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A Damascus Chef Knife

For most of us, the knife we use more than any other is the kitchen knife. Therefore a proper chef knife is something I absolutely must have in my repertoire. I’ve already made a few trial blades and prototypes, and learn something new each time I make one and put it to use. Here is one such recent blade.

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The knife is just over 290mm long overall with a 180mm cutting edge. The blade is about 35mm tall at the heel and just under 3mm thick at the spine. In inches that’s about 7″ long by 1 3/8″ wide and about 110 thousandths thick. The cutting edge features a fairly consistent curvature, enabling both slicing and rocker cuts on the cutting board (onions, garlic and herbs won’t stand a chance against this knife). The overall blade geometry also allows for efficient cutting with some degree of blade flex, but still enough firmness and support to enable deeper cuts through tougher food items like a large roast or a Thanksgiving turkey.

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I forged the pattern-welded blade out of a combination of 1.2842 and 75Ni8 steels. The billet has a thicker core of 1.2842 which is clad in about 40 layers on either side. I gave it a light etch and then cold-blued it to help protect it from additional surface oxidation in the kitchen. The patina will surely develop through use over time, but I’ll be watching to see how well the bluing holds up.

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The handle is made out of black G10, a woven fiberglass and epoxy material that does not absorb moisture or hold bacteria like some woods can. I made the handle using a mortise-tang construction method, bedded in epoxy and held together by three stainless pins.

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This knife will be put to work in my kitchen where I will study its performance characteristics and use what I learn to help refine subsequent design iterations. It’s already the finest piece of cutlery in my kitchen, but I always strive to make the next one even better.

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