Chris Jones, Steel Dog Knives: The Knife Junkie Podcast (Episode 477)

Chris Jones, Steel Dog Knives: The Knife Junkie Podcast (Episode 477)

Chris Jones of Steel Dog Knives joins Bob “The Knife Junkie” DeMarco on Episode 477 of The Knife Junkie Podcast.

Chris Jones, Steel Dog Knives: The Knife Junkie Podcast (Episode 477)Chris is the part-time custom knife maker behind Steel Dog Knives, located in Tomball, TX.  Whether woodworking or home improvement projects, Chris always loved working with his hands and making things.

In 2018, while convalescing in the hospital after surgery, Chris watched a “Forged in Fire” marathon and was hooked on the notion of knife making. Once fully recovered, he began teaching himself the craft of knife-making, getting advice from a number of accomplished bladesmiths along the way.

Steel Dog Knives focuses mostly on stainless steel kitchen knives while making hunting, camping, and EDC fixed blades on a custom basis.

What Chris loves the most is working with a customer to build a custom Steel Dog knife that has a special meaning—something to be handed down through the generations.

Find Steel Dog Knives online at steeldogknives.square.site and on Instagram at www.instagram.com/steeldogknives.

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Chris Jones of Steel Dog Knives is the featured guest on Episode 477 of #theknifejunkie #podcast. Steel Dog Knives focuses mostly on stainless steel kitchen knives, but also makes custom hunting, camping, and EDC fixed blades. Click To Tweet

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The Knife Junkie Podcast is the place for knife newbies and knife junkies to learn about knives and knife collecting. Twice per week Bob DeMarco talks knives. Call the Listener Line at 724-466-4487; Visit https://theknifejunkie.com.
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Announcer [00:00:03]:
Welcome to the Knife Junkie podcast, your weekly dose of knife news and information about knives and knife collecting. Here's your host, Bob the knife junkie DeMarco.

Bob DeMarco [00:00:16]:
Welcome to the Knife Junkie podcast. I'm Bob DeMarco. On this edition of the show, I'm speaking with Chris Jones of Steel Dog Knives. I had the Chance to meet Chris and thoroughly pour over his impeccable pieces at the Texas Custom Knife Show in November. Though he had a variety of really cool door and EDC fixed blades on offer. His kitchen knives were, to me, the most compelling, featuring clean profiles, great cutting geometry, And dazzling handles. He also had one that was traditional Japanese, and it was light as a feather. He makes some really unique graphically themed knives as well.

Bob DeMarco [00:00:52]:
We'll meet Chris. We'll find out about Steel Dog Knives and, what he has in store. But first, be sure to like, comment, subscribe, hit the notification bell, Download us where you can listen to podcasts. And if you have any, interest or capacity, help us on Patreon. Go over there to theknifejunkie.com/patreon and see what you get out of the deal. Again, that address is theknifejunkie.com/patreon.

Announcer [00:01:19]:
Visit us online, theknifejunkie.com.

Announcer [00:01:23]:
If you search Google for the best knife podcast, the answer is the Knife Junkie podcast.

Bob DeMarco [00:01:30]:
Chris, welcome to the Knife Junkie podcast, sir. Good to have you.

Chris Jones [00:01:34]:
No. Thanks for having me on.

Bob DeMarco [00:01:36]:
Yeah. It's a pleasure. Your booth at the Texas Custom Knife Show was 1, I came back to numerous times, and, I had, I had a great time talking to you about the knives, and and you told me about some of your, you know, some of your background, and it's very interesting, to me, your knives, as I mentioned up front, you seem to be specializing right now in these, gorgeous kitchen knives. But, tell me about Steel Dog Knives to begin with. How did you get into knives, and how did you start actually making them?

Chris Jones [00:02:11]:
Yeah. It's, it's kind of an interesting story. I, it's it's a unique one that I don't know that anybody else has. About 6 years ago, I had had, an emergency appendectomy. I had to go in. I'd had an some outpatient procedure A week or 2 before, I had emergency apneectomy, go in the hospital, have the surgery, had some complications from the surgery, and ended up in the hospital for 5 days. And as I'm laying there in my hospital bed, I don't want to be on my iPad. I don't wanna be on my phone.

Chris Jones [00:02:42]:
I just I just wanna watch the TV that's there, in the actual, hospital room, you know, you got the little speaker next to you. I'll stumble upon a Forged in Fire marathon. And I was like, this is I'm I'm hooked. Right? Like, this is fascinating. And it helped get me through, that time that I was in the hospital. And then, When I got home, I continued to watch it. Became fascinated by the show and then go down some rabbit holes of YouTube and told myself, you know, when I get Healthy again. Like, I I wanna try this.

Chris Jones [00:03:15]:
And, so I did. And and I wasn't as fascinated with the, Honestly, with with swinging a hammer, right, in an anvil. I mean, that that part is cool. I do enjoy doing that sometimes. But it was just Being able to make something right. I used to do some woodworking and really enjoyed it. And so getting into this and and getting into the knives. And so I made my first two knives, with a hand filing jig.

Chris Jones [00:03:42]:
And so I, I always tell people, like, make a hand filing jig and make don't make 1 knife, make 2. Because anybody can make 1 knife with a hand filing jig of, you know, 3 to 6 hours per side filing these down. And but if if you make 2 and you still enjoy it, then go invest in some equipment. So I started to do that. I started making some some knives, and, one day, my wife asked me, to make a kitchen knife, and I never made a kitchen knife. I'm not a big hunter. I do camp. I do backpack, so I have some, use of wood knives from that.

Chris Jones [00:04:19]:
But, I grew up in a Kitchen. My dad managed restaurants, and so I, was like, well, I can do this and and made my 1st kitchen knife, and it's absolutely terrible. I didn't understand. I approached it the same way that I would approach, a camp knife, right, or an EDC. And it it really is different, having to focus on the the geometry. And and so, I was like, man, there's no way I'm ever gonna get somebody to buy a knife when they could go down to Walmart buy a $15 cheap knife that that worked better, and it was because of the geometry. And so I kinda poured myself into it and started doing some some research and and, you know, watching different makers, people like Marekko Lamassi, Salem Straub, Don Wynn, guys that make just beautiful chef knives. Learning anything I could, from their YouTube channels, from their Instagram, and, just kinda went from there and and stayed with it.

Chris Jones [00:05:18]:
And once I got a couple that worked, I was like, this is definitely the way I wanna go. So I still do the occasional camp knife. I mean, I'm I'm working on a a batch of 4, here, these are kind of cool. This is for a former coworker of mine. He's got some antique cherry that his Grandfather harvested 70 years ago. It's been Oh, man. Lying in a in a a barn for for years, and, you know, it it has some really cool figure to it. So I'm keeping it nice and matte.

