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Marko Tsourkan
08-25-2012, 03:51 PM
I had a visitor to my shop today. We talked about knives, I showed him knives that influenced my work, did some cutting to demonstrate food release and talked a bit about my process and what I aim at in my knives - performance. He then asked me "what is a high-performance knife"? I gave him a brief answer (he came with his mother and we were getting too technical about some things) so later I emailed him a more detailed explanation. I am going copy and past some of it here, maybe somebody will find it useful.

High-End and High-Performance knife are not interchangeable, though sometimes, a knife is both. My understanding of a high-performance knife is the following:

Steel - has to have small carbides size and contain alloys that will contribute to wear resistance. I find 52100 for carbon and AEB-L for stainless be some of the best performing steels.
Heat treatment - should be aimed to achieve a great edge stability and a fine grain structure (sharpness will follow) while getting a good hardness (62-63RC after tempering) and good wear resistance. Cryo, proper tempering will influence performance greatly.
Profile - generally, narrower and flatter profiles make more efficient cutters.
Grind - one with a best food separation (consistently, not just on the first cut, and on variety of things) would be desirable
Handle - needs to be comfortable to be held for hours (in pro environment) without developing fatigue
Fit and finish - edges on the spine and choil need be rounded and polished, as these come in contact with the hand and higher finish on a blade is desirable on carbon steels


When all these are combined in one knife, you basically have a racing car in a kitchen knife.

Marko

RiffRaff
08-25-2012, 03:56 PM
+1 Elegant and quotable. And when are you gonna give us all a tour of your new-fangled shop? :doublethumbsup:

Marko Tsourkan
08-25-2012, 04:02 PM
At some later point when I spend some time organizing it.

I will however have a pass-around knife in mid September.

M

Crothcipt
08-26-2012, 12:11 AM
I just may put that on my phone for a wall paper so when someone asks. (it has happened more than once)

Salty dog
08-26-2012, 02:05 AM
If I may suggest another criteria. Weight distribution. It's that thing when people talk about "feels good in the hand". Often over looked and little understood.

Generally a well ground knife will have good distribution but not always. It lends to the users confidence. Although he may not be aware of it.

Marko Tsourkan
08-26-2012, 09:13 AM
If I may suggest another criteria. Weight distribution. It's that thing when people talk about "feels good in the hand". Often over looked and little understood.

Generally a well ground knife will have good distribution but not always. It lends to the users confidence. Although he may not be aware of it.

Yes, I missed that one and thickness. Thanks Scott for pointing it out.

Balance - A pinch grip is more efficient than a 'hammer' grip and so a knife with a slightly forward balance will lend itself better for efficient cutting.

Thickness - Thin at the spine but with a rigid feel.

M