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An exotic chefs knife and the story behind it
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Thread: An exotic chefs knife and the story behind it

  1. #1
    Senior Member RiffRaff's Avatar
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    An exotic chefs knife and the story behind it

    Hereís a custom knife by Kevin Harvey of rural South Africa. If you havenít heard of him, his standing is something like Murray Carterís in his region of the world, the respected director of his own knife-making school and the winner of many awards for artistry. He partners with his wife and students for most of his work and turns out some of the most creative knife designs Iíve ever seen. Epicurean Edge carries some of his work.

    The knife itself is beautiful, local in materials and spirit (the handle is warthog tusk and African blackwood; the damascus is Kevinís original design), and is the product of the most cooperative relationship Iíve ever experienced between client and knifemaker. Thatís the part I want to focus on, how his openness and accessibility, despite his reputation, made this little project possible.

    Has anyone else ever been though something like this? I became totally entranced with the dudeís way of life, described on his website http://www.heavinforge.co.za/ and linked articles. I contacted him out of the blue and, after a few months of back and forth emails (which included preliminary drawings and construction diagrams), arrived at a design that wound up on my doorstep eight thousand miles from his ranch on the African veldt.

    So, pardon me if I wax poetic for a minute, but this knife has a lot of dreams wrapped up in it. Itís not just an efficient tool whose technical details we might hammer out in the forum, but a symbol of an admired lifestyle (the same way Ed Fowlerís knives affected me), cultural talisman, object of art and emotions and a kind of link between two strangers, worlds apart. This purchase was the opposite of an anonymous one at Sur La Table or on Amazonóand those purchases have their place, too, needless to say. But as you look at this knife and are itching to know how it performs, I just want to emphasize again all that went into it: Kevinís creativity most of all, but also his accessibility and my persistence (he was reluctant to ship to the U.S. at first). The knife is what brokered contact between this home cook and that rural craftsman.

    Kevin is a skilled engraver and he recommended a gold-leaf-embossed butt cap that was inspired by Japanese ďtsuba,Ē or sword guards, that often feature butterflies. The petty wasnít part of the order but Kevin created it out of the same billet and offered it to me with a piggy-back sheath he threw in without being askedóhence the caterpillar and butterfly motif. The blackwood and warthog tusk make this 210mm knife a little handle heavy, and the grind isnít ideal. But it will find use at special occasions and family gatherings. Any thoughts?

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  2. #2

    ecchef's Avatar
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    Kramer-esque blade shape. Nice work though.
    Though I could not caution all I still might warn a few; Don't raise your hand to raise no flag atop no ship of fools. - Robert Hunter

  3. #3
    Senior Member ThEoRy's Avatar
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    ******* cool!!! That's a piece of functional art for sure. How it performs you'll have to let us know but man that's one bad ass looking knife!
    Starting this harvest I'm a starving startling artist/
    Lyrical arsonist it's arduous spitting this smartest arsenic/

  4. #4
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    Those are pretty cool, I like the endcaps more than the rest of the knife.

  5. #5
    Senior Member NO ChoP!'s Avatar
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    +1 on Kramer'esque profile. IU'd like to see a close up of the damascus. It seems to have some vertical sun ray type lines, which are pretty neat. Whats the steel?

    Very ornate, unusual and special...
    The difference between try and triumph is a little "umph"! NO EXCUSES!!!!!!!
    chefchristophermiller@yahoo.com

  6. #6
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    Looks very, very cool -- what a striking knife! But really no reason his knives should not evolve towards being great cutters. You have his ear -- send him some info on thinks that make for a good performer (i.e., tempering processes, convex grind, distal taper, etc.). If he can produce a knife that looks like that, and cuts like a Kramer, that would be the best of all worlds.

    Thanks for introducing us to this talented maker!
    __________
    David (WildBoar's Kitchen)

  7. #7
    Senior Member Salty dog's Avatar
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    ugh

  8. #8

    knyfeknerd's Avatar
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    Nice, really freaking nice. I doubt my meager chef's salary could ever afford me such a sweet set.
    If "Its" and "Buts" was candy and nuts, we'd all have a Merry Christmas
    -Cleon "Slammin'" Salmon

  9. #9
    Senior Member RiffRaff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NO ChoP! View Post
    +1 on Kramer'esque profile. IU'd like to see a close up of the damascus. It seems to have some vertical sun ray type lines, which are pretty neat. Whats the steel?

    Very ornate, unusual and special...
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    "A blend of carbon steels," is all I have.

    Oh, come on, Scott. I know it's not your style, but didn't I see a Mr. Itou in your lineup . . . ?

  10. #10
    Can you include heel shots of this and other knives? It's hard to have an opinion about a knife without seeing its geometry, and even heel shots won't tell much. A video of actual cutting would be better.

    What to many outside this forum looks like a kitchen knife, to some here it might look like a bowie with a kitchen knife profile.

    Impressive skill on a last knife you posted, no doubt about it, but performance in a kitchen knife is a king. Aesthetics is important, but secondary to performance.

    M


    "If thereís something worth doing, itís worth overdoing.Ē - An US saying.

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

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