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Collab with manufacturer to make the ultimate affordable chef knife

Discussion in 'Kitchen Cutlery & Tools' started by Lotmom, Nov 6, 2018.

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  1. Lotmom

    Lotmom

    17
    Apr 21, 2016
    Before I start, let me introduce myself.
    My name is Ben Herman and I have been running a professional sharpening service for the past five or so years. I am currently in the process of communicating with a manufacturer to produce a knife with my specs and a shape of my choosing. I thought I'd post this to see what people think about the idea.

    I am currently in the stage of communication and choosing the steel that would be best suited to this knife. I am currently leaning towards a carbon steel, but that seems quite challenging to get through Chinese suppliers, so I may end up with vg-10 or something of the sort.

    Anyway, please tell me your thoughts!

    Without further ado, here is a generic picture of the design I'm basing this blade on. The picture is slightly warped, so it's hard to see the shape perfectly, but this is an 8" knife.

    [​IMG]

    I'd love to hear what everyone thinks about this! Suggestions are more than welcome!
     
  2. marchone

    marchone

    181
    Mar 13, 2013
    That looks good.
    FWIW, I spent 30 years in high end kitchens. To my mind a near perfect chef’s knife is a Wustof 4582/26 with the 4584/26 a close second. They discontinued a molded handle line that greatly reduced grip fatigue.
    Where many people want shorter blades the 10” French Chef’s knife is standard for the work surface it covers. Cooks weren’t bigger people a couple centuries ago than they are today.
    Its thickness is critical too as the third part of the blade at the heel needs to be heavy enough to use as a light cleaver. Most Japanese Chef’s knives are just big slicers. Drop point blade shape and full flat grind goes without saying.
    I hope that helps.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2018
  3. Lotmom

    Lotmom

    17
    Apr 21, 2016

    Thank you for the information! I am really grateful for your input.

    Any word on steel choice?
     
  4. marchone

    marchone

    181
    Mar 13, 2013
    Not to belabor the point, the Wustof bolster is a key feature. That means forged, not stamped. Full tang. As to steel, many people have asked for a German-style design in better steel. I don't think there's anything wrong with VG-10. 1095 comes up often. It will likely depend on your supplier.
     
  5. Lotmom

    Lotmom

    17
    Apr 21, 2016
    I actually am not a huge fan of the Wustof style bolster since it makes sharpening a challenge. I much prefer a bolster like on the demo image as it gives you more cutting edge, and allows you to sharpen all the way back to the heel. As for steel, I'm trying to keep the cost under $80 so a full VG10 blade probably wouldn't work out too well. That, and I personally prefer carbon steel overall.

    Of course, when I start producing and selling this blade, I will also offer stainless steel variants.
     
    marchone likes this.
  6. marchone

    marchone

    181
    Mar 13, 2013
    As long as you have the strength at the heel to use as a light cleaver that's the goal.
     
  7. KnifeRep

    KnifeRep

    20
    Nov 5, 2018
    Have you looked for a manufacture in South America? Tramantina has a knife making plant in Brazil where they make both stamped and forged cutlery, in the 1980-90’’s they were making Forschner’s stamped EconoCut line in carbon steel.

    Regarding your design, I don’t mind that bolster and I’d consider buying that knife if it were in carbon steel but I take awesome care of our knives, most entry level buyers won’t and at that price point you’ll get a lot of novice users who probably will care first about the feel, then the price, then maybe about the steel itself, 90% of kitchen knife buyers fall into this outline and they’re typically better served with stainless steel kitchen knives; but don’t let that stop you from educating them!

    The one thing about your design that you will have to play with is the curve angle of the handle in relation to the blade, but if you work with a good manufacture they will make finished samples in various curves for your approval. The other thing about OEM work from a manufactures perspective, they may not want to make an OEM design that they already make, your design is unique enough that I doubt this would be an issue, and their minimums can kill the deal; one other thing, be mindful that OEM manufactures in the second and third world countries can be scoundrels and some will not hesitate to steal your design for themselves or for one of their other customers.

    Hope that helps and good luck!

