are my first two chefs style knives I have made. They are made from AEB-L SS(also a first for me). One is for my son-in-law, and one for my mother. First off let me say that I am not crazy about the handle shape. I would personally do a more traditional handle shape for a knife like this. This shape came about based off the handle of a knife my son-in-law currently uses and likes, so he wanted a handle like that one. My mothers handle will be similar since these both were cut from the same piece of steel, so I had to follow the cuts for the other knife without losing 4-5" of the steel, making my mom's knife way too short.

 

Some specific questions I have are about the edge. Currently my son-in-laws knife edge is flat from the heal to about 4.5" inches out before the curve to the tip starts. He said he wanted it like that, but personally I think the curve should start about 1.5"-2" from the heal. Where do you chefs knife makers start the curve?

 

Also, the way I have the heal hooking back in towards the handle looks nice but I can see it will present a problem with the plunge grind in relation to the front of the handle. Is this a deal breaker, or is there a cleaver way around this? Or do I just need to eliminate the hook back? I have seen other knives(not many) shaped like this, but I can't find a close enough view of one to see how they did it. I drew some lines in the blade where I tentatively am planning the plunge grind and handle. What do you think? Is this doable, or will it make for a funny looking plunge grind?

 

Both of these blades warped about 1/8" during plate quench. Is this normal for plate quenching? I would have figured they would come out flat. I'm working on getting them straight now. Maybe it was from an uneven foil wrap?

 

Any other mistakes I may be possibly making here would sure be good to hear about before I make them.

 

I Cryo treated both of these blades. Son-in-laws came out of heat treat between 60 and 65. Mom's came out skating a 65 file. After Cryo, both blades skate a 65.

 

 

 

Son-in-laws knife. Flat for about 4.5" from heal. Blade is 9" long. 2" wide. 1/8" thick.

Steven001.jpg

 

My mom's knife. Curve starts about 1.5"-2" from heal. Blade is 8" long. 2" wide. 1/8" thick.

 

Mom001.jpg

 

 

Edited by Paul Carter
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the angled plunge is just a regular plunge at an angle, i would leave a little ricasso in front of the handle.

 

the flat section on the one blade will probably turn into a recurve unless it is sharpened to maintain the blade profile which i doubt most people take into consideration, i would give it a little curve but not much, just not straight. as you can imagine, a recurved blade wouldnt make a great kitchen knife. or do it straight and tell him that the edge will need special attention.

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Thanks Steve! Do you feel the edge should be sharp all the way to the heel? Some chefs knives I was looking at don't have the edge going all the way to the heel. That doesn't seem right to me, but I'm no chef.

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I do an angled plunge like that Paul but have the front of the handle at the same angle to make it more design consistant rather than looking like two designs put together . I like to see only about an 1/8 in between the plunge in blue and the front of the handle in red and round the sharp corner on the heel in yellow. I prefer to have the plunge past the heel which allows for full length blade edge rather than have the plunge terminate on the blade edge.  I think your mothers blade shape is better than the flat bottomed one for your son in law simply because the flat bottom makes for a stop start motion in use where the gently rounded blade on your mothers allows for a continuous rocking motion with the definite stop of the flat portion being short enough not to hinder the ease of use. My opinion only as ymmv

reshape.png

Edited by Garry Keown
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1 hour ago, Garry Keown said:

I do an angled plunge like that Paul but have the front of the handle at the same angle to make it more design consistant rather than looking like two designs put together . I like to see only about an 1/8 in between the plunge in blue and the front of the handle in red and round the sharp corner on the heel in yellow. I prefer to have the plunge past the heel which allows for full length blade edge rather than have the plunge terminate on the blade edge.  I think your mothers blade shape is better than the flat bottomed one for your son in law simply because the flat bottom makes for a stop start motion in use where the gently rounded blade on your mothers allows for a continuous rocking motion with the definite stop of the flat portion being short enough not to hinder the ease of use. My opinion only as ymmv

reshape.png

Garry, thanks for the opinions. I like them. I guess when I designed the front of the handle, I did it before I thought about the plunge grind and was playing off the natural curve of the hookback(for the lack of a better term) for the finger guard.Then I drew the plunge grind after. It didn't really look right to me, but couldn't quite put my finger on it. I think the pattern you showed looks much more natural together. This is why I posted here! I think I'm going to shorten up my Son-in-laws flat edge some. I'm with you, I don't think he'll like it based off of the small amount of cooking I do. I prefer the knife to rock real good without interruption. The long flat just seems to me like you're cheating yourself out of the blade length when it comes to slicing and dicing. Might as well be a 5" blade at that point.

