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A radical theory, and leaving the world of expensive modern knives behind

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by Chopaholic, Mar 6, 2019.

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  1. jceckrosh

    jceckrosh KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Mar 2, 2016
    Get a couple high quality (which doesn't have to mean very expensive) kitchen knives - a paring knife and chef-style pattern you prefer. It makes a big difference.
     
    jdk1 and Insipid Moniker like this.
  2. jdm61

    jdm61 itinerant metal pounder Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 12, 2005
    I am a knife maker, not a professional knife user. I have had the pleasure of knowing a goodly number of guys who did use knives as part of their job. Most were commercial fishermen, charter captains, hunting guides and such. I saw a lot of them using the superior type knives that the OP talked about. Lots of Dexters and it if they wanted to splurge, the odd Victorinox. But do you know the one item that was almost always present on the fish cleaning table next to the knife? A sharpening stone and it got used quite a bit. Do you know what was on the table next to my large W2 hunter when it was being used to dres out two sand encrusted feral hogs? A beer!!! Not a stone in sight and no need for one. Sure a $20 is great, but typically, the folks who make those are either unable or unwilling to heat treat the blades optimally. In the case of someone like the RJ Murphy company where they have full blown high temp salt pot setup, it pretty much has to be unwilling. So the one thing that these knives that the OP speaks of will NOT do like some of there expensive knives is hold an edge. I wonder if HE keeps a stone next to hi work area and how frequently he feels the need to use it? Oh, and I apologize for being a snob, but saying that you have spent CRAZY money on fabulous knives like ESEE, Ontario and TOPS ain;t gonna impress many in this crowd.:p Oh, and as for after, guards etc, the OP in in a profession where they had to reintroduce chain mail gloves to keep folks from maiming themselves on the job so perhaps the knife is not the problem.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2019
  3. Chopaholic

    Chopaholic

    64
    Aug 20, 2018
    I'm familiar with all of them. Many of them use proprietary steels that often aren't even named on the manufacturer's websites. Nearly all of them are less than $50. I certainly haven't seen any made of S110V or anything. Still, my Victorinox cimeter has proven to be quite adequate over the last couple years since I got it, a bit longer than my Wusthof cimeter that is also very nice.
     
  4. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Baryonyx walkeri Dealer / Materials Provider

    Mar 8, 2008
    While I don't agree entirely with the OP's actual statements I can sympathize with the intent. The key factor is that most industrial designs are subjected to a dynamic not often faced in consumer goods--because they're purchased in bulk AND used as a professional tool, they need to be both economical AND high-performance, and as such it essentially forces extraneous features to be stripped away and the remaining variables adjusted in such a way that it's providing the absolute most functional performance possible for the price point. And that's something that a lot of designers could stand to pay a bit more attention to, at any price point.

    I often see knives that are designed to sell, rather than designed to use. And some of them at prices that are so high you could buy a bevy of other more humble knives that would comfortably outfit you to tackle an impressive range of tasks with high efficiency. But, we all have different tastes, including where we place our weighted emphasis when considering a purchase. Some people place a lot of emphasis on the glam factor or having the latest and greatest materials despite the premium they carry. And that's fine! But as for me, my motto is that I always want my knives to be more fun to use than they are to buy, and so I put functional design elements first and foremost. The fact is, if you're trying to design down to a price point, simple steels with simple heat treatment protocols make good sense, because the geometry is the single most influential factor on performance and putting the scant dollars into that aspect means you may have to make the sacrifice of making a few other categories simply "good enough" because other features or processes may quickly ramp up the required machine hours and the price balloons just as quickly. There's an old saying that "any fool can make a thing that works, but it takes an engineer to make something that barely works" and there's some truth in that that applies to that particular class of knives. :p
     
    jux t, tishchina, danbot and 10 others like this.
  5. Chopaholic

    Chopaholic

    64
    Aug 20, 2018
    I find that most quality butchering cutlery has the same temper and edge retention as outdoor and tactical cutlery, often a little bit harder if anything. I give all of my work knives a touch up every day anyway because there is no reason not to, so edge retention isn't really a big deal anyway. Butcher knives are stupidly easy to maintain because they are almost always very thin and flat ground.
     
  6. H0kieengineer

    H0kieengineer Gold Member Gold Member

    339
    Jun 24, 2017
    They are almost certainly 420HC or some similar Euro or Chinese spec steel. “Proprietary” is marketing wank for low end.
     
