How Knives Are Made for New York’s Best Restaurants — Handmade

How Knives Are Made for New York’s Best Restaurants — Handmade


(uplifting orchestral music) – There’s just sort of a ritual
aspect to knives and cooks that I think is powerful. (uplifting orchestral music) The emotional connection
that you have to something that you use everyday,
that you take care of. It needs to work well and
do all of those things, but it’s also a lot more than that. (suspenseful music) (knife blade scraping on steel) After cooking for about eight
or nine years professionally, I had collected a bunch of knives, gotten really interested
in them, how they’re made. It’s so important for me
to have had that experience of using knives in the
professional kitchen. Working in restaurants and all that has just allowed me to
appreciate all the details of a kitchen knife in a way
that would be hard to do if you didn’t have that experience, so I think that informs
what I do as a knife maker. (uplifting orchestral music) Doing things by hand is just the more enjoyable way to do it for me. (hammer clanking on metal) The way I make knives is by hand-forging, so hammer and anvil. There’s sort of a broad
distinction in kitchen knives between Japanese-style knives and European, traditionally
French and German. The European knives tend to be made a little bit softer,
resistant to chipping, but won’t hold an edge quite as long. The Japanese knives tend
to be at a higher hardness, ground very, very thin at the very edge, which means they will hold an edge longer but will be more prone
to chipping at the edge, so it needs to be used by somebody who’s aware of what they’re
using and can take care of it. But then there’s also major
stylistic differences. Typically the European-style chef knives have a blade that sweeps up. Western cooks are taught to
cut by rolling the blade, whereas the Japanese knives
tend to have a flatter edge. You lift the knife up and bring it down. There’s not one style of knife skills. Everybody kinda does their own thing. Can you do it quickly and accurately? That’s all that matters. (uplifting piano music) So this is sort of the
raw material that I use. A 52100 steel. This is 1095 in a square bar. I learn a lot about what I
need to do to the material by touching it, feeling it. Traditionally knives are
made through forging steel and not cast. (hammer clanking on steel)
I think it has to do with the grain size of the steel because large grains create
sort of a brittle material. Casting metal is heating this
metal up to the melting point and then pouring it into a mold. When you heat steel up, the hotter you get it, the
larger the grains grow. You want the grain structure to be as fine as possible in a knife. (uplifting piano music) Forging steel is the process
of heating the steel up and hammering it into shape. When the steel gets to
a certain temperature, it becomes malleable and soft, so it allows me to distribute
the metal where I want it. We’re nice and thick here, and then we get very, very thin out here. You can only really get
that with a forged knife ’cause it allows you to move the material out where you want it. So once we heat treat it, then it’s gonna become hard enough to hold a cutting edge and be a knife. The process of heat treatment is one of the most important things. Any sort of process of
heating and cooling the steel to achieve a desired result. You can control a lot of
the properties of the steel based on how you heat treat the material. (curious music) So every steel has its own recipe. My heat treatment is a two-step process. It involves a quench and a tempering. For the quench that I do, I heat the steel up, and
then I cool it rapidly in an industrial quench oil. (curious music) When the steel has been quenched, it’s in a very hard state, but that also means
that it can be brittle. So that’s where the second
part of heat treating comes in, which is the temper stage. Heating the steel to a lower temperature in order to reduce the
hardness of the steel. Grinding the blade and
the overall just geometry of the knife really determines
what it’s good at doing and what it’s not as good at doing. (curious music) It’s made in a very organic way. I want that to bear
the marks of the maker. It’s difficult for a knife
to do everything well. Every knife that I make
has an individuality to it. This is a butcher’s knife. This knife is specifically designed to butcher meat and fish. Very thick at the spine,
so they’re quite heavy, but then they get very thin at the edge so they cut really well. This is a medium-sized chef knife. They could be used for
pretty much everything, from butchering meat and
fish to cutting vegetables on the cutting board. Here’s a pairing knife that I make. Paring knives can be used
for peeling vegetables, trimming of meat and fish, garlic, shallots, anything
that’s kinda small and thin. I don’t work from patterns
or specific templates ever. That’s why it’s so much more enjoyable for me to work that way than to get knives cut out by a machine. I find that that limits the expression that I’m able to put into each knife. (tool scraping on wood) The main next thing I do after grinding is making a handle. I’ll usually saw down a block of wood. It’s very important how a
knife feels in your hand, and it’s not a one size
fits all type of deal. You have to find something that fits your hand well. And then the weight and
the balance of the knife is probably the most important
part of the ergonomics of it. Cooks are very protective
of their knives, oftentimes. There’s a certain ritual in the kitchen of cleaning your knives
at the end of the day and then sharpening them, so all those things help to build a kind of emotional
connection with those tools. It just becomes an extension of your body. It’s very satisfying to be part of a tradition of blacksmithing and forging that goes back centuries, millennia. Learning techniques that
people have been using for hundreds of years to be
one of not that many people in today’s world doing it, to sort of carry on the tradition or keep it alive in some ways. So when I finish a knife,
I sharpen it by hand on the whetstones. It’s just that final way
of putting some hand work into the knife and
really making it special. Coming from working in kitchens and now making knives that
promotes the expression and the creativity of the
person who’s using it. That’s the thing that
keeps me so motivated to keep making more knives is seeing a knife that has
imperfections that represent the fact that it was handmade. (uplifting orchestral music) I try to do my best to make something that lives up to the
standard of what people want, something that has my spirit put into it, has a story behind it, that then goes into somebody’s knife kit and helps them express themselves through the food they make. They all reflect a certain part of me in how they were made. (uplifting orchestral music)