Chris Jones [00:05:49]:
I told him I'm gonna make a make him a knife that looks like he could've bought it out of a Sears catalog, right, back when his grandfather bought it. So Back in the day, it's got brass brass pins on it. We're gonna go with an old school looking leather sheet and, so So I still do some of that. I still do some EDC's, but I really, really do love, the kitchen knives. And it's it's kind of become, my thing. And, won a couple of awards and, put my knives in the hands of professional chefs, And and I really enjoyed it, and they're giving me good feedback. And so, yeah, that's just the way that, the direction I've taken over the last probably 2, two and a half years.

Bob DeMarco [00:06:30]:
Alright. I I wanna follow the path, to get there, but I wanna go back to the hospital. Sorry.

Chris Jones [00:06:36]:
Yeah. No. Definitely. I can ramble on, so my, you know Oh, no. No. As as long as I start at the beginning, my wife will tell me I can sometimes start in the middle of a story. So, but, yeah, definitely, we can go back to the hospital. Yeah.

Bob DeMarco [00:06:49]:
Well, it it to me, it's it's interesting because, forged in fire does not have to be, there's a there's a certain kinda show. It's the reality competition creative show. There are a lot

Chris Jones [00:07:01]:
of,

Bob DeMarco [00:07:01]:
cooking shows like that, fashion shows. I like them all. You know, I haven't seen them all, but you put me in front of any one of them, I'm gonna like it. And that's kind of, people like me who don't love knives see forged in fire, and it and and it ignites something. Sorry for the pun. What was it lying in that hospital bed that, that awakened this interest in you? You said you liked building stuff, but, you know, if you had turned down Orange City Chopper or Orange Orange County Choppers, would you be building bikes right now? Maybe, maybe not.

Chris Jones [00:07:37]:
No. Because no. Because I watched Orange County Choppers, and I didn't go build bikes. I love watching, you know, the the the different car shows, you know, the ones that some of the ones that Netflix have like Rust to riches and and stuff like that, Rust Valley Restores. I love watching those, but I don't restore cars. But I I grew up kind of watching the old, you know, this old house, Norm Abram, the woodwork and stuff, and I always really enjoyed that. And I did a lot of woodwork and and built a lot of furniture. Our current kitchen table and chairs is something that I've built.

Chris Jones [00:08:12]:
But it was just something about The knives that I really don't know that I can, you know, pinpoint. I mean, I I think a lot of us are always fascinated by sharp things. Right? And, You know, it's it's, there there's something about, you know, being able to use a a a great knife and but I I think the one thing that What I really like was it was something that was it was obtainable. It was realistic. Right? I mean, yes, I had to invest in equipment over the years. Right. I mean, I'm surrounded here by, equipment that I purchased, but in the beginning, I could do it relatively small, And I could express my creative side, right, with the with the handle specifically. I I like to to, You know, pick things and and and pick colors maybe that are that are bold and still do some of the traditional, but I I like to do different things with with handles.

Chris Jones [00:09:06]:
And I've got some, great suppliers that provide me with some cool stuff, and we've collaborated on a number of things. But to me, the handle is the character of the knife. Right. I want something that has that character, and I like to talk to folks about making the knife special to them, Right. And and having that. I recently posted, this week, a, a chef knife that I was, I was honored to have Given given the opportunity to make, someone approached me and they wanted to make a knife to honor the memory of their daughter passed away, unexpectedly a couple years ago. And so as I'm going back and forth and asking them some questions about, well, what was it her favorite thing to do or What was, what what was something special to her? The the mom mentioned that her favorite color was electric turquoise. And I thought to myself, okay.

Chris Jones [00:10:00]:
Electric turquoise, I can work with that. And so I made, this knife. I'll show it here. This chef knife, it's for a, it's for, her daughter's partner, who is a chef, in Denver, I believe. And so it's I went with high carbon, did a, a stonewash finish, but worked with, Sarah, from,

Bob DeMarco [00:10:24]:
oh, yeah.

Chris Jones [00:10:25]:
Swiatkowski scales, and, or scales by Sarah, depends upon which platform she's on. And we made some, this is from, Dank once, so, Jordan Banks. It's a resin, and so it's it's really cool. It's got that turquoise. It's got something that's special to them, and that's what I love, about it. So To go back and answer your question, I I think what what really was is I I could create something unique, and I could create something where I could put my personality and my, style and my creativity into and do it, you know, reasonably.

Bob DeMarco [00:11:00]:
It's interesting because, woodworking, you're you're also making something in something that is, incredibly useful, Incredibly, long lasting and and, you know, you said it was a kitchen table and chairs That a family sits around, that's gonna be a durable a durable good. But something about knives in, being a tool that you can use to do other things, make other tools, and do all sorts of you know, feed yourself, basically, and then the portability of it, How many more you can make and actually sell and move and, you know, go to a furniture show, and and I'm sure this has very little or nothing to do with Listen. Why why you got obsessed with knives? But it's interesting to think about a woodworker slash knifemaker. One thing you can make A bunch of, and then take them to a show and sell them. Another thing is is big, hard to move, I don't know. Similar process?

Chris Jones [00:12:01]:
Yeah. It's not things that I I, you know, did in the beginning or that I thought of In the beginning of, you know, oh, let's do this because, you know, they are smaller, easier to move. You know, I could probably sell them faster. Like, to me, when I first started making, it wasn't about selling. You know, I I probably gave away every knife that I made for close to the 1st year. One of my, my my best friend, Adam, who's at the the show he's on at almost every show, that I'm at. He carries one of the 1st knives that I ever actually made off of a commission. And I I asked him not to show anybody anymore because it was early days and it's pretty rough, but, he loves it.

Chris Jones [00:12:45]:
He cherishes that And, keeps it in his truck with him. And so I I think that's the keyword though is I I I love being able to build something that people won't cherish. Right? I want something that people want to show off. And when you look at, you know like you said, you with knives, you can Use it to make other things. And with Chef Max, you're making meals. You're making food. And what is centered around food? It's it's Typically, it's bringing family to them. Right? And family is important to me.

Chris Jones [00:13:18]:
I remember, you know, thinking back. I thought about this, you know, probably a couple years ago. My my grandmother who passed away a few years probably about 5, 6 years back, She, before I started making knives, we used to always get together at her house for Thanksgiving and Christmas. She would make meals, and I remember she used what now, it was like probably the worst knife. You know, these these old broken down knives. She came from a time when she went through the depression, and so she just used a knife for years that was dull and chipped, and the handle wasn't great. And, you know, I I wish I could've given her something that that that She could've, cherished and and used, but, I think, yeah, that it's the beauty of you use chef knives to make Food and make meals and meals bring families and friends together, and so I think that's probably why I gravitated towards it.

Bob DeMarco [00:14:15]:
So, let me ask you this. As a knifemaker who, who makes really beautiful kitchen knives for that purpose, That purpose of feeding families and that that sort of it's a sacred purpose, really, but I would argue that most knives Fulfill that role in some way or another, but especially, kitchen knives. Are you conflicted knowing or or or with the with the Possibility that people buy your knives and they're so nice that they don't use them. Do you know what I mean?

