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Thread: Your Advice to Knife Makers?

  1. #1
    Weird Wood Pusher Burl Source's Avatar
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    Your Advice to Knife Makers?

    There are quite a few regular knife makers who are very talented at making hunting knives, big bowies and collector knives.
    But many of these talented knife makers fall flat on their faces when it comes to making kitchen knives.
    Not because they don't have the talent. But more because they don't know what it takes to make a really good kitchen knife.

    So with that said......
    What would your advice be if a knife maker that you liked was considering making kitchen knives?
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  2. #2
    Senior Member tgraypots's Avatar
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    tell 'em to learn how to cook first :-> and use lots of really good kitchen knives too, prior to attempting their own.
    Tom Gray, Seagrove, NC

  3. #3
    Senior Member ThEoRy's Avatar
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    Start a pass around.
    Starting this harvest I'm a starving startling artist/
    Lyrical arsonist it's arduous spitting this smartest arsenic/

  4. #4
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    Buy, borrow or steal some of the most raved-about knives and study them for profile, grind, balance, steel/ hardening, etc. Find out about what knives are raved about by devoting a few days to reading through KKF posts. And if they do not know how to use kitchen knives, find some friends who do and have them test early prototypes before even throwing them out in the wild for KKF pass-arounds.
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    David (WildBoar's Kitchen)

  5. #5
    Senior Member turbochef422's Avatar
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    Get a masamoto ks and try your interpretation with better food release and you'll have a good start

  6. #6
    Senior Member Crothcipt's Avatar
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    Second what tgraypots, and wildboar said. Looking at some excellent looking hunting and bowie knives, and even thinking how using one would be quite fun. To thinking that it would be a terrible experience just holding a knife by same maker just blows my mind. How many hrs. goes into the bowies, and hunting knives? I'm not just saying that they looked and read, but dreamed what would work. If you get at least half the time you would be starting on a good foot.

    sorry, had to stop there. Its like reading a recipe thinking how easy it should be, then doing it for the first time. Many times it's not what you envisioned at the end. Same with a kitchen knife, more technique the better your end result will be.
    Chewie's the man.

  7. #7
    Senior Member ThEoRy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WildBoar View Post
    Buy, borrow or steal some of the most raved-about knives and study them for profile, grind, balance, steel/ hardening, etc. Find out about what knives are raved about by devoting a few days to reading through KKF posts. And if they do not know how to use kitchen knives, find some friends who do and have them test early prototypes before even throwing them out in the wild for KKF pass-arounds.
    Sound advice.
    Starting this harvest I'm a starving startling artist/
    Lyrical arsonist it's arduous spitting this smartest arsenic/

  8. #8
    Senior Member NO ChoP!'s Avatar
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    I think you have to realize that everything that may make a great hunter will make a terrible kitchen knife. It's almost like starting over.

    We here have all seen it; especially at the old forum, where some guy who's made some really nice blades will introduce a kitchen knife to us, looking for rave reviews. It ends up being some bellied santoku, with zero taper, a completely useless grind, some g10 handle with tubes instead of pins with some paracord tied to the end....I mean, maybe if I was doing prep in the woods on a tree stump....

    As with everything, research, questions, trial and error are essential. Taking into account that real world usage with ever so slight nuances trump aesthetics here.
    The difference between try and triumph is a little "umph"! NO EXCUSES!!!!!!!
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  9. #9
    Dream Burls's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tgraypots View Post
    tell 'em to learn how to cook first :-> and use lots of really good kitchen knives too, prior to attempting their own.
    Not sure they need to know how to cook, but they do need to understand the different kind of knife strokes (chopping, dicing, peeling, etc.) and grips that cooks use.
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  10. #10
    Dave Martell's Avatar
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    This is a great subject to discuss, I hope that you get a lot of input to share because this WILL help makers who want to get into the deep end of the kitchen knife pool and not sink.

    Here's my ....


    1. Do lots of research!

    Read KKF like it's got all the answers because it does.

    Buy some Japanese knives (specifically gyutos) and use them & then use them some more. You need to understand how and why these knives are shaped and ground the way they are before you can make a knife that works well enough to sell here.


    2. Don't try to re-invent the wheel!

    Replicate in your first knives the profiles and geometry grinds found in the Japanese knives you own. Sure we all want to make our own mark in the world but when starting out in kitchen knives isn't the time for that. Yes you can impart your own flair but all that should come after performance is squared away.


    3. Don't use super steels and all that BS!

    Too many makers are looking for the next whiz bang to flash off with but what will work for you is tried and true here already. Not too many mysteries that need to be discovered here in the kitchen knife world, we already know what can be made thin, is easily sharpened, and holds an edge without chipping. If you've got experience with a specific steel and know that it'll work well in this regard then by all means go for it, just don't try to sell knives based on using steels others haven't yet used since you'll just be entering into a market with a big question mark on your back.



    4. Don't make knuckle buster handles!

    Bowie handles don't work well with cutting boards.



    5. Leave the ornaments on the Christmas tree!

    Unlike most all other custom made knives - kitchen knives WILL DEFINITELY get used so you need to make performance #1 - outrageous handle materials, finishes, spine work and all that stuff can come later - performance HAS to be #1!

    A new knifemaker has to be able to make a knife that can perform up to the level that a factory made $150-200 Japanese knife provides. See the point here?



    6. Don't come to KKF and ask for advice!

    If your looking to be the newest noob on the block then by all means ask a million questions of how to make a knife but if your trying to be seen as a new maker with something worth considering then I'd suggest taking an approach of showing up with your best work and then ask for opinions from pro users. Yes you'll have to become (at least) a subscribing hobbyist here to do a passaround on any level but are you serious or not about what you're doing? If no then keep on guessing and sell your stuff on Bladeforums to folks who don't know any better. if you want to be 100% sure that you're headed in the right direction then step up to the plate.



    7. Don't cheap out or sell yourself short!

    We've seen many makers come here and quit because they either wouldn't spend the money for a subscription, they didn't get the positive feedback that they expected, or because they went in half-assed. Don't do this.

    We've had Mastersmiths looking to ask questions about how to make a kitchen knife or they just wanted to be a hobbyist vs full blown knifemaker/vendor (to test the waters? why?) - this hurts me to see because these guys can make knives (no duh), they just need to transition to kitchen knives by learning what is desired. Again....don't do this.



    I'm sure there's more I could add but that's what comes to mind off the top of my head.

    Dave

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