    LX_Emergency likes this.
  7. Mitchell Knives

    Mitchell Knives Knifemaker Moderator

    May 21, 2000
    Thin blades with proper geometry will always outperform their thicker, less refined rivals for pure slicing tasks.

    Couple a thin blade with excellent geometry and a modern high end steel, and you have a blade that will truly perform.

    Geometry dictates how well a knife will cut. The steel (and heat treat) determines for how long and general characteristics of the steel.

    There is a massive difference between steels today and even top end steels from a decade ago.

    Steel from 100 years ago still makes fantastic knives, but it's silly to compare them to their modern counterparts.
     
    buckfynn, jux t, LX_Emergency and 8 others like this.
  8. Mecha

    Mecha Madscienceforge.com Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 27, 2013

    We're trying to roast the OP here, 42, so ixnay on the ealisticray, alancedbay erspectivepay, plox. o_O
     
  9. 91bravo

    91bravo Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 29, 2008
    Please move this thread to the appropriate section!
     
  10. Mecha

    Mecha Madscienceforge.com Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 27, 2013
    Tinkering, maintenance and embellishment?
     
  11. Chopaholic

    Chopaholic

    64
    Aug 20, 2018
    No doubt. We're talking stuff in th $15-$50 range. Still, I prove at work every day that "low-end" steels are quite good. I can easily process over 1000 pounds of meat and cardboard on a hard cutting board on a busy day and generally do nothing to my knives throughout that day but strop them once or twice. I'm ambivalent about steeling right now.
     
  12. 91bravo

    91bravo Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 29, 2008

    Glad you found something that works for you. I think all knife nuts have found what works for them.
     
  13. Chopaholic

    Chopaholic

    64
    Aug 20, 2018
    Well, you definitely put it much better than I did.
     
    Mark McKenzie and FortyTwoBlades like this.
  14. 4mer_FMF

    4mer_FMF Basic Member Basic Member

    Jun 9, 2016
    Interesting perspective.
    Out of curiosity, do you have any opinions on specific steels, such as 420J2?
     
    jux t, Pomsbz, danbot and 4 others like this.
  15. Chopaholic

    Chopaholic

    64
    Aug 20, 2018
    Now, if I could find knives with same designs in better steels, I'd buy them.
     
  16. Mechanical Advantage

    Mechanical Advantage

    56
    Nov 1, 2017
    It's hard to generalize what is "best" when there are so many variables in regards to what people need/want out of a knife. While I do agree that there are merits to time-tested designs and materials, there is also something to be said about advancements in technology and modern engineering.
     
  17. MarkN86

    MarkN86

    222
    Sep 3, 2012
    Didnt you just say you were fine with 100 year old steel or mild steel from the hardware store?
     
    jux t, Quiet and marcinek like this.
  18. Chopaholic

    Chopaholic

    64
    Aug 20, 2018
    My opinion on all modern steels used by reputable knife manufacturers is that the differences in performance between them is orders of magnitude less important than the skill of the person who sharpens the knife.
     
  19. H0kieengineer

    H0kieengineer Gold Member Gold Member

    339
    Jun 24, 2017
    Ok, I get that you are great.

    Probably think that a musket beats a machine gun because you can fire and reload fast. I tried to be understanding but the self aggrandizing is too much for me.

    Claiming that everyone here is stupid by say knife enthusiasts (the members here are knife enthusiasts) can’t sharpen knives is its self stupid and going to catch you a lot of flak. I got a Medford, the definition of stupidly thick, shaving sharp (loved that knife, no hate towards Medford knives at all). Almost everyone here treat their knives with more care than is needed because they love knives.

    Are there better tools than a knife for some jobs, sure. An axe is designed to fell a tree, but saying a thick knife is the wrong tool than brag how you did it with a folder is just foolish. You basically say “you picked the wrong tool, but I picked wronger”.

    Enjoy your knives, they clearly work for you, but lay off calling people ignorant when your understanding of the advancement of steel is so clearly lacking.
     
    danbot, palonej, Quiet and 2 others like this.
  20. Chopaholic

    Chopaholic

    64
    Aug 20, 2018
    I am fine with some steels that were available about a century ago, like many 400 series stainless steels. Many professional knife makers seem to agree, with 440C being a longtime favorite. I am not fine with mild steel. I said that mild steel would be better than a knife of any other steel that was not properly sharpened.
     
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