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Thread: Design improvement, convexing and grinding

  1. #1
    Delbert Ealy's Avatar
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    Design improvement, convexing and grinding

    Well I think I finally found the final key to kitchen knife perfection. The worst thing about it is that it was right under my nose the whole time. Let me explain.
    When I first started on the kitchen knives I knew you guys were looking for lasers and so that is what I set out to make. I knew that most knifemakers starting out in kitchen knives make them too thick. I have always been a "thin knife" maker so I knew it wouldn't be a problem for me. However I was under the assumption that meant thin stock and full flat grinds, and that would be true in a perfect world, a full flat grind offers the least resistance and allow the angle of the bevel as shallow as possible for a given size stock. However, in the real world we have to deal with things like the experience of the person doing the cutting, the material being cut and the cutting board itself, and the type of knives the person doing the cutting is used to using. So, I make some knives and along the way I make some adjustments as a result of the feedback I am getting from those of you who have my knives, no real major things, mostly just a bit of tweeking. I am a very skilled knifemaker and in making one style of knife I expected such, it happens to all of us. I am contantly learning and I get better as I go along. Then I push things a bit far on the grinding and make them too thin, OK I learned my lesson there.
    In the midst of that I get this from Salty
    Quote Originally Posted by Salty dog View Post
    If you want to find the holy grail don't think flat. And thin is only as good as it functions.
    This comment got me thinking however, because I do have the aspiration to make the absolute best knives I can. I started noticing comments here and there about convex bevels, and this really drove me crazy, because when I think of convex bevels I think of the grind on an axe or maybe a deba. Fast forward a month and I have a conversation with Johnnychance about this very issue and it all finally comes together. The convex grind that was mentioned is really not a true convex, but a partial flat grind that is blended. The blending is almost as important as the partial grinding, if its too much then it acts almost like a full flat grind, so too little is actually better than not enough blending, but there has to be a little blending. The key here (the one I missed) is about food release and resistance, not really about cutting ability, I know my knives can cut and well. With a full flat grind you have the best angle for cutting, but it also has a big surface area, and that contributes to food sticking. With a partial grind the angle is steeper, however the surface area is much less and the food just falls away from the blade. All new knives from now on will have the new grind, and will perform to a higher standard. With the extra steel left on this also affects the flex of the knife, which I know has been something that some of you have mentioned. This will also affect the balance, putting it a bit more forward.

    I do want to thank all of you, my desire is to make the highest quality knives possible, I think this will be the final major step in the design.

    Thanks,
    Del

    Laminated metals specialist, Kitchen knife and gadget maker
    www.ealyknives.com
    www.mokume-jewelry.net
    "Build a man a fire and he will be warm for a day, set a man on fire and he will be warm for the rest of his life"

  2. #2
    Thanks for sharing Del, and yes IMHO flat grind is not best, I just can't imagine it has the optimal functionality.
    I am big fan of Shigefusa grind, IMHO one of the best out there.

  3. #3
    It was good talking to you last week Del and I am looking forward to seeing your new work!
    "God sends meat and the devil sends cooks." - Thomas Deloney

  4. #4
    Delbert Ealy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnnyChance View Post
    It was good talking to you last week Del and I am looking forward to seeing your new work!
    Johnny,
    It was a joy for me as well, my talk with you was the final step for me to make the jump to the idea that I could improve the performance of the knives I make. Thank you for pushing me to that conclusion. I meant to include you above and credit you for that, I do so now.
    Thanks,
    Del

    Laminated metals specialist, Kitchen knife and gadget maker
    www.ealyknives.com
    www.mokume-jewelry.net
    "Build a man a fire and he will be warm for a day, set a man on fire and he will be warm for the rest of his life"

  5. #5
    Another issue with full flat grinds that is not food release or wedging but is sorta related to both, is if you are cutting something dense that is as tall as the blade (like a potato). The flat grind and product have a lot of surface area in contact with one another and it makes the knife feel like it is much thicker/duller than it actually is. It is just that there is so much surface tension and drag on the blade that you get resistance from the sides of the blade, not the edge.
    "God sends meat and the devil sends cooks." - Thomas Deloney

  6. #6
    I'd also like to mention that your edges have really come a long way, great OTB go to work type stuff you're doing now Del.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Salty dog's Avatar
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    Here on Lake Michigan we sometimes get waves called "rollers". Waves that never crest. Some of the best grinds remind me of rollers. The bottom gradually rising into a gentle peak, then falling into the beginning of another.

    Del, my hat is off to you. I find some hardened knife makers aren't the most receptive to feedback. I feel your quest will be fruitful in many ways.

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    Just a question from a fellow knife maker, are you doing the blending on a slack belt, rotary platen, on the stones or something else?

    Thanks

    John

  9. #9
    Delbert Ealy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Salty dog View Post
    Here on Lake Michigan we sometimes get waves called "rollers". Waves that never crest. Some of the best grinds remind me of rollers. The bottom gradually rising into a gentle peak, then falling into the beginning of another.

    Del, my hat is off to you. I find some hardened knife makers aren't the most receptive to feedback. I feel your quest will be fruitful in many ways.
    Salty,
    Thanks, In the larger knife world I have found many makers that are eager to learn, but there is always an old coot that thinks they know everything, well I'm not one of them. I know you guys have seen other makers jumping into making kitchen knives that just don't get it, and they move on. I don't want to be one of those, I still will make other knives, but all my focus is on kitchen knives. My ambition is to make a kitchen with the best qualities from your favorite knives, while keeping elements of my own style.
    Thanks,
    Del

    Laminated metals specialist, Kitchen knife and gadget maker
    www.ealyknives.com
    www.mokume-jewelry.net
    "Build a man a fire and he will be warm for a day, set a man on fire and he will be warm for the rest of his life"

  10. #10
    Delbert Ealy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMJones View Post
    Just a question from a fellow knife maker, are you doing the blending on a slack belt, rotary platen, on the stones or something else?

    Thanks

    John
    John,
    As Salty pointed out above the grind should almost, but not quite crest, so I will probably do my blending with my final step, which is hand sanding, or maybe on a slack belt with the finest belt I use, then hand sand. If you blend too far it will be detrimental to the performance.
    Thanks,
    Del

    Laminated metals specialist, Kitchen knife and gadget maker
    www.ealyknives.com
    www.mokume-jewelry.net
    "Build a man a fire and he will be warm for a day, set a man on fire and he will be warm for the rest of his life"

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