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French Knife

Thu Aug 01, 2013 9:43 pm

My uncle went to Paris and he came back with this. I have no idea why he thought he needed a knife this size, but whatever. To each their own...


It has a pretty sorry excuse for an edge on it, so it was given to me to work on. This thing doesn't even make sense. The small knife in the photo is a 210mm Artifex Gyuto. The blade on the Sab-style knife is 13" and the spine, at its thickest, is around 5mm. The damn thing HAS to weigh every bit of 4lbs. I can't imagine it being useful for anything other than hacking away at 50lbs of onions at a time.

It's apparently from a really well known kitchen store in Paris. I've looked over it, and its pretty poorly made/forged.

Just thought it was cool to see such a large knife. Maybe y'all will get a kick out of seeing it.

Re: French Knife

Fri Aug 02, 2013 7:36 am

Clayton - That's not a knife....THIS is a knife!!

That might make a good watermelon cutter if it doesn't wedge too much. Or, it might be good for hacking your way though the jungle in Central America :-).

Thanks for showing us.

Re: French Knife

Fri Aug 02, 2013 8:29 am

I would assume it's a Sabatier of some sort.

Is there a logo on it at all?

They are well regarded knives by many people.

But, yeah, that's a big one. :)

Re: French Knife

Fri Aug 02, 2013 11:30 am

Wow! Nice machete :P Might make a nice pumpkin killer!

Re: French Knife

Fri Aug 02, 2013 1:20 pm

Adam- it's definitely not a sabatier. It's a blatant copy of one, but with WAY less attention to detail. The F&F is on par with those $4 hatchets you buy at Harbor Freight in the sidewalk sale. The grind looks " ehhhh" with a heavy convex. The bolster is ground a little uneven. The brand on the knife is the same as the store's name . E.Dehillerin, which is apparently a place that is a big deal.

Re: French Knife

Fri Aug 02, 2013 1:57 pm

Huh, that's interesting.

If you have a grinder, it'd be a fun knife to thin and general regrind. Make a better knife....if the steel is any good.

Stainless or carbon?

Re: French Knife

Fri Aug 02, 2013 4:54 pm

It's carbon. I'm not sure what kind, but it's fairly reactive. I'm not going to mess with it aside from putting a better edge on it. No edge geometry alteration since it's not mine. The blade is so thick behind the edge that it would take removing quite a bit of material to make the secondary bevel more acute. I'm curious to see how it performs. A photo of the width of the blade, just behind the edge, is attached for demonstration purposes. This thing is just big and fat all over. I'm pretty curious how is handles. This thing is so large all over that it looks like it would be suited for someone who is 7ft tall. I'm not a small person, and it's WAY too unwieldy to be useful for me.


Re: French Knife

Sat Aug 03, 2013 5:26 pm

Assuming the store in Paris is E. Dehillerin, the knife IS a Sabatier made OEM for them. Sabatier refers to a number of different companies... so which Sabatier is still in question. Diamant or Thiers Economie, maybe.

Some of the knives with the old fashioned finger guards are still "martinet forged," as opposed to drop forged. That might account for what looks like crude construction. It's possible, I suppose, that it's a piece of down-market crap; but E. Dehillerin is beaucoup good.

Even though it looks like an ordinary chef's knife, it's not. It's a chef de chef, and is meant to allow Gitane smoke to drift up into its eyes, while making snide remarks, hitting on your wife, splitting chickens, cracking lobsters and sneering at George W. Bush. It's thick because it needs to be; and will hold up to the sort of abuse that would turn a western Deba into a pile of chips.

Very tough alloy, but not very strong. Lots and lots of steeling to maintain it, but surprisingly little sharpening. It will take a great edge once you get the old one off. A 25*/15* true double bevel (as opposed to a micro-bevel) is a good idea. 22.5 (or thereabouts) flat will work. Don't thin, the geometry is perfect for the purpose.

When it comes to soft, tough alloys, Norton India and Arkansas stones are as fast as water stones, and the Arks leave an incredibly durable edge. If you've got more than a few Euro carbons, it's worth keeping an oil stone set. (But don't use oil!)

It's a mistake to expect even half-way decent quality from a Sabatier OOTB edge. Your uncle (oncle) should consider himself lucky it had an edge.

If you want something more robust than a big carbon Sab, the next step is an entrenching tool.


Re: French Knife

Sat Aug 03, 2013 7:30 pm

Good deal. Thanks for the info man. I'll say this. The quality of construction is definitely sub-par for me. The tang looks like it was finished with a 50 grit belt. The handle is some semi-coarse grain wood, finished with 80 grit. It looks like a $40 knife. Ill post some more detailed pics once I drink 2 or 8 more beers and get motivated. Ill heed your advice on the edge work. My intent was somewhere around 22deg, so that seems like I was sort of on the right track.

UPDATED EDIT REGARDING EDGE AND STEEL:- Good steel. No doubt. It sharpens fast and acts like carbon should. It must be really soft. Im guessing rockwell somewhere around mid 50s. It doesnt feel like tool steel or Hitachi steel. It wants to bite into the stone and snag where the others tend to glide easier. took it to a ~1K edge and it shaves. I didn't see any reason to go above that because its soft and will see a steel frequently. A steel would just degrade a 6K edge, so...
Last edited by claytonsmith on Sat Aug 03, 2013 11:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Re: French Knife

Sat Aug 03, 2013 10:20 pm


The white area to the right of the tang is actually a void. The tang isn't even with the handle material in spots and it looks like the scales were ground poorly and the shoddiness was compensated for with wood filler. There are several areas where the tang protrudes past the wood scales and abrades your hand. The handle wood looks to be some sort of cheap hard wood dyed a rosewood color. Definitely not Ebony

The bolster is unevenly ground. If it was actually forged in, someone got REAL overzealous with a grinder.

I might be overly critical, but ive always thought Sabatier knives were of pretty good quality.
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