100 thoughts on “How Knives Are Made for New York’s Best Restaurants — Handmade

  1. My Yandere appreciates the fine workmanship in your knives. Her victimes have never died so swiftly They cut the vegetables and meats to much better then the old knives.

  2. Despite the fency music (straight from Chef's Table series) those knives looks everything but fency. Especially the handles looks kind of crappy. "Handmade" is not always equal to "well-made "

  3. somehow you made a whole video look like an intro. super uninteresting despite the fact that i love knife making. bravo

  4. Actually the Japanese gyuto follows the French chef's knife profile, though they are typically a lot thinner. Even the German companies are moving towards that profile.
    What we are used to is the German profile.

  5. he must charge at least 500 bucks for a mid size knife of this kinda job is economicaly ineffective, especially living in NY
    but what a brilliant master anyway! griffinbladeworks.com is his website btw.

  6. Huh….Hand forging only, good steels, rough/organic finishes, solid workmanship….I'm impressed. Not easily done. I like seeing a knife that isn't so pretty that I don't want to use it.

    Your leatherwork and Chopping blocks are very nice too.

  7. beautifull wel made knifes! but… they could never be used in an european professional kitchen… carbon steel and wooden handle are not allowed under EU food safety standards.

  8. I appreciate his spirit and admire the fact that he makes knives based on his experience as a chef.
    But still, this is amateur knife making.
    Good knives, but not great knives.

  9. Sensational episode. Thank you for putting it together. But where can I buy a griffin knife???

    Ah, don't worry, about it, I'll Bing it.

  10. I live the pairing knife. Thats so unique to have knife and handle forged from one piece. Also i like your shape for the blades themselves

  11. An extremely well made video. Kudos to the team that filmed and edited it. Will Griffin's passion comes across so intensely.

  12. God, before watching the vid, I was so worried that I was gonna be presented with a cringey host who – although never having even held a cheap hammer – was going to go thru the entire process and "make" a knife, with a cheesy reveal in the end. Whoever still makes that kind of productions needs to be shot.

  13. The only aspect of this video that I don’t like is his personality. He acts like what he is doing is so unique and so rare. While it isn’t the most common job, he’s not doing anything different than other blades it’s. I do like how he came from a culinary background, but it doesn’t make him any more knowledgeable about knifemaking

  14. I don't see why someone would use a carbon steel knife for cooking nowadays. The steel reacts with acid and salt, releasing oxides into the food and thereby changing the flavour.
    Doesn't really matter for a quick and dirty bachelor meal but for the "best restaurants" it should.
    Stainless steel all the way, especially powder steels which beat other steels in terms of performance any day.

  15. I love the chef perspective in designing the knives. I hate the lack of metallurgy knowledge. Grain distribution is better when molded not by hammering. The gain or crystal size are larger if cooling time is slower and smaller if cooling is done faster. Mold and stamped products can be superior because the composition is more precise and the grain is more uniform. The heat treatment process is more important in determining the durability and hardness of the blade not some mythical sense. Machine can make better knives for a fraction of the cost to manufacture. They should be honest with their pricing. 10% design and manufacturing 90% beliefs.
    Ps. Machine grinding should be done before the quench and tempering. He is going to have quality control issue as he does all his grins and sharpening after his heat treatment.

  16. 6:52 sharpening a blade every day is the best way to destroy its longevity. Honing ≠ sharpening… but as a self-proclaimed Chef with restaurant experience, you should already know this

  17. You can get the best knives (stainless steel) in India for less than $10. A custom butcher's knive (iron) for less than $5.

  18. As top me…Corrosion steel is absolutely not good for professional cooking. its rust too quick, it oxide food and make it taste like steel.
    I used to use high carbon rust steel… No.. never again. Only stainless steel knives!

  19. Fold it criss cross 5000 times when you forged and sprinkler with clay slurry in beetween to spread carbon and removed impurities…There, you made Samurai Knife

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