View Full Version : Martell #3 (P)Re-view

08-04-2011, 12:53 AM
So after a full day of back and forth dialogue with the USPS that was full of untruths and wrong tracking information (delivery attempted at 7:59 PM?! Notice left... but where?!) the package arrived! I opened the box to find a cool soft case that I proceeded to unzip. What lay inside sliced through my expectations... literally! The knife actually cut through the cork that was supposed to protect the tip and the case that it was in. :shocked3:

Initial impressions on aesthetics and comfort of the knife exceeded expectations! The ironwood looks and feels warm and inviting, the choil and spine are eased perfectly to allow for a very comfortable grip, and the heft of the knife is something I didn't expect, but was pleasantly surprised with. I could use this knife all day, even if I had cuts or blisters on the points of contact from hand to blade! The Martell etch looks even better in person than the previous pictures suggest.

Took the knife to work today and gave it a run through the daily mise and made some interesting discoveries! Will elaborate on these impressions after tomorrow; today was acquaintance/getting comfortable with the knife day, tomorrow will be more prep intensive and allow me to give it a fair trial run! In the meantime, to keep you at bay, here are some pictures that don't really do the knife justice, and a poor quality cell phone video :scared2:


*Please ignore the whiny background music (not my choosing), the strange cinematography (I hung the phone off the pass) and the lack of knife skills

08-04-2011, 12:58 AM
Congratulations Avi, I thought this one looked extra sweet in the WIP thread.
Who knew it would come sharp ootb? :D

Dave Martell
08-04-2011, 10:01 AM
Oh boy was I nervous opening up this thread. :D

Marko Tsourkan
08-04-2011, 10:08 AM
Oh boy was I nervous opening up this thread. :D

wow. looks great.

08-04-2011, 10:28 AM
Great pics! That iron wood handle looks awesome. Can't wait for your full review!

Dave Martell
08-04-2011, 10:31 AM
Can't wait for your full review!

Me too......except my nerves are going to kill me waiting. I think Avishar is enjoying this part. :D

Marko Tsourkan
08-04-2011, 12:07 PM
Dave, your logo looks pretty deeply etched. How deep did you go?


08-04-2011, 12:15 PM
That is some nice looking wood. Overall great looking knife

Dave Martell
08-04-2011, 12:28 PM
Dave, your logo looks pretty deeply etched. How deep did you go?


Beats me. :)

08-04-2011, 01:03 PM
So was it sharp out of the box? :razz:


Cadillac J
08-04-2011, 08:13 PM
When can we see a non-teaser shot?

08-07-2011, 02:40 PM
still waiting for the full review!!

08-11-2011, 02:37 AM
Sorry about the late update guys, I had some "situations" to deal with that kept me away from the kitchen and computer for the last few days: but on the brighter side, I now have used the knife for a significant enough time to comment on how it performs!

To begin, the this knife was definitely designed with the knife forum user in mind! It literally does feel like an extension of the hand, starting with the handle, progressing to the choil and spine, and finishing with the balance and fantastic profile of the blade! As Dave said, he designed the knife with a flat enough profile for push cutting, but also with the ability to rock if needed. To reiterate what I said before about ergonomics on this one; the knife feels natural, and thus can be held and used all day with very little fatigue. It feels more weighty than my Masahiro MVH and TKC style Kikuichi, but this heft feels just right; like I can use this knife for every primary task I would want to use a gyuto for! The Ironwood continues to stun me with its pattern, warmth, and comfort. It now ranks as a personal favorite wood.

Proceeding forth, since I had been using the Zwilling BK knife frequently, I missed the dramatic distal taper, especially when doing smaller tasks like mincing shallots. After day 2 of use however, I had all but forgotten about the lack of extreme distal taper business. An issue that I was having on the first day was with serious sticking when dicing onions; when I would do thin vertical or orbital cuts, the previous slices would raise with the blade forcing me to have to push them back down before proceeding with any followup cuts. This problem has since been reduced drastically, perhaps the knife just needed a little bit of patina? Or perhaps my technique was off. In either case I am now using this knife as my primary-do-it-all Gyuto because I love the ergonomics, and I love the edge that Dave put on it!

