Clamping knife base
Last update 10.09.19 – For lovers of fine kitchen cutlery Bob Kramer’s knives (his original manual versions) have reached an almost legendary status. These are blades that, depending on the fit and finish, can take up to 100 hours of work (plus 25 years’ experience with blades, as Kramer likes to say) and cost $6,000 or more. (Yes, you’ve seen that number well.) The blades are not only beautiful, but potentially strong enough to meet the strict standards of the American Blade Blacksmith’s Society, i.e. to cut a piece of rope an inch thick in a single movement, to cut a pair of two in four, and to have enough cutting edges to cut the hair on your hands. Even at this high price, there is still a great demand for Kramer’s handmade knives. But you need to be patient enough to wait an indefinite number of years or have the chance to choose a winning lottery number before choosing your own. It’s a little tight.
(Under the original Bob Kramer: 8″ chief, Euro style, 400 layers chevron damask with large leaf painted maple handle).
Then, a few years ago, something happened. Kramer did a commercial. Together with J.A. Henkels, one of the largest and most famous knife manufacturers in Germany, he designed and produced Bob Kramer’s knife for eternal man. One that preserves the heart and soul and the edge of the handmade original, while reducing costs and production time. How? The usual way is to let others (and more people) participate in the process. While maintaining very strict quality control.
Henkels Mets Kramer
Yeah, the Everyman knife is still worth $300. Ha, ha, ha. Let’s see what you get:
…you get the same material as Bob Kramer’s knives, which come from his steelworks 52100.
1) First, you will receive the same material as Bob Kramer’s knives from his steel mill 52100. With its ultra-fine grain structure, excellent hardness and wear resistance, this steel has been Kramer’s best choice for 19 years. The blade is thermally treated to a Rockwell hardness of 60-61, which makes it much more difficult than an ordinary German-style knife and closer to Japan (by the way, since they are made in the city of Seki, Japan). This means it will take some time, but it needs to be handled with more care than traditional handles or wusthofs, which are made of softer steel to withstand more abuse.
Remember that this high carbon steel is . Not just carbon steel, certainly not stainless steel. If you’re used to leaving your knives in puddles, this isn’t a knife for you. It’ll rust fast. After use, it should be washed and dried and oiled regularly to protect it. And unlike stainless steel, it will not continue to shine. As it gets older, it will skate dark, which will protect the steel a little and give it a sexy vintage look (below : Two identical Kramer/Henkel carbon steel blades with a patina on top).
CARBON STEELcarbon steel carbon steel is currently a popular term that often does not say much, because ALL steels must have a carbon content to be steel. On the other hand, carbon steel (with a carbon content of approximately 0,6 to 0,99 %) is quite different from stainless steel.
2) An extra wide blade is produced, especially in relation to its length. Like Japanese santoku. The maximum width, at the heel, is half an inch wider than your average 8-inch cook’s knife and closer to 10 inches wide.
There are two good sides to it: 1) If you have large hands, this means you hardly ever have to worry about hitting your joints against the cutting board when cutting carrots. 2) You get a part of the cutting capacity of the knife 10 min the required space. 3) With a wide knife you can easily pick up chopped zucchini and other zucchini and throw them in the pot. (A negative thought – it doesn’t fit in the block of your center blade.) You need a block with very wide slots.)
3) You also get a very sharp point. It is best to give yourself the mobility you need to get into tight, cramped spaces to do delicate work. It’s like cutting the inside of peppers.
4) Finally you get a thicker German knife handle, but a lighter and thinner Japanese blade. This means that you feel good when you hold it in your hands, but that it glides through the food with less resistance than, for example, Henckels Pro S or Wusthof Classic. If you are used to handling the above mentioned knives in the German way, you will be surprised how much more comfortable Kramer feels. (right: African blackwood springs.)
Oh, and you don’t have to worry about the traditional tampon either. This makes it easier to sharpen the knife, whether you do it yourself or send it to a specialist. (Watching you buy a big knife for a cook.)
KITCHEN HOLLING If you’re wondering what a sharp kitchen knife can do with a razor blade …
But is it worth $300?
There are undoubtedly similar knives, some even from Henkels, which can be purchased for half the price. They cut and dice very nicely and also work perfectly at the edges. Then why pay extra?
- Because this guy’s sample (including the heat treatment) is really great. You need a super thin edge and to store them.
- Many Japanese knives that can compete with this knife cannot be sharpened safely to bring back their edge. You need a waterstone, which is not a big undertaking, but not very practical yet.