    KR
     
  8. jdm61

    jdm61 itinerant metal pounder Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 12, 2005
    Well, then don't belabor a point that no longer applies. In many cases, the "forged bolster" was either forge welded or soldered to a piece of strip steel, even a full length bolster. IIRC, there are one or two German manufacturer that still drop forges, but the is about it. The various French firms in Thiers may still drop forge most of their Sabatier labeled knives. It you want to see how the forge welding process is done, there are videos on Youtube from Zwillng.
    If you asked a number of custom makers on here what steel they would choose for a "mass market" chef's knife, they might tell you AEB-L. I would. As for VG-10, from what I have heard, some folks get the HT right, other don't. You had better hope that your guys in China are ones that do.

    What I am seeing here is maybe another version of the Misen knife project.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2018
  9. marchone

    marchone

    181
    Mar 13, 2013
    Thanks for the information. Does it result in strengthening the heel? Affect balance? I'm a user. You're a knifemaker. I'm willing to learn.

    Not my project by the way.
     
  10. jdm61

    jdm61 itinerant metal pounder Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 12, 2005
    If you can find the stores on the interwebz, go back and read about the delivery delays that the Misen guys had even after allegedly already having everything set up in China. Misen is also a good example of how to hype what is essentially a pretty pedestrian product.
     
  11. Spideyjg

    Spideyjg

    123
    Nov 7, 2017
  12. Lotmom

    Lotmom

    17
    Apr 21, 2016
    Thanks guys! I'm so happy for all the feedback.
    So, at the moment we have a similar with solid(!!) Hap40 steel! now, it is becoming quite pricey to get samples. I will certainly use my own funds, but is it out of my scope to ask for backers? or should I make a kickstarter?
     
  13. Lotmom

    Lotmom

    17
    Apr 21, 2016
    Also, in regards to this, I already own a knife sharpening and making business. Pulling a stunt like Misen would ruin me. The whole point of this is to create a production-level product that I can sell under my name, so I have more time and money to spend on my customs as well as bringing a truly good knife into the market. Think Todd Begg's steelcraft line.
     
  14. jdm61

    jdm61 itinerant metal pounder Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 12, 2005
    Misen may have overpromised and certainly been overwhelmed by the response to their crowdfunding campaign, but they did have trouble getting even the first batch delivered in anything remotely resembling a timely manner. And they had planned for that batch even before their campaign blew up on the interwebz.
     
  15. Lotmom

    Lotmom

    17
    Apr 21, 2016
    Update time!
    I am now purchasing the first two samples. I am getting each sample in different steels, one in 52100 and one in HAP40 so I can see which performs to my standards!
    Keep checking back here, as I'll be posting updates as they come!

    edit: I only purchased the HAP40, and asked for it to be heat treated to 63, hopefully reducing chipping. after all, this IS intended for heavy use.
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2018 at 9:46 AM
  16. Sierrawill

    Sierrawill Gold Member Gold Member

    116
    Jun 10, 2016
    I like it, very nice design/size. How does vg-10 hold edge and take sharpening?
     
  17. Lotmom

    Lotmom

    17
    Apr 21, 2016
    Vg10 is a dream to sharpen. When a customer brings me a blade in vg10 it's a good day :p. It holds an edge decently, but since I mostly work with supersteels and high wear-resistance steels, I may Not be the best person to ask.

    Either way, the knife is looking like it'll be made of hap40 at the moment.
     
  18. Smaug

    Smaug

    573
    Jun 30, 2003
    That looks great, but even as a knife guy, I wouldn't buy a carbon steel cook's knife.

    Also, realize that you're going into a competitive market. There's no lack of options from established knife makers at fair prices.

    I wish you luck, if you decide to proceed.
     
  19. Lotmom

    Lotmom

    17
    Apr 21, 2016
    Thanks for the luck, but hopefully I won't need it.
    I already have two guaranteed customers, and I haven't even received the sample yet.
    I also have a popular knife store near me that I have a good relationship with, so I have a starting market base.

    That, and I'm mostly doing this as a fun project, to see how far I can push an idea forward, I suppose.
     
    Smaug likes this.

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