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Thread: Mid-Tech?

  1. #61
    I would think that Bob laid out a specific request for HT, same for grind, profile, shape of the handle. Those they got right for the most part. As for the HT part, it should not be surprising considering that commercial heat treating involves large quantities, with inevitable time in-between processes and optimal heat treatment requires all HT steps to be done in a rapid succession.

    That knife, btw, outperformed BK Henckels by 100%, though hardness might have played some role - it was 1-1.5RC harder, ~62.5RC - 63RC as compared to ~61RC for BK Henckels. Might have been been by design (edge stability over wear resistance) or might have been an isolated incidence, I don't know, but it was confirmed by a member here who tested them side-by-side in a pro kitchen.

    Just want to add that even though the setup was basic, the HT recipe wasn't. It was a seven-step process that took over 6 hours to complete.

    So this is my 2 cents on in-house HT, take it for what it's worth. It has worked for me and I will do it as long as I make knives.

    M


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  2. #62
    There would be a difference for sure, how much is an interesting question. I'm curious if there has been extensive testing on knives ground exactly the same way, heat treated to finish at different hardnesses, to see how much actual or perceived difference, there was with a steel at various Rockwell points?


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  3. #63

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    As a knife maker, here are some of my thoughts on HT as a craft vs not (art vs science) as well as factory ht vs home shop ht.

    I could not agree more about the point that HT has been over mystified and complicated. It is almost to the point of being silly.

    There have been industry standards for ht of common steels for a long time and are even present as soon as a new steel is made available. There are a lot of knife makers that have done extensive testing and reported their results and recipe’s. A new maker does not need to reinvent the wheel to have excellent ht, but he will need appropriate equipment such as regular supply of consistent steel, the correct quench media, salt pots or accurate ht oven and the ability to follow each step without introducing significant variables. The product then needs to be tested and evaluated that the ht was successful and meets the needs and desires of the maker/ customer.

    I don’t see a ton of craftsmanship in this process because it is a lot like baking a cake from a box. However this is how I do it because I feel it provides the best repeatable result and incorporates the results of an enormous amount of time and capital that went into the research that I essentially get for free.


    One the other end of the continuum, a maker that uses more primitive methods such as heating with a torch, coal forge, or a non temperature regulated forge, there is definitely a craft (or art) in getting the desired or best results on a consistent basis. It is a matter of tailoring their process and equipment to reduce or recognize variables without specific, accurate quantitative data available. I don’t follow this path because I feel that even the best will still make mistakes or misjudgments that could be avoided with a more sophisticated setup, but I do still believe that this approach is an art.


    Paul Bos has often been considered the best HT’er of stainless steels. Most don’t realize that he was also the factory HT’er of Buck Knives. Basically your custom knife with high dollar steel from a famous maker was ht’ed in the same facility using the same equipment as a ten dollar factory buck pocket knife. The difference is that Paul could use best practices and more time and energy to get the very best out of that custom knife that is specified at certain hardness opposed to using an easier less expensive process on a factory knife. These could include cryo, longer or more tempering cycles, longer soak times, slower ramping heats, ect. My point is that I believe that a factory has the capability to do a better more consistent and controlled HT that pretty much any maker however they don’t because they have other factors to include such as cost and production time.

  4. #64
    I agree with most what you said, but sometimes through experimenting and testing and sometimes through a luck, you find sweet spots - optimal combination of astenitizing and tempering temperatures for a steel. Add that to steps that will help to refine the grain and to reduce retained autenites, and you will get extra performance of your knife. It might be little or might be a lot that will differentiate your knife from a production HT knife. And I am all for demystifying this - I suggest that knives are tested in a pro kitchen for extended time (1-3 months) to get a good idea how HT translates into performance. This has been my approach so far with some of my knives.

    M


    "If there’s something worth doing, it’s worth overdoing.” - An US saying.

    If my KKF Inbox is full (or not), please contact me via Email: anvlts@gmail.com

  5. #65
    So I am curious about what the thoughts on the Kramer carbon steel knives that Henckels is pumping out? what would one call them since they are done to Kramers expectations? Can that be called a mid tech? and more importantly do the ones he does all in shop (whatever that means) perform better than the mass produced ones?

    IMO if I buy a knife from a guy that puts his name on it I want to know that he handled it and when I receive it I want a piece of paper that says I personally guarantee this knife is up to all the standards that years of hard work have given my name on a knife the reputation that it kicks ass. I really don't care if it is sanded down using only 10000 grit sand paper or a machine as long as both knives perform the same way.

    Custom only means that I get to customize what I want BTW, so If I want it made out of blue steel, with a ebony handle and mosaic pin plus matching saya. Boom thats custom, I can further customize it even more by asking that I get all the options I want and the knife maker can heat treat and what not and charge me for it. So to me custom just means I get to choose what I want. Mid tech just seems to be a term that explains that some work is not done in house but as long as I am concerned this has always happened with the wood and whatnot.

