I have long had a fascination with the older Wusthof French knives. There were only one of a few production companies that made a French knife with a truly triangular blade. While the functionality of this style blade is not that much different than other forms of the Classic French knife...it speaks to the roots of the French knife in general and for this I enjoy exploring these styles of blades both in study, in my bladesmithing practice and applied in the kitchen.
I am excited about this post for several reasons. The first of which is a long held interest in classic chef knives. Some of the finest made came out of the French and German Shops of Sabatier and Wusthof respectively. There was an era of full size chef knives that were created with very (or very close to) triangular blades on their French knives. This style blade was an adaptation of some of the early styles of French knives with a high tip, straight back and curved belly. In the iterations to follow, we see a significant flattening of the belly and the movement of the tip to mid-line of the blade. Most classic French knives are created withthe tip being centered to the blade. This may possibly have been, in response to an evolution of styles in food preparation; where time factors became more essential, the speed in slicing that is expedited by having less belly and more of a straightness to the cutting edge playing a role in this for sure.
And.......... While these are just my opinions from study, it makes a lot of sense. Add to that, we are still seeing this today. Many custom makers are once again, creating blades with lesser belly. You generally see this in many full size working knives created today by certain makers who produce chef knives with modern flair. The culinary styles in out modern professional kitchens of today see more "push-cuts" being employed versus the traditional style of the anchored-tip and rocking style cuts of the classic European and French era. Time remains of the essence in any kitchen...and even more-so these days. And though some may tend to work in this way, there is still and always be a place for the older style knives.
The second reason I have been inspired to revisit this style of knife is due to a new friend and fellow chef knife maker named Don Nguyen. Don's knives are truly fantastic and so much so, that I recently bought two of them to use in my own kitchen. And as with all the knives I buy, whether they were made in the mid 1800's or in the 1940's or in the last few decades, or today, I get really excited to use these knives and also adapt some of the elements of their design in my own bladesmithing practices.
One of the two knives I got from Don N. is named named Zerzura, named after the mythic white city oasis of Northern Africa. Zerzura is both very modern and with a triangular blade of Japanese steel. This knife inspired me again about this style of blade!
So, I proceeded to go down to my own studio to design and then forge a more modern version of what I have always liked to see in a full size chef knife....that triangular and sharp blade profile. I am pleased to share with you some images of that process in the last set of slideshows.......
....but first…..a few shots of an older sketch when I was looking at lots of the older French Knives from the 1920's-1940's, and decided to forge my version of that style of blade. Looking at it now...it's no so triangular:) Also, an image of two knives inspired by the early French knives with the high tip, the knife on the bottom in the image of two knives with tribal wrapped handles.
Thanks for taking a look at my work and also for taking a look at some of Don Nguyen’s creations as well.
Blessings of Health and Goodness to You All
The Blade above is forged out of 3/16" 1095. It is still in process, but I am truly excited about this knife. Stay tuned to see more images as I move along in the process!