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I would avoid the plunge line being anywhere near to the cutting edge of the blade. You need to be able to sharpen the full edge in one swoop. The plunge line will end up in front of the handle as posted by Garry above! your edge geometry will dictate where the plunge lands!

 

I forge the geometry in all my chefs knives, which nicely avoids me ever having to do even plunge lines again :D in fact, probably the main reason I like making chefs knives is I dont have to worry about this aspect of making!

 

Profile on son in laws blade does look a bit flat to my eye. On chefs knives I always reference from the angle of the handle, relative to the chopping board. On that one the handle is low (flat to the board), so you would need to lift your hand very high to use the tip of the knife. If the handle angle was 'higher' (kicked up relative to the flat spot on the blade) the tip would become more usable.

 

The 'flat' to tip transition curve looks a bit awkward as well as the handle angle. 'Knuckle clearance' to the chopping board is also important. When the handle angle is too low you have to chop with your hand off the edge of the board, to get the flat spot in contact with the board! 

 

Kitchen knives are one of the hardest to get right, even though they look like the simplest. When you do nail it, it is very satisfying. The thing with kitchen knives is they get used a lot for their intended purpose, so there is no hiding behind filework and mammoth ivory etc etc (im not suggesting you would, just some people try to). I would never know if a sub hilt fighter was the right geometry, but my mum knows if one of my knives is better than a shop bought in 5 seconds of using it. Chefs are 100x more critical than my mum :unsure: 

 

 

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Just one other thing to keep an eye on with kitchen knife blade shape and geometry, is the height of the tip relative to the centre line of the handle. On the son in laws knife the tip is very high. If you imagine trimming a bit of skin of a chicken breast with the tip, your elbow will be pointing at the ceiling with your wrist bent down 90 degrees to do it. Other knife looks loads better in this regard! :) 

Edited by John N
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This is one I have just finished with plunge right in front of the handle and ageometry that has worked well for a number of chefs and home cooks. IMG_0337 (2).JPG

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John N, thank you for your thoughts! Those are the kind of things I want to know about. I thought about what you said and went out to the shop and acted like I was cutting something up from tip to heel, and just like you said, the son-in-laws knife requires a very high angle for the rock, where as my mothers is less than half that. Since I have not ground any bevels yet, I will reshape his knife by bringing the tip down slightly and making the edge curve much more gradual, shortening up the flat quite a bit. I think he'll be much happier with it. Thank you again!

Nice looking knife Garry!

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@Paul Carterglad to have helped a little. One other thing that spring to mind, having re-read your post is the 65Rc hardness.

 

I don't have any direct experience with AEBL, so I might be off the mark for this steel, but on a carbon steel knife I would consider 65Rc 'pot hard' - Might be OK for a pro chef knife nerd, but will probably just chip out on the edge with a minor bit of misuse for a 'normal' kitchen knife user.

 

I would pull the temper back to 60 ish. A non knife nerd will never notice the difference in ultimate sharpness and edge retention, but they will certainly notice if a chunk of the edge chips out. Learnt this lesson when I gifted an aogami blue cored san mai to one of my sisters. Looked like a bread knife when I got it back.

 

I pulled the temper back, and ground the edge from 'performance' to what I would consider 'thick behind the edge, carrot cracker' - they love it now, even though it was the direct equivalent of de-tuning a muscle car to 150 bhp. They don't know that is what has happened though, they don't know anything about muscle cars but would certainly push it into a ditch on the first corner! :rolleyes:

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