Chris Jones [00:14:44]:
Yeah. I I know what you mean. I I think with, I think with with hunting knives, camp knives, stuff like that, you know, art pieces, art knives that that people make, I think there's more of a tendency for that. I think with kitchen knives and, I would like to think that my customers use them. I get a lot of feedback from them that they you know, how much how great it is, how how sharp it is, how much they love to use it. And so that leads me to believe that most of the things that I'm making, people are using. I have made some that I know for a fact that, You know, they've never been used, and they probably won't be used. But maybe they'll get handed down someday, and somebody will use them.

Chris Jones [00:15:30]:
But, yeah. It's I want folks to to to use my knives. I I love working back on, You know, when somebody brings me a knife and, that I've made, and I always tell people that, you know, I'll resharpen any knife that I make For free for the life of me or the life of the knife. And, you know, it's they Send it back to me, and and I'll clean it up a little bit. I'll I'll maybe clean up the handle. I'll resharpen. Give it a little spa day, right, and be able to send it back to them. And so I tell him, I was like, don't worry about it.

Chris Jones [00:16:02]:
If you if you do so if you accidentally drop it and you break, the tip-off, Your 8 inch knife will become a 7 and a half inch

Bob DeMarco [00:16:09]:
knife because

Chris Jones [00:16:09]:
you send it back to me, and I'll I'll reprofile it. I'll fix it. So I it's it's I want people to use it. Right? And, so, yeah, I hope they are using it. But I understand, you know, some of these knives can get kinda pricey, so, You know, some people may want to, to show them off, but if they're being displayed and they're still showing people off and people are private and they still cherish it in their own way Yeah. That's okay. Right? What I would hate would be to make a knife and have it just live in a drawer, and nobody ever sees it.

Bob DeMarco [00:16:38]:
Yeah. That that's exactly I I am a collector. I have way more knives than I will ever use, but that's that's part of my pride of ownership is showing them off, and and that's Part of, like, why I have a show and all that kinda stuff, because I get to show them off sometime. But the process of Making a knife. 1st, I wanna I wanna find out about your process of making a knife and how it changed once you got to kitchen knives. But before I get there And before you answer that, I have to say it must be cool to have those spa day experiences where you see a knife coming back And just kind of, you know, look at it and see. You know, when I sent this out, it was a totally smooth handle. Now there are dings in it from use and, and you can see how the blade has changed, and, that's gotta be kinda cool.

Chris Jones [00:17:28]:
It is. It's you can see the you can see the scuff marks, you know, on the blade, where they put it in the knife block or they put it on a magnetic board. You know, if it's high carbon, you can see all that patina. Yeah. I I love that. Yeah. Yeah. But, yeah, the handle may have dulled a little bit.

Chris Jones [00:17:43]:
Maybe you know, sometimes with with, custom knives and and a lot of times they're giving us gifts, Some people don't realize the the the care, that's needed. Right? Yeah. And it's it's it's not a lot, but, you know, obviously, never in the dishwasher. But one recently that I never thought of telling people, is don't let it soak in, you know, water really, especially hot water For any period of time. Right? It's like they had something. They were doing some dishes. They threw it down in the sink. It soaked for, you know, maybe 10, 20 minutes.

Chris Jones [00:18:14]:
Bring it back out, and it'll kinda pop the grain. And the water was really, really hot. And so, it did cause a little bit of a handle, to to to pop off. But they sent it back, and I fixed it. And I was actually able to salvage that same angle, and, I actually given it back to him this week. So, yeah, I I wanna be able to see it. I wanna see it a little beat up. Right? I don't wanna see, you know, where it was abused.

Chris Jones [00:18:40]:
But, yeah, I wanna see a little bit of use on it when I see it again.

Bob DeMarco [00:18:44]:
So kitchen knife geometry, we all know it's it's gotta be very thin. It it it takes some skill to get there. So tell us about your process and and what it was like kind of Getting to the point where you could do that sort of full flat grind so thin and be successful at kitchen knives?

Chris Jones [00:19:04]:
Well, a lot of it came with equipment. When I first, started making, kitchen knives, I was still using a, 2 by 42, grinder that, was a 1 third horsepower and has, I used to call it the dremel of grinders because it made up for what it lacked in power by going a 1000000 miles an hour. And that's not something that you can do A chef knife on very easily, because it takes you need to be able to slow it down. You need to be able to have a VFD. And so some some of the equipment, really helped. Learning to not, you know, to use fresh belts all the time. I think it was an expression. I think Jason Knight once said and if I it was somebody else, you know, I apologize.

Chris Jones [00:19:53]:
But I I I think I remember it was Jason Knight said, use belts like you own the belt manufacturing company. Right? Right. And, you know, easy for him to say because I think you're probably sponsored by somebody, but I'm not. So I'm I'm using all of mine. But, you know, using fresh belts and and really just Question yourself, you know, thinking, can I get that thinner? Yes. Yes. You can. And I think the 1st time that I got a knife down to pretty much a zero edge, I realized, like, how much More time and effort that it took and how much patience, it took to get there, but ultimately, it was going to make for, I'm a better knife than, you know, up until sometime last year, I was trying to take all of my chef knives down to 10 1000th of an inch.

Chris Jones [00:20:45]:
And I talked to, another, knife maker. He does folders now, but he's been a knife maker for 30 years. And he goes, no. He goes, you can get it down to 5,000. No. Really? He's like, yeah. And so he challenged me. And so I, You know, the last, you know, every knife I've made now for the last, 3 or 4 months has been 5000 instead of 10,000.

Chris Jones [00:21:09]:
I gotta admit, it's kinda cool to I made 1 right before Christmas and, for a friend of mine and had him come over. He was giving it to his wife, and I was like, hey. Check this out. And I pulled a stalk of celery out, And I just start cutting. And he's like, okay. Great. I was like, I have a sharpener. Like, I'm just slacksing off little thin pieces of celery.

Chris Jones [00:21:28]:
And he's like, wait. What? Yeah. It's 5,007 inches. Like, I have not put that sharpened bevel on. And it it it felt like a knife that was that needed to be sharpened. Right? It was a little bit on the dull side, but it was still Usable. Yeah. And so then it's okay.

Chris Jones [00:21:46]:
If now if I can put the edge on it, now it's really gonna provide the performance that somebody's looking for.

Bob DeMarco [00:21:51]:
Probably without the edge, it was sharper than 98% of the blades in kitchens of America. You know?

Chris Jones [00:21:59]:
Oh, definitely. And and that includes some, well, when I'm not gonna say professional kitchens, if you've got a, you know, a head chef, Right. And you've got somebody in there that that can teach them. They're they're resharpening their knives, on a regular basis. If if you're just in a restaurant with a kitchen and a head Cooking, you know, somebody that's prepping the food. I've been in some of those kitchens and those knives aren't very sharp. But, yes, I know that they're dull in most kitchens because one of the things I offer for I offer sharpening services for for people locally, and I do a lot for folks in my neighborhood, and they'll bring me, You know, they're Wusthofs, they're j Henkels, they're, you know, they're they're they're different knives that they got at Bed Bath and Beyond or target or wherever, and I'll resharpen them. And, yeah, most of them are extremely dull.