- Carbon steel is much easier to grind than stainless steel.
- This knife has a unique feel – a firm handle with a thin blade. Whether you like it or not, only you can decide. But if you’re near the Sur La Table store, it would be nice to audition for him.
- Bob Tate of Seattle Knife Sharpening (my favorite professional sharpening service) says it’s the best mass-market he’s ever known. Yeah, Tate sells those knives at his sharpening shop in Seattle, so he’s not exactly a selfless party. However, she has daily contact with a large number of knives from the kitchen (family and professional) throughout the country. There’s nothing to sniff.
Bob Kramer Carbon Steel Chief Henkels
Buy now on Amazon / On the table
Is this chef going to buy a knife to shake up your world and magically transform your kitchen, your life, into an overloaded source of happiness? Of course not. It’s just a knife. But that’s good. And if you treat it right, what you have to do with all your kitchen knives, it will last a lifetime. (To see other first class knives that are a little more affordable, brains at over The best chef’s knives – Six recommendations).
. . .
Bob Kramer knives from Henkels – Three other
If you can’t stand the idea of providing a carbon steel blade, or if you feel that the Kramer carbon steel blade isn’t for you, or if you just don’t like the design, then the other three Kramer knives are worth a visit:
2) Stainless damask
Like carbon steel, the three Kramer knives were made in cooperation with Henkels and (according to Henkel’s advertising text) went through a rigorous manufacturing process involving 45 craftsmen and 100 individual steps in the city. Seki, Japan. As with the carbon steel knife, Kramer was actively involved in its design and production.
Before going into the details of each knife and see how they differ from each other, let’s look at their similarities (which, apart from the fact that they are made of stainless steel, also have in common with carbon) :
- The shape of the leaf and the handle is almost identical for Essential and Damascus (and Carbon), but not for Meiji. It is instead of to say that in your hand the essential, Damascus (and carbon), will be exactly the same. On the one hand each handle is made of a different material, on the other hand their balance will change slightly. But they’re very close. (Note: This means that , not , applies to Meiji, which has a significantly different grip and sensation.)
- Wider than the center blade. On average, the cook’s knife is about 8 centimetres wide. These knives (including meiji) have a maximum length of 2.5 inches. They don’t fit in the average chef’s knife box.
- No support, which makes grinding easier.
- Grinded to an angle of 15 degrees. This is both the minimum standard for most Japanese knives and the new standard for high-quality German knives.
- All knives are made of stainless steel and not carbon steel, regardless of the damask design.
- Slim Japanese style design for minimal resistance.
All these knives have advantages such as a rounded back (which does not cause blisters when cutting with two hands) and a special decorative pin with the Kramer logo integrated in the handle.
Bob Kramer knife for Chef Henkels (8 inch)
The Essential is a cheaper carbon steel (FC61) instead of a sporty black carbon and polymer handle (which looks like wood but isn’t) instead of African black wood (very hard and special). It may be the cheapest Kramer knife of all, but it’s not bullshit. If you really like the feel of original carbon steel, but can’t handle the maintenance of carbon steel knives and you have a tight budget, then this Kramer knife is for you.
Although the hilt is made of the same polymer as most classic German knives, it is pickled, making it more matte than glossy. Personally, I prefer it.
FC61 STEEL …is the actual name of Henkels for Sandvik 13C27, a fine-grained stainless steel from Sweden, which has undergone heat treatment to HRC61. This steel is harder than a German Wusthof or Henkel knife of medium quality (typical HRC 57-59) so that it can take the edge and hold it. It does not have a sharp edge like the 52100 steel of which carbon is made, and it is not so easy to grind. On the positive side, however, Essential should last a little longer. (These are stainless steel hard carbide crystals. They are made to withstand wear and tear).
Bob Kramer Stainless Damask from Henkels (8 inch)
Although the stainless steel damask has the same shape and the Essential (and incidentally carbon) is very similar, it is made of clearly visible materials. Think of her as an elegant and beautiful sister. These three elements conceal it:
#1: Damascus leaf with herringbone pattern. These 100 layers of nickel and stainless steel are wrapped around a hard core and not only decorate but also protect the cutting edge. This is a centuries-old production process that was perfected on samurai swords and revived by modern Japanese knife makers such as Shun. (If you run your finger over the surface of the leaf, you can feel the layers) Designed to dazzle.
#2: SG2 steel core. SG2, often referred to as powder steel, is the latest technology in steel production. Although it is very hard (HRC63), it can remain softer (less brittle) than other comparable steels such as VG10 Shuna. It adheres perfectly to the edges and is highly resistant to corrosion and shattering. In addition to the three other Kramer knives, this knife should be sharpened as little as possible.
