Butch Harner paring knife review
I recently bought a second-hand Butch Harner’s (http://www.harnerknives.com) parer made of Carpenter CTS-XHP Steel with a colorful micarta yo-handle. I bought it from another knife maker, Tim Jonhson (http://www.blackstoneknife.com).
The blade is 11 cm length with a nice profile. It is a gentle curve from hell to tip. The knife is pretty tall for a parer (30mm), which I find great because it is much more convenient when you are using it on a board. The form of the handle is very harmonious with the blade. The knife fells good in the hand. The belt finish is very regular and fits nicely the knife.
The blade has a great distal taper. Relative to its small length the knife is not thin; it results in a very robust feeling: this knife could definitively go in the field. But still, it is a superb performer. It came to me pretty dull, so I thought it was not going to preform well. My mistake, even without being sharp, this knife was going through ingredients (hard and medium) quite easily. It is a clear sign of great grind when a dull knife performs.
I sharpened the knife at 15 degree per side withing my wicked edge. I started at 600 grit and went all the way 800, 1000, 1200, 1600, "microfine", and leather strops at 3.5um and 1um. It was very easy to sharpen and I raised a burr in no time. However, the burr was no easy to detect: the feeling was like the bur was rounded. With carbon steels or other PM steels I have tried, the burr is "sharper" it catches. With this steel the burr felt more like a rounded bump. Beside that it took a stupid sharp edge. Edge retention is very good so far. After Two weeks after the sharpening the edge is still excellent. Although, it is important to consider that is rarely in contact with the board, which certainly preserve the edge.
A curious point: although it is stain-less steel the knife came with a couple of rounded stains (like water drops) that were only visible in some angles. I removed them easily with some clay mixed with oil. After some usage on protein I also had few stains that went off easily.
On the negative side, the two sides of the yo handle are not perfectly of the same length, it can be seen on the shots from above. It Is purely esthetics and do not impact usage, but it is an imperfection.
Altogether I am very please by this small stainless blade. Very cool paper that is fun to use. It was for instance very handy the other day when I was baking pizza in my BBQ. Outside, with beers and friends, I could cut easily slices of mozerella, some freshly harvested basilica from the garden in chiffonade, or some cherry tomatoes etc.
It has brought me the envy of having another 10-12 cm blade even taller for more knuckles clearance. It sounds like a custom knife is on the way.
Look how the curve on the handle follow the curve of the blade.
Profile on the board: gentle curve.
One can see here the distal taper, but also the unfortunate slight asymmetry of the two side of the handle