Custom Butcher's knife for a friend

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billyO

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Hello all. I hope everyone is staying healthy and happy these days.
My sister asked me to make a knife for a chef friend of hers who donated time and food for a dog rescue she volunteers at. In answer to the question of what size/style he wants, his response was: A small butcher's knife (santoku-ish shaped) to break up turkeys. 5 1/2" blade length, 5 cm high at the heel, 5mm thick at the spine, square shaped WA handle 12 cm long. (Not sure why he mixed metric and english units, but I'm adaptable....)

Here it is forged and rough profile (I haven't decided if I'm going go with a full tang or not). The spine is currently just over 5mm now.
20200615_174053.jpg


My question is, how thin should I taper the spine at the tip? I was thinking ~ 3mm (0.125") but that still seems to thick to me. I know it needs to be thick enough to pop joints open, so what would y'all recommend?
Thanks in advance.
 

esoo

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I think this is for a good cause

I'm no knife maker, but you need to clarify break up turkeys. Are they going through bones or just through joints? As those are different weights and different grinds.
 

Bensbites

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I have looked at various honesuki and butcher knives 3-5 mm at the spine is right, 10-15 degrees per side with a really thick grind.
 

billyO

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Are they going through bones or just through joints?
Good morning, esoo. I'm waiting for an answer from the chef himself, but from my recollection of my conversation with him back in December was it's for both, which is why he wants the santoku point instead of a cleaver. I do remember him saying that he's never seen a knife with the shape/weight/grind geometry that he's looking for.
 

billyO

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Well, I got an answer, sort of... "I want it thick, so I'll leave it up to you to decide where to start tapering."
So, should I keep the whole spine at 5mm or taper it to ~3mm at the tip?
Also, should I keep a full tang to help with the balance and not worry about the overall weight?
I'm used to making thin slicers, so this is completely out of the box for me.
Thank you.
 

kbright

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That handle tang is longer than the blade, but this is not a big knife. I would personally want the balance forward, blade heavy. The customer wants a "small butcher knife", so a thin tip may not be needed.
 

billyO

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That handle tang is longer than the blade,
Yeah, I probably should have mentioned that the tang is a lot longer than it needs to be right now. I'm keeping it that way for a bit extra to hang onto while grinding. Sorry about that.
 

kbright

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So what are you thinking about for handle material? The 120mm long tang might look good with some pretty material. I would go full tang, tapered tang. Drill holes in the tang to drop some butt weight. I've made alot of hunters/skinners. When I have a thick spine like this, I'm tempted to add some file work or engraving, but that's usually not put on chefs knives, which are usually thinner.
 

billyO

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So what are you thinking about for handle material?
Hi, kbright. It's going to be K&G stabilized maple from my stock. I'm not sure if I'm going to use a curly or spalted piece or not, but I'm pretty sure I'm not going to go with burl. The end user is into 'artsy' stuff and said he liked a blue dyed piece I showed him, but I'm going to wait until the blade is finished and how the pattern comes out before I decide.
(PS - You may have seen my thread on Bladeforums about this, too....)
 

kbright

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Yeah, I'm a Bladeforums regular. Trying to bring more knifemaking topics to this forum. Also trying to get my messages score higher so I can offer my work here.

Is your forged blade a damascus blend or sandwich cladding? Will you etch it?
 

billyO

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Trying to bring more knifemaking topics to this forum.
Me too. And because I focus on kitchen knives, I thought this might be another resource for information for questions like this....
Is your forged blade a damascus blend or sandwich cladding? Will you etch it?
Well...both. It's basically a san-mai spine on top of a low layer edge. I'm hoping that when I etch it it will give the appearance of cloudy skies over a waterfall pouring out of the handle.
 

kbright

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I can't tell from the photo if this has an integral bolster? Are you going to have a plunge line?
 

daveb

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+1 on making resulting knife blade heavy. When using a kitchen knife for any length of time, being balanced a little blade forward is a good thing. A balance point close to the Makers Mark typically works well. Would also suggest for this application that you not have as much distal taper as a "chef knife" would have. Invariably the tip will be torqued to separate pieces of "stuff". Don't want the tip to be separated....

Noted your line:

Also trying to get my messages score higher so I can offer my work here.
Pls understand the forum rules about promotion and differences between vendors and members before offering anything here.
 

billyO

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I can't tell from the photo if this has an integral bolster?
Not really, but kinda. Because he requested a 5mm spine, I thought that might be a bit thick for the tang, so there is a step there. but I wouldn't call it a bolster.

Are you going to have a plunge line?
I wasn't planning on it, but I hadn't thought about it much, because I normally don't do them.

Invariably the tip will be torqued to separate pieces of "stuff". Don't want the tip to be separated....
That's why I was thinking about tapering to only about 3mm at the tip. Do you think that's too thin?
 

kbright

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Noted your line:
Pls understand the forum rules about promotion and differences between vendors and members before offering anything here.
Sorry @daveb If I violated the rules. I am not promoting or making any offers yet. Had hoped to use the Hobbiest Sales forum after I have the required minimum 50 message posts. If that's inappropriate, I'll leave.
 

billyO

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Good afternoon all! I hope everyone is staying safe.
Here's the blade ready for HT, and after a quick dunk in the ferric acid.
20200704_104516.jpg

The tang needs to be cut down ~4-5cm. It's currently the total length of the handle.
+1 on making resulting knife blade heavy.
Right now the balance point is in the middle of the 2 spots on the blade. Removing more of the tang is going to move it forward, but the handle material will move it back again. Do you think there's a risk of making this too blade forward if I narrow the tang a little or should I keep the tang this wide to keep the balance point as close as to where it is now or even closer to the handle?
 

kbright

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Regarding weight balance, I will sometimes tape some scrap scales to the tang to judge total weight and balance.
 

billyO

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Well here it is after final grinding and etching. The pattern isn't quite what I was looking for, but I think I learned what to do differently next time.
20200710_124203.jpg

Hopefully I'll get the handle done this weekend.
 
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