FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

We hope we've covered everything you need to know, but if not, please get in touch

Our Knives Top

For questions regarding the materials we use, what we mean by the various parts of a knife and how to care for our knives.

Materials

What steel do you use for your knives?

We almost exclusively use Sandvik 14c28n, although on occasion we use RWL 34 powdered metallurgical steel and other exotics. For prototypes we use 420C, the steel used by most other knife manufacturers for their final product.

Why do you only use stainless steels?

One could possibly (just possibly) argue that 20 or 30 years ago carbon steels were still of better quality for high-end knives than stainless steel, but now that is simply not the case, and the top-end specialist steel manufacturers almost entirely concentrate on improving their stainless knife steels over others.

For us, choosing a metal type that corrodes as a knife blade makes little sense. Some will say that the ‘patina’ (i.e. rust) that invariably develops on a carbon blade tells a story, but we see this as an attempt to turn a bug into a feature. Also any knife that turns black when cutting onions – surely the mainstay of a kitchen knife – is of dubious utility.

Jay Fisher has quite a lot to say on the subject.

Will you use another steel for a bespoke blade?

Yes, of course – it’s your knife! Although not particularly our cup of tea, it is possible to get (at great expense) Damascus-pattern stainless steel, so that’s always an option if you like that sort of thing but would like to continue to use corrosion-resistant steel.

A rather better option might be Japanese layered steel.

What does hardness mean?

Each of our knives is tested for its hardness on the Rockwell C Scale, and we consistently hit 60. As always Wikipedia can explain this for you in detail, but roughly speaking the higher the Rockwell number, the stronger and more durable the edge. Of course, the harder the steel then the more difficult it can be to sharpen, but once it is sharp then it will stay that way for a long time. Some people prefer a slightly softer steel, in the region of 58, so that they can regularly top up the cutting edge on knives that are not doing heavy duty work. For this reason we can work to a range of hardnesses.

What handle materials do you use?

We use a wide variety of different materials to make the main part of our handles: natural wood, stabilised condensed wood, Richlite (paper stabilised in a phenolic resin), Corian, Durat (a composite material made from recycled, post industrial waste), epoxy resin, veneers and G. F Smith paper. All make wonderfully robust and attractive handles, so deciding which to have is very much a question of personal taste. All of our knives are made-to-order and as such, are all customisable exactly how you’d like them.

If you can’t find what you’re looking for in the options available on the website, or you’ve got something particular in mind, please don’t hesitate to get in touch and we can discuss the options. Where possible, we’ll always try our best to make the knife you want.

Do you use wood from the Savernake forest for your handles?

A question we are asked regularly! And the answer is no – we chose to name the company Savernake Knives because Laurie lives in it, spends a lot of time in it, we can see it from the amazing view afforded to us by our workshop and while we’re very, very good at many things, thinking up imaginative names doesn’t appear to be one of them.

 

Knife Care & Sharpening

How should I care for my Savernake knife?

If you care for your knife it will give you a lifetime of service.

The single most important thing to remember is NEVER to put it in the dishwasher. It will not enjoy being sprayed with salty detergent and being heated to 80ºc!

In the event of a guest (or someone else trying to be helpful) putting your knife through the dishwasher, we offer a handle replacement and blade re-conditioning service for £50 + p&p.

As the knives adapt to the heat and humidity of your kitchen, there may be a very slight expansion or contraction of the handle material. This will be most noticeable in a natural wood handle, less so in a stabilised handle and almost imperceptible with Richlite or similar materials.

The expansion will be most noticeable around the area of the pins. If you like, you can use some 400 or 600 grit sandpaper to smooth the handle down.

Natural wood handles would benefit from occasional oiling (we prefer Danish Oil). Make sure the handle is clean and dry and apply a good coating of the oil, leave for 5 mins and wipe off any excess before leaving the knife overnight for the oil to settle and cure. If you usually store your knife in a leather wrap, leave it to dry for 24 hours before returning it the wrap to avoid any staining or product transfer.