Chris Jones [00:22:48]:
And, you know, that just doesn't make for a good cutting experience, and it it doesn't make for a good cooking experience. You know, I I want them to to take those, go back home and realize, wow, this was this was phenomenal. And it's you know, how do you invest in your Even the knives that you're you know, you might, you know, buy, at like a Williams Sonoma or something, you you invested something in those knives. Spend that time to either learn how to sharpen or find somebody can sharpen.

Bob DeMarco [00:23:15]:
Well, I mean, you know, talking about geometry, and you mentioned Wusthof, I have a I have a big 10 inch Trident that I've had for years, and I love that knife, but ever since I got, my 1st custom kitchen knife that's real thin and ground real thin, when I when I have occasion to use it, it feels like an ax at this point. You know? It's like a much thicker stock, A much more oblique grind, even though it's a pretty broad blade, but there's just not enough room, you know, north to south for that to thin out enough. So, I I think oftentimes, companies are building them to be super robust, You know, more than more than thin.

Chris Jones [00:24:00]:
Yeah. I I tell folks when when somebody comes up to my table, it's one of my favorite things, when somebody comes up and says, why should I buy This knife instead of, you know, going and getting, you know, even not a shunt, but, you know, maybe something like a a Wusthof or Henkel. Right? And I I tell him, I was like, well, if you think about I was like, 1, if you ever having problems, you can reach out to me. You don't have to call an eight hundred number. Okay? 2, we can customize for your taste and you don't have that generic black handle. But really what it, You know, I asked him, I was like, have you ever accidentally dropped your chef knife or you threw it in the sink or did something and you tip? Yep. And most people go, oh, yeah. I was like, and what did you do? Like, well, I took it and I put it back on the cutting board and I kinda bent it back.

Chris Jones [00:24:48]:
I I was like, hardened steel shouldn't bend. That's not the way a chef knife should work, right?

Bob DeMarco [00:24:55]:
Yeah. Yeah.

Chris Jones [00:24:56]:
And so if you think about it, if it's bending, It's not going to have the properties that it needs to hold an edge very well. And I said, but if you think about the these companies that are doing that, it's Like I said, you bend it back. I said, but if you did something and the tip of your knife broke off, what would you do? Like, well, I'd probably call, You know, ankles are the worst often asked for a replacement, you know, what's under warranty and do something. I was like, right. So they don't want you to do that. So they're gonna give you one, that, you know, it's it's typically the Rockwell hardness. I haven't tested them myself, but I think the Rockwell hardness on those production grade Knives is is typically a little bit lower, maybe somewhere in, like, the mid fifties. I try to target 60, 61 with mine, and I've had mine tested.

Chris Jones [00:25:44]:
And, you know, so it's yes. If you drop mine, the tip might break, but that is because of, you know, some of that hardness, but if you've seen some of the videos that I have out on, my Instagram or my Facebook, I I have some fillet knives that I can flex pretty significantly.

Bob DeMarco [00:26:05]:
Yeah. You showed me, at the show, you you demonstrated. So tell me how you make them.

Chris Jones [00:26:13]:
The display knives?

Bob DeMarco [00:26:14]:
No. No. Describe your process. Describe all yeah. Just in general.

Chris Jones [00:26:18]:
Yeah. So my process typically I do a lot of stock removal, because I work with a lot of stainless. And so typically, my process is is I'm going to take a Amos Blunt. I try to work with a bit of a material that I can get by with, right, but it's still functional. So for A chef knife, I'm typically doing through 30 seconds in stock. AEDL or Nitro v is is typically my go to. And, you know, I'll sit there and I'll I'll I'll draw out. I'll come up with something.

Chris Jones [00:26:47]:
I've got templates then. I'll I'll make it out of wood first. Not put the bevels on, but just kinda to get the flip and the feel and and grip it and hold it and say, hey. Does this work? And that then becomes a template. Then I'll take it and I'll put some layout fluid on, that and and I'll cut it out. So this is a blunt. Right? So it's full fitness here, 3:30 seconds. So I'll get this, I'll cut it out on the the the porta band.

Chris Jones [00:27:15]:
Obviously, I had an accident back in December. If anybody saw my Instagram, I almost cut the tip of my thumb off. Safety with a porta pen, please. Always use push sticks, but I got in a hurry. Drill my holes, get all of this, and then I actually will take this and, You know, wrap it in foil, put it in the the kiln, and I'll heat treat it. And I heat treat at full thickness on all my chef knives. And that, You know, helps minimize some of the warps, and then I'll come back, scribe some lines, and then I'll come in and and grind. And so when I'm grinding, I'm typically grinding, You know, the flats to get up this way to help get, you know, that that geometry, but I'm also grinding in a distal taper.

Chris Jones [00:27:55]:
Right? So if we see this one and we see full thickness, this is the I'm going all the way down here, and we compare that to a chef knife. And there's some glare there, so it doesn't really wanna show, but It definitely gets thinner and thinner and thinner and thinner as we get to the end. Right?

Bob DeMarco [00:28:10]:
Yeah. Looking down the spine towards the tip.

Chris Jones [00:28:13]:
Yep. Yep. And so we want that distal taper going all the way towards the tip. You don't want a big chunky, tip and, You you wanna be able to get your full flat grinds, pretty hot. So you'll see you know, I I see a lot of guys that that make, Camp knives and and and hunters and EDC's, and they do them they're phenomenal. They do them really well. But they'll come in and they'll do their grinds will be too low. They'll come all the way out here, and they'll have a real, tooth thick of a tip.

Chris Jones [00:28:44]:
And that's gonna cause a knife that's a little bit that that's gonna be too heavy. It's gonna have more of that obtuse geometry. And as you go to cut things, one of the things that I like to to to test on is baby carrots. If you're cutting a baby carrot and you get about halfway through the baby carrot and it snaps, then you know that your geometry is not there. Right. You wanna be able to slice little pieces off the end of the baby care. But, yeah, I'll grind that bevel in. I typically do a nice belt finish online because it helps with the cleanup.

Chris Jones [00:29:16]:
Later, when somebody wants to send it back, we clean that up. Then slap the handle scales on there, you know, drill the holes, glue it up, shape the handle, and then come back and and sharpen it.

Bob DeMarco [00:29:28]:
So grinding it full width after it's been heat treated, obviously, that's one of those cases where you have to use a lot of discipline and use all your belts kinda like,

Chris Jones [00:29:39]:
like,

Bob DeMarco [00:29:40]:
Jay was saying because it's a lot tougher. Right?

Chris Jones [00:29:43]:
Yeah. The the materials, it it's hard at that point. Right? Yeah. A lot of times, like, when I'm making this this camp knife, I actually ground some of these bevels in, ahead of time. Get the edge down to the thickness of a dime. But it's difficult to do that with a chef knife because especially for stainless because when I'm Heat treating it, I pull it out of the kiln and I actually quench between 2 aluminum plates. And so if it's not full thickness and it does have that bevel in there, it's gonna have tendency to wanna Warp or or or wiggle, and you get that bacon edge, right, where it's not so much just like a banana warp, but you might see this little wiggle in there. Now you have to grind it out, and you don't have as much room to play with.