#3: Mycarta’s spring. Mykartes are made of different layers of linen and organic resins. Curved linear patterns, similar to the wood grain, pass through it and it feels the texture. It is meticulously finished to fit in your hand and feel as if it is yours.
These three elements raise the bar in terms of splendour and justify the higher price.
(Note: Some have found damask layers to be very thin when cutting thick vegetables such as cabbage or even an apple. If you are picky, don’t forget to test them in the shop first).
Cook’s knife for Bob Kramer Magey from Henkels (8 inch)
In the year MeijiBob Kramer makes a serious wink to the traditional Japanese knifemaking. It looks and feels like a bar between Kramer’s characteristic style and the chef’s Japanese knife. Or to put it another way, here’s Kramer Sean’s answer.
1) Although the leaf is still wide, the shape is not as wide (as in other Kramer’s) and the stroke is more elegant and closer to the Japanese Gyoto.
2) The D-Pack handle (derived from Japanese knives) is totally different from his other knives. The round shape, replaced by a straight, striped and angular circumference so characteristic of Japanese writing instruments, is a thing of the past.
As you may have guessed, the pattern and clamping of the Meiji leaf is very similar to that of the stainless steel damask. Both layers consist of 100 layers of softer stainless steel/nickel wrapped around a harder core. But instead of SG2 is the core of Ms. FC61, as is essential. (But the essential is the whole.) That’s why Meiji’s cutting performance must largely match the essential, as must its ability to grasp and hold on to the sharp edge. So if the Meiji knife looks more like a stainless steel damask, it should work more like Essential. Do I understand?
The pen is very nice, it really helps to feel the knife as an extension of the hand, not as a separate tool.
Anyway… …if you like the idea of the Kramer Chef’s knife and you appreciate his sense of design and quality, but you’re not crazy about his unique style, this could be a knife for you. Because this is the most dramatic deviation from what he’s done so far. It’s a different animal. And judging from the comments on Sur La Table’s website, it’s a success. Everyone is excited about Meiji’s feelings.
WHAT IS PAKAVUD? Packa wood is, like mycartes, a composite material held together by resin. However, these are not flax, but thin layers of wood that have been fused under intense heat and pressure. It is highly resistant and can be produced in a wide variety of colours, granulometries and finishes.
Who’s the hottest?
To get a better idea of how these Kramer knives can vary in performance, I was lucky to have a short telephone conversation with a man (namely Bob Kramer) about his creations.
Above all, he confirmed that all these knives must work very well in any kitchen. And depending on your use, it will be difficult for you to see a big difference in their cutting capacity. But intensive (or picky) users are likely to notice that carbon steel is superior to all stainless steel and that two FC61 knives – Essential and Meiji – are connected for one second. This is mainly due to the fact that these steels have the finest grain structure and can therefore take on the sharpest edge. Damascus will take care of it for a while.
On the other hand, Damascus will take first place in a marginal position and will displace the other three, including carbon. (This is SG2 steel.) Essential and Meiji will be re-tied for a second and Carbon may be the latter in this respect, but it will certainly be the easiest to grind and optimize. So each knife (and the steel from which it is made) has its own specialties.
After all, all these Kramer beans should yield very good results in the long term. Add to that the feel, beauty and attention to detail that is incorporated into their design, as well as the high quality of their craftsmanship and workmanship, and you have a choice of amazing options!
Summary Kramer knife
Bob Kramer Carbon Steel ($300)
is the same 52100 carbon steel that Kramer uses in his handmade knives; HRC 61
is the sharpest and easiest to sharpen;
is exposed to stains and rust;
is an African ebony handle;.
Bob Kramer Essential ($200)
– very similar in shape and feel to the original carbon
– FC61 stainless steel; HRC 61
– ground polymer handle (similar to wood, but not comparable)
– more similar to the original carbon and the cheapest
Bob Kramer Stainless Steel Damask ($400)
– very similar to the original Carbon
– SG2 powder steel core; HRC 63
– coated with 100 layers of nickel and damask stainless steel
handle – better edge fixation (but harder to grind)
Bob Kramer Magey ($250 for sale)
– Kramer corresponds to the Japanese design, which differs from all other
– FC61 core; HRC 61
– coated with 100 layers of nickel and damask stainless steel
– handle in packaging
– handle and touch different from other.
7. October 2013 / kitchen knife
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