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Marko Tsourkan
06-23-2012, 12:11 PM
Two new heat-treatments for 52100 I have been working on two new heat-treatments for 52100. Based on feedback I received, sharpenability and sharpness has improved (according to one reviewer, as good as white steel). The second heat treatment is aimed to maximize wear resistance. This one is still in works, but in the next couple of weeks, I will have two forum members over for a rope cutting test. We will compare these two heat treatments for edge retention.

Peened Western handle bolster prototype in works. I took Bob Kramer's method (slotted bolster) as a model. It is one of a more difficult methods, as it requires a precision fitting, so it is taking me more time to work out details. I will use this particular method for knives in stainless steels and 52100. I eventually will have blanks laser cut.

Forged Western handle integral bolster knives. I commissioned a couple of prototypes in 52100 and currently awaiting their arrivals. These will be forged from round stock and I will be doing all heat treating and grinding. I should have a prototype within a month hopefully.

Western Handle Working on a coca-cola bottle shape handle, modeled on Bill Burke and Devin Thomas handle. I think these are the most comfortable and properly sized and shaped handles out there.

Grind I have done a good amount of experimentation with different grinds and received feedback from public. I made changes and will continue tweaking geometry as needed.

D handle I made a minor change to a D handle.

Failures I had to take time to rethink my production process after I incurred a few failures. Introduced checklists to some steps of the process.

Custom Work Unfortunately, not being on the top of keeping up with custom orders, but it is in par that I am doing all these changes to HT and geometry. Please understand it is imperative for me to send out my best work, than work I can complete quickly. I will work with each of customer and address any issues with delays.

Pass-Arounds There will be two knives passed around, a western and a wa (D handle). There will be some conditions attached. Details are to come soon.

Thank you for your support and patience.

M

Pabloz
06-23-2012, 12:15 PM
Great action Marko. Please include me in the passarounds. I'd love to see your work first hand.

PZ

Andrew H
06-23-2012, 12:21 PM
Sounds like you haven't been very busy. :D

markenki
06-23-2012, 12:23 PM
You've been busy. Really exciting to see all this. Would love to be included in the pass around! I can be your token amateur. :biggrin:

WildBoar
06-23-2012, 01:04 PM
Marko, all your experimentation and desire to continue refining is refreshing and inspiring. The wait will be well worth it!

oivind_dahle
06-23-2012, 01:25 PM
Teaser ;)

kalaeb
06-23-2012, 02:37 PM
Funny, I was just wonder where you had been. I was going to send an email today, but now I know all is good.

Pensacola Tiger
06-23-2012, 02:53 PM
Thanks for the update, Marko.

Looking forward to the results of all your labors.

Rick

Dream Burls
06-23-2012, 07:04 PM
Glad to see to see your post. I know you've been busy and I'm glad to see that it' s in large part to persue your search for perfection. Your thirst for knowledge and advancing your art is inspiring. And of course, I'm thrilled to be in line to have one of your creations. I'm sure I speak for all your expectant customers when I say to take all the time you need. i'm sure it will be well worth the wait. Besides, we enjoy the journey.

Eamon Burke
06-23-2012, 09:11 PM
I love the idea of offering the same steel with different HT and therefore qualities. Very cool.

Marko Tsourkan
06-23-2012, 10:33 PM
I love the idea of offering the same steel with different HT and therefore qualities. Very cool.

Thanks guys.

If I am able to combine both - edge stability (sharpness) and wear resistance (edge holding) in one heat treatment, that would be a best of two worlds. Working on it. :)

M

obtuse
06-23-2012, 10:37 PM
I guess that's one of the cool things about 52100, there so much you can do with it.

Johnny.B.Good
06-23-2012, 10:57 PM
And of course, I'm thrilled to be in line to have one of your creations. I'm sure I speak for all your expectant customers when I say to take all the time you need. i'm sure it will be well worth the wait. Besides, we enjoy the journey.

I couldn't agree more.

Thanks for the update Marko.

Cipcich
06-23-2012, 11:14 PM
Ha. A one character message is apparently too short. So: "??"

Marko Tsourkan
06-30-2012, 09:21 AM
Preliminary indicators point out to new heat treatment as a success - the knife is harder to finish and to thin on Beston 500, a little harder to sharpen, but edge gets razor sharp after 500, 1000, and 5000 followed by diamond loaded strop. Rope cutting test is next, but I feel pretty good about this HT.

Geometry has been a rocky ride, but I think I narrowed it down to 2 types with best food release from all I tried. Need to figure out how to get both on video. In the mean time, sent out two knives with both geometries for evaluation in a pro kitchen, so should have some input in a few days.

These two developments put me back in the game. I will continue make changes as I go, but I feel comfortable about both.

Sorry Folks for the long wait and lack of communication.



M

Marko Tsourkan
07-07-2012, 03:36 PM
On Tuesday, two forum members are coming over to learn how to make sayas and help with a rope cutting test. For the test I am planning to have two (possibly three) knives, all in carbon steel.

Will post updates.

M

apicius9
07-07-2012, 06:48 PM
On Tuesday, two forum members are coming over to learn how to make sayas...

M

Will there be a live broadcast? :) I would love to play with this, but I don't even own a nice saya as far as I remember...

Stefan

SpikeC
07-07-2012, 07:40 PM
OOH, ya a podcasty thingy!

Marko Tsourkan
07-07-2012, 10:12 PM
Well, these guys will be working for the lessons. Cutting rope is not as easy as it sounds, and there will be 3 knives in different carbon steels to test.
M

Crothcipt
07-07-2012, 10:35 PM
sounds like fun.

Marko Tsourkan
07-11-2012, 10:25 AM
Yesterday, JohnyChance and Uptothehilt came over to help with a rope cutting test and to learn about making sayas. I went over the basics and did a quick carving demonstration for one of JC knives. We didn't go past that, as I glue sayas overnight, so the next week we pick up where we left off this week- shape, sand and oil-finish it.

