View Full Version : Thickness for kitchen knives...

Chris Daigle
01-27-2003, 05:27 PM
I just ordered some 1/8" 440C stock and wondered what you guys who normally make kitchen knives use. I don't plan on making particularly large chefs knives or cleavers, but small and medium sized utility knives. Also, due to it's thickness, I was going to wait and grind the bevels after heat treat.

Any other tips or tricks I should know of?


Ray Rogers
01-27-2003, 06:32 PM
Most of the commercially made chef's knives with 8", 10", 12" blades are usually betwee 1/8th and 3/16th thick. Smaller knives like paring knives would probably be 3/32nds.

I make a lot of chef's knives for professional chef's and generally prefer to use 3/32nds material even on 10" knives. One of the advantages of making a knife yourself is that you get to control the heat treat. This can result in a strong blade without having to use a lot of heavy metal. But, the bottom line is the customer's preference ....

Chris Daigle
01-27-2003, 06:41 PM
Ray, thanks I was hoping to hear from you. I see that you've made quite a few VERY nice kitchen knives. :D

My mistake! I meant to say I ordered 1/16" 440C. So, I take it that this stock will only be good for small knives?

Ray Rogers
01-27-2003, 08:05 PM

Thanks for the kind words about my knives. Just because it will be used every day is no reason it has to be ugly.

Yeah, 1/16th is what I would use for a paring knife or any small knife with a longer blade that needed flexibility. It's good for 6" fillet knives for instance. Don't worry, you'll find a use for it.

If you make Japanese style cooking knives like sushi knives and such the 1/16th material will be useful. I once made a 7" long, 1.75" high blade for Japanese cook where the blade stock was only 3/64ths thick before I ground it....

Chris Daigle
01-27-2003, 10:02 PM
Thanks again Ray for your response. If you don't mind, a few more questions...

At this thickness, would you only recommend grinding in the final edge after heat treat?

I like the fact that I see you've used O1 to different heat treat. Have you been able to get any nice hardness lines after H/T?

Again, great knives! Let's hope I have some relatively nice ones to post soon.


Ray Rogers
01-28-2003, 09:24 AM
When I first started making thin chef's knives I would grind the blades before heat treat and I would get warpage no matter how carefully I ground them. I must be a lousy grinder. Anyway, I talked to Paul Bos about it and he suggested I grind the blade after the heat treat was completed. Further, he suggested that whenever possible I make several of the same blades at one time and bind them together with baling wire and treat them all at once to make it even less likely that they would warp.

Since then, I have gotten into the habit of grinding all my blades after heat treat, even blades up to 3/16ths inch made of very tough BG-42. Warpage is always minimal, if any, and is easily corrected when I do grind. If the blade is short and thick I may do some grinding before HT but mostly I just HT a profiled blade. It takes more belts but it isn't really that hard to do although it does make finishing more difficult because the finer grits have a harder time cutting the steel.

O! makes a great kitchen knife. Differentially treated, it also makes a very tough blade. I haven't spent much time trying to get a temper line on it. The best I can see is a faint line and everything I've read on the subject says that a faint line is pretty much all you will get with O1. I have one customer who requests that his knives have a visible temper line so I use 1095 for him. He liked them so much he retired his $600 Japanese damascus chef's knives. I haven't posted pictures of these knives because it takes so much more work to get the temper line I'm not anxious for other people to order knives like them....