I would like to talk a bit about my knives and why I do the things I do as far as design, not only in the overall shape, but the blade geometry as well.
In 2009 I met a wonderful man named Roman Landes, he is a german metallurgist. I rode with him and several other knifemakers to the ashokan seminar where he was giving a presentation.
I have been going to this seminar for quite a few years as well, but this was the first year I was presenting, both a demonstration and a lecture. Roman brought a couple of kitchen knives with him that he had made. They were impressive, this is a guy who understands thin. The knives were not japanese-inspired designs, the closest thing I could compare them to now that I know a bit about japanes design is a suji with a really mild curve.
So, I saw these knives, which by the way he had $2000+ on, and they inspired me. So I went home and made 3 kitchen knives, one short gyuto(225mm) and two that are hard to describe(which is why I didn't post any pics of them) maybe short muntant santokus. Well, I sold one of those and the other two sat around until the next ashokan. There I was a demonstrator again, and late friday night I walked into the bedroom talking to another demonstrator(Rob Deker) about the kitchen knives I brought. The light was off, but there was enough coming in from the hallway to tell there was someone in bed already, but not asleep, I opened the case and pulled out the gyuto and was showing it to Rob, and the half asleep(I guess getting lost really takes it out of you) bald guy pops up like jack out of his box and asks to see the knife. As you can guess, that was Dave Martell. We talked for awhile, and later that weekend too and promised to keep in touch. That was where the ball really got rolling for me. Dave saw some things in that knife that other makers new to kitchen knives often don't have, namely a decent profile and thin steel with a good grind. So Dave sent me to look at ITK and said pay attention to what these guys say. I was working on a commercial order for damascus at the time, but I spent many late nights going over posts from as far back as two years, trying to get a feel for what you guys were looknig for in kitchen knives. My biggest surprise (and a happy one) is that a great majority of you guys loved carbon steel. I am learning to make stainless damascus, but I am much better with carbon, so I focused on that. I also saw many posts about "lasers" and I thought, hey I can make thin knives, no worries. So I set out to make some sexy supermodel knives.
Of course I had to make the damascus first, and with that accomplished I worked on the design. I then heat treated that blank and had it rockwell tested to make sure my heat treat was giving me the rockwell numbers I was looking for. I ground it out and finished it and sent it off to Dave to sell for me, and he sold it. Feedback from the customer is that the knife is great, but I might want to make my handles smaller if I am planning on selling more. BTW that handle was 30mm tall(I've got big hands). O.K call Dave and talk handles for 3 hours or so and that led to the current design. I am happy with the current design, and evyone that has one is as well. I have always approached my work as making tools designed to be used, however one of the most frustrating things for me as a maker is to hear that one of my knives is a "safe queen" I make knives to be used. This is one of the things that attracted me to making kitchen knives, they might actually be used, and not only used, but really seriously used, so performance is top priority. I also knew that this meant that blade geometry would be critical, and I grind them thin. When I say I set out to make sexy supermodel knives I meant it. It is most likely one of my knives will be the thinnest knives you will have in your collection. Though the knife is thinly ground it doesn't necessarily mean that its delicate, I wouldn't use it a meat cleaver, but for veggies and meat(raw or cooked) its great. I have cut everything from tomatoes to winter squash with mine and no worries at all. Because of the thin blade it does behave differntly on the stones than knives that are a bit thicker. Namely it requires a bit lighter touch on the stones, because the blade may flex a bit with more pressure and throw off your angle. This shouldn't be more than a matter of a few minutes though, but I would like you to be aware of it. I think this is more than made up for by the long edge-holding and the way the knife just glides through food.
Though there have been challenges along the way, I am really enjoying making kitchen knives, and I am working on more designs. If you don't see your favorite design, just send me a quick note, I am willing to make most of the designs and in differing sizes as well.