For rope cutting test, we selected several knives with comparable thickness above the edge. I made a makeshift cutting station - an end-grain block attached to a digital scale with an external reader. For counting cuts, we used a mechanical click counter. We used 1/2" sisal rope.

JC sharpened all knives to same lever of sharpness, using same stones and strop. We exposed about 2.75" of edge, to speed up dulling.

The test asked for a pull cut, however, we did it with push cut, as it seemed a little more natural when cutting rope. At some point later, we will redo it with a pull cut and compare the results.

As this was an experiment (with not very high expectations), I am not going to post results, as we need to improve cutting technique (cutting 1/2" sisal rope is nothing like food) before we can use numbers in any meaningful ways, but I think we got a good feel for it.

It was pretty obvious that choice of steel and heat treatment had a direct effect on rate of dulling. However, some steels continue cutting even after they were dull to the touch, while others quit. Once we get better at testing, I will elaborate about this.

Overall, it was an interesting experiment and I want to thank both members for coming over and helping out. I hope we can do this more frequently.

M

DeepCSweede
07-11-2012, 10:51 AM
Can't wait to hear more Marko, keep us posted. thanks for sharing.

JohnnyChance
07-11-2012, 02:10 PM
Cutting sisal rope is definitely not as fun or as fast as cutting up food.

Johnny.B.Good
07-11-2012, 02:35 PM
I enjoy reading all of this and know you have good reasons for everything you do, but what exactly are you hoping to learn through the rope cutting tests? Durability of the various steels and heat treatments?

JohnnyChance
07-11-2012, 02:50 PM
Edge retention mostly but also stability. We tested other steels because we are curious, but the real benefit for Marko is testing different version of his heat treat for a given steel. Let's say theoretical HT #1 is easier to sharpen than HT #2. If they both cut the same amount of rope, why bother with #2? Or maybe #2 cuts twice as much as #1, is the extra edge retention worth the trade off of being more difficult to sharpen? Maybe #2 cuts 25% better than #1, but it also experiences some chipping. We can test these side by side in under an hour, cutting the exact same thing in the exact same way.

Johnny.B.Good
07-11-2012, 02:51 PM
Edge retention mostly but also stability. We tested other steels because we are curious, but the real benefit for Marko is testing different version of his heat treat for a given steel. Let's say theoretical HT #1 is easier to sharpen than HT #2. If they both cut the same amount of rope, why bother with #2? Or maybe #2 cuts twice as much as #1, does the the extra edge retention worth the trade off of being more difficult to sharpen? Maybe #2 cuts 25% better than #1, but it also experiences some chipping. We can test these side by side in under an hour, cutting the exact same thing in the exact same way.

Interesting; thanks for the explanation.

Marko Tsourkan
07-11-2012, 03:38 PM
Thanks, John for chiming in.

yes, these tests are useful to assess heat treatment, particularly when one is aiming for a certain outcome like wear resistance, sharpness or edge stability. It should also be possible to compare different steels' performance side-by-side, provided that geometry on knives is similar.

For now, we concluded that the latest HT for 52100 has better wear resistance than my previous, without sacrificing much of an ease of sharpening, so naturally, I will adopt it for all of my 52100 knives going onward.

There is one steel that we tried (for now I won't name it, plus I am not 100% sure what it is) that showed some impressive edge retention. I think I will give this steel (or steel I think it is) a close look in the coming months.

Then there is a powder stainless steel that I would like to evaluate and to see how it stocks up to 52100.

An ultimate test would be putting a knife into hands of somebody in a pro kitchen and ask them to use it without resharpening for as long as they can, and then use a feedback information to assess heat treatment, geometry, etc.

Rope cutting test, however incomplete, offers a snapshot about knife's performance, and though it might not be as accurate as when cutting an actual food, it will point you in a right direction, I think. Many makers have done it on their road to making performance knives.

Hope this explains it.

M

Crothcipt
07-11-2012, 04:06 PM
I was wondering about the whole knife test, and how it applies to food. (I mean the masters test) Would cutting a piece of food at the end be beneficial in the test? Would it also help show how the ht is related?

Marko Tsourkan
07-11-2012, 04:11 PM
I spoke to a forum member today and he suggested to try to cut a tomato after every 100 rope cuts. I don't know if it will work or not, as sisal might kill the razor-edge pretty quickly, but I will try it. Always open to suggestions, so don't be shy to chime in.

M

Crothcipt
07-11-2012, 04:18 PM
I was thinking more like celery. I think the tomato would be to picky. Celery would show on the threads how the cut is affecting the food.

Dream Burls
07-11-2012, 07:09 PM
Having been a witness to yesterday's testing I thought I'd give you all a little insight on what was done.

After we all strengthened ourselves on a meal of Brazilian BBQ, JC spent over an hour painstakingly sharpening five knives. He stoned and stropped and ran paper cut tests to get each of the blades to the same level sharpness. Then the cutting began. If you have ever cut through half inch sisal rope you know just how tough it is, no less with just about 3" of edge to work with. It was really hard work. All of the steels took hundreds of cuts, some of them many many hundreds. Of course I had the toughest job - feeding the rope and keeping count of the cuts.

But seriously, these two guys are consummate professionals. Even with sore arms and blistered fingers they kept at it.
For those of you who follow Marko on this forum you know his pursuit of perfection is continuous. These tests are just another example of his dedication to his craft. It was quite an experience being a party to this.

Marko Tsourkan
07-30-2012, 11:20 AM
A Quick Update52100 Heat Treatment is final. I am happy with the outcome and will be offering two versions at 62RC and 63.5RC. The latter will be a little harder to sharpen. Both versions will get very sharp, hold an edge well and will have a stable edge (no chipping).

