This thread is long overdue, but have had too much on recently.
It's kind of a show and tell for my newest Gyuto-a 270mm ish damascus made by Will Catcheside (Raisedbybrocks) that was made during a long weekend i spent at his workshop.
After a bit of planning i was fortunate to be able to spend a weekend at Will's workshop a month ago, of which the product was a Sujihiki, currently winging it's way to the states for a passaround, and a Gyuto which has pride of place on my new Knife rack-more on which later.
Will has come to making Kitchen knives relatively recently but has a lot of experience blacksmithing. I was able to pick up a Santoku style knife that he made on another forum, after i had been looking for a domestic (UK) maker of Kitchen Knives. After using the Santoku for a bit i custom ordered a Petty from him in his Damascus, which is another stunning knife.
sachem allison on this forum has a similar version of this knife:
Will was showing a bit of talent for this knife making malarkey, but not having a set of knives to look at to see first hand different profiles/grinds/geometries the learning curve to start making knives that had a profile/grind/geometry to fully utilise this skill may have been a longer learning curve. In no way denigrating Will, just trying to make my input into the weekend seem more worthwhile
So i packed up a case with knives and boarded a train. In the UK there does not appear to be a day that goes past in which there is not some media story about the horrors of knife crime, so i had everything firmly crossed that i would not be subject to a stop and search by the police-having around 30 knives on me, without being a chef, may have needed some explaining.
So back to the Gyuto, during the weekend we made up a billet of damascus, forged it out, fullered to give some pattern, and then forged roughly to profile.
The thought initially was to make 2 gyutos, but crazy ambition stepped in and there was a desire to make a long sujihiki as well so we settled on 1 of each.
The gyuto was modelled along the same lines of my DT ITK and Takamura, with a flat spot at the heel and a flattish sweet spot near the tip.
The intention was to have knife thin behind the edge to give it laser like performance and a compound grind on the blade face to hopefully give the performance associated with convexity and the ablity to retain some thickness down the spine to give rigidity.
During the 2 days we were able to get the Gyuto ground to the point where it could be hand finished, though the suji had only been ground to shape without the faces finished.
Having the ability to hold a knife whilst it is being made and to tweak it with a little off here, or flatten this section here, or careful not to raise the tip to high truly makes this a custom knife.
When i got home i spent a number of long tedious hours hand finishing the knife. A combination of HARD steel and my distinctly average quality abrasive paper made this a time consuming process. There were some 36g scratches in it from the belt grinder as well which taunted me mercilessly.
Once hand rubbed to an 800g ish finish i started to etch it. This was the first knife i had etched and involved getting myself some Ferric Chloride. After quite a bit of chat with Will, who had raced through with the Suji and was also at the etching stage, it was found that the steels we had used weren't as contrasty as to be expected, and so a series of short etches with dilute solution were used to try and get the best result.
I am very pleased with the pattern, it is clear but subtle, and gives it a sense of understated elegance.
Whilst i had the etch out i gave my Hattori HDs a once over which brought the pattern back to better than new-Cheers Dave for the thread over on ITK which gave me the reassurance to give it a try.
Post etch i sharpened it up, giving it a shallow relief bevel-roughed in with an Edge pro apex at it's shallowest setting ( i always sharpen freehand, but having just spent time getting the edge how i wanted and the shallowness of the bevel i wanted to put on i didn't trust myself not to wobble and mess up the pattern......
A quick microbevel -freehand followed by stroppping and the knife was shaving sharp, passing HHT and pushing through tomatoes faultlessly. Couldn't quite get it to TK sharp-Salty's vid of it going through a tomato under it's own weight is still a target i will need to practice practice practice for.
The handle was some stabilized redwood that Will had from Burlsource, with some blackwood for a ferrule. First time i have worked with stabilized wood-it's strange stuff compared to what i'm used to and took it's toll on my plane blade..... a lot of sharpenings
So the end result is a 270 ish Gyuto. Laser thin yet satisfyingly rigid. with a profile that is as good a fit to my cutting style as i could have hoped for. With a pattern that stands out for it's subtleness, and an edge that will get sharp and stay sharp.
I've been using it for nearly a month now and it has been my go to knife when i'm doing some proper cooking, i have a habit of chaning my go to knife when i get a new one-previously it was my RBB petty which still gets used for anything small, but any excuse to pull this one down and i take it
I'll try and get the time to make some vids of it in action, but i have 7 weeks to find a new job so am spending most of my job hunting...
Here are some pics:
starting face grind
Edge to edge with ITK
Spine to spine with ITK
Heel shot RBB
Heel shot-side by side
Damascus pattern with a bit of Onion related patina
And up on my new rack, which may get it's own thread- homemade 1.6 metre long Walnut with embedded rare earth magnets set below the surface of the wood. Still some globals in the set for when other people cook, but slowly on their way out...
And a making of vid from the weekend: