View Full Version : Custom 270mm Rodrigue Gyuto

07-18-2011, 01:06 AM
Hi folks,

I bought this knife from Pierre about five or six months ago, and figured I might get around to telling you guys a little bit about it.

Here are the glamor shots Pierre took before shipping the knife:




I first contacted Pierre when a late-night Google Image Search for "custom chef's knife" brought me to his gallery in the old ITK forum. I knew very little about knives at the time; had owned, at most, a crappy set of Henckels the dog had chewed up, and was fresh off a rather unfortunate experience with New West Knifeworks. Falling in love with the profiles and styles Pierre offered, I shot him an email and the ball was rolling.

Given the remarkable cutlery ignorance I possessed, I have to say Pierre was was exceptionally patient and understanding with the boundless ideas--most of them stupid--I entertained. He encouraged me to join ITK, to do some reading, and get a better understanding of knives in general. I hold him personally responsible for my complete immersion in this hobby and for the subsequent retail therapy I have enjoyed as a consequence.

Beyond the introduction to the hobby, Pierre showed stellar customer service from start to finish: answering questions, explaining the process, accepting my ideas when they were good and gently steering me away from those that were bad. Speaking of which, I found this sketch-up I made of my first handle idea:


Haha. http://www.souppilgrim.com/orglif/shake.gif

On to the prize:

The Blade:

The blade itself is ground from 3/32 CPM-154 stock, heat treated to 62 RHC. It features a gradual distal taper from the bolsters to the tip, as well as an even flat-grind from spine to edge. Spine and choil are both rounded. The blade stands 60mm tall at the heel--it's a big boy, folks--with wide and slightly asymmetric edge bevels.

I can't give precise measurements as I lack both a scale and any sort of calipers, though I will say this is a "Mighty™" blade; being a gigantic lumbering oaf, I've always shied away from the "laser" subsection and wanted something with a lot of meat on it's bones. Affectionately dubbed "the Power Sword" by Pierre and I during it's construction, the knife has served as my chef de chef ever since I got it. Honestly, I exercise no caution or consideration when taking this knife to the board: if it gets in my way, it gets cut down. It's a bit chunky behind the edge compared to some of the more "delicate" knives around these parts, though I've never felt the urge to thin it as I've never experienced any wedging.

The profile, which I've always seen as "Watanabe-eque," allows for a good deal of edge to contact the board at once, and it's an excellent push-cutter. The blade has a hand-rubbed 600 grit finish, meaning whatever I'm hacking away at can almost see itself as it perishes.

No doubt most of you reading would love some insight as to the steel's performance on stones; unfortunately, I cannot provide any. I chickened out after a few minutes of my first--and only--attempt at sharpening the knife. What can I say? It's gonna take some time before I have the confidence to sharpen this guy. I'm still recovering from practically ruining my Masamoto.

I will say, though, that I used the knife for a few weeks professionally and then quite often at home for 5 months, no stropping or sharpening, and the edge--while in an awful state of disrepair--was still capable of shearing paper. Since getting it back from Dave's Luxury Knife Spa and Day Retreat, it's a whole new world of awesome.

The Handle:

This could just be my attachment to the knife speaking, but the handle is outrageous. The construction is as close to flawless I believe a hand-crafted item can be made; there are no gaps, no uneven areas, no scratches or hairline cracks. It's Pierre's hybrid style, which is something of a taller, elongated hexagon with the sides smoothly blended together.

Pierre stated that the handle contains 19 separate elements; combined, they include (but are not limited to) micarta bolsters and endcap, exhibition-grade desert ironwood scales, as well as three mosiac pins with stainless and micarta liners.

In keeping with the trend of this being a "Mighty™" knife, a Power Sword, the handle is big. As I said, I'm a big guy with big (big) hands, and after much deliberation we chose a handle that might be unwieldy to a smaller person but felt--for once--appropriately sized for a mountain man. While I use a pinch-grip for most things, the handle fits comfortably against my relaxed palm and provides a good deal of control when I need it. And, despite the size, the balance point of the knife is still a few millimeters forward of the handle making the knife just slightly blade-heavy.