The new carbon steel shows a lot of potential, but HT needs more tweaking and it might be a while before it is available as an option, as every tweak has to be tested in a pro kitchen and that takes time.

There are Western handle knives in works - 3 gyuto and 1 suji. As this is a new territory for me, I have to move slowly, and there might be weeks before they are finished. However, you will see Western handle knives regularly offered in the near future (with a metal bolster and Coca Cola shaped handle). Forged integral bolsters knives will come later in the fall.

There is a hybrid of two styles of knives that people have asked me to make for a long time, but until now I haven't committed. Giving it a try, and depending on reviews, might offer it as a new type.

I will probably discontinue offering custom handle/saya/accessories work, to concentrate on knives.

Planning a pass around for 52100, most likely with a wa handle. For those who participate, there will be a condition attached - you will be asked to compare my knife with one of your knives (pick the best of course) for sharpness, ease of sharpening, food release, edge retention, and anything else they feel like comparing. The pass around knife will be available in early to mid September.

Lastly, I am going to offer an option to test the knife before I proceed to finishing and handle making (I will send it with a generic handle). This way, if anything needs to be addressed, it can be addressed before the knife is finished. Plus a customer will get a sense of performance, profile, balance, etc. This way, you will know exactly what your are getting. I will split the shipping cost with the customer.

M

Dream Burls
07-31-2012, 05:56 PM
Thanks for the update Marko. You've been a busy, busy "boy". Your trial option underscores the importance you place on customer satisfaction. As for hybrids, there's an old saying: "The man who stands in the middle of the road gets hit by cars going both ways". Don't know if this applies here, but if it ain't broke, don't break it. JMHO.

Marko Tsourkan
07-31-2012, 10:53 PM
Well, I am not reinventing a wheel here, just tweaking (conservatively) a popular type, namely making either a tall suji, or narrow gyuto. In part because of the requests, in part because it makes sense - more height will give a comfortable knuckle clearance over the cutting surface and many use sujis as prep knives.

Dream Burls
07-31-2012, 11:52 PM
Thanks for the clarification. Now the "hybrid" makes sense to me.

chuck239
08-01-2012, 08:35 AM
Marlo,

Does this mean you will be starting the second group of pre orders from last year? I hope this means I will get to test my own out soon.

-Chuck

-Chuck

Marko Tsourkan
08-01-2012, 10:54 AM
The second group of preorders, those that were confirmed by me, but no deposits taken, will be combined with recent orders.
I will do my best getting those out. I am getting more efficient with Wa, but I am also working on Western handle type, and these slow me down a bit, due to unfamiliarity with process. I am a fast learner, thought.

M

Justin0505
08-02-2012, 06:23 AM
Exciting stuff! You've approached this knife making with the methodology of a scientist and the passion of an artist. I submitted an order for an integral bolster as soon as I saw that it was an option on the site.
I'd be REALLY interesting in participating in the up-coming pass-around.

Marko Tsourkan
08-02-2012, 11:56 AM
The forged integrals are a few months away, but peened bolster western should be available much sooner. Eventually I will weld the bolster to the blade and grind it similar to forged integral.

The passaround knife will be a wa handled version.

M

Marko Tsourkan
08-13-2012, 11:30 AM
Quick updates.

Working on a batch of knives in 52100, Wa and Western. Most are rough ground, at this point. Once all are ground, I will proceed to finishing stages.

New heat treatment for 52100 has been well received, though I am still getting feedback from users for details. The new geometry has also been well received.

New carbon steel shows promise, but more hours in a pro kitchen is needed to come up with a final verdict.

Doing some experimental heat treatment of stainless steels to maximize wear resistance. Good results so far on conventional stainless and will be starting on a powder stainless soon. Once all parameters are met (hardness, edge stability, sharpness), the knife will go out for testing.

Lastly, with a gentle nudging from a forum member and a friend, I made some changes to my production process to increase efficiency over time. I purchased some new equipment last week and will be purchasing some new equipment by the end of the year. This will allow me speed up my process while continue doing all work in-house - there will be no subcontracting of any work. I am an one-man operation, so every knife I make is a sole-authorship knife.

I also decided to discontinue offering custom work and narrow my focus to knives. I am considering hiring somebody and training them in making accessories, but at this point it is just a thought and nothing concrete.

Thanks,

M

markenki
08-14-2012, 01:21 AM
Thanks for the update, Marko. Looking forward to hearing about the new carbon steel and profile. Saving my pennies for one of your knives!

Marko Tsourkan
08-14-2012, 09:25 AM
Thanks, Mark -

I should see some efficiency improvement very soon and that should translate into more knives out.

M

Marko Tsourkan
09-14-2012, 12:50 PM
A quick update. as of 9/14/2012

- Started on a passaround knife, should have it finished by mid next week.

- Contemplating offering two new types of knives - kiritsuke shaped gyuto and honesuji/petty hybrid. The latter will be single-beveled, with a hollow back. I have made both of these knives and they are currently being tested. I will think of other types I would like to make, most likely knives shorter than 210 or longer than 270mm (most likely slicers).

-Integral bolster knives and western handles knives are coming in the fall of 2012

- Got more feedback on the grind and D handle. As both are still in experimental stage, I request feedback, but no changes were asked for at this time, so I take it as a sign that I might have a design I will stick with.

- Got some new equipment to make my work more efficient, however don't have enough electricity, so will have to work on bringing more power in shortly.

- By the end of the year, I am planning on switching to molted salts heat treatment. There should be some improvement to the knife permanence over the current method.

- As of Sept. 20, I am taking 3 weeks off to visit my family in Ukraine. While there, I am planning on finishing my website and thinking through what I need to do next. Up to this point, I have been treating knife-making as a hobby, but after the trip, I would like to run it as a part-time business, with all cons and pros that come with it.

