I received it last Friday and immediately drove to the coast to visit with my family and fiancee. As I am a craftsman not a chef, I figured my usage and review would be very different from others on this forum, especially as I was more interested in aesthetics than edge holding, etc.
My first thoughts were how handsome the knife was. The fit and finish - the hand polishing, the fit of the handles scales, the sculpted aspects and the saya I really appreciated.
After cutting a variety of stuff with it, I was equally impressed by the edge and the grind. It didn't do well with potatoes, too much stiction, but other than that it was a fun knife to use. Although my experiences have been with knives that are usually pooh-poohed here (my reprofiled, rehandled and thinned down Mac 9 1/2, a 240 AS Moritaka) plus quite a few of my own, I'm an avid home cook, and can be very opinionated. No scarcity of that around here, huh? So, my pluses were the F and F and the great edge. I did not sharpen it when it came to me nor did I before I sent it to FL with Rick. Instead, I ran the edge under a fairly hard buffing wheel loaded with chrome oxide. It should arrive clean and sharp.
On the other side of the table, the profile is very similar to Bob Kramer's European knives, with the handle dropping toward the rear. I use the back half of my knives for chopping veggies for stir-fry, soups and salads, etc., and found it impractical, for me. The balance point is right where the handle ends, which might be perfect for some, but I like a knife with a little farther forward balance point. Even though I have long fingers, I also found the handle to be a little thick. I think if the scales had been a little thinner it would have pushed the weight forward, which would have been more appropriate for my uses. That still leaves the downward curve to the handle. I do like the non-traditional handle shape and found it comfortable except for the thickness. If the handle had extended straight from the blade it would have been great for me. But then, I think that's what his Journeyman series accomplishes, albeit with a more traditional handle.
I appreciate the opportunity to use this knife -- it gave me some ideas regarding ways I can improve upon my own, but I don't think it's a knife I could use everyday. That said, his Journeyman might be right up my alley.
With the spine a little straighter, it would have fit my needs well, after I thinned the scales too. Thanks Ben! The knife is on it's way to Rick in Pensacola.