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Joel Black Knives

Chef's Knife Making Course - Two Day San Mai

Chef's Knife Making Course - Two Day San Mai

Regular price £500.00 GBP
Regular price Sale price £500.00 GBP
Sale Sold out
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As you probably know, I used to run courses at my old forge where we would make a layered steel Damascus chef’s knife in two days - the same course that Jack (No Joke Knives) is still running from there. It focussed on knife grinding and steel forging , with heavy use of belt sanders - reflective of where my practice was at the time. My work has evolved over the last 6 years, and I’d like to offer a new course centred around what I currently prioritise in my making: three layered (san mai) chef’s knives, with an emphasis on stone shaping and polishing.

This course will be run from my new workspace in Hay-on-Wye, a really beautiful and popular tourism destination near the Black Mountains and Bannau Brycheiniog, close to the river Wye, and well stocked with accommodation and restaurants. Some accommodation my be available on Cabalva Farm, where the forge is located, and at the Rhydspence Inn, only a ten minute walk away.

It’ll be a two person course, and this purchase entitles  you to one place, that way I can offer up lots of attention and extra help (where needed).  I’ll do my best to let you forge and polish your own knife, and I’ll only step in if you need/want rescuing, as it’s much more rewarding to create the whole knife yourself.

We will spend day one forging and heat treating the blades, welding and forging on charcoal or coke, we’ll keep things very straightforward where the forging is concerned. We’ll fire weld a steel core into some wrought iron and forge the blade out using a press and a rolling mill.  I’ll have some templates available to use which will suit the process.  There will be a few different profiles we’ll be working with and you can choose from these.  Two different size gyuto, a petty nakiri or a suji. We’ll profile the blades, clean the tangs up and we’ll be ready to heat treat. Heat treat will involve annealing, cold forging, hardening and tempering, This will be the end of day one,  go rest, eat, drink and sleep and we’ll have the blades ready to shape and polish tomorrow.

Part of the beauty of stone finished bevels is that they’re easy to maintain.  The process of shaping the bevels is a lot slower than the belt grinder but it’s where the performance of the knife takes shape. I’ll prep the blades on the grinder before you arrive on day two to give everyone a fighting chance of getting the bevels dialled in nicely, once we get the shape of the bevels right on the coarse stones we can move though a progression then we’ll get into the natural stones.  We’ll finish the progression on a medium grit natural stone which will see your blade looking lovely with a kasumi bevel featuring a bit of detail which is set up ready to take further or just straight up use.

Once the bevels are shaped and the edge is sharp you’ll be armed with all the knowledge and skills you’ll need to maintain the knife at home with a couple of stones and some water, no need for expensive belt sanders or any fancy tools. Doing things this way means that the maintenance and sharpening of the knife will be straightforward and pleasant in the future.

We’re going to use as many local materials as possible on this course.  I’ll be pre-making handles with timber from the farm for everyone so that you can focus on finishing the blades. The wrought iron we use for the blades will be from a field right next to the workshop, and lunch will be coming from local producers (and depending on the season, our own garden), the only bits that will have traveled will be you, and maybe the core steel. 

I’m really looking forward to sharing this slower, more specific, practice with you all. This will be an interesting course for people who have forged before, as well as novices, and especially for knife enthusiast who want to know more about stone polishing - I have a large collection of stones in the workshop which we can have a play with.

After purchasing your place you will receive an email with further course information and local recommendations.

PLEASE READ: Please make sure that you are booking the correct dates on which you wish to attend, I will not have the capacity to change dates around. At the last forge late cancellations and date changes nearly tanked us, and I can't risk it again so I have to be strict about the refund policy: You can request a full refund within TWO WEEKS of purchase as per UK distance selling laws. I cannot afford to change this for ANY reason.

Hoping to see you soon!

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