- Will be putting remainder of my practice knives for sale for one last time. All will come with complementary strops, however most need to be reground to my latest grind, so they will have to be done after I return.

- Should be done with a drop-point hunter in the coming days as well.

- I am stopping taking orders for 2012 effective immediately, thought I will be offering ready made knives for the rest of 2012 and particularly for holidays season. A price increase in 2013 is very likely, as heat treatment, grinding and hand-finishing (62.5-63.5RC hardened steel with increases wear resistance) a blade is pretty time and labor intensive and I didn't factor the latest developments in HT and geometry into 2012 prices.

That's all.

M -

markenki
09-14-2012, 04:05 PM
Wow, you've been busy! Looking forward to seeing all the new developments. What does "There should be some improvement to the knife permanence over the current method. " mean? What do you mean by "knife permanence"? Is that the same thing as edge retention?

Enjoy your vacation!

Thanks,

Mark

Marko Tsourkan
09-14-2012, 04:55 PM
There will probably be 5-10% (estimated) improvement in heat treating metal in molted salts over convection over, as a result of a more uniform heating, as told to me by Devin. This is a relatively small improvement, but I would like to move in this direction as it a faster and more efficient method, and cheaper too - using nat gas is cheaper than electricity.

Also want to add that all orders placed through my website are locked in 2012 prices and whatever arrangements or discounts I offered, I will honor every and each of them. Just remind me if I forget - too many things to keep a track of.

Some didn't received a confirmation after they placed an order, but I have them all on the web site and will go through them in the next 3 weeks and respond.

Heat treatment is responsible for edge stability, sharpness and wear resistance. Any improvement in HT will result in improvement in performance, however small it may be.
Thanks,

M

brainsausage
09-15-2012, 12:10 AM
I filled out the custom form a little while back and have yet to hear back from you... I'm presuming its due to work load. No worries on my end. But I'll just ask here... Chuka bochos?

Marko Tsourkan
09-15-2012, 12:27 AM
I filled out the custom form a little while back and have yet to hear back from you... I'm presuming its due to work load. No worries on my end. But I'll just ask here... Chuka bochos?

Every order placed before 10/14/2012 is in.

Chuka bochos? Probably not, as it is one of the knives I am not interested in using myself.

Kiritsuke shaped gyuto
Honesuki/utility hybrid
Garasuki (single beveled)
Yanagi (single beveled)
Miroshi deba
Integral bolster knives
Various shape slicers

along these lines...

ThEoRy
09-15-2012, 12:40 AM
Gah crap!! Was I supposed to fill out an order form?!! Damnit we started talking about this knife like months ago!!! I could punch myself right now. /sadface

Marko Tsourkan
09-15-2012, 12:46 AM
Gah crap!! Was I supposed to fill out an order form?!! Damnit we started talking about this knife like months ago!!! I could punch myself right now. /sadface

Don't worry, you are in. We talked about your knife for some time now. You will get to check one out on a passaround.

I need to get a grip on the orders placed before accepting any new once.

M

brainsausage
09-15-2012, 12:49 AM
Soooo... Are you doing set measurements on those profiles? Or is there a little wiggle room in regards to heel to spine height, spine thickness, taper, etc. ?

cookinstuff
09-15-2012, 12:56 AM
Looking forward to seeing you take it part time Marko, it's almost hilarious thinking about you doing this as a hobby, your knives don't look like a hobbyists work. I guess Marko being a hobbyist knifemaker is like an olympic athlete being an amateur athlete? Not exactly amateurish, looking forward to seeing more and different knives from you Marko, good luck and have fun on your time off.

Marko Tsourkan
09-15-2012, 01:02 AM
The hobbyist will end on Oct 12, 2012.

Some profiles are tweaked tried-and-true profiles, some are exact copies. For instance yanagi, garasuji, and miroshi will be exact copy. Slicers, kiritsuke shaped gyuto, and honesuki/petty hybrid are tweaked.

I will do them as ready-made at first, and then I might add them to custom orders.

M

cookinstuff
09-15-2012, 02:17 AM
You seem to have a knack for getting profile shapes right, atleast in my eye. I'm looking forward to some of the new style blade shapes, good luck and have fun.

Marko Tsourkan
09-15-2012, 10:03 AM
Want to clarify that when I say hobbyist, I mean my approach to work (and not the quality of my work) - work at your spare time, at a comfortable pace and capacity, etc.

It can't go on like this, as it leads to missed deadlines, long backlog of orders, and stress. These are the areas where I need to improve and it will have to come from increasing efficiency - optimizing processes, adding new equipment, and put more time in. So I will allocate 25-40 hours a week to this as of mid October. If it can grow into self-sustained business, I will go into this full-time.

cookinstuff
09-16-2012, 02:23 AM
I wish you luck with getting into it more, just remember when it's a fulltime job to keep having fun with it. I'm sure everyone around here would just love to keep you busy :knife:

Marko Tsourkan
09-16-2012, 09:00 AM
I am in it up to my ears, just need to do things more efficiently. :) Thank you..

cookinstuff
09-16-2012, 11:36 AM
Hehe, i was only kidding, I can imagine no difference between some of the guys on heres workload, and some fulltime custom knife makers. The standard of maker around here from hobbyist, to professional is pretty ridiculous, some real talent lying around these boards.

Marko Tsourkan
10-17-2012, 08:00 AM
A quick update.

I took some time off to think about the direction I would like to take, namely what kind of knives I would like to make, what my objectives are for a next year, next three years, next five years.

The knives I make now are quite labor intensive, and some manufacturing processes are not likely to improve even as I continue to innovate. On the bright side, this is what will set my knives apart and I like how my knives perform, and the performance is the main reason I started making knives. So, I will try to find little efficiency where possible, but have to accept that my output will stay low.

