D. Martell Dave Martell Knives - 1st run

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Dave Martell

Forum Founder
Founding Member
Feb 27, 2011
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Airville, PA
OK, here's what we're going to be offering on the first round....

Steel O-1

240mm western

240mm wa

300mm western

300mm wa

We will make what is ordered. If you want to get in on the first round please contact me.

Here's some cardboard cutouts traced from drawings I made. They're pretty rough and not exact in size but close enough to give you a feel of what I'm doing.

240mm gyuto

300mm wa sujihiki

300mm western sujihiki

I'd love to hear your thoughts on the designs.

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Looks good to me, I like a bit of belly. 2 things: What's the blade height at the heel? The wa tang looks a bit short, but maybe I am thinking Watanabe here...

The gyuto is 58mm, the suji is 45mm in heal height.

The wa tangs are short on the cardboard but the actual knife tangs will be a bit longer.
love the shape of the blade and handle of the western suji. too bad i already have a 300mm western suji. maybe when you start making 240 or 270mm sujis.
Love the blade designs, Dave. The "kiritsuke" tip of the suji gives the knife some character. I would love to see a bit more palm belly on the western handle of the gyuto though, and maybe even a bit rounded heel for the pinch grippers out there. Adding a picture of my latest custom reshape and handle fitting as an example. Got the blanks from ebay http://cgi.ebay.com/San-Mai-Chef-Knife-Blank-Seki-City-JAPAN-VG10-Damascus-/220720015234?pt=AU_Hunting&hash=item3363f02782

Ended up like this:


I've been finding I prefer a gyuto with a flatter edge along the back half. That profile looks like there isn't much of a flat area (although it's hard to tell without a line for reference). I'll be very interested to see how the batch of 240s turns out, as I'll be looking for a 270 later in the year.

It's cool to see you getting into this, and I know with your meticulous attention to detail the knives are going to be great!
I usually prefer a flatter profile as well, though I did find the Watanabe gyuto (which I think Dave used as a Base) quite nice to use. Wish I still had that knife around so I could compare. Actually, I think that Jay (jwpark) has it up for sale right now.
Hi Guys,
Thanks for the feedback.

Regarding the blade belly on the gyuto, I can tell you that it appears far more severe in the pictures than in real life although this pattern does have more belly than some knives do. An interesting thing is that I prefer a flatter bellied knife myself yet I can feel how nice this design is when in use that it's won me over. I guess we won't know for sure until the steel is on the board though.

With regards to the handle needing more belly and curve, that's no problem since I designed the handle slightly oversized in certain spots knowing what I'll be removing material to get to the final shape. I hate working on a thin tang knowing that I'm somewhat restricted in what I can do. That's my thought on it anyway.

How long can we sit on the fence before you close the pre-production orders? Or is it closed already?


I'm not going to close the door on ordering these but since I'm having a limited number of these cut to shape (and this number hasn't been exactly determined yet) it may be more of an issue of first come - first served as I can only make what I have on hand. This is a tough one for me to answer directly.

First, congratulations for getting into the knife making biz. You certainly know what a good knife should be. I hope this new venture turns out to be a great success for you.

Next, I have a few questions. I know nothing about O-1 steel. Is it stainless, carbon, semi-stainless, or what?

What HRC do you plan to harden it to?

How heavy do you plan to make these knives? Lasers? Mid-weight? Beefy?

What handle materials will be available?

Thanks in advance for your answers and I wish you great luck with this.

Dave, What handle options are you going to be offering on the 240 western? What are the reasons for O1 given all the other crazy options out there ? How many in this run ? Do i still have time to make a deposit on one in the first batch?
Thanks ,,, Dwain
Hi guys, I chose O-1 because it's carbon and it's tough but also because it's the choice of a couple of super smart key people in the knifemaking world as what they would use if they were in my shoes. In my eyes it's got a lot going for it.

The handle materials haven't yet been selected. The first 12 will get something special and unique on each one but after that they'll be done in batches. I think at some point that there will be something for everyone's taste.

On deposit taking, yeah sure, I should have room on each knife type still to get you in on the first run. I still don't know how many knives of each type will get made and I won't know this until we find out how many knives can be cut from each sheet of steel.
O1 sounds good to me. Here is one that Butch made from O1. It now has a forced patina, not everyone's taste but you don't have to do it ;) Works like a charme:



O1 sounds good to me. Here is one that Butch made from O1.Stefan

Dang. That's one sexy knife Butch made for you Stefan. Forced Patina aside (which probably also had something to do with living in Hawaii) anything else people should know about the steel's performance? Oh, and out of curiosity, is that handle one of your beauty's or Butch's?
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58mm is tall-ish for a 240mm gyuto. With that much height you would have to have some belly or do something interesting with the shape of the spine to keep a flat edge and narrow tip. I'm looking forward to see what you end up with.
I like what Darkhoek did with his handle, accentuating the palm swell by reducing the bottom of the bolster and adding the curved choil.
Dang. That's one sexy knife Butch made for you Stefan. Forced Patina aside (which probably also had something to do with living in Hawaii) anything else people should know about the steel's performance? Oh, and out of curiosity, is that handle one of your beauty's or Butch's?

Thanks, Ben. As Dave can tell you, my knives are rusting away out here, indeed one of the reasons I forced a patina. Well, actually Tim Carter did that for me after I liked it on one of his knives. To be honest, I have only stropped the knife so far, so I cannot say much about sharpening. But it keeps the basic sharpness well as far as I can say - it competes with my stainless clad Carter nakiri and both don't get that much overall work time... The patina does make it a little more sticky, I was wondering whether tha might be less with a natural patina. Oh, and Butch was nice enough to make the blade for me and let me stick one of my own handles on there. It's a 'second', the unstabilized thuya burl has a few small surface cracks. Good enough for me but I didn't want to sell it.

I'm going to have to sit this one out till I get some $$$ together :(

I also force a patina because of spontaneous rust issues. I think O1 is a great material. Personally, I'll be holding out for a stainless model. 90% of my knives are carbon and I'd like to add high-end stainless to my collection. Dave, how thin are you going to make the gyuto?
I plan to go as thin as I can. I can't give numbers at this time since my fingers are my gauges but soon enough I'll know what I feel is right. No chunky monkeys here though.
Sounds good to me. I'm really excited about your knives. Let me know if you want to play with D2. I've got a 4" x 24" x 3/32" piece of D2 I was going to try to make a few knives out of. Then things came up and it's just sitting here wishing to become a knife.
Makes sense Dave. you will at some point thank your self for leaving a little extra wiggle room. It is easy to remove, but your not gonna be able to add any!