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Insight on kitchen knife idea

Discussion in 'Hammer & Tongs' started by running bird, Oct 18, 2016.

  1. running bird

    running bird

    277
    Sep 29, 2015
    My mother's birthday is coming up in a month and for a while now she has been complaining about how I make knives for other people but never made her anything. So I thought I would make her a knife that I know she would use and apreciate.

    I found some wrought iron chains while cleaning out a barn a few days ago (the barn was made in the early 1800s so I'm assuming they are wrought iron and not mild steel). I started forging out the iron into a billet about .75" wide and .25" thick. I was thinking of doing a san mai of this wrought iron and 52100 steel. But I have a few questions.

    What style of knife should I do? When she cooks she usually uses knives for slicing or very light chopping.

    How thick should the blade be? I know most kitchen knives are thin but I will be forging this blade by hand and I'm a little hesitant of forging san mai too thin. Should I forge the chain out thinner before forging to help with this? My only problem with that is that my 52100 is a bit under .25" thick and it might be in porportinal in the san mai. Should I forge the 52100 out a bit thinner first too?

    I'm planning on putting a layer between the wrought iron. I have some nickel I use for mokume and I also have some 15n20. Which do you think would give better contrast? I also considered doing a layer of brass between two layers of nickel, between the 52100 and wrought iron. I am pretty used to doing mokume so I'm not worried about it not working out I'm more worried if it the brass layer could seperate during HT, I'm not sure how the brass would react with such a fast change. Would that not be worth the effort?

    How should I HT the blade? Should I use clay or do an edge quench? I have never use clay on 52100 before.

    Any advice or recomndations are greatly appreciated.

    Thanks for the help,
    Kevin
     
  2. tim37a

    tim37a

    905
    May 18, 2010
    A good chef's knife might start out at .010 at the spine and be ground down in a full flat grind to .005 at the edge before sharpening. I would make it monosteel 52100. However, I don't forge, so maybe others will have a better idea.

    Tim
     
  3. running bird

    running bird

    277
    Sep 29, 2015
    Thanks, is there any specific blade shape you recommend?
     
  4. Lycosa

    Lycosa

    Aug 24, 2007
    High heel, or curved handle, so the hand clears the cutting board when chopping.
    A nice curved belly and you want that classic chef knife point.
    Round or smooth the spine.
    rolf
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2016
  5. running bird

    running bird

    277
    Sep 29, 2015
    Thank you
     
  6. Lycosa

    Lycosa

    Aug 24, 2007
    You are welcome!
    Cooking was my profession for 16 years.
    rolf
     
  7. Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith

    Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith ilmarinen - MODERATOR Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 20, 2004
    A kitchen knife is a working tool. Unless you are making a fancy Japanese blade, san-mai is usually unnecessary. I would suggest a mono-steel blade in a good high carbon steel like the 52100 you mentioned. Keep it simple, and it will get used. Nothing is sadder than someone receiving a gift knife ands saying, "Oh, I would never use this in the kitchen. It is too pretty to get dirty."

    While your san-mai idea is fine, it isn't really a suitable blank for a hard working kitchen bade. It will require extra maintenance, and the look will not be appealing to some kitchen people.

    If pursuing the san-mai, make it with 1/8" sides and a 1/4" core ... then draw out to about .140", and forge to final shape from there. This will give you high soft sides and a reasonable amount of exposed hard core. Final thickness at the spine. Only tip on making the san-mai is you have to work WI really hot. After the billet is solidly welded, the forging needs to be at near welding heat. Forge it at normal mono-steel temps and you are inviting problems.



    When making gift kitchen knives for non-specialized use ( not a gyuto or sujahiki, etc.) I stick with the basic 6-7" chef's blade. About .100 at the spine ( I believe Tim made a typo), FFG, and distal taper to about .050" near the tip. The edge is around .005" before sharpening. If she like heavier blades, start with .125" stock. The handle should be basic and comfortable.

    I also give a matching paring blade with the chef's knife. A 2.5-3" blade and straight design in .060" stock is perfect. Again, plain handle and no frills.

    Black canvas Micarta is one of my favorite handle materials for kitchen users.
     
  8. Lycosa

    Lycosa

    Aug 24, 2007
    Good advice.^
    And may I recommend using Becut steel. This steel fantastic for kitchen knives.
    rolf
     
  9. Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith

    Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith ilmarinen - MODERATOR Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 20, 2004
  10. Lycosa

    Lycosa

    Aug 24, 2007
    Thank you, Stacy.
    Kevin Wilkins jumped on this steel a few years ago.
     

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