I narrowed down to 3 steels, one carbon and 2 stainless, that consistently offer outstanding performance and until anything better comes around, these will be the steels of choice.

I am going to discontinue offering buffalo horn as handle ferrule material, as I find it difficult to secure a supply of quality horn. The substitute will likely be a natural material. Still working on it, so will make an update when I know more.

Western handled knives and single-beveled knives are coming soon. Prototypes will be done parallel to my custom orders, and once I reach a level of quality I am satisfied with, they will be offered as choices.

Shopping around for molted salt furnaces.

In addition to 52100 pass-around knife, I will also pass around a gyuto in PM stainless steel. I will have details soon.

This will be all for now.

Thanks,

M

cclin
10-19-2012, 06:32 AM
Marko, you don't take DT damascus custom order any more??

Marko Tsourkan
10-19-2012, 07:15 AM
I still do, in fact I am very excited about Devin's 52100 damascus steel (see latest chevron pattern gyuto).

cclin
10-19-2012, 08:05 AM
Marko, do you able make a custom knife use DT Damascus AEB - L with "chevron" or "feather" pattern ??
-Charles

Marko Tsourkan
10-19-2012, 04:16 PM
Yes and Yes.

Marko Tsourkan
10-19-2012, 04:37 PM
Not sure about feather, but definitely chevron or ladder in 52100 damascus

M

Marko Tsourkan
11-21-2012, 01:51 PM
Hello Folks,
I guess, I should start by saying that I think I have arrived at a good point at my R&D, and will concentrate now on production and getting knives out of the door. The experimental heat treatment is now permanent till I find a way to top it. The grind is also permanent. There will be variation of the grind, weight and thickness, based on customer's preference.

Single beveled knives are in prototype phase now, but I will move faster on these, as I mostly need feedback on geometry - sharpness and wear resistance has been already determined.

Western handled knives will come after single-beveled knives and will be offered right away. I just need to shape a few handles to work out the process.

I will primarily offer two monosteels - 52100 and PM stainless, but choice of DT damascus, AEB-L and DT mystery carbon steel will also be available upon request.

I will phase out using horn in my handles, despite the fact that it has been such a part of the look my handles are recognized by. I have a difficulty securing quality horn and after spending hundreds of dollars and still unable to get a stable supply of quality horn, I am loosing hope.

I haven't come across a perfect horn substitute either, so I might have to resort to change a design of my handles and to use blackwood for the ferrule, topped with a mokume tip. This would put my handles close in look to Bob Kramer meiji, but I want to emphasize that this is a practical move rather than a desire to copy. I will continue taper ferrule on both sides and keep the butt of the handle straight. I am not sure if I keep the spacer between the handle body and ferrule (like in my previous handles) if there is a mokume tip as well, as I am not in love with the look but maybe it will grow on me.

Also, all ready-made knives will come with D-style handles. Octagonal handles will be only available upon request.

I know it has been a long wait for some of you, and I apologize for it. I want to make sure I leave no stone unturned in my R&D, so I choose to err on the side of cautions and proceeded slowly, rather than get knives out quickly and make improvements as I go. Ultimately, a longer wait will lead to a a better knife.

I will understand if some of you find the wait be too long and will want to cancel your order. That will be fine, just shoot me an email.

Best regards,

M
PS: Here is some of the new horn I received:

11615

11616

Von blewitt
11-21-2012, 03:43 PM
This all sounds very exciting Marko. Best of luck getting through your list, I can't wait till my time comes.

Marko Tsourkan
12-10-2012, 02:28 PM
I have around 15 knives ground and rough finished and about the same number of practice knives that need a final finish. This and making handles is what I am going to occupy myself between now and Christmas. Will try to get out everything I took a payment for in time so they can arrive by Christmas (except int. orders).

Will have a few extra knives for sale, will post details in Knives For Sale thread. In addition to 52100, there will be some knives in 19C27, and A2.

M

PS: there is some 52100 damascus (in ladder and possibly chevron, don't remember) and mystery carbon steel on the way from Panaca, but I won't be able to work it until after Christmas.

daddy yo yo
12-12-2012, 01:54 PM
any pictures of a western handle on on of your gyutos? i might be interested... :hungry:

Marko Tsourkan
12-13-2012, 01:17 PM
I put the knives with Western handle on backburner, but will revisit after the New Year.

jmforge
12-15-2012, 12:34 AM
Marko, I have never used horn, but I can tell you that I LOVE blackwood. I jokingly (well, not really :wink:) tell people that it is my substitute for ebony AND black paper and linen Micarta.:doublethumbsup:

Marko Tsourkan
12-16-2012, 05:32 PM
Horn polishes to a higher luster than blackwood and stays shinier, but it also moves at a different rate than wood. I don't like the idea of exposed end grain of natural woods, so capping it with mokume or nichel silver is a logical step.

M

Marko Tsourkan
02-19-2013, 10:58 AM
Haven't posted updated for a while, so here are some.

Back on Track With Making Handles
Made some changes to design to minimize (and hopefully avoid all together) failures. Still tweaking the design (and buying new tools), but so far so good - the first two have been successful. This week will try to get as many done as possible and to get some knives out.

Getting Electricity Upgrade
My landlord finally caved in to my threats of leaving and I will be getting electricity upgrade to the shop - a big deal for me, as I operate on a next to nothing electricity. I finally can start using some equipment that I purchased but was unable to use and I will b expanding my metalworking shop and adding a woodworking shop.

Salt Pods
This has been on a back burner for a long time now, but hopefully in the next 2-3 months, it will become a reality.

New Types of Knives and Handles
Western handle scimitar, Western handle bread knife, a couple of versions of D handle honesuki are in a pipelines. At this time I won't be taking orders for these, but I will make some now and then and post them for sale. I have a number of 52100 Damascus blanks made by John Thomas and will be adding some stainless when Devin is back on his feet working.

