Chef's knife

I’ve become friends with a local custom knife maker and I’m going to have a custom chef’s knife made. Maybe a set , but for right now I’m starting with one. Some initial concepts. I initially played with some more bauhaus type themes but I just felt like i had seen them before. One of the things this guy does a lot is layer materials so I’m trying to play with that.

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What will you use the knife for? that will really define much of the shape as a base starting point.

Understanding the balance of weight between the blade / handle / and tang will be important. You may also want the neck of the tang to be thicker as it leads into the handle.

one last thing - i see the the through pins in the front but i think if you are doing the layered you will also need a through pin at the back. Keeping in mind that the layered design will mean hand washing vs machine washing. but when you have a quality knife you treat it with love.

Cool project. For sure, consideration of the use of the knife will determine size, shape and length of handle and balance. I’d also suggest of course this is something you would want to make a physical mock up for, assuming the knife makers can help with their knowledge.

Styling wise, I like B. A feels too much like a Global, and C doesn’t do much for me.

Have you seen the Marc Newson knife? Kinda modernist style I know you go for, with the contrast being the traditional blade and also unique tang design. Maybe something to consider playing with the small details rather than overall styling.


Richard, thank you. I hadn’t seen that and it is exactly what I needed to shake me up. I wasn’t happy with where I was going but everything I did stayed in the rut. A few quick doodles inspired by that.

I like the bottom concept. the “trigger” aspect appears as it would allow me to not only use the knife for chopping but also for slicing. im ocd and i have a set of 10 knifes and each has a specific function for when i cook and their designs handle / blade / balance all lend to doing the job right.

only pain is i have to hand wash them all.

Some more inspiration, thinking in 3D/cross section instead of just side view there are opportunities for some interesting things, especially if you play with the multi layer thing perhaps. The tang could also do something interesting perhaps.

Good point cwatkinson about the handle shape (and length) being specific to the function. I have a set of Global knives and each one has a different handle shape and profile from Santokou, Chef, Cleaver, Veg knife, etc.


With your latest concepts I would highly recommend that you mock those up. The different looks you created will be entirely dependent on layer thickness and how those layers are sculpted. It will directly influence how they feel in your hand.

Sculpting layered urethane foam is a lot faster and cheaper than final materials.

Also, if it is custom, why not have it specific for your dominant hand? Kills symmetry, but that could make the overall design more interesting.

I agree with iab. It seems, in your concepts that you are just styling a knife.

Cool idea. Or HIS and HERS matching custom fit knifes. Only thing to consider is multiple hand positions and how that would affect a custom fit.


Is there any play with materials if you’re thinking of layering? Something a bit different from the norm?

I really like the direction of the two latter sketches, they feel less like global etc, but still feel like they could have a unifying, recognisable style.

None of your sketches show any narrowing of the handle or the blade where it transitions to the handle. This “neck” area needs to narrow for an ergonomic grip. See how the Global knives narrow in the transition. This sort of shape lets the user pinch the blade with the thumb and forefinger and wrap the middle finger in the narrow area, for total control over the blade.

See this:

(Whereas the instructor explains several grips, the grip where the blade is pinched between the thumb and curled forefinger is, in my opinion, the one that gives the best control. Most videos on YouTube explaining how to grip a knife show this method.)

I would suggest a couple of changes besides introducing a neck zone: The back of the blade can be uncomfortable on the hand in the pinched grip. Round the back of the spine of the blade, especially around the transition area. Secondly, I highly recommend having the blade only beveled on one side of the blade; for right handers, the blade is best when beveled only on the right side (when gripped for use, tip pointing away, edge down), because this leaves the side in contact with the food without a bevel forcing the edge out… The benefit of this is most clearly seen when trying to make thin slices of hard foods, such as potatoes, daikon, carrots, squash, etc. On blades that are ground on both sides (double-beveled), at the actual point of cutting, the inside grind pushes the blade outward, causing it to slice little wedges rather than perfectly uniform slices. This problem goes away if the inside surface is vertical and unbeveled.

See this single-beveled blade for reference.

In most Japanese knives that are beveled only on the outside, the inner, unbeveled side will also be slightly concave, to keep it from sticking to the thing that is being cut. The concavity creates an air space between the blade and the material being cut.

These are the type of knives the brand I’m collaborating with makes. They don’t have bevels.

Cool stuff! It seems like the company is nautically spirited, maybe some sort of functional hole toward the very back of the grip since this portion of the knife isn’t used by Chefs anyway from what I understand. This way you could hang the knife up on a hook in your “galley” so the waves of the stormy seas don’t knock it off the table. Boaters love to tie stuff to stuff so maybe this hole could also be used to tie on a string to it doesn’t go overboard, a little story might add a lot! :wink:

I thought about through holes but I don’t want anything that can accumulate gunk and all our knives are on a magnetic strip :slight_smile:

drafting some stuff…

I’m starting to like the proportions of the handle layers, and also the detailing in the grey handle layers that I think I saw on Instagram. It reminds me of the intricate details of a damascus blade. What materials are you thinking of for the handle layers?

Thanks Andy. I forgot to post the latest. Here is where I’m at with it at the moment.

We are planning on a combination of micarta and g10 for the layers

Nice looking concept Yo. I love the Santoku style knives myself. Is it possible to heat brand the handle material?

Just the one pin?

Any mock-ups to see how it feels in your hand?