I had this knife for a couple of weeks and was able to use it quite a bit. Overall I think it is a fantastic piece of work and I will be ordering the new version. I want to get that out of the way because what I'm about to write will no doubt come off like a bunch of complaining about the flaws. The truth is the positives outweigh the negatives, especially considering so much has already been corrected since this knife was created. On to the deets:
The knife is about 248mm on the edge which is really a great size. It is flat about 135mm out from the heel, I know some like this more curved profile, but I would prefer it were flat for another inch at least if not two, out to 180mm. The last section of the heel was also on a different plane, at first I just thought it was overground, but then I got to thinking it seemed awefully distinct and the F&F of the knife was so stunning otherwise, perhaps this was intentional? I don't know, but it was not good imho.
Just behind the heel lies the handle, which I found to sag slightly. I could barely see that it was angled down, but it was uncomfortable. It actually exacerbated my issue with the overgrind(?) because I had to push sooo far down to make the heel contact the board. A flat handle is good of course, but I wouldn't mind seeing it rise a little even.
I actually found myself using the front half of the blade almost exclusively after a couple of days to avoid this heel section and reduce the stiction issues.
I would complain about the grind and the aweful time I had cutting onions and taters, but considering this particular design has gone the way of the dodo I see no point. Most of us saw Salty's Grind II video so we know this thing can cut taters now.
The steel is absolutely amazing. It's beautiful and durable, not two things that go together very often. I made fajitas one night with skirt steak that had been marinated in, and basted with, a chipotle lime adobo sauce. Really brutal stuff, that and the half a case of Negro Modelos really did a number on my tummy . This was an outside meal and beverages were enjoyed, after about 2 hours I finally got inside to wash off this knife from it's slicing duties (I was checking it frequently); there was no discoloration to be found up the sides, and only slight discoloration (had to be looking for it) on the bevel that rubbed out with minimal effort. I made a pico de gallo also the next week and never wiped the blade, I let it sit a bit at a few different stages, and I never picked up so much as an odor from the steel. I am very impressed with Del's dammy.
I almost forgot to mention the knife is drop dead gorgeous, all of my friends and family were impressed (intimidated) by it. The small imperfections in the wood were hardly noticed and did't bother me at all. I actually appreciated the verification that it was, in fact, real.
Thanks for sharing it around Del. While I was disappointed to not have a better representation of your current work, there is no doubt that your expert craftsmanship came shining through in this piece. I now have complete faith in your abilities; that combined with your willingness to evolve and improve make you tops in my book. I looks forward to owning one of your works.