Cutting Boards, Blocks, and Magnetic Strips
I finally found somebody to help me with making cutting boards and other accessories. This guy has the right attitude and attention to detail (and requires little training, as he makes circular stairs for living, this would be his side-gig a few hours a week). It will be a limited production, 5-10 boards a month. I will do a good share of the work - wood selection, grain alignment, gluing and all detail and finishing work. Having my worker do all prep work and cutting would be a huge help. I will start with the boards (I still have some lumber from days I was making them) and gradually add more accessories. Board will be 2" thick, but will be a low-profile with recessed silicone feet and cutouts for easy lifting.

Knife workshops in NYC
Working with a few people on the forum on putting together workshops on sharpening, knife skill demonstration and general knife education in NYC. This is still in works, so stay tuned.

This is going to be a busy year and hopefully a successful year.

This is all I can think of right now.

Thanks,

M

The hekler
02-19-2013, 12:24 PM
Wow, so many things to be excited about but I think the bread knife is what I'm most eager to see.

Dream Burls
02-19-2013, 02:29 PM
Wow, quite an update. No moss on your stones. Really good news about the electricity. I know that's been holding you back. Cutting boards: put me down for one. Workshops: I'd be interested in those too. I'm actually going to a knife skills class next week at ICE (Institute of Culinary Education).

DeepCSweede
02-19-2013, 03:02 PM
I would definitely be up for one of those prototype Honesuki's.

cookinstuff
02-19-2013, 03:04 PM
Good to hear Marko, I feel you on the electricity thing, I can't even use my vita prep at work. Have to turn off my immersion circulator when vac/packing. Things being out of your own control but constantly affecting your business is a frustrating thing, hopefully you will be using your new toys soon enough. Have fun!

Marko Tsourkan
02-19-2013, 03:11 PM
I have 20Amp circut and 3Phase 20Amp for everything in the shop. I have been going crazy jockeying between the tools.

Marko Tsourkan
03-21-2013, 02:43 PM
A short update.

Accessories
I took a short time off from knife making and finalized design of magnetic knife holders and contemplated a design of a counter top knife stand. The latter is still in works, though a prototype should be upcoming. My cutting board design remained unchanged - low-profile, finger recesses and recessed feet. I plan on having a full line of accessories available (boards, holders and stands), as well as some sharpening supplies and care-and-maintenance supplies.

Steels
There will be a couple of knives in Devin's mystery carbon coming up, but it is likely not going to be a steel I will use often, due to a difficulty of hand-finishing it and its cost. 52100 and A2 will be my go-to carbon steels, latter geared toward those who would prefer more stain resistance. I am reviewing a list of stainless steels to offer, as some are much harder to obtain that I thought, and I might have to look for some quality substitutes. There will be a few knives made in JT damascus steel (52100 and 15N20 mix), but damascus won't be a my go-to steels due to the cost and a demand.

Geometry
I will offer two versions - thinner and thicker, but other than that, there is not changes to how I grind my knives.

Heat Treatment
I am aiming for a combination of sharpness (and toughness or edge-stability, as these go hand-in-hand) and wear resistance. All my steels will be heat treated for this combination. Salt pods are in the plans.

Handles
I barely make any octagonal handles these days, mostly D style, which has been well received and therefore, is to stay unchanged. There will be a western style handle coming up (still in prototype stage, but close to finalizing design). All western knives will feature a guard that will be ground to resemble an integral bolster. I am considering including a contrasting end-cap on the western handle as well as some other embellishments, at least on some. One such handle would be made out of layers of birch bark and will feature a spacer as well as an end cap - Michael Rader influence.

New Types of Knives:
These are not that new, as I aired them in my subforum already, but they still need to be made - a bread knife, a scimitar, and a new version of honesuki knives. I will probably add a garasuki version for those who would prefer a heftier, larger version of a bird splitter.

Wait list and long overdue orders
Wait list is long and includes orders that have been placed (few are paid but most are not) as long as 2 years ago. There is not a good excuse on my part, other than to say that I rather err on a side of caution and proceed slowly to get better knives out. How better, is a rhetorical question, though I think that cumulative experience has been very helpful.

I would like to ask for a little more patience and will do what I can to make up for a long wait. Whatever I quoted at the time of placing an order, is the price we go by. People are also free to cancel their orders.

I apologize for an excessive wait time. I wish I could make knives faster. Knife-making is not something I can do day-in-day-out mindlessly - there good days when I am very productive, there are bad days, when things go wrong and I get discouraged. Ultimately, I go back and redo/redesign/correct things and move on, but trying new ways, new things carry a risk of a failure, and failure is something I don't take lightly.

Price for 2013
There will be a price increase due to the fact that I am unable to keep up with my orders at the 2012 pricing. I try to do my best to keep my knives affordable, but the reality - low output and high labor intensive process makes the prospects of a very affordable knife dim. I have so far resisted the idea of price increase, but I don't know how much longer I can do that. A long list of orders is also keeping me from pursuing new markets, something I have to do if I am to continue making knives.

Sole Authorship Work
Just to remind you guys that all that I offer I make myself. I tried a couple of guys for woodworking, but they each didn't last a day. I am difficult person to work for, and it would require to similar demands to oneself for me to consider investing my time in training people.

Sole authorship work, on one hand, is a good thing, as I can guarantee a certain quality, but on the other hand, there are only so many hours in a day I can work.

My pricing for accessories might appear to be higher than comparable items on the market, but everything I make I put to a highest scrutiny in design, performance and to a some degree, a common sense. I am sorry if I priced some people out, but the amount of work that goes into these, the material cost, the quality, make up the price. I appreciate when people recognize that.

Thanks,

M

Marko Tsourkan
03-21-2013, 03:15 PM
Got timed out.

