Criticizing Your Own Hand Work - a Knife in this case

UKworkshop.co.uk

Help Support UKworkshop.co.uk:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.
Separately, in theory, suboptimal hardness in a catra machine (abrasive cards) results in some loss of abrasion resistance. I think in real life use, deformation of edges on soft knives causes the wear to occur much faster. Just as it would with chisels. I was kind of shocked to find that a slightly underhard AEB-L knife ground much faster than a relatively high hardness 80crv2 knife. AEB-L's theoretical wear resistance is about 60-70% higher than 80crV2.

Like the fellow getting knives from me, I'd rather deal with a knife that doesn't need steeling if given a personal choice - but goes back to the not barking about knives intended to be steeled being unusable. Most larger butchers knives that I've seen are steeled often and I'm sure if they are carbon steel, they are something similar to 80crv2 in high 50s hardness instead of low 60s. 1095CV is spec'd in a lot of low end knives here with a hardness target of 55/56. That's a weird combination and some of the makers have left that for 1075 (ontario knife, I think, is one of them). 80crV2 can hit 62 hardness without a problem and be tough enough - so adding carbon and then backing off 6-7 points of hardness, is kind of senseless.

(XHP in the scatter above is V11 for anyone wondering if we use any of the stainless steels in woodworking).

It is also low toughness. When I mention that it's not that great for chisels, it draws some static. A rehardened stanley 750 betters it without trouble. But for the folks who rarely use their tools, finding any significant rust is unlikely since it's on the functional border of stainless.
 
The knife below is probably the most used knife in the meat trade. Costs between £12-£15.(Cost £4 when i first bought mine, some 30+ years ago.)
It's not fancy, I dont think its made of a steel anyone will rave about, and its not pretty to look at. But it does the job, and does it consistently for a number years.
Like all actual trade/pro stuff its dependable though expendable tool.
View attachment 144221

Unfortunately i seem to gravitate towards knives like this for home use, rather than spend huge amounts of classier offerings, though I did for my sisters wedding gift buy the lucky couple a set of 3 Gustav Emil Ern(7" cooks, bread and 4" parer)
I also bought a friend, who was a vegetarian (along with his wife) an F.Dick 3.5" paring knife, for them to do their veg with, and despite all the other wonderful gifts they received,I suspect mine was the one they liked most, because when they unfortunately divorced, apparently there was a custody fight going on as to which one got the knife :LOL:


I worked for about ten years kinda in and around the London restaurant industry, and had customers ranging from pubs to posh Michelin starred places. Regardless of how fancy somewhere is - Victorinox knives are basically a constant in professional kitchens, I probably saw them as much as every other brand / maker put together.
 
Very interesting thread here @D_W, especially all the stuff about steel and HT, which I think I said before is an aspect of knives and knifemaking I don't know so much about.

FWIW though... AEB-L is a very popular steel in the 'kitchen knife community', it's the preferred stainless option for a good number of very respected custom makers. The general consensus is that it works best treated to around 62-63, and is apparently quite picky about HT. That's for general purpose, board knives though. I assume that specialist boning knives might require something different...(?)

---

I'm liking the look of your handles too btw, looking very good already. I might have to start playing around with stuff like micarta!
 
I worked for about ten years kinda in and around the London restaurant industry, and had customers ranging from pubs to posh Michelin starred places. Regardless of how fancy somewhere is - Victorinox knives are basically a constant in professional kitchens, I probably saw them as much as every other brand / maker put together.

I'm guessing they come through distribution and probably at a reduced cost for a larger customer. I worked at a low cost southern style restaurant as my first job and most of the knives were cheap throw away, but the chef's knives were something of that level. I was kind of surprised.

Nobody in my household would spend money on anything other than a hunting knife. my mother liked her knives dull. I sharpened a cheap stainless RADA brand knife for her with a washita (which my dad had) and she cut herself with it almost immediately even though I told her several times looking at it - "it will be sharp".

There's a mid priced chain at the edge of my development where it transitions to commercial corridor - that's the one that as of about 10-12 years ago had only one person with permission to use a knife at all. I wouldn't be surprised if it was zero.

The only thing restricted at the southern style restaurant was the manual fry machine. Someone must've done something stupid. It was just a giant lever-handled machine that cut a whole potato into long thick fries. But it was sharp. I was 16 at the time. They wouldn't let anyone under 18 use it.
 
I never got on with Globals, I find the handles just aren't right for me.


I couldn't agree more! I think I said earlier in this thread, but it's actually quite difficult to completely f up a knife handle. Global manage it pretty comprehensively though, with all their 'sand-filled' nonsense marketing bollix.

