French Chef Knife

Nov 5, 2016
I’m planning towards my first attempt at some kitchen cutlery, and I’d like to take a swing at making myself a classic French chef knife. I don’t have one available as a point of reference (current knife in the block is a fat belly German), and I haven’t had one in my hand since I was in the culinary program back high school. I don’t trust my memory well enough to go by. I forge, so an exact template to cut out is not something I’m looking for, but I do like to have a point of reference to aim towards while forging. I’ve been google image searching like a mad man, but it’s always tough with picture angles and no point of reference. I was hoping someone might have a French chef either of their own making or a classic Sab etc. they’d be willing to take a straight on pic of over some graph paper for general proportions?

I’d like to forge it from 52100 and do a mustard patina (French chef with Frenches patina har har). Eyeballing some .210”x1.5” starting stock that I think should give sufficient material for dimensions once thinned and the bevels drawn. Any tips/advice on tackling the first chef knife and particularly a French pattern would be greatly welcomed. Thanks guys.
Even tho you are forging iwould still use a cutout wood or cardboard template
I don't have any pics or graph paper tho sorry
heres a classic sab and my interpretation. GL!

I’ve got my initial design sketched up thanks to Tim’s excellent drawings and measurements. I’m aiming more towards the classic Sab. Lots of nostalgia with those for me. I altered the dimensions just slightly bumping the blade to 9.5” by 1 5/8”. Seems to capture the spirit. What do folks think? I think I’ll dig through the scrap wood pile and see if I can make a wood version to validate the feel. Then will be the real fun of seeing how close I can forge it :) I’m debating whether or not to attempt the finger bolster. I’m thinking I’d need to forge weld on some strips for necessary thickness, and that might be pushing things a bit beyond my skill. I’ve forge welded for damascus, but keeping things neat and even for an integral component seems at a different level.
That looks good.there is something classy about the Sab profile
I wouldn't forge the finger guard bolster tho,they are pointless and a nuisance when sharpening
An integral bolster would look great tho
I forge knife with bolsters from round bar and a simple guillotine fuller rather than forge weld
22 -24 mm will give you about 50 mm at the heel