Just one thing to add - all work is done in the house by me. I don't subcontract any of the work (heat treating, pre-grinding, handles, woodworking, etc)

Anton
03-21-2013, 04:27 PM
Amen

Got timed out.

Just one thing to add - all work is done in the house by me. I don't subcontract any of the work (heat treating, pre-grinding, handles, woodworking, etc)

Dream Burls
03-21-2013, 04:30 PM
it's worth the wait!

chinacats
03-21-2013, 11:56 PM
it's worth the wait!

+1

Any thoughts about doing a honyaki at some point?

Marko Tsourkan
03-22-2013, 12:36 AM
I could say that all my 52100 are honyaki - they are monosteel blades quenched in fast oil and hardened to 62-63RC (that's after tempering). :D

I am not interested in shallow hardening steels, similar to white and blue steels and W2. 52100 is a deeper hardening steel, so it won't show hamon like shallow hardening do. There is a way to heat treat 52100 with a torch (like Bill Burke does it), but it takes a considerable skill to do it well and even then I would guess there would be some variations in quality. I on the other hand, am moving toward molted salts, just to get a little more performance over heat treating in a convection oven.

So in short, there will be no blades with hamon any time soon, but I will continue squeezing performance out of steels I like.

M

orange
03-22-2013, 02:46 AM
it's worth the wait!

+1

keep up the good work!!

stereo.pete
03-23-2013, 01:11 PM
Watch out when using those bath salts Marko.

Marko Tsourkan
03-23-2013, 01:48 PM
Watch out when using those bath salts Marko.

I know, I have heart that they could approximate an erupting volcano (lava)

Twistington
03-23-2013, 02:03 PM
I know, I have heart that they could approximate an erupting volcano (lava)

Kevin Cashen had some horror story about saltbaths on his homepage, didn't sound like something one would tinker with when hungover... :S

Marko Tsourkan
03-23-2013, 02:14 PM
You can't be stupid with salts or you will learn the hard way. At best, you will have a small fire, at worst, bodily damage.

PierreRodrigue
03-23-2013, 02:26 PM
Salts... absolutely no moisture on the blade, one drop of water equals molten salt everywhere from the steam release/explosion. lay your blades on top of the salt pot to preheat, and drive out moisture.

cclin
03-23-2013, 05:00 PM
someone please educate me what is advantage use molten salts for heat treatment, quench, annel, and temper steel. ??:dontknow:

Marko Tsourkan
03-23-2013, 07:38 PM
Uniform heating. When you heat treat in convection oven, the temperature inside will vary somewhat (don't listen to people who claim that temperature inside is +/- 5F the probe temperature, in an Evenheat type oven, that's BS), so to get to optimum hardness you have to do a lot of testing and adjusting before you get a good HT recipe. Salts, on the other hand (provided you don't have any frozen spots at the bottom of the tube), will show temperature more accurately and heat steel more uniformly and faster. Devin told me that advantage going salts is about 10% improvement. The process includes tempering in salts as well.

cclin
03-23-2013, 07:44 PM
thank you, Marko!:)

Uniform heating. When you heat treat in convection oven, the temperature inside will vary somewhat (don't listen to people who can say that temperature inside is +/- 5F the probe temperature, in an Evenheat type oven), so to get to optimum hardness you have to do a lot of testing before you get a good HT recipe. Salts, on the other hand (provided you don't have any frozen spots at the bottom), will show temperature more accurately and heat steel more uniformly and faster. Devin told me that advantage going salts is about 10% improvement. The process includes tempering in salts as well.

Marko Tsourkan
03-23-2013, 07:50 PM
Salts... absolutely no moisture on the blade, one drop of water equals molten salt everywhere from the steam release/explosion. lay your blades on top of the salt pot to preheat, and drive out moisture.


That's what I have been hearing from people who ht in salts. I was to bake the blades fora short time in 300F oven before submerging in salts, heating on top of hte tube might be a faster and more efficient way. Thanks for the tip, Pierre -

M

Marko Tsourkan
04-29-2013, 06:45 PM
A quick update on where things stand.

To improve efficiency, I have decided to send out steel to be cut into blanks with a waterjet, though all the other processes will be done in-house, by me. Also, I finally succeeded in making polishing a bit more efficient, and that came after my latest cut to my thumb! Sometimes pain can be a great motivator.

I have a number of custom orders I took money for. These are my first priority and they are not many. I am finishing several knives at the moment and hopefully will get them out in the next couple of days. I still have some custom work orders (handles mostly) that I need to complete, before dedicating my time entirely to custom knife work (and some accessories).

Currently in discussing with a machine shop about ordering saltpods. Hopefully it won't be too long before I switch my HT to molten salts.

The DMT plates and bases are in works, most bases are done, some I already started on a finishing process. I will ship them out as I complete them, the earliest should go out this week. Pics shortly.

I apologize for the long time some of you have waited for a knife from me. The ride wasn't as smooth as I hoped, but I finally reached a good point where I can balance the quality of my work and the my involvement (labor and time).

Thanks,

M

Line cooked
04-29-2013, 11:01 PM
Thanks for the update....can't fault anyone for hard work

Johnny.B.Good
04-30-2013, 12:44 AM
Thanks for the update, Marko.

Hope that thumb is healing nicely.

markenki
04-30-2013, 01:04 AM
Thanks for the update. Good things are worth waiting for! :)

Von blewitt
04-30-2013, 09:58 AM
Great to hear things are moving along for you. Every time you post a picture of a finished knife I get more and more excited about receiving my knives! Hope the thumb isn't giving you too much trouble

Marko Tsourkan
04-30-2013, 12:16 PM
I think my new polishing approach will result in a finish that very close to mirror-polish. Water jet cutting is a must at this point, as my shop is in the basement and bringing in a professional metal cutting bands saw would be very difficult. Salt pods is also a stet in a right direction - faster, more uniform results.

If now I could only hire somebody to make accessories for me under my supervision ...