Chris Jones [00:30:23]:
Yeah. And also with that that Taper, right? You you can't put that just to taper in ahead of time. So, no, you have to use, fresh belts. You know, I Go with a 36 grit, when I start, 36 grit, ceramic. And, I actually do. When I'm, I've gotten comfortable enough with it now, I'll go a 100% on my VFD when I'm first starting.

Bob DeMarco [00:30:48]:
Wait. Wait. What's that mean?

Chris Jones [00:30:50]:
Now I'm going full speed on that variable speed drive on the grinder. Like, it's

Bob DeMarco [00:30:55]:
To hog off material as they say?

Chris Jones [00:30:58]:
Yes. And and that's the great, you gotta be careful. You know, that's a great way to get what we call knife maker manicure, what I call knife maker manicure, where you, lose thumbprints, and you get little, you know, spots on your fingers where you touch a 36 grip belt that's going full speed. But, do that to kinda Set the angle and and get it in with a with a worn belt at first, when when grinding because I don't want if I've got that sharp edge right on this edge, I don't wanna take and knock off all the abrasives. Right? So I'm going a worn belt, and I'm coming back in with a sharp belt, and I'm setting that grind to maybe about right here. Right. Just about a quarter inch, you know, maybe 3 quarters of an inch, depending upon the the knife and the the the height of the heel. Right.

Chris Jones [00:31:45]:
But I'm just kinda setting that somewhere in here, less than once all the way out, and then I will then start To take it up higher and higher. And I'll show you here, actually. I'm just gonna sit on my desk. I have a sharpie marker, which, by the way, for anybody that, is It does this on a regular basis, ditch the Sharpenes and go to the Milwappes. I'm not sponsored yet, but, would love to be. But these things work so much better on steel where you've got a little bit of grime. Maybe you're, You know, it's if it's if it's a little dusty, if it's it works a lot better than sharpies. But I'll kinda show you on here What I'm trying to grind off, right? So if you think of a normal knife right here and you think of that plunge line coming up here, When I'm grinding a chef knife, this is that top line.

Chris Jones [00:32:41]:
Right? So here, that top line, full flat, that That was coming right across here.

Bob DeMarco [00:32:45]:
Oh, I got you.

Chris Jones [00:32:46]:
Chef knife is coming up here. Right? So if you think about extending that up all the way out here, What I'm doing is by doing that, I'm actually adding that distal tape.

Bob DeMarco [00:32:57]:
Oh, I see. Yes.

Chris Jones [00:32:58]:
So I'm bringing that grind up here and then all the way out. So I'm spending a lot of time grinding material out here or less time grinding right here.

Bob DeMarco [00:33:07]:
But but you're always doing it as if, you're working on it, on a larger piece flat. It's hard to explain, but I I get what you mean once you drew that on there.

Chris Jones [00:33:18]:
Yeah. Yeah. And and you work in sections. Right? So I'll work in here, and I'll get that line, and then I'll start to you know, and I'll get it up to where I want it. Then I'll start moving it farther and farther out, right, And get it even, and then I'll come back. And by the end of it, you've created a flat that's you know, there's not a lot of facets in there. It's it's you can almost do it with your eyes closed. Right.

Chris Jones [00:33:38]:
You can just lay up against the, the belt, and and you know exactly where that flat is, and then you can grind.

Bob DeMarco [00:33:45]:
Feel. It's your it's

Chris Jones [00:33:47]:
so much It's feel, yeah. And and it's it takes I I I tell people when when I'm approaching a grinder, I go in with a pretty loose grip, Right. So I've got it. It's in my hands, and I can kind of barely set it on the the belt right here. And then Once I get it, once I find a flat, so I've got an edge let's see if I can do that. I've got the edge, and it's like, okay. I can find a flat, find a flat. Okay.

Chris Jones [00:34:13]:
Found a flat. Right? Now I can kinda tighten my grip a little bit and work my bevels back and forth. With chef knives, I have a long platen on mine, so I actually also like to work a lot this way, Right. Because more of the knife is in contact with the platinum at that point during time, so it's it's easier to kind of maintain that flat.

Bob DeMarco [00:34:32]:
That that that, really, explains well, how you get that distal taper with with a Grinder. Like, I sort of understand it if you're pounding it out, with a you know, if you're forging a blade, it's sort of

Chris Jones [00:34:45]:
intuitively accurate. Is totally Totally different. Like, here's one that, you know, I I forged out. Right? And this is cool, and I do this one with collaboration with, Sugar, Sugarfield, Distillery in, Louisiana. This is a piece of their, Oak barrel. Right? One of their whiskey barrels and so that we had stabilized. But, yeah, I'm hammering it out, and I'm hammering that, You know, as it gets thinner and thinner and thinner out towards the tip, I hammer that in. Right? But you're not doing that on, stainless.

Chris Jones [00:35:21]:
And so, Now one of the things that I do is I come in and I scribe a center line here, and then I scribe a center line on the spine. And then like I said, I'll knock the edges off, And then sometimes I'll even knock the top off. This is something I learned from on his video. I'll knock the top off, so I'll I'll kind of take Full thickness here out to about the midway point in the tip. And so then that'll create almost like a false edge. Mhmm. Right? Like a swedge or a secondary bevel on the top. So now I've created a bevel on the top, created a bevel on the bottom.

Chris Jones [00:35:53]:
Those go to, you know, my center line. And after that, it's it's like going back to kindergarten and just coloring between the lines. Right? I've created the lines. I think I heard this one from Salem Straub. Again, if I get the quote wrong, I'm positive. But it's, My grinder is the crayon. My grinder is the marker, and I'm I'm coloring between the lines. When I Heard that, it's like this light bulb went off in my head.

Chris Jones [00:36:26]:
Made me so much better at grinding. It's so simple, But it's like, okay. Yeah. That's the line. You know? This is the line I'm following. This is the line on the edge. Use the grinder to remove the material in between.

Bob DeMarco [00:36:40]:
Alright. So this is interesting to me because, obviously, you get better at grinding through The physical practice, the practical practice.

Chris Jones [00:36:46]:
Absolutely. Yes.

Bob DeMarco [00:36:48]:
But but it's interesting how, you know, hearing a phrase Could also translate into better grinding. What's your mindset like when you're Making a knife versus when you're doing, you have another, job. Right? This is not your full time profession at the moment. Correct. Yes. So so what's What's the mindset, difference like between those 2 worlds?

Chris Jones [00:37:16]:
It's it's different, and it's the same. So for my For my day job, I, I work for JetBlue Airways, and I'm the manager of business intelligence. I work in data and analytics. So very analytical thinking, and my team is responsible for, the educating, our users and the analytics products that we use and grow in that community. So it's a lot of working with other people, you know, building their proficiency, growing that community. Then knife can and there's similarities in the knife community as well and that, you know, what I hope by doing this and Anybody can reach out to me with questions is I wanna grow the proficiency of the knife community. Right? And I want to grow the knife community. I want us sharing ideas.