    I am all down for more knives from great makers, so do whatever you need to do to make your paper and sell me the goods at a better price for a great great product, as long as it performs what do I care about how it is made? just be honest about how it is done too.

  6. #66
    Damascus Smasher Randy Jr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ajhuff View Post
    That also means that all of HHH Knives are mid-tech then?
    -AJ
    Not trying to fuel the fire or anything and i may have missed sarcasm if there was any, but if you were serious what would make a HHH a mid tech?
    Randy Jr
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  7. #67

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    Hey Randy, I don't think any of the knives I have seen by HHH mid-tech are in the least!!! But from what I've seen discussed before, if the making of a knife is handled by more than one person, it gets labeled as mid-tech. I thought mentioning HHH might make some people pause about the definition.

    -AJ

  8. #68
    Damascus Smasher Randy Jr's Avatar
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    AJ- Hey thanks for clearing it up, just wanted to check and see. In general though I think the term mid tech devalues the knife, I prefer semi custom It still implies that not all of the work is done by the maker and might make more sense to buyers who aren't familiar with the term.
    God Bless
    Randy Jr
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  9. #69

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    There are exceptions. The conventional wisdom in the knife fraternity is that guy like Bob Dozier were able to get better cutting performance out of steels like D2 because they came up with a heat treat that was slightly different from the "industry standard" as D2 and some other steels were not originally formulated with fine edged knives in mind. The same could be said for W2. The industry standard calls for water quenching with the caveat that you will probably only get full hardness about 1/8 of an inch deep MOL on a big auto body stamping tool. But, in our case. That says that you will get full hardness all the way though a 1/4 inch blade at a minimum. With the thin cross sections that we use, fast oil works just fine.
    Quote Originally Posted by JMJones View Post
    As a knife maker, here are some of my thoughts on HT as a craft vs not (art vs science) as well as factory ht vs home shop ht.

    I could not agree more about the point that HT has been over mystified and complicated. It is almost to the point of being silly.

    There have been industry standards for ht of common steels for a long time and are even present as soon as a new steel is made available. There are a lot of knife makers that have done extensive testing and reported their results and recipe’s. A new maker does not need to reinvent the wheel to have excellent ht, but he will need appropriate equipment such as regular supply of consistent steel, the correct quench media, salt pots or accurate ht oven and the ability to follow each step without introducing significant variables. The product then needs to be tested and evaluated that the ht was successful and meets the needs and desires of the maker/ customer.

    I don’t see a ton of craftsmanship in this process because it is a lot like baking a cake from a box. However this is how I do it because I feel it provides the best repeatable result and incorporates the results of an enormous amount of time and capital that went into the research that I essentially get for free.


    One the other end of the continuum, a maker that uses more primitive methods such as heating with a torch, coal forge, or a non temperature regulated forge, there is definitely a craft (or art) in getting the desired or best results on a consistent basis. It is a matter of tailoring their process and equipment to reduce or recognize variables without specific, accurate quantitative data available. I don’t follow this path because I feel that even the best will still make mistakes or misjudgments that could be avoided with a more sophisticated setup, but I do still believe that this approach is an art.


    Paul Bos has often been considered the best HT’er of stainless steels. Most don’t realize that he was also the factory HT’er of Buck Knives. Basically your custom knife with high dollar steel from a famous maker was ht’ed in the same facility using the same equipment as a ten dollar factory buck pocket knife. The difference is that Paul could use best practices and more time and energy to get the very best out of that custom knife that is specified at certain hardness opposed to using an easier less expensive process on a factory knife. These could include cryo, longer or more tempering cycles, longer soak times, slower ramping heats, ect. My point is that I believe that a factory has the capability to do a better more consistent and controlled HT that pretty much any maker however they don’t because they have other factors to include such as cost and production time.

  10. #70

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    The ABS is an organization dedicated to the preservation of traditional forged cutlery. That's it. The JS and MS perfromance tests are designed to demonstrate that you can control the heat treating process, even if you never make another selctively hardened knife in your life, which many smiths never will. the JS and MS judging are designed to see if you can put together a knife of suitable quality to attain what has over the last 10 years of so become a moving target of a standard, albeit an upwardly moving standard. The most basic requirement is that you do all of the work yourself, even the engraving. HOW you do it is a bit fuzzy. B.R.Hughes has been known to complain about so many of what he calls "lathe daggers" in MS testing more than once.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Davis View Post
    I strongly disagree with this...The reason for their testing is to see that the person has the capability to make said knife ALL by hand...To allow this to happen would go against every thing the ABS stands for. I think some of the test methods are archaic, but it is still all about the forged, HAND made blade....It isn't about cheaper...It is about an aquired skill. And to be allowed in a JS or MS test is absurd.

    Mike

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