Kitchen knives for my dear old mom

JTknives

Blade Heat Treating www.jarodtodd.com
Joined
Jun 11, 2006
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Well some of you might have recall last year I went home for christmass and that I made 2 knives from my brothers as eagle scout gifts. While I was over there I allways go throu the kitchen knives a give them a good sharpening. The knife that is my moms most favorit had lost one scale compleatley. She still uses the knife and loves it. But I must say I was wantiing to fix it for here but with out a shop and no materials and very little time I had to leave the knife in it's sad shape. But this year we are all flying to washinton for a family reunion and an idea hit me. I need to make a kitchen set for her. So i'm thinking maybe a 3 knife set. This would just make here day as she does a ton of cooking with a bunch of kids and college students there. Now thy eat very little meat but a lot of fresh fruit and vegtables. I am looking for maybe some blade shape help as I have never done any cooking knives. I am going to use some green g11 I have for the handles and bead blast it for some grip. The blades will be made from A2. Thanks for any help you can give. Sorry for the spelling pproblems I am using my phone to post this and there is no spell checker.
 
Hi.

I've been thinking of doing something similar, so I will be watching this thread with a lot of interest.

In his new cookbook, ad hoc at home, Chef Thomas Keller says "Knives are the cook's fundamental tool, but you need only four of them, and if they're good ones, they'll last your entire lifetime: a 10-inch chef's knife, a 12-inch slicing knife, a paring knife, and a serrated knife, used almost exclusively for cutting bread. The style or specific type of knife is up to you..."

Tait
 
For vegetables I haven't come across anything better than my 7" scalloped santuko. We cook A LOT here in my house and I have a full set of knives and the santuko gets used probably 4x as much as all the other knives put together. Next up would be a 4" paring knife and our 8" serrated (bread) knife. The others really just sit in the block unless their buddies are dirty and I'm too lazy to wash one of them!

I haven't looked at ad hoc at home but I would say that a 10" chef's knife is too big for most people unless he's saying 10" AOL - kitchen knives are usually listed as the blade length, not the OAL, and a 10" blade is massive for a kitchen knife (unless its a salmon fillet knife or a slicer)...

The santuko is equally fantastic for meat but chopping veggies is where she'll shine. If I had to replace all my knives I would buy another 7" santuko, a 5" santuko, a bread knife, a 4" paring knife and possibly a fillet knife (but only because we eat a lot of fish). Scalloped edges on the santuko really helps reduce drag and friction as you're cutting and makes cutting veggies a lot easier, IMO, some people hate them but I love them. I haven't used one personally but a lot of people really love 3-4" straight (wharncliffe) blade for veggies/fruit, especially if they do a lot of canning. For blade shape I would look at major brands that cater to chefs and see what styles they have in their chef lines of knives - they are making them for people who will use them for hours on end every day. I really like Henckels knives but check out Wusthoff, Shun (a little different) and others and see what you think your Mother would like. I would love to walk into my parent's kitchen and throw away all the crap knives they have and replace them with a hand-crested set that I made personally for them... Someday maybe!

Since I don't have the money to spend on the knives (kitchen or otherwise) that I want, we bought Henckels Twin S forged knives with money from our wedding and we have been very satisfied with their performance and, like I said, we cook a lot (I'm in Chiropractic school right now but had a hard time deciding between Chiropractic and Culinary Arts).

When I first saw that you were going to use G11 I was a little worried but with your bead blasted finish I think they will be awesome. Most kitchen knives I've seen with G11 are finished to a beautiful glossy finish that is slicker than snot in the kitchen which is so incredibly dangerous. I think A2 will be a wonderful steel and will just get better with age.

BTW - how did you go from WA to Provo of all places??? I grew up in OR and my fam now lives in UT (many in Provo) but I would pick WA over UT any day of the week!
 
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Something you might want to do is use her favourite knives as your guide, maybe with a few minor adjustments that would improve their utility and her comfort. My own mother and her sisters have cooked a lot of meals over the years for hungry kids and large family gatherings but they learned to cook from their parents and have habits that would probably make professionally trained chefs or knifenuts sigh. Since you know her well you probably have the advantage in making something that suits here better than the average department store knife.

Having said that, I do most of my cooking with a santoku and a 5" utility knife. If you add a small paring knife that should cover most needs. If she is more used to a western style chefs knife you can probably substitute that for the santoku. I also prefer the thinner profiles of japanese knives, they slice well and as long as she doesn't use it to butcher meat with bones it should work well for her. If she is in the habit of cutting & prying apart hard veggies like squash and cabbage you might want to add a slightly more robust chefs knife to the mix. (my knives will slice through that stuff easily, but one of my aunts will still use a prying action out of sheer habit).

Good luck, but I'm sure she will appreciate whatever you come up with in the end.
 
Hey Jarod,

I had similar thoughts as Photojunkie. I bet your Mom has one or two or maybe three knives she uses just about exclusively. Probably one about 75% of the time. I'd stay pretty close to home on your patterns if I were you. But then you know your Mom. For all we know she's a wild adventurer ever seeking bold new experiences. After all, you came from somewhere dude! On-the-other-hand, you did describe her consistently using the same knife, so much so that she's worn the bloody handle off it! Sounds like the profile might be a keeper?

Keep us posted. You really can't go wrong, as whatever you make will be great and loved!
 
