There has been a trend with some American knife makers to explore kitchen knives. It's a good thing.
But PLEASE! do your homework. A kitchen knife is very different from what you may have produced in the past. They generally are used every day and are sharpened often. Unlike most "art" blades which may never be used or hunters that are used once a year if you are lucky. So in my humble opinion I believe that kitchen knife users are really the bad a$$es of the knife world.
More importantly the makers that can hang with them are the bad a$$es of the knife makers world.
Scott, when I was asked to speak at Ashokan Knife Seminar this past Sept I was thinking what in the world can I say to these guys that can make a difference to "us". I had to of course talk about edges and all that crap but I used this oppurtunity to say something that's been on my mind for a long time which is basically what you just said.
My message to custom knifemakers looking to get into kitchen knives is this:
1. Do your homework!!!!!!!!
2. Geometry, Profile, Ergonomics are of the utmost importance
3. Cutting Board Interaction - No holes in the edge allowed from over-grinds from the sides of the knife. No one likes an accordian made of foodstuffs.
4. Testing - Ask a professional chef/cook who is a known kitchen knifenut to test your stuff. They cut more in a few days than you can dream of doing yourself in months and they know what's good and bad. Listen carefully to what they tell you even if it's criticism and learn from it.
5. If you're not down with learning the right way to do things and making a kitchen knife "correctly" then don't bother because we have enough people already doing it wrong, we sure don't need another.
6. If you make it correctly - they will sell.
Yep. It's just SO demanding. It's like wanting a straight razor you can dress an elk with in a room full of steam. I'd like to see a kitchen knife maker make a hunting/field knife and comment on the challenges.
While I'm thinking on this subject I recalled a few great examples of some very high priced miserable examples of kitchen knives made by some noteworthy custom knifemakers. I've had the mis-fortune of being burnt by handling/tweaking many custom kitchen knives over the years. I've lost mass amounts of time and in some cases cash too by futsing with these knives trying to help people make something out of them that they could actually cut food with. More difficult than that though is delivering the bad news to a customer that their expensive new knife is crap, that's hard to do, although it's getting easier with all of my experience I've had.
A couple of prime examples (and I won't share names so don't bother asking) that come to mind...
Cleaver - same thickness at spine/corners/middle of the blade/& edge!!! This was simply a plate of steel with a beautiful handle that had been sharpened. Price - Big Bucks
10" Chef's Knife - Blued blade, beautiful handle, simply perfect if it was a Bowie knife. The heal section was shorter in height than the middle and curve and the tip stuck up in the air and the handle swept downwards driving knuckles right into the board. The only way to not hit your knuckles was to work the knife with the handle hanging off of the counter top!
In both cases, like most I see, the makers thought little of kitchen knives and made the assumption that they are simple to make which we know is wrong. They look simple but are very complicated to do correctly.
Have you ever brought this up? Are we getting into a Pandora's box here?
or should we go on a crusade?
Most of the things like this that I have seen I have never talked about for a couple of reasons. I'm not looking to slam anyone would be the first, the second is that the knife owners often ask that I don't say anything, the third is that some people have themselves posted and/or brought these issues up to the knifemakers which almost always brings about immediate improvements via changes or they simply stop making kitchen knives.
Originally Posted by Salty dog
I kinda like Moritaka (except for that weird weld) Probably getting too much for them.
I removed the Moritaka reference from my post (sorry Scott)
On a side note - how about that pass around knife we had recently? I should PM you what I found when I sharpened it. Yikes!