Mike9
04-30-2013, 10:54 PM
Thanks for the heads up on the DMT's Marko - you had mentioned a bunch were back ordered.

Marko Tsourkan
10-16-2013, 10:36 AM
Hey Folks,
been a while since I posted an update here.

There has been a lot of going on lately, so I will try to do a summary, but the list is long.

Current Projects
Gyoto Types
I have decided to offer three types of gyuto - laser, workhorse and heavy workhorse. Laser will have plenty stiffness at the spine, but above the edge will be pretty thin. Workhorse will be a thicker version of the laser and a heavy workhorse will be a gyuto in a different geometry all together.

225mm Ready-Made Gyutos
This project is in progress, finishing up two first knives. I was a little unsure whether to give them laser or workhorse geometry, (for a while I have been aiming for similar geometry as thinnest Shigefusa), so I settled on a geometry that is in between the two. If folks find them too thin above the edge for their liking, I will replace them with a thicker version

135-150mm Honesuki
Finally getting to this project. Cut and profiled blanks, will start heat-treating them shortly.

190mm ready-made gyuto
This project is on hold at the moment, but I will start on it when I free up some time (as of November I will get some help)

Custom Orders
Slowly getting them out, though most are overdue. Trying to make amends for the overdue work with discounts, and upgrades. Now that I closed the custom order list, it's a little more manageable. Still have a couple of really old orders but will clear them in the coming weeks.

Magnetic Strips
Producing limited quantities of these, mostly from maple and walnut. I aim to make them exclusively in domestic figured woods for sustainability reasons.

Cutting Boards
Once I get some help in the shop, these will become stock items. Walnut and cherry are current choices. Will add maple and smoked white oak as new items.

Strops and DMT Plates Bases
Same applies to these. It takes a lot of my time to produce these, so right now I only make them periodically and in batches 7+, but aim to have them as stock items

Custom Handles and Sayas
A limited number of these will be offered starting November 1st.


New Projects
12" Scimitar and 8" butchering knife
Studying these knives and corresponding with folks who use them on a regular basis, to get a better understanding and to make a prototype and start from there - test the prototype, make corrections, make another prototype, etc. Over time, I would like to offer them separately or as a matching set. Other knives might be included in the set as well.

270 Miroshi Deba
This is one knife I wanted to make for a long time. Also, corresponding with a heavy user of this lengh knife to get a better understanding, and will spend some time studying this knife up close before making my own version in 52100.

Heavy Workhorse Gyuto
I am currently experimenting with 2 geometries for this type of knife. Same approach as above, corresponding with heavy users of these types, studying comparable knives, producing prototypes and sending it out for testing and feedback. Prototype #2 will incorporate feedback and suggestion and hopefully no prototype #3 will be necessary. In any event, there is some time before a knife will get in a production.

Install-It-Yourself Handles
These will be semi-custom handles made with international customers in mind. As the name implies, these will be made to measurements provided by the customer, but will be installed by the customer. For now, I am going to do a test trial, to see if this concept works well. If everything goes as intended, this will become a product.

Leather Sayas
This is a new product I became interested in lately. I plan producing these in the upcoming months, as I need some time to setup a new workspace and to purchase equipment.

Leather Rolls
I need to spend some time on design of these (hopefully I can get some good input from you guys, [B]please email me if you have some suggestions), but hope that withing months I should bring them as a product. The aim to make them more affordable than comparable products on the market and to design them to accommodate most popular types of knives. The design will feature pockets with sayas (leather or wood), and the knives will be stored with the blades in the pockets vs handles as on most rolls on the market. Separate rolls will be made for accessories and DMT plates.

Custom 11.5x2.5" 4000 DMT Plate
This grit would complement 1200 plate and 8000 plate and will become a stock item. Bases and felt strops will be available for this size.

That's all. Whew!

Thanks,

Marko

PS: All of these products are made in house by me. When I get some help, woodworking products will be made by my close supervision, but knives, handles, leather products will be still made by me. I intend to subcontract nothing.

metromaxi
12-02-2013, 05:01 PM
success master

Marko Tsourkan
03-07-2014, 01:56 PM
Haven't posted an update recently, it is about time.

Made a fairly smooth transition into western handled knives. Still fine-tuning the details, but can say that I am fairly comfortable with the outcome.

At this time I am offering primarily S grind geometry, but also dabbled into an asymmetric grind, though I need more feedback on the performance before making it available to the public.

There are a few new types of knives that I intend to bring to the market soon: scimitar, 8" breaking knife, Miroshi deba and others.

On fulfillment of the custom work, need improvement. Find it a bit difficult to manage time efficiently combining new/experimental work and old custom work. I made a priority to get the knives out that had a deposit or were paid in full, and until these are out, all custom work is on hold. I will, however, fulfill the custom orders placed through the web site or email, but it will take some time. The bright side - I am willing to accommodate people and will offer some incentives to make up for a long wait, besides being locked into the old price. Also, I will be offering work that wasn't available at the time they placement an order and it will be an option. The custom order list is closed for the next 1-2 years.

In my professional development, the next step would be to get into forging and damascus making. I intend to bring some integrals down the road and to make my own mokume and damascus. This is a mid-term plan, but I have to start making some moves toward that end in the next 3-6 months.

Accessories production is on hold because of a lack of time and I haven't been successful finding help.

Thanks,

Marko

jgraeff
03-07-2014, 08:48 PM
Marko that's awesome to hear you will be working in forging and Damascus.

Can't wait to see the results!

Marko Tsourkan
03-07-2014, 10:02 PM
Marko that's awesome to hear you will be working in forging and Damascus.

Can't wait to see the results!

Thanks. I have to take a pilgrimage trip to Panaka first. For now I have been researching equipment needed. Forging is likely to have by far a steepest learning curve than anything I have attempted.

M