I made chef knives for my family for Christmas
Hey everybody! I am a new knifemaker--I took my first class with David Tuthill of Fire Horse Forge (who is mentioned this week on the podcast in the interview with Ashley Childs!) in January of 2018 and my second class in May 2018. Beginning in Jan 2019 my best friend and I built a forge shop together out of his garage.
So this fall I decided it'd be a great idea to make chef knives for my family (and the woman I'm dating). I haven't actually made any chef knives yet! Really I've just made a few utility and camp knives. I totally bit off more than I should have.
But, with a lot of work, a ridiculous amount of hand sanding, and lots of advice from David (and a really good demonstration of techniques on the 2x72 for chef knife edge geometry that I hadn't known about), I actually finished these knives... at 3am the night before Christmas Eve. I had to do final sharpening on them and etch my logo in them
I'd gifted them to my family! But I did finish, and they work beautifully. My family is just floored.
doing this, all throughout the process, and I'm really looking forward to making more chef knives... but maybe just one at a time for a while!
So, here are my knives! None of them are perfect, all with minor flaws, but thankfully none of the flaws should hamper their usability at all.
Hand-forged from 80crv2 (from New Jersey Steel Baron!) and tempered at 375F (twice for 2 hours each time).
Left to right:
8 1/4" blade, stabilized redwood lace burl, 126g
8" blade, stabilized pink & blue dyed maple burl, 135g
7.5" blade, stabilized purple dyed maple fiddleback, 137g
7" blade, stabilized redwood lace burl, 93g
7" blade, stabilized green dyed curly mango, 107g
Firstly, welcome to the forum! I'd be interested in the lessons you learnt making your knives, you've done a fantastic job. What was your heat treatment, and what did you learn through that? I'm beginning myself, after many years of dabbling, and would find your input very helpful indeed. I'd like to make my beloved her own kitchen knife and the biggest obstacle for me is finding a reliable home heat treat for stainless, as I will only have my own firebrick and propane torch forge.
Lookin good. Always something to learn with every blade. They'll never be perfect, but they can always be better.
Thanks for sharing. Nice work. Best way to start is taking a class. Puts you years ahead of what you can do alone!
VERY Nice work and what a wonderful gift!! You are off to a great start! And Never worry about it being 'perfect'. If it is perfect, you have nothing left to learn and will get bored with it!! Besides, if it looks 'machine finished' how can you prove you made it by hand??
When i design a new knife, I always start with function, and then work out the form. I always get user compliments on the comfortability of my handles.
Try making a 'dummy' of your proposed knife shape. You can late use this as a template. Some use wood, i use mild steel for mine. Then pretend to use the knife for it's intended task for 10-15 minutes. If you are developing hotspots in your hand, fix those positions on the handle. If it doesn't 'swing right' or feels heavy, adjust the thickness/curve of the belly, angle of the handle etc! When you get the design tweaked, THEN make one out of your preferred material, and use it for a few days if possible. Tap, slice, pinch-grip, scrape, do all the things you would normally do with said design. If it works, make more! If not, tweak it again!
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