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Frequently Asked Questions
Here are a couple of questions that I’ve had or anticipate receiving from clients. If your question is not on the list below, please feel free to reach out to me (contact) and I’ll be sure to get back to you.
How long will it take to receive my knife?
International Couriers (ICT, DHL) including full tracking are used when sending knives out of South Africa. The Tracking information will be shared with you so that you can track the progress of the package. Aftership will also send updates to you as info becomes available.
Do I need to put down a deposit?
For all knives custom or otherwise, I do not take a deposit.
Should there be specific customizations that are unique to you (eg, unique materials, colours, engravings and or etchings) the full price will need to be settled.
We will also have a finalized design, confirming and specifying the details along with pricing for your knife before any work commences. This will be confirmed via email.
Further alterations to the aforementioned design, can incur additional charges and potentially delay the completion of your knife.
What if I don’t know which knife I want?
Contact me via my contact page and I can help. You can view my gallery of past knives and see what appeals to you or knowing what you want to use it for is the starting point. Read: How to choose the perfect kitchen knife
What Handle Shapes are available?
- Traditional Western – Full Tang
- Eastern Octagon – Full Tang
- Eastern Octagon – Hidden Tang
- Eastern D-shape – Hidden Tang
Be sure to visit my gallery of past work, to see what I have done in the past.
What Handle Materials are available?
I use a number of different natural and synthetic materials that are both functional for use in a kitchen (stable, sterile, hard-wearing) and beautiful to hold and see.
- African Hardwoods: African Blackwood, Tambootie, Redbush Willow, Leadwood, Swart Eyster Hoet, Sneezewood, Wild Olive, Purple Flat Bean.
- Synthetics: G10, Tufnol, Micarta, Richlite, Carbon Fibre.
- Other Naturals: Mammoth Molar, Stabilized Burls, Giraffe Bone, Warthog Tusk, Hippo tooth
Please note that some materials will be restricted for export from South Africa and or import to your specific countries. Be sure to check with your local board controls, Wildlife Agencies, and or IUCN Red List, if you are unsure. I am not responsible for ensuring the knife is legal for where you reside.
Can I order a sheath or saya with my knife?
Yes. I can make you a sheath or in the case of kitchen knives, a blade guard, for your knife made from either leather, Kydex or wood (saya). Zippered pouches are also available. These are an additional cost.
Can I send a knife as a present/gift to someone?
Yes. Absolutely. Knives make wonderful presents that can be treasured for a lifetime. If you give us the address and the name of the recipient we can send it.
Be sure to confirm/check with me regarding delivery dates as I may not be able to meet the required delivery time at short notice.
How do you design your knives?
As I say on my about page, my style of knife is a blend of Japanese and western (European) cutlery. Performance and elegant lines are paramount for me and I spend a lot of time tweaking and refining my designs so that the knives perform and look fantastic. Read: How to Trace Knife Designs in CAD
Your knife will be the best knife that I can possibly make.
Japanese vs Western knives
The choice of Japanese or Western-style knife is very much down to your cutting style or preference. Both styles of knives will feature performance grinds and tapers.
- Japanese knives tend to have a flatter belly or cutting edge and are better for push cuts.
- Western (European) knives have more of a curved belly and are better suited for roll cuts.
Is a full tang better or stronger than a hidden tang design?
A full tang blade is where the steel runs through the full length of the handle. It makes for a much stronger knife but quite frankly you should not be doing anything with a kitchen knife that requires that level of toughness.
Japanese knives for instance are all hidden tangs and represent a tried and tested design. Therefore, for the purpose of kitchen knives, both are good choices and mainly come down to aesthetics and personal choice.
Read the blog post: Japanese or Western Handles
What steel do you use for your chef knives?
Essentially you have two types of steel – Carbon and Stainless steel which both have strengths and weaknesses.
- Bohler K110 (D2)
- Bohler N690
- Bohler Elmax
- Bohler K460 (01)
- Bohler S600 (M2)
- Sandvick 14C28N
- Balbachdamast Stainless Damascus
- Others are available upon request/depending on availability
I will always use steels from reputable manufacturers like Bohler Uddeholm (Austria), Balbachdamast (Germany), or Sandvik (Sweden) for the construction of the blades. This is because the chemistry of the steel is known, and verifiable heat treatment specs are available, to ensure good hardness levels in the final product.
Why is my blade marking/forming a patina?
High carbon / non-stainless steel will form a natural patina over time. The patina will protect the steel blade from rust and environmental damage and is usually considered aesthetically pleasing to the eye. Read: How to force a patina
All high carbon knife blades need to be dried and oiled to keep rust at bay. Read: How to care for your knife
Why is the balance point of a knife important?
Balance is especially important in kitchen knives because you don’t want the point of the blade or the handle to be too heavy. It should be evenly weighted so that it is nimble and light when in use.
The balance point of the knife in most kitchen knives needs to be approximately where your index finger rests on the handle. For cleavers, the balance point is 2/3rd up the blade.
Do I Sharpen Knives?
Yes, I do. I use Japanese water stones and can dial in very acute and polished edges.
- If the knife is a knife of my creation then sharpening is free for life as long as you cover shipping and postage.
- If the knife is a factory, production knife or made by someone else, sharpening starts from 150 ZAR depending on the condition of the knife. If there is heavy chipping, the blade will need to be thinned as well as sharpened, leading to additional costs. You can send a picture for a quote before sending your knife. Sharpening Service