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Everyday Essentials - Chef

Posted by CliffStamp 
Everyday Essentials - Chef
March 25, 2013 05:00PM
This knife, the one on the bottom here :



is the most optomized pure cutting knife I have seen in the inexpensive class. Just consider a few simple specifications :

-80 grams
-blade is 0.037" thick
-shallow hollow grind 5/16" wide (the corresponding flat bevel would be 3.5 dps)
-edge is 0.006" thick sharpened at 15 degrees per side

It also came with a very high sharpness and was not over buffed and had significant slicing aggression while still shaving, there are in fact few production and custom knives which could match the performance in both aspects.

Combining the high sharpness and the very thin cross section profile produced a blade which would easily outperform blade after blade in the kitchen in regards to to just efficiency of cutting (reduction in force required).

There are some drawbacks of course to such an extreme design :

-the blade can stick in some foods as it has no wedging action
-the blade is so thin it will bend even in squash and other vegetables
-the point can easily be bend
-the edge even turned on a sloppy cut through a thigh/leg on a small chicken ( <5 lbs)

The other thing in regards to a design this is more of a hybrid between a chef's knife and a slicing/utility knife. Not only is the blade not as wide it isn't as dropped that most chef's knives so it :

-loses some of the rock/chopping ability
-but is easier to use for utility work

For example it is much more comfortable to use this peeling a potato than the Henckel's chef knife in the above picture, and to carve a turkey.

In short this would make a great general "large knife" in the kitchen as a general purpose tool, in fact it was one of the knives I enjoyed most during the "just use one knife" period of the edge retention trials because it is so flexible, there is little it doesn't do at least ok - again if you stay away from the work which can damage it.

That being said, given the very thin stock and especially very thin edge - you would want to have a decent sense of knife use in the kitchen to avoid damaging it in use. It really would not be a good knife for people who use such knives roughly as it is very likely in short order to have :

-turned edge
-bent tip
-warped blade

Of course as with most of the inexpensive knives it could use some work to improve the ergonomics :

-round the spine and heel
-sand down the mold lines in the handle
-grind off that little square notch at the heel

Review :

[www.cliffstamp.com]
Re: Everyday Essentials - Chef
January 25, 2016 10:35PM
I tried using this again recently as it is a very extreme design with only 1/32" stock. I gave it a full convex grind, or at least fully blended and then used it for about a month for various work.

On the positive :

-very light in hand
-fairly narrow blade and can even handle peeling work
-thin so it cuts well in general

But it has a few drawbacks :

-so thin it lacks stiffness and actually flexes in cuts
-has no wedging ability at all and so it tends to bind in cuts and is outperformed by thicker blades

The edge retention isn't a functional issue. I tried to use a very high polish, the MXF dmt and it doesn't hold that well. It doesn't take long (as in less than a week of cooking 1-2 meals a day) and it will slip on peppers and such. However if a fine DMT is used instead then the edge will get damaged from accidental impacts before it wears smooth.
Re: Everyday Essentials - Chef
January 26, 2016 03:21AM
Is it's inability to hold a high polish likely just a subpar heat treat?

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Always in search of a good choppa'
Re: Everyday Essentials - Chef
January 26, 2016 06:20AM
I have found similar qualities in similar inexpensive knives, the quality seems to improve greatly once you get into the $10-15 range. They are definitely serviceable for home use, a little quirky, that's all.

"I am still discussing issues of steels and performance at this stage."
--Cliff Stamp

"Cause geometry cuts, .....steel determines the level and the duration"
--Roman Landes

"But in general, I'm all about high performance, Ergos, safety. That's why I've been accused of 'designing in the dark' "
--Sal Glesser
Re: Everyday Essentials - Chef
January 26, 2016 09:07AM
It the heat treatment sub-par? Well this knife is $1 so the performance standard should not be expected to be that high given the price. This is likely 3Cr13 with a belt driven HT, air cool (probably), and single temper. The steel itself is also likely not well normalized and the production standards low. Not ever steel is made to high purity standards because not every application demands it and doing so in such cases is a waste of money.

Now could you get a better performance from this steel? Sure. Run a normalization cycle on it. Do a full anneal to make it homogeneous first. Then do a quick soak, accelerated cooling, cryogenics, and single temper. This should get you 55/57 HRC with solid performance. However that would cost more than the rest of the knife together and now you have one aspect of a product out of line with the rest.

I think as Jason said, you can often notice a big difference from the knives that are $1 vs the ones that are $10. A similar difference can be seen from the ones that are $10 vs the ones that are $100. Beyond that though, it starts to be about things like aesthetics and while there may be functional differences they drop off cast unless you are talking about something made to suit your personal demands.
Re: Everyday Essentials - Chef
January 26, 2016 10:40AM
Thank you Cliff. I guess "subpar" was the wrong word. I guess what I meant is that is the heat treatment (which is most likely of a nature appropriate for a $1 knife) likely to be the reason it doesn't take a higher polish well?

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

Always in search of a good choppa'
Re: Everyday Essentials - Chef
January 26, 2016 12:15PM
A combination of a few things, steel, HT and post forming thermal processing.
Re: Everyday Essentials - Chef
January 26, 2016 02:17PM
My impressions about similar knives are the same - they do not like high polish edges - easy to get them pretty sharp but low edge retention - as your graph about the rope cutting and the different edge finishes.

320 SiC or Al2O3 and 325 dmt grit works very good for me for 3Cr13 knives

btw. from all the cheap (under or around 5$) brands I stumbled victorinox paring knives and Tramontina premium line of knives has the best HT for the money - usable blades with around 55 Hrc

Are tramontina knives popular in USA and Canada?

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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/26/2016 02:18PM by stefan_wolf.
Re: Everyday Essentials - Chef
January 26, 2016 02:49PM
SW-
Victorinox and Tramontina are the best I have com across also.
325-600# seems to work best.

"I am still discussing issues of steels and performance at this stage."
--Cliff Stamp

"Cause geometry cuts, .....steel determines the level and the duration"
--Roman Landes

"But in general, I'm all about high performance, Ergos, safety. That's why I've been accused of 'designing in the dark' "
--Sal Glesser
Re: Everyday Essentials - Chef
January 26, 2016 03:05PM
Thank you everyone.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

Always in search of a good choppa'
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