Chris Jones [00:38:03]:
But when I'm going in, I'm I'm I'm grinding. It's it is kind of heads down, you know, trying to focus. I I do have ADHD, so, you know, one of the superpowers of those of us with ADHD, if you can harness it, is hyperfocus. And so it's get the music that puts you in the right mood and hyper focus and just focus on, you know, that that grinding and try to eliminate, the distractions, and I tried to do it I tried to do each knife at least get those bevels in 1 session. Right. So I try not to stop and then come back to it. I wanna stay in that mindset, because you really have to be you have to think about your posture. So you gotta think about your your form.

Chris Jones [00:38:48]:
You you gotta, you know and and all that kinda becomes second nature, after a while, but You wanna be like, okay. I'm in the mindset now of grinding. Right? I'm not trying to do anything else. I'm not grinding here for a little bit, going over and doing something else. I'm gonna grind the bevels on this knife, and I'm gonna get them. And sometimes I'll do half a dozen at a time.

Bob DeMarco [00:39:07]:
That's what I was gonna ask you. Is this, when you, how do you batch them? Are they small batches? And and when you're doing them, are you doing all, presumably, you would. I mean, it'd be foolish kinda not to, but You're doing all the handles at the same time, all the pebbles at the same time, all the sharpening.

Chris Jones [00:39:24]:
Yes. Yeah. It's, I have some limitations. Like, when it comes to the heat treat, I can only really do about 6 at a time because I only have 2 sets of quench plates. So when I'm doing heat treat, when I'm doing bevels, I'll do 6. Right? And then I may get those knives, and I may go back and do heat treating bevels. This last set of, I Probably shaped and formed 12 to 14 handles, in in in a batch. Right.

Chris Jones [00:39:54]:
Because it's again, with the handles, it's kinda going through this repetition and this mindset. And what I found was I became Much more efficient and cut down on my production time significantly Bob doing batches. Right? If if I have to do a knife from end to end, start to finish, and don't stop and work on any other knife. I wouldn't make very many knives. But I I yeah. I try to do them in in groups of, 4 to 6.

Bob DeMarco [00:40:29]:
So, before we started rolling, I requested, you grab a couple of blades. Let let's take a look at those. These Yeah. At the at the knife show, these really caught my eye, and I and I swear I had seen them somewhere. Like,

Chris Jones [00:40:45]:
but I didn't I I

Bob DeMarco [00:40:47]:
guess I hadn't. I asked if they were on the cover of Blade magazine. You're like, no. And they they looked like they should be. The way you had it set up there, it was it was really cool.

Chris Jones [00:40:55]:
Yeah. I've I've I've never made it into a magazine. I've had professional photos taken, I haven't made it in, and Yeah. Okay. That's fine. But, I am going to Blade Show Texas here in a couple weeks. That'll be my 1st, Blade Show. But, yeah, I've got a couple, here.

Chris Jones [00:41:12]:
I can, let's see. So this one is a favorite of mine. This is a I love Nickyres. I use a push stroke when when using knives, and it's something that I I ask a lot of customers when they're trying to, You know, determine what type of knife which which knife should I get? I asked them, you know, how do you grip a knife? Are you using a pinch grip? Are you, you know, holding it back here and then you're on the spine? Do you use a lot of rocking motion, or do you use a lot of push motion? And so I can kinda put them in a knife that that fits them. Right? They're using a pinch grip. They can go by with a little bit longer knife because they're closer to the tip. But this is, a, Makiri. It's, some high polish Damascus.

Chris Jones [00:41:58]:
I don't normally do high polish Damascus. Most of the time, If I'm doing Damascus, it's it's a darker contrast. Beautiful. This one won, so the the show that that we were at, that, you know, Texas, custom knife show. This one, best kitchen knife in 2022. Yeah. Nice. Somehow, I still have it.

Chris Jones [00:42:21]:
I cannot believe that no. People pick it up. Funny story on this one is is, I showed it. I was talking to Doug Markaida, You know, and he was there and and he had told me he was like, oh, yeah. I voted for that one. And, he said Jay Nelson had picked it up and and Jay made a comment about the handle's too skinny. And Doug's like, well, it's a chef knife. Jay, you're not supposed to hold it like this.

Chris Jones [00:42:44]:
It's not a chopper. He's like, it it's here. Right. And and this thing is so light and and and balanced really well. But that's what I would typically do, on Damascus. This is, Alabama, Damascus. And, this one's also Alabama Damascus, but it's I I polished it out. Same pattern, raindrop.

Chris Jones [00:43:02]:
This one, I I did a wah handle. And so this one has some, hornbeam, some truestone, and then this was, a piece of Koa. Absolutely love Koa. And this one, best culinary knife, best kitchen knife at the Lost Pine Show in Bastrop, earlier back in when was that? September. So I I really love this one. I don't do a lot of wire handles, but I I really do, enjoy them.

Bob DeMarco [00:43:32]:
Those are octagonal. Right? Octagonal?

Chris Jones [00:43:34]:
Yeah. The oct the octagonal, you know, handle, the the traditional Japanese, you know, stock. They're a little longer than what you'd see in a western knife, but this one was was much more traditional. I did another Well, Hanlon, I think this was the one you were referencing earlier when you're talking about how,

Bob DeMarco [00:43:54]:
Light it was.

Chris Jones [00:43:54]:
Light it was. Yeah. This is stainless Damascus from Dana Works, And I wanted to do something that I've never seen before. I don't know. It's it's kinda difficult to see, but that is hand engraving, by another knife maker here, locally to me in Pambol. His name is Phil Dunn. He does a lot of folders, and he hand engraved that. And I wanted to do something that was Kind of a mix between traditional Japanese, but also maybe some more, like, western style and out in.

Chris Jones [00:44:24]:
There's like a southwest influence in here with some turquoise truth stone and some, engraving. And then, you know, most of the time when I'm doing, one of these, I'll also, You know, make a a for it. So a nice tight friction fit, with similar material. But, Yeah. These were, these are some that I like I said, I really enjoy doing, but, I don't do them super often. Some of the other things, this would be more of just my standard, chef knife, again with color. And so This is something, like I said, I I like more of an aggressive, you know, point. Some people look at it and think the point's too low, but It actually works, where it is, you know, on the handle.

Chris Jones [00:45:09]:
On a Western style knife, the tip is typically on the center of the handle or or towards the top. And so this one works really well with a pinch grip, or with a traditional grip. And, Yeah. I try to round off all of my spines right here. That was feedback I got from a chef one time, so that it doesn't create a hot spot. But yeah. It's, But I like to do, you know, some fun stuff too. This is one that I just finished this week.

Chris Jones [00:45:38]:
I haven't posted it yet, but we'll get a preview here. This is A new design for me, it's a very aggressive tip. This is much more for a push cut style, than you would a a rock. It's got a little bit of rock to it, but it also has, the handle kicks up a little bit, so you get a little more knuckle clearance. And this is Juma, Again, with some Denk Blunt's, resin, so I call this some fire knife.

