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.
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.
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.
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.
Thanks for the clarification. Now the "hybrid" makes sense to me.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.