Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Murray/Mertz Knife Review - Part 1

Began the actual review process this morning at the senior center carving group.  One thing that I must point out is the fact that old folks do not necessarily like change.  Using this new knife is change for me.  OK, Im old!  I am not used to the blade shape.  So, I must be careful in my evaluation, to be sure to be fair.  But then again, lots of folk don't like change, so what I have to say might still be helpful.

CRAFTSMANSHIP  The craftsmanship in this knife is immediately evident.

SHARPNESS/POLISH  The knife arrived ready to carve.  The blade was well polished, with the shaping marks only visible under a magnifying glass.  Several stroppings will eliminate any trace of this.
The remainer of the evaluation will consider my experience while using the knife.  I personally feel that the only way to begin the process of "learning" a new knife, especially one with a new blade profile, is to practice different kinds of cuts with it.  Practice the kinds of cuts you expect to make with the knife.
I plan to use this little detail knife to carve/whittle small; so the cuts that I practice will be small.  I chose a 1 1/2 inch piece of Basswood to make some practice cuts in.  I'll make lots of the cuts.  Practice, practice, practice!
FEEL OF THE HANDLE  My hands are not huge, but this handle design feels real nice.  The rounded large end of the knife might be a wee bit large for my personal preference.  This can easily be adjusted.  The oiled finish of the Walnut is dried and not sticky nor shiny.  It feels great in the hand.
WEIGHT  This is a very light feeling knife, even with the larger handle.  I think this is important, as the feel of the blade tip cutting can be transferred up and through the handle a lot more effectively when the knife is lighter in weight.
BLADE THICKNESS  This seems OK!  The "grind" to achieve the flat blade has left the necessary blade thickness at the top of the blade, while still having a thin cutting edge.  The blade TIP is very slightly rounded.  I would prefer the tip to be pointed, but a balance may be necessary so that the tip is not weak.  We'll see how the slightly rounded tip works.  If it doesn't work for me, I'll put more of a point on the tip.
EDGE HOLDING  I only used the knife for about two hours, but it was still just as sharp as when it arrived.
SMOOTHNESS OF CUT  Excellent!  The ease that the SLICING CUT that can be made with this scimitar profile blade is great.
ARC CUTTING  This is the real test for me.  I need a blade that will be able to cut arcs that have about a 1/4 inch to a 3/8 inch diameter, for eyes.  And obviously I don't want the blade tip to break off.  This is what the practice cuts are all about.  One needs to do this with any new knife to find out what the limits are.  The problem is, you need to be able to make a smooth angled arc, without breaking the blade tip.  You must obtain the correct angle of the knife, and the proper depth of the cut.  The practice arcs that I have made so far indicate that I need to make some more so that I can eliminate the "blade chatter" at the radius of the small arcs.  But my preliminary finding is that this blade will make the small arcs, and make them cleanly.

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