Bob DeMarco [00:46:03]:
Fire knife. That's what

Chris Jones [00:46:04]:
that's yeah. This one's this like I said, this one works really well for me because I like to do a stuff.

Bob DeMarco [00:46:09]:
Yeah. That blade profile is really cool. It fits pretty unique. It looks it almost reminds me of one of those, Almost like an Afghan short sword, one of those, yeah, it it's really cool.

Chris Jones [00:46:23]:
It's the same profile that I was showing earlier with this one. And then I have a, I'll get your opinion on this. I've got a, another version of it, with Damascus, and I was thinking about doing, like, a swage on it, like a harpoon clip just because why not?

Bob DeMarco [00:46:39]:
Yes.

Chris Jones [00:46:39]:
Right? Yes. Like

Bob DeMarco [00:46:41]:
Yes. I like that. And and I I, I actually Don't like harpoons often? Harpoon's gotta be done right. That, I like. That's like a swedge on a buoy almost.

Chris Jones [00:46:53]:
Yeah. Definitely.

Bob DeMarco [00:46:54]:
I I like that. Yeah. We'll we'll see about that. And you could actually use that, you know, swedge, if it were a thicker steel, you could you could 0 grind that and have it be a little bone breaker, you know, on the back of the blade. But You

Chris Jones [00:47:08]:
could.

Bob DeMarco [00:47:09]:
You could. That might be a little gimmicky.

Chris Jones [00:47:11]:
You could even use it at, you know, as a scoop as you're cutting some vegetables. You just kinda scoop it up. Or Oh, yeah. Oh. I'm working with a, a local woodworker here to custom design a my own cutting board based to my specs. And one of the things is is it's going to have, like a juice groove Mhmm. Almost all the way around. There's gonna be about 6 inches or so in the front mill where there isn't, and right underneath where that is because I want it to be flushed all the way to the edge.

Chris Jones [00:47:42]:
And right underneath where that is, it will slide out a little plate Made of the same wood. So as you chop your vegetables, you don't have to scoop them on your knife. That's cool. Yeah. You can just scoop them onto the little plate, And it slides right off the cutting board. Take that over, dump it in the pan, and then move on. I love it.

Bob DeMarco [00:48:00]:
Well, that's cool.

Chris Jones [00:48:01]:
I'm sure to post that 1 on Instagram once I get it. He's been working on it I was

Bob DeMarco [00:48:04]:
gonna say, you better patent that sucker right quick. Show us the the Batman and Joker knives. These, Yeah. These are these are ones that really caught my eye first time.

Chris Jones [00:48:16]:
Like like I mentioned, I, I'll start with Batman. I I've always liked comic books. I like comic book movies. I'm, you know, kind of a sucker for that, and, I like to do themes on knives. And so I Was able to get a Batman pen, but I went with some, buckeye here, and it's got, Yellow liners down the spine, yellow pin. And I had it lasered in where it said, I am vengeance, right? And so this was

Bob DeMarco [00:48:46]:
it's Last thing the cucumber sees before you go to town on it.

Chris Jones [00:48:49]:
That's right. And so what's a Batman knife without a Joker knife? And so this top one is my 8 inch chef knife. The bottom one is my 6 inch petting knife. It's kinda hard See, there's some great photos out on my Instagram, but there is a little tiny joker facing me.

Bob DeMarco [00:49:04]:
Yeah. Yeah.

Chris Jones [00:49:05]:
And I actually had this one designed, specifically, For it was for another project I was working on. I I made a knife, that I donated for, that Bastrop show, and they had given me the materials. And they gave me Purple and green. And I actually love purple and green as a color combo like that. We don't have no idea. I think it's a great color combo. And so when I see purple and green, my first thought is, you know, Joker or Incredible Hulk. And so I saw it and I went, I gotta have a Joker Knife and so I had a pen made up, but the Joker says, why so serious?

Bob DeMarco [00:49:43]:
So Wait. What you

Chris Jones [00:49:44]:
said that to your

Bob DeMarco [00:49:45]:
You said that's your 6 inch what knife?

Chris Jones [00:49:47]:
Six inch petty knife.

Bob DeMarco [00:49:48]:
Petty. What is that?

Chris Jones [00:49:50]:
So a petty is is more of a, In terms of, like, a large, utility knife or, you know, a little bit bigger than, say so, like, here would be a paring knife, The 4th paring knife, 6 inch. So you might do those in a 3 piece set, right? I think of paring knives as I'm working off the table, Right? I'm keeling something. I'm doing something like that. What I tell folks is that the 6 inch petty knife, you know, if if you haven't If you don't know, like, what it is that that that you're, you know, wanting for a knife, I said, you know, start with a 6 inch petty knife because that can be your go to knife, in the kitchen. And it is for me if I'm, you know, wanna cut up an avocado. It's got the right size. I can work it off the table, cut all the way around. I can Use this with a little force, get that nut that's in there, twist it out.

Chris Jones [00:50:39]:
If I'm, making a a salad for for Just myself or my wife and I or if I'm doing something or it's just, you know, something for the 2 of us, I'm cutting something up, this is absolutely perfect. This is all I need. If you're somebody that grips this way, right, instead of a pinch grip, this is gonna be a better knife for you because By gripping it back here, you've moved your hand away from the tip. So that's why when I ask a lot of people what's your favorite knife when you're set, they're like, oh, it's the santoku. It's It's a little mini chef knife. So think of this as like a little mini chef knife. Yeah. And that whereas, you know, that that 8 inch I I say that the 8 inch chef knife is I'm preparing a meal for a family.

Chris Jones [00:51:21]:
Mhmm. Right? I've got my whole family over, I got some friends coming over, I'm gonna prepare a meal, or I use a pinch grip and I'm very comfortable with because when you get the closer you can get your hand to the tip, the more control you're gonna have over that tip for doing something like, you know, when you're when you're slicing lemons and and dicing lemons and you've gotta get in there and do, you know, a couple little cuts before you then come in sideways and then start slicing them up.

Bob DeMarco [00:51:45]:
You can, I I well, not you can? I I think I can see myself getting A petty knife. I have plenty of 10 inch and 8 inch chef's knives, and my wife likes a little bit of a smaller knife, but, I could see that 6 inch being perfect, like you said.

Chris Jones [00:52:04]:
Yeah. Okay. Yeah. It's a it's it's the, it's it's, Like I said, it's the go it's my go to knife in the kitchen.

Bob DeMarco [00:52:12]:
But but, okay. But pinpointing it, like, when I see that 6 inch utility knife in a kitchen knife, It's never anything that has any knuckle clearance. It's just like an extra long tire. It's kinda useless almost.

Chris Jones [00:52:26]:
Yeah. It's, that one, you know, might work for, you know, not even really a size like, maybe cutting the sandwich in half. I don't know. Right. That that little utility knife. But, yeah, this has got a little bit of that clearance. So I, yeah, absolutely love these little 6 inch, and they they sell pretty well. So that or I tell folks to go with the Santoku, which is a seven inch, so it's kind of like the in between.