Other Thoughts:

I love this knife. It's heavier than your standard 270mm gyuto but the balance is excellent and it does a lot of the cutting for you; it's thick enough to withstand abuse but it doesn't wedge; it's unique, one-of-a-kind, and I may have been caught just staring at it from time to time.

The few "problems" I have with it--if they can even be called problems--stem from my own decision making rather than Pierre's craftmanship: since ordering it, I've developed a fondness for carbon knives with more pronounced points; this knife is stainless, or course, and not quite as agile at the tip as I would like. That said, it's nice to know it wont rust on me if I'm accidentally careless with it, and since it's primary function is my chef-de-chef, intricate tip work is rarely needed.

Lastly, I want to reiterate that the experience of buying this knife was almost as awesome as the knife itself. Pierre kept me involved and educated, and most of the time laughing my ass off as well. When the knife finally showed up, I felt my excitement tempered by the knowledge that I wouldn't get to check my PMs anymore for updates or pictures. There's no questioning if I'd buy from him again, it's when will I.

Thanks again, Pierre.

07-18-2011, 03:32 AM
Looks super tight, thanks for the thoughtful review Vertigo.

07-18-2011, 05:40 AM
Nice review. Nice knife. Im happy for you.
waiting some customs from Pierre myself. Gonna be awesome. )

07-18-2011, 06:40 AM
Yet again another great knife from Pierre. Thank you for sharing the pictures and the nice review.


07-18-2011, 10:51 AM
He makes some of the more visually appealing handles I've seen. M4? S125V? VANAX 75 anyone?

07-18-2011, 11:56 AM
This piece has always been one that sticks out in my mind. Thanks for the "review"!

07-18-2011, 12:58 PM
looks good!

07-18-2011, 05:59 PM
Now that's what Custom is all about! Very very cool!

HHH Knives
07-19-2011, 11:06 AM
Beautiful Custom knife.. Looks great.. Congrats.

07-20-2011, 10:18 AM
Umm, say, where do you live? I mean you keep your knives in the kitchen right? Near a window? Chef right? Keep late hours and all?

07-20-2011, 10:33 AM
Umm, say, where do you live? I mean you keep your knives in the kitchen right? Near a window? Chef right? Keep late hours and all?

Early morning hours, actually. I live in Montana, it's the little house with the big mean dog and all the guns.


07-20-2011, 06:32 PM
Love the handle, those spacers are a really great feature!


07-26-2011, 05:53 PM
This is a PM I sent to Pierre yesterday, but figured I'd share it here too since it's the review thread for the knife. I know this is a serious violation of some knife ethics--and possibly local or state laws!--but what the heck. It's my tool, damnit!


Please don't be upset by the following story.

I put an 11 hour shift in today (clocked in at 4am, gross) and when I came home, I had a note from the neighbors asking me to take down the overgrowth and weeds out back in the alley. It's on the property, but behind my fence so I forget about it, and it was out of control. Anyways, I was irritated and exhausted and knew my dinky electric weed-whacker wasn't going to be able to knock the bigger plant systems down--weeds up to my chest in some places. Thick branches twisting everywhere, fat juicy stem clusters to the left and right. The hedge trimmers would be way too slow, and aren't all that sharp... so, I did the only thing I could think of: I went to the kitchen and took out the Power Sword.

It was amazing, lol. I hacked down woody stems almost 2 inches thick in places, as well as anything else in my way, and didn't once feel any resistance or have to strike the same place twice. The thing doubles as a god damn machete!

The best part? Splattered and dripping with plant guts, I took the knife inside, cleaned it up, and the edge had only one slight roll about halfway down the blade which I stropped out. The face of the blade was unscratched.

That's some seriously nice steel!!