Hand Tools

Re: Cliff Stamp
Response To:
Re: Cliff Stamp ()

david weaver
Not intended to slight anything anyone has made. I know most folks who make knives are almost obligated to make them out of something unusual.

White/Blue rikizai makes a really really nice low-cost slicing knife, but it doesn't get much regard. Same reason as others in my esoteric run ons - it's really sharp, it's plenty tough for its hardness if an experienced user is using it and it sharpens relatively easily.

This is my first foray into really examining sharpness with these knives, and using the same stones and then a strop. I thought they would all end up in the same place to start and am surprised that some of them will shed bits and pieces to linen and leather. The buck deserves a little more attention, but as it is, the shoulder needs to be relieved, and it will get less total angle instead of more once that's done, and that probably won't help. It could be something as simple as it not liking the al-ox that's in the dursol, though. That's fairly harsh on horse butt, but not a bad choice for rudimentary finishing on a stainless knife. Anything finer is too slow, anything more coarse is potentially big trouble.

My first shot is always a mid-range (inexpensive, mid range in terms of grit) slurried japanese finisher that's got a hard surface and a bit of particle release. It's the easiest way to keep a knife in shape, but this one is a bit far off in geometry to go right to that because it's not cut that quickly by it (indicating pretty good hardness for a brand of knives that gets knocked from time to time).

At any rate, store it and use it sparingly? stainless. Use it all the time? Still carbon steel. Powdered is perhaps an interesting alternative, but a lateral move at base so far for functional use. Crediting Wiley for talking about things we actually do with knives (cutting boxes, stripping wire, etc), the one stone thing with the wharncliffe in carbon steel...really tough to beat. Same thing with japanese knives. If I were allowed to keep my blue 2 santoku out, once a month on something like a suita for three minutes and no steeling, and no anything else. No gadgets, no gimmicks and no..."eh...kind of sharp".

re: the razor talk, most wild custom razors are made by knife makers because they see it as a way to increase their market. As warren would probably suggest, those makers don't get enough experience with the old stuff before they set out making all kinds of oddball stuff. The person I talked to had some custom razors in tow that they'd never used themselves, and I'm sure they sold them. No slight to the makers, they're trying to do something creative, but it's not a great place for freelancing. The super makers know enough not to dash in. I can think of a super maker....george :). I asked george if he'd like to fiddle around and try to make me a razor after describing what I'd found in my best (spinework, a bit of weight, great proportions, a super delicate grind), and George said "no...it would take too long to get good at it. Too specialized". Smart man, he is! I know he could do beautiful classy hand filed or die-made spine work. But there's a lot he could do that he hasn't.

And since I'm indulging myself, I still get a chuckle out of the richmond addict powder metal knife that's NLA (it was sort of a plain single bevel chef's knife that was $400 - not necessarily out of line for a knife that would've been perfect). "It's really expensive, and it's really hard to sharpen and chips easily, but it's a great knife!!".

Takeshi Kuroda sold me my blue steel tanaka santoku for $65. My wife cut her fingernail off without noticing that she did that, and I took it away from her and she quickly banned it from the kitchen. No blood was shed so no real foul. I use it to scare guests on special occasions when they boast about how sharp their knives are when they sharpen them. it is sheer pleasure to use slicing vegetables, but it always gives guests a little pucker that I'm sure they'd work around if they just spend 3 minutes getting used to it. So far, nobody has.

This has been an interesting departure where I've mostly posted my thoughts out loud - something kind of rude :) But the metallurgical scope has opened up all kinds of interesting looks back at stuff I'd shelved. And a reminder that i need to unload some of it before I forget about it again.

And, once again, Warren was right. So were all of those nutty craftsmen in japan who insist that efficient sharpening and carbon steel are the pinnacle.

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