Bob DeMarco [00:52:51]:
And that's that one with the gentle belly and the drop point. Yeah.

Chris Jones [00:52:56]:
Yeah. It's it's got a little bit of curve. The point's lower. This is one that you could use with a push cut or a rock, and, it's kind of, you know, The the the best of a couple of different worlds. Right? If you're only going to get 1 knife, the santoku or the pedi, you know, typically might be where you start and then Move into, a chef knife and then maybe a paring knife and that then you start getting into your specialty knives like your Nakiri's because you like to do a push cut, you know, serrated bread knives, a fillet knife, a boning knife. You know, that all depends upon what you Crap and what you eat. If you eat a lot of fish, you eat a lot of chicken, you're flying chicken breast, flying knife works great for that. If you do a lot of barbecue, you might want, you know, a bigger, slicer carving knife, to cut that up.

Bob DeMarco [00:53:48]:
Well okay. So what, what knives do you wanna see yourself making in the future. What how how do you wanna see your making as a maker, as a craftsman evolve?

Chris Jones [00:54:01]:
Yeah. That's a great question. I try to think about that at the beginning of every year, and I try to set myself a couple of goals. And one of the ones that I had for this year was to, do serrations. And so in 20, 23, I I Made probably half a dozen knives and a fillet knife. I made, fillet knives, and I got that heat treat down where I could, trusted and and really flexed and learned how to control the grind to get the flex in the right place. And then I also did some serrated, bread knives or sandwich knives. And so that was my goal for last year.

Chris Jones [00:54:41]:
One of the things that I also had on the list that I only really attempted once, was to do what's called an s grind. And so if you think of an s grind, it's it's a compound grind on a knife a chef knife that's got a tall heel, and it's really meant for Food release. And so if you think of, like, a normal chef knife full flat all the way up, the s grind is gonna go up maybe about 3 quarters of an inch, And then it's going to hollow with a I mean, we're talking a big, like you know, you're not using, like, a contact wheel. Like, You have a rate you know, a radius platinum, so it's the equivalent of grinding on, like, say, a 72 inch wheel.

Bob DeMarco [00:55:23]:
Oh, wow. Okay.

Chris Jones [00:55:25]:
Yeah. And so it gets this subtle hollow, so it goes up and then in, up to the spine. So you think about it's kind of like an s. Right? And so that's that's something okay. Yeah. It it gives a little bit of a gap, right, for some of that food to kind of come off. It can also lighten the blade even further, So you may be able to work with a little bit thicker material when you're getting that taller heel, and it it takes off some of that weight, And and really, does that. So like I said, I made one that was in the carry.

Chris Jones [00:55:58]:
I also messed up a couple of others That, ended up in my oops pile. All good knife makers should have an oops pile, and they should also revisit it once a year because You learn more and more about, you know, your craft, and somebody had told me once before that what separates a good knife maker from a great knife maker, right, or a master knife maker. One of the things is is as you get better, you learn how to fix your mistakes. You couldn't say hide mistakes, like, cosmetically. Like, obviously, you can't hide a functional mistake, But you you learn how to fix mistakes more than anything. So maybe you have one that has a little bit of a warp in it or something you can come back and, Learn learn how to fix that. Right? And so go to your oops pile ever so often, find 1, practice on it, use it, you know, grind it thinner. Crack it thinner than you ever thought you could.

Chris Jones [00:57:01]:
And you know what? If you mess it up, it was it was trash anyway.

Bob DeMarco [00:57:04]:
Yeah. And maybe it'll come out of the oops pile.

Chris Jones [00:57:07]:
Might come out of the oops pile would make a great gift for somebody. I've had some that I've salvaged from the oops pile, but then I was able to fix Well enough to where I felt comfortable selling it.

Bob DeMarco [00:57:18]:
That's like I'm good enough now to grind away the suck and release the great blade within.

Chris Jones [00:57:25]:
Yes. I I wasn't in the right mindset there or had the right skills, but I do now. Yeah.

Bob DeMarco [00:57:30]:
As we wrap here, Chris, Tell us what your goals are for Steel Dog Knives as a company, moving forward.

Chris Jones [00:57:37]:
Yeah. I tell people that, I'm I'm training myself for my retirement job. I've got 1 kid in college right now, who's, studying to go into hotel restaurant management, so that's kind of cool. Yeah. I've got, another in high school who's thinking about going into, nutritional science. So when we think about, you know, both of them, here we are around food, right, coming together as family. And so it's it's really cool. My my daughter in high school is taking Culinary class next year.

Chris Jones [00:58:09]:
I don't think they'll let her bring her own custom knife, but she does have a couple. But, no, what am I what do I think about? Like, I want to Continue to get better and continue to improve, learn new things, push myself to where At some point, when I decide that, you know, I've had enough of, you know, my my regular day Bob, you know, I'm at a point, my kids are out of college, You know, when it it's time to retire, I have something that will keep me busy, something that will keep me passionate, something that allows me a creative outlet, and keeps me occupied, but keeps me tied in with this wonderful knife making community. I absolutely love it. I've made friends in this knife making community that I see as as as brothers and sisters, and and now, you know, I know that we'll be friends, for the rest of our lives. Right? And so it it it that means a lot to me, so I wanna stay connected in that. But I don't see, like, going full time, and, I like I said, I I think, I I like my day job too. So, I wanna kinda balance both, and then at some point, it's, I'll I'll I'll do these, and I'll I'll make, You know, however much I need to make sure that I'm I'm happy. Right?

Bob DeMarco [00:59:27]:
Well, that's a that's a good second bit of Advice your first being, you know, go back to your oops pile. That, that's scalable advice that you could give to anyone, not just knife makers. Go back to your old work, check it out, see how you've improved, and see what you can do better. But also, like, aiming for that retirement, but Not just thinking, oh, I think I might do this, I might do that, but have it humming along. By the time you get there, it's well underway, and you already have Something thriving. Chris Jones, Steel Dog Knives, I wanna thank you so much for coming on the Knife Junkie podcast. It's been great, catching up with you after meeting you, down in Texas. Yeah.

Chris Jones [01:00:05]:
Yeah. Absolutely. Thanks for having me. This was a blast.

Bob DeMarco [01:00:08]:
My pleasure. Take care,

Announcer [01:00:10]:
The Shockwave Tactical Torch is your ultimate self defense companion, Featuring a powerful LED bulb that lasts 100000 hours, a super sharp crenulated bezel, and built in stun gun delivering 4,500,000 volts. Don't settle for ordinary. Choose the Shockwave tactical torch, the knife junkie.com/shockwave.

Bob DeMarco [01:00:30]:
There he goes, ladies and gentlemen. Chris Jones of Steel Dog Knives, forgot to mention before. You can catch up with him on his website, but also check out his Instagram. Beautiful pictures, and, I do believe that's the best way to reach out, to him to get your hands get your get your mitts on one of his beautiful knives. Alright. For Jim, working his magic behind the switcher. I'm Bob DeMarco saying, until next time. Don't take dull for an answer.

Announcer [01:00:56]:
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