Not my favourite knives generally; they don't really have any discernable grind or bevel, it's just flat down to a fat, convex edge. Plus the steel is weird and mushy with large carbides which makes them a nightmare to sharpen. (Apologies to anyone who has Globals. I know plenty of people who do, and like them a lot, my feelings are based mostly on having to sharpen them often for other people.)

Wusthofs otoh are underrated I think; good geometry, designed well, decent steel, and not horrifically expensive.
 
Very interesting thread here @D_W, especially all the stuff about steel and HT, which I think I said before is an aspect of knives and knifemaking I don't know so much about.

FWIW though... AEB-L is a very popular steel in the 'kitchen knife community', it's the preferred stainless option for a good number of very respected custom makers. The general consensus is that it works best treated to around 62-63, and is apparently quite picky about HT. That's for general purpose, board knives though. I assume that specialist boning knives might require something different...(?)

---

I'm liking the look of your handles too btw, looking very good already. I might have to start playing around with stuff like micarta!

Bill Tindall (retired research chemist) mentioned to me that when it's sanded, the residual dust isn't dangerous that, but it will release phenols when sanded, and those definitely are unhealthy. Whether it's the dust or the gas...well, I guess it matters. I use a fan to push out all of the dust - but next time, I will use a fan and organic vapor mask.

Only thing I don't like about it is the cost. handle material bought in sheets leaves a handle and steel cost similar. I have enough exotic offcut wood (and have burned enough) to probably not use anything other than offcuts for handles - ever. I think they feel a little better, but it's hard to argue with which one will stand up to abuse or being left wet better.

For the short stint that I was on bladeforums - before getting banned over insisting that a hobbyist can heat treat in a forge and get good results - I saw a lot of $200-ish knife makers using AEB-L with the 62/63 spec. It looks like it's popular to get sheet, have someone water jet it, have someone else heat treat it and then grind and handle a knife. Some of those folks have found steel claimed to be 62/63 more like 60/61, but I doubt most buyers in that range would notice. There's some pretty fat edged knives left at that price level, too - suggesting people get into the hobby and want to start selling knives, but they don't have the love for the details and are more interested in just working through the process like a crafter.

I think the lack of use of it in higher volume commercial knives (because it's certainly not expensive) is due to no real tolerance to make western looking knives for the masses that can't be steeled. You're right about the HT - the difference between 58 hardness and 63 isn't a whole lot, but the process to hit 63 looks pretty straight forward. I don't have a great deal of trust in HT services for small customers. I know they're good at what they do, but when they don't do what you ask or when they damage a batch, they usually put up a wall. And I think they're not as good with carbon steels as I am, so it doesn't make a great deal of sense to risk it. Too many posts where people talk about an entire batch coming back cracked from overzealous straightening and the HT service blames the result on the knife steel supplier. Who is also on the forum. And it gets interesting from there.....

Not sure about boning knives - btw. Bill requested a "surgical tool" more than a knife. I've made him carbon steel knives. I asked about flexing and he said it should flex a little, which the higher hardness knives still do - but not nearly as well or as easily as they my slightly softer efforts did. I'll find out if he can break them. The consumer (boning) knives that I saw with fine tips are all something like 420HC or X50cr...whatever it is that wusthof uses that's really butter soft. Lamson claims 58 hardness with 420HC, but I'd have to see proof of that to believe it. It's possible, but it's about the hardest possible temper for 420HC in a knife that could be broken.
 
At risk of offending the purists, for small light knives have a look at these. They were recommended on another thread a couple of years ago. I bought some, and I use them every day. I got some as a present for my daughter, and they're her most used as well. Cheap enough to try.

https://www.chopchopchop.co.uk/kom-kom-knives.html
 
Could we have a thread about pencil sharpeners?
 
No reason why not. You can start one.
Can't think of anything to say - I was hoping there would be a band of pencil sharpener enthusiasts out there, to get one going as a change from all this knife stuff.

Some time back I was told in all seriousness that you can't sharpen a knife with a steel. I've been doing it all my life, maybe I have a magic touch? :unsure:
 
Can't think of anything to say - I was hoping there would be a band of pencil sharpener enthusiasts out there, to get one going as a change from all this knife stuff.

Some time back I was told in all seriousness that you can't sharpen a knife with a steel. I've been doing it all my life, maybe I have a magic touch? :unsure:

You can sharpen a soft knife with a serrated steel. If a knife is trashy enough and you're willing to rub and rub and rub all the time, you may be able to use a very low carbon stainless and keep a dud edge.

