Saturday, March 12, 2011

Exploration in Gyuto Land

 I have been enjoying experimenting with classic chef knife styles this year. This time around I was inspired by a knife called a Gyuto, which ultimately is a Japanese/American hybrid.
Gyuto is a name that usually refers to a western style chef knife made my a Japanese maker. Well I am not Japanese but I do certainly love Japanese style knives so these are built with the classic shape often the hallmark of the Gyuto, along with a fairly simple western style full tang which have been tapered for balance. Often you see the Gyuto style knives created with a stick tang that is enclosed in the handle material. Both tang commonly seen these days.

My adaptation of this all purpose chef knife is explored here in two sizes. Though quite different, each will perform as a main working knife. The longer one I think will be a great slicing knife but also serve as a primary piece in the kitchen, the wider and shorter will be very versatile and be a wicked veggie-prep knife. I did these little drawings a few days ago after I sketched out the Happy Fish Camp Knife and even though I have lots going on in the studio currently, I just could not stop myself from forging these two today.

Each is forged to shape out of .125"-thick 1095 High Carbon Tool Steel. I took extra care in establishing a nice distal taper on each of them, forging them thin to the edge. The Image at the top is of the blades forged-to-shape right off the anvil. The second image is my concept drawings. The third image is after refining the profile of each knife and having cleaned up the choil area. These will be thin and light knives that can do lots of work.  Most likely I will do a clay heat treatment on each of them as well.
Forging is FUN!!! Now the serious work begins. Removing the scale and draw filing in the final edge geometry,  several low temp. thermal cycles for each knife, then on to lots of sanding and finishing before they get clay applied and go through the heat treatment process. Then testing, and handle creation.
Please stay tuned for more on these as they progress.

I am very happy with how these are coming along. Here are three images of the knives; above they are in the final stages of sub-critical heat treatments, and below, ready for the final heat treatment, which I did today.
And then finally an image after the heat treatment, tempering cycles, clean up, testing then the etch to show the temper-lines. Just take a look a the beautiful multiple quench-lines and banding that resulted.  I decided not to go with the clay treatment, and am happy I did not, as I think these look wonderful! Next comes the handles:)


Here are the knives all finished up. I am very happy with both of them. The smaller has Kingwood scales and the larger has Desert Ironwood scales. All with peened bronze pins and detail carving.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Born on a New Moon in Pisces> Two Happy Fish Camp Knives <:) <:)

I have been planning on a series of fish knives ever since I made the first one over two years ago.
Today was the day........I had planned to only make one,  but some celestial influences drew me to forging another. I had this vision of two fishes in my mind the whole time I was forging the first one...almost to the point of distraction, which is not really beneficial to the forging process; so it had to be done.

Focusing back in and flowing with the good Mojo, I finished forging the first one and immediately started and eventually finished forging the second one. I did my best to make them similar.
All my knives being one-of-a-kind, there will always be subtle variations just as in nature. It was a great adventure that started years ago and continued with a little sketch I did two days ago after looking at a large size production model of a Bob Lum Chinese folder. I thought that the Chinese blade style in the fish format was a natural. Camp knife/knives needed manifesting. Two of them Born on a New Moon that just happens to be in Pisces today. Which was something I found out later at my afternoon tea when my sweetie looked at a astrological calendar and said, hey did you know that.....................
Mojo Mojo Buba Gumta' FISH! FUN:)

I hope you Enjoy the images. I posted one of the original Happy Fish Knife just below these newly-born Pisces Pair. Please keep tuned as I will be updating this post with process pics galore as I continue on with these. Blessings to All:)

Below I have dome some selective de-scaling, and next will begin to draw file in the edge geometry and will begin sub-critical thermal cycles. Several of these will be done as I go along. Also the tang will be de-scaled and the forged-in taper will be refined and prepared to accept the handle material.

Next the tangs of each knife get some stock reduction. This is the first of three sessions to refine them as I am careful not to disturb the forged in fish scale texture. This texure will butt right up to the handle material. You can see above on the first Happy Fish knife where some of that forged in detail got removed as I mad the tapered tang flat in prep for the handle. I'll do my best to avoid that this time:) :)


Next the Fish get Happy Faces <:)  <:)

The Spines have been polished and radiused about 1/3rd of the way from the tip back and now they are both all Cleaned up with final sanding done and ready for Heat Treatment on the Next Full Moon one week from today:)

Both knives were heat treated on the largest Full Moon in centuries.... & they came out great!               I sharpened them and did some testing and WOW! I think these are among the sharpest knives I have ever made! Now to choose some handle material and decide how I will carve the wood.

Here are a few more shots of the knives in process. I decided to make 3-sets of 3. 
The Happy Camp, Utility and Guppy.
It was A LOT of WORK!
Here is a shot of the conceptual sketches.

  The Happy Fish Utility. I decided to forge the Utility out of 3/16" thick 1095 so it would be more robust. A great knife for the food-prep & other smaller tasks at home or camp.

And the Happy Fish Guppies. Here in the process of getting their faces and smiles put on:)

And as I get closer...the 3-rd and final Camp Fish was created and Heat Treated. Followed by a shot of the whole School of Fish Families:)

AND I am proud to present the first completed set....all except for the final sharpening. This first set got some Ebony that was detail carved. 
I think they came out great!!! :)

All of the Happy Fish Knives have rounded and polished spines and hand polished bevels.