The sharpness of the edge is of course unparalleled by any "OEM" edge in my limited experience; the closest I have seen is actually that of the Masahiro MV-H, which was surprisingly aggresive, but probably due in part to the extreme asymmetry of the MV-H. I assume Dave put something along the lines of his Level II sharpening edge, if not higher, on this one. It is holding up quite well as of now, but will continue to take a civilized beating just to see how long the edge holds up (I have never used O1 before so I'm not sure of the retention capabilities and toughness of it). I will do this only because Dave promised me that in lieu of a birthday present, and because I ordered within the first 15 minutes, he will gladly sharpen his own signature knife for free just for me! :EDance2: Right Dave?

I passed this knife around the line for a day and everyone agreed that this blew their other knives out of the water (Shun Elite, Miyabi Birchwood, Yoshikane, Shun Premier, Tojiro DP are what is usually available for them to play with). The person who didn't like the shape or feel of the Zwilling Kramer absolutely loved both the aforementioned features of Martell #3.

The shape of the blade is a good fit for me, my style is mostly push cutting, draw cuts, or drop chopping, with an occasional rock when the product responds better to it. I have no complaints on the design there!

As for initial impressions; as with all other knives in the world this knife is not perfect, I am not sure yet how it will stack up to my other knives in the long run, or how well it sharpens, but I sure as hell am keeping it! Everything about this knife screams "I want to be used", which I find to be the most important quality of a gyuto and one I haven't really experienced with too many of them. It feels great to use, and it makes prep cutting tasks enjoyable and even desirable! It might be the reflection of the hard work that Dave put into making it (Just like when Mom puts TLC into her cooking to make it the best!), the expectation and wait time I had for it, the willingness to trust a new knife maker, and the inter-activeness I felt in the process (Damn that degree in psychology). Or, it might just be that this is one hell of a knife, and it feels like it was made with my specific tastes in mind. Time will tell, but in the meantime I am glad I was able to get this one, and have no regrets at all about picking it up! Dave has done a damn fine job with this run, he should definitely be proud of his work, all his efforts and work shined through on the final product. I continue to build an affinity for this knife the more I use it and at this rate I will probably be talked into buying another one in the future! (What was that about butcher knives? :wink:)

I ran the knife through all sorts of different foods, here are some unscientific observations:

Shallots- Video is shown on page one, perhaps due to the weight, it is not as fast as Masahiro MVH, but definitely still excellent to use for the task
Onions- Day one caused problems, but after getting used to the knife it works extremely well, Videos of day one and yesterday below
Carrots & Parsnip- No wedging, no problems :)
Celery- No problems at all, Video below
Bok Choy- glided right through the stalks and the leaves with no issue at all
Bell Peppers- Cut through both the outside and the inside with no resistance at all, and no noticeable difference between each side
Russet Potato- No release or sticking issues, in the event that a piece did manage to stick it was easily shaken off with the slightest effort
Redskin Potato- See video below, no problems until the last section of the potato was reached, disputable whether its the knife building up starch or my lack of skill, in either case cuts very smoothly until that point.
Calamari- no problems at all slicing "Wafer Thin" pieces.
Tomatoes- Passed all the strange and inventive tests we've come up with.
Basil- Effortless chiffonade
Chives- Easily shaved



Onion Day 1:

Onion followup:



*I'm no expert, as the videos above plainly show, but if there is anything you would like to see me do with this knife or any questions I can answer please feel free to ask, I will be more than happy to try! This includes you too Dave! (your knife has to be damn good in order for me to make these absurd videos)

PS Pictures of knife to be taken/added tomorrow morning when there is better natural lighting!

Cliff's notes: If you are on the fence, buy the damn thing and try it yourself! :D

08-11-2011, 08:30 AM
Thanks for the full review! The vids are very helpful. Thanks effort taking the time to do this. I bet the edge on that gyuto will last a good while.

Dave Martell
08-11-2011, 10:20 AM
Avishar, thank you so much for doing all this work with the videos and all. I really never expected anything more than to hear that "this knife sucks" or "it's good", etc. :D

Also, thanks again for being one of the first to take the leap of faith and buy one of my never made yet before knives. That sure must've taken some guts to do. :lol2:


PS - To answer your question on sharpening, yes free sharpening will always be offered on my own knives.