Very similar to my straight knives for wood carving - my special double forged process, high carbon steel, fully hardened, finely beveled, razor sharp.
The blade is "gun blued", a chemical process that turns the surface of the steel a light blue/grey patina, which does an impressive job of preventing
rust. The Cherry wood handle is given a satin varnish finish, to make it stand up to kitchen use.
Blade is 3 inches long, handle is 5 inches long. PN $85.00
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Kitchen Cutlery Knives
These knives are "one-offs". Each one is different, from the size and shape of the blade, to the details of the handle.
When someone buys one, it is gone. I offer them in this way so my customers can choose a truly individual and unique knife for their kitchen.
Some years ago a neighbor and very close friend, Susan, brought me a fine kitchen knife she had made a large chip in (about 1/8") while trying to cut
through some small bones. She said she had gotten it while in Japan. Susan went on and on about how special this knife was. Well, I could have done a fairly
quick job of it by grounding the entire edge down to remove the chip, then grind and sharpen new bevels of about 35 degrees (typical of our western cutlery).
But as I looked at it more carefully I realized the bevel
was exceptionally fine, about 12 degrees (total), running all the way to the edge except for the tiniest microbevel! I decided
I would be true to the maker and maintain the 12 degree bevel while removing the chipped area. Because it was already heat treated, I would have to use brand new grinding belts
to avoid overheating. An hour of very careful grinding and
about $30 of belts later, I was finally done. I brought it home and put it in my wood knife block for Susan's visit to come get it. That night, while cutting raw carrots for stirfry,
I wondered if it really made any difference, that fine bevel. So I grabbed Susan's knife and took a few chops on the carrot. The knife went through the carrot so easily,
I honestly thought I missed it - wow, it really did make a difference! I was impressed, and decided that if I were ever to make cutlery, that was what I was going to shoot for.
I figured my forged bevels and special heat treating would be a great combo for the ultra fine edge. So, here they are!
About the Blades:
Besides their very different appearance, these knives are unlike normally available cutlery in several other ways:
- Virtually all other cutlery is cut and ground from flat sheets of steel. These knives are forged from round bars of very high carbon steel,
called "O-1". It is the same steel I use for all my wood carving knives, with a little bit of
chromium to help ward off rusting.
- Forging these blades is the most difficult part because they are forged to a fine taper both in length and width. I do this partly so that very little
grinding needs to be done. It is a real challenge. The forging marks are left on the blades, except at the very edge where
they are sharpened.
- Most other cutlery has a bevel at the edge of at least 35 degrees. These knives have a very fine bevel of about 12 degrees (total) and a very small micro-bevel
at the very edge, so they will cut through food incredibly well.
- The blades are differentially hardened, so that they are very hard at the edge, yet tough along the back so they can't break. During this step in the
heat treatment, the blade is heated to glowing red and just the edge is dipped into a tray of oil to quickly cool and
- The beautiful coloration on the blades is a result of the last step in the heat treating, called "tempering". The parts of the blade that are
the hardest are straw colored, the softer and tougher parts are purple and blue. I purposely avoid grinding these
colors away, as they also add a bit of rust resistance.
- After the edges have been sharpened and honed razor sharp, they are gun blued. This is a simple procedure and does a great deal to prevent rusting
(that's why it is used on gun barrels).
- From forging, through heat treating, to final honing, I make these knives the same as my wood carving knives which do a great
job of slicing through hard woods. As Cutlery they perform incredibly well.
About the Handle Wood:
Over the years, customers and friends have given me some of their special woods, sometimes intending them as handles for custom tools. They all have a story (some of them I remember!).
Walter Henderson, a master carver on Orcas Island, has welcomed me to take many of his vast special wood scraps hiding in all corners of his shop.
Bruce Harvie of Orcas Island Tonewoods has given me a great deal
of "unusable wood" from his incredible stash of fine woods for musical instruments. These are the woods I use for my cutlery knives. Strangely, I have paid
money for none of this wood, yet I value them as my most prized possessions, and am glad to use them here.
The woods are epoxied and brass riveted onto the handles. After final hand sanding with "0000" steel wool (that is the finest steel wool,
used in fine woodworking for the ultimate luster), they are sealed with penetrating epoxy to make them
waterproof. A final coat of wax is buffed on.