Archive for August, 2012

Maestro Wu Bombshell Steel 8″ Fillet Knife – Pics + Videos

August 19, 2012

We got our first official feedback of the Maestro Wu 8″ Bombshell Steel Fillet knife! Videos are at the bottom of this post.

This knife came along as a result of speaking to more and more fishermen lately. I’ve always known that the fillet knife is the most important knife to these guys – much like a skinning knife is the most important to a hunter, and a chef’s knife to a chef. In my conversations, people have always asked if Maestro Wu made a fillet knife, and I finally went ahead and drew something up. Here are the results:

Maestro Wu Fillet 1

Maestro Wu Fillet 1

Maestro Wu Fillet 2

Maestro Wu Fillet 2

Maestro Wu Fillet 3

Maestro Wu Fillet 3

Maestro Wu Fillet 4

Maestro Wu Fillet 4

There are some defining features to this knife – the first and most noticeable is the finger guard. It’s incorporated into the blade for 2 reasons. The first is obviously to protect the finger from sliding up onto/into the edge of the knife. As we all know, cleaning fish can be slippery task. Secondly, the “fin” actually acts as a stabilizer for the blade, giving it some more rigidity, while still allowing it to remain flexible.

The next feature is that the blade is also only about 1mm thick along it’s whole  length. There’s about 3mm of thickness going into the handle, but it quickly tapers so the entire cutting edge will remain easier to sharpen and maintain over time.

Lastly, the Japanese “D” handle, which is made from willow wood, gives a lot of surface area to hold onto firmly, yet it keeps the knife light so that you have ultimate control over your fish cleaning.

After sharpening the knife up to 5K on the Shapton Pro stones, I sent the prototype to Brett, a friend of mine who is an avid sport fisherman. He and his friend Rick (who did the videos below) compete and win a lot of the fishing competitions in their area. These videos are the knife’s first use after the day’s catch.

This first video demonstrates the knife’s capabilities wonderfully. You can see that some of the initial cutting is still forced (@ 0:23), which is more a habit of using his old knives, IMO. But if you watch closely, you can see how quickly he adapts his cutting technique to let the knife do the work, especially on the back side of the fish 🙂 Notice how easily the knife slices into the tail on both sides!

This second video is Rick skinning the Fillet. He must’ve liked it because there is a slow-motion instant replay 😀

The final video is Rick fillets a sea bass, and then skins one of the fillets.

I’m hoping to get a few videos with Brett using the knife in the next couple of weeks!

A sepcial thanks to Brett and Rick for doing this!

World’s First Ceramic Knife Shave + Video!!

August 3, 2012

Ever Since Jens won the shaving competition by shaving his head with a chisel, everyone pretty much accepted the fact that whatever came next would take second place to his pure originality and genius/madness.

Until now. (video is below)

I stumbled on the ceramic knife as a razor quite by accident. As an experiment, I was sharpening a  Kyocera ceramic paring knife as a reed knife when I noticed that the edge was getting sharp enough to actually cut some hair after using Ken Schwartz’s diamond paper at 6 microns. I immediately went to the store and bought another Kyocera Ceramic Knife – but the smallest they had was the utility knife, which was a little longer than the paring knife. No problem for me, though, since I’ve shaved with 10″ knives and big cleavers 😀

The factory edge off the ceramic knife is actually quite impressive – it’s sharper than a lot of other knives right out of the box, but it does require a sawing motion to be most effective. I’d rate the factory edge at about 2K, or 8 micron. The edge angles were a little steeper than I wanted since ceramics don’t have much give like steel knives, and they will chip out due to their ultra-hardness if the angles are too low. But for a straight razor knife, the rigidness of the ceramic blade could be combined with lower angles since the edge wouldn’t fold or roll like thin steel at lower angles.

Ken’s diamond papers come in in several sizes and span a huge range of grits (from 165 micron to 0.1 micron, or approx. 100 grit to 150,000 grit). For this project, I used his 3″x8″ diamond films on glass. I started with the 74 micron (~200 grit)  diamond paper to establish the lower bevel angles. Since this was being done freehand, I would guess about 10-15 degrees per side is where I was aiming. As hard as ceramics knives are, I was quite amazed just how easy it was for the diamond films to abrade the knife. It was just like using a conventional sharpening stone on a piece of steel – I was using both forward and backward strokes (as opposed to single sided strokes) –  and many of the same characteristics of sharpening steel still came into play, even though the most obvious feature that was left out was the lack of burr formation. The 75 micron was almost a little too aggressive, but it made quick work of the profiling. Then I went through the grits step by step – 45 micron, 30 micron, 20 micron, and 15 micron (320 grit, 500 grit, 800 grit, and 1K, respectively). It was a bit overkill since the diamonds really did perform, but I was still on a learning curve, so it was safer not to skip. I also did enough strokes to make VERY sure I had reached the edge of the edge since there were no real indicators of sharpness. I monitored the sharpness under my microscope (no pictures on this one, I was in too much a rush!)

Not until I reached the 9 and 6 micron level  (1,500 and 3K grits) did the edge of the edge begin to actually “feel” sharp to the touch. It could cut hairs, but only with some force. I knew I was on the right track, and I was getting very excited!

After the 3 micron (~6K grit) the edge started to push cut paper, and the hairs on my arm were being cut with greater ease. This is where I had stopped with sharpening my reed knife, and I knew the 1 micron (15K grit) would send it over the top for shaving. And I was right! I wasn’t totally thrilled with the pressure still needed to cut a hair (which was more of what I was going on in terms of how the shave would feel) Under the scope, it looked just like a steel razor, only cleaner!

At the 0.5 micron (30K grit) level, things changed – wow. The edge of the edge really felt scary sharp, and believe it or not, I was able to treetop my arm hairs. Note to those who will inevitably try to do this: switch to all edge trailing no later than the 1 micron. Any angle changes or bumps from dirt, etc. can cut through the films. 😉

I was completely satisfied that this edge would shave off the 0.5, but I hadn’t really given Ken’s 0.025 micron (600,000 grit) poly diamond spray on nanocloth a really good workout, and I figured this would be the best way to see what it could do. It really did take things up a notch with smoothness and “glide”, which I knew would help my skin during the shave.

As for the shave, well the gauntlet got thrown down, and I had to step up my game to compete with Jens, the crazy viking Swede. I think I outdid him- for now! Enjoy!