Remember when you posted about woodworking, by the way? I don't. Especially in the hand tools side. I remember a strange piece of salvage wood and that's about it.

Seems to be stylish on forums lately for people to complain about topics where only part of the topic is working wood (handles in this case). As someone I think of highly says on another forum - go make something, and post about it.
 
At risk of offending the purists, for small light knives have a look at these. They were recommended on another thread a couple of years ago. I bought some, and I use them every day. I got some as a present for my daughter, and they're her most used as well. Cheap enough to try.

https://www.chopchopchop.co.uk/kom-kom-knives.html

Rada in the US makes similar knives, though a little bit more expensive, probably mostly just due to actually being manufactured in the US.

Nothing really wrong with cheap knives. The knives you linked have a steel composition very similar to 420A - it's a good practical steel that will steel well and the stainlessness should be very high since the carbon content is low (0.3%).

The compromise is usually a flat stamped knife with a very low machine time grind (a little strip ground instead of most of the blade), but that doesn't keep them from working.

Chasing the challenge of getting someone a knife that will bone a deer without needing resharpening is definitely far away from getting basic functioning knives - though I think if my time isn't counted, I can get pretty close to the chop chop prices!
 
I see from your link that the knives are spec-d as 1mm. Is that really true? I haven't bought any stamped knives in a while, but one of the ways to make a not-so-great edge holding steel functional is keeping the blade thin.

The advent of retailers pricing up all small goods leaves us with paring knives that probably come from the manufacturer at $1 being $8, but even at that, some of the soft very thin bladed parer are excellent to use.

I've learned from experience that you can sometimes have a problem with a knife that's too sharp - terminal for some things. I made a parer razor sharp once to make peeling apples easier, and learned that a knife good for that purpose is something really thin, but not too sharp so that it will ride under the apple skin and not come through it. Any of the knives in this thread would be a real pain to try to peel an apple with - you can't control them from cutting through the skin the same as the fruit flesh.

Not to mention the oft observed guest here squashing food between their thumb and a paring knife blade to cut small items. most of my relatives do that, too
 
At risk of offending the purists, for small light knives have a look at these. They were recommended on another thread a couple of years ago. I bought some, and I use them every day. I got some as a present for my daughter, and they're her most used as well. Cheap enough to try.

https://www.chopchopchop.co.uk/kom-kom-knives.html


I almost mentioned Kiwis actually... I also lived in Aus for the last few years, and they were everywhere in kitchens. Don't see them so much here, though perhaps because they're even cheaper in Aus if that website is anything to go by. People there basically treat them as disposable (for better or worse). I got a 180mm ish chef's knife for about $7 or $8 earlier this year I think.

They're fun knives :).
 
Last edited:
(ahh...the website saw me as american for a while and didn't respond to clicking on category buttons. I see a full grind knife here:

https://www.chopchopchop.co.uk/488KK.html
2mm at the spine. That answers the question - they have some of both - thin blanks with minimal grinding and thicker blanks that look like they have a slightly convex full grind. And not for much more money (about $22 us equivalent for a chef's knife).
 
(ahh...the website saw me as american for a while and didn't respond to clicking on category buttons. I see a full grind knife here:

https://www.chopchopchop.co.uk/488KK.html
2mm at the spine. That answers the question - they have some of both - thin blanks with minimal grinding and thicker blanks that look like they have a slightly convex full grind. And not for much more money (about $22 us equivalent for a chef's knife).


I'm not certain on this but it may be that Kom Kom are the slightly more premium version of Kiwis. It's the same company certainly.

This is the one I got, cost the equivalent of about $5 USD:

https://www.chopchopchop.co.uk/173.html
 
Can't think of anything to say - I was hoping there would be a band of pencil sharpener enthusiasts out there, to get one going as a change from all this knife stuff.

Some time back I was told in all seriousness that you can't sharpen a knife with a steel. I've been doing it all my life, maybe I have a magic touch? :unsure:


You should become a member J! ;)


Screenshot 2022-09-27 234918.jpg
 
You guys may laugh, but - maybe I said the same thing or almost the same thing above - my mother had so many generic knives that she would've had something like these that she found for half the price of these with no brand on it. So to even find a $15 knife would've been unusual. I remember seeing a knife that said "rada USA", and being surprised. I didn't know what the brand was, but realize now, she had about a dozen knives of the same style as rada (these are small paring knives that would've been about $5 from rada) that were obviously generic knock offs.
 
Back
Top