Well it's funny actualy. I went from washinton to Hawaii then to Utah. I maryed some one that was from here but I'm not maryed any more so the onley thing keeping me here is my job which i love but if the the market keeps goingike it has I don't know how long it will be around. I would move back to wa it a hart beat. I love it there. The knife my mom uses is a chef knife about 10" long there about. It's carbon steel and she has had it for as long as I can remember. I talked to my stater and she will be over there tomarow cooking and will get some pictures for me. Like I said she really loves it so much that she still uses it with half the handle
missing and with the handle pins sticking out. Ya the g11 when it's bead blasted is sweet and what I think will be perfect as it's green like Hawaii. O ya and I would move back to Hawaii in a heart beat as well but I don't know how I would move my shop over there.
 
yep go from what she is comfortable using
but if i was makig a 4 knife set
8 inch chef
6 inch nikiri
3 inch parer
and finally a 10 inch slicer / bread knife

if not frightened by big knives 10 inch chef and 12 inch slicer
 
yep go from what she is comfortable using
but if i was makig a 4 knife set
8 inch chef
6 inch nikiri
3 inch parer
and finally a 10 inch slicer / bread knife

if not frightened by big knives 10 inch chef and 12 inch slicer

I would take Butch's advice :D
 
For the kitchen veggie chopper, I'd go with 1/16" on your A2 steel. Maybe I was lucky, but had no problems with warping during HT. Maybe it's a reflection of my evolving grinding skills, but I've tried 1/8" steel, and I found that veggies just fly across the room because it's too thick.

I've done kitchen blades in both A2 and CM 154, and it works well. The blade is about 8", and it works great for both veggies and meat. I'm the cook.


JT: Welcome home to Washington. I came across the mountains yesterday to the Seattle area for Thanksgiving, and I'm getting a dose of why I went east. It's raining and raining and raining...


Sorry I can't post a picture, brought the wrong computer.

Phil 705
Winthrop WA
 
The Nakiri knives look real cool and i think she would love one like that. i think one reason she loves the broken knife is because its really the only OK quality knife she has and it has been the family for like forever. but when i give here the new set it will come with a clause that she has to send it to me so i can re handle it for her. Ya i would love to be welcomed back to WA, i use to live in a small town called cle elum, you pass it on your way twords the pass when heading to Seattle. but if i do go back it would be to the family property. here is a link i started that has pictures of it.
http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=644264
 
JT, here's a poor pic of my kitchen chopper. 8" 154CM, bubinga handle, ebony bolsters. Happy Thanksgiving.

Phil705
Winthrop/Seattle WA
 

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well i have a 4 knife set all ground out. I'm wrapping them in foil right now to go in the oven. man she is going to love these. what is a good hardness for a kitchen knife. i was thinking around 61 or so as she should not be chopping anything supper hard with it. i will tell her that shopping coconuts is off limits ;)
 
thy are heat treated now. the small pairing knife and the chef knife are dead straight but the long slicer and the 6 inch nikiri have a warp in the blade in the middle. I really have not worked much with A2 for knives so will i have a problem taking them out of the tempering oven that is set at 400 deg and straightening them? I tried to straighten them by hand when thy where still hot (smoking glove hot) and all looked good, but when thy cooled the bend came back :(.
 
Holy smokes, ground, heat treated and tempering already? you don't screw around. I don't have any experience with A2 but I'm sure more experienced folks here will offer their guidance soon enough.
 
Well she did not call me fast for nothing- wait um no not like that, o crap
 
61 should be jsut fine for hardness

so far as the warps im not sure thats why i plate quench my 3/32 and thinner stock
i still now and then have a bender but in cpm154 before i cryo i can make things right most the time
 
ya the stock i used was 3/32" i must say i like that thickness for thin knives. also this A2 i have ground so easy on the grinder today. maybe i had something to do with me running 6800 SFPM with a 50 grit blaze belt :rolleyes: but it seamed like butter. any way i went back to the shop and pulled the knives out of the tempering oven. thy where in there for around 3 hrs as i had to find dinner and it seamed every place was closed. so i took a look at them and yes the bow was still there, dang. any way i put a piece of delrin in the mill chuck and spread open the mill vice and used the spindle to straighted out the blade and it worked beautifully. it is amazing how much thin knives like these will flex and spring back. so all is good now and I'm happy. here is a quick shot i took after i straightened them. just wanted to show you how thy looked so far. the chef knife is 8" and the nikiri is 6", i am not sure what the slicer is as i just used what i had left to make it ;). it will be serrated so it can be used for bread. its hard because with 3/32" thick material and a full hight flat grind there is not much of a grind line, but thy will make some good veg assassins

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looking good
let me kno how you like putting tthe teeth on that slicer (i know how i like it )

i have 4 steak knives that need teeth but im thinkin its not going to happen (fam order that i will redo)

cut teethe first harden 2nd :)
 
looking good
let me kno how you like putting tthe teeth on that slicer (i know how i like it )

i have 4 steak knives that need teeth but im thinkin its not going to happen (fam order that i will redo)

cut teethe first harden 2nd :)

I am going to use a wheel on my grinder and make the cuts.
 
JT, sounds like your mother brought up a respectfull and loving son. As knife makers we understand the excellent cutting quality afforded by an A2 blade. Would your Mum be better served by a stainless blade that she will not have to look after as much. I only suggest this because I have already been through this with my own mother. Merry Xmas to you and yours.

Peter
 
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