The kitchen is arguable the most demanding of locations for a knife handle (all that salt, fat, water, detergent, oil, heat, humidity etc) and so as long as you’re prepared to care for the handle and keep on top of it, you’re golden. If that fills you with fear, then we have plenty of other low-maintenance options.

All of our other handles have a very light layer of wax applied when they leave us, and if you’d ever like to restore a bit of lustre then a thorough rubbing with some beeswax polish will see you right.

All handles will benefit from regular use.

Any engraving on the blade is a two-part process. The main cut removes around 1/20th of a millimetre of steel, with a secondary black finish applied as the top few microns of the steel are annealed. The deep engraving will last the lifetime of the knife, whereas the black will very, very slowly fade over time as you clean the blade, and hence we recommend not using too much elbow grease (or too abrasive a cleaning agent) on any engraving as you’ may hasten its demise.

How should I sharpen my Savernake knife?

The best way to look after your knife is to hone it every time you use it, thereby having to sharpen only occasionally. Our knives are made to be as hard as possible while still being able to take a good honing.

Understanding the difference between honing and sharpening is the single most important thing you can learn (as regards caring for a knife). A good honing steel, such as our own range (with the ability to match the handle to your knife) is vital, and you should use it gently every time you cook, if possible – see here.

What’s the difference between sharpening and honing and how regularly should I be doing it?

Honing requires a decent honing rod and serves to reshape the very edge of a blade after it becomes misaligned through frequent and inconsistent contact with a chopping board. A professional chef will do this every time they cook. Far from the fast-paced, slashing technique that we often see on television (we’re looking at you Mr Ramsey), this should be done slowly and methodically. The key is to maintain the same angle, or as close as is humanly possible, as you slide the blade’s edge along the rod, alternating sides as you do so. The perfect angle will be dictated by the angle of the initial bevel made by the maker of the knife, but generally speaking, a chef’s knife will be somewhere between 12-17 degrees.

Regular honing will delay the need for sharpening, two terms which are often thought to mean the same thing. Sharpening will generally need to be done a couple of times a year, with a whetstone being the most effective method. This is a slightly more involved process with numerous online videos and tutorials showing how it’s done properly.

Can you recommend the best sharpening method?

Until recently, we were of the opinion that the many ‘quick-fire’ sharpening devices out there are like hangover cures – if they actually worked then we’d all have one. At the moment, our preferred domestic option is the Lansky Master’s Edge – it won’t put a new edge on a very old or knackered knife, but if you use it on one of our blades as soon as you notice the honing steel isn’t getting the edge up to snuff, then you’ll be set for life.

If you prefer whetstone, we suggest you watch this chap on YouTube as we find him to be the least full of rubbish and pleasingly lugubrious – he will recommend you go to a very fine grit, but we think that anything above 1 thousand is excessive for kitchen use. In fact beyond this will create a weaker edge (only after considerable effort) that won’t perceptibly improve cutting performance.

This whetstone will be great to start off with, and at only £20 it doesn’t matter if you take a few bits out of it while getting the hang of things. If you find you want to go up a level (that one being 400/1000 grit) then this one will get it ridiculously sharp.

The last step in sharpening is removing the burr – the hide side of an old leather belt will do, or buy a strop such as this one. A bit of baby oil on the leather will help you get a nice, even covering of the polishing compound.

As with most things, you get what you pay for. The stones above will do you well to start – and not be too expensive if you make a mistake – but ultimately better stones with give you a better edge. Our preferred brand is Naniwa.

We very highly recommend this sink brace – it allows you to put the knife securely on a sink and keep a trickle of water flowing. It assists in achieving a zen-like calm while sharpening.

If you’re of the ‘kit’ persuasion, then we suggest the Edge Pro.

And if this all sounds far too much like hard work? Then just post your knives back to us and we’ll do it all for you.

Help! I’ve hacked my way through a recalcitrant leg of lamb, what should I do?

We offer a complimentary sharpening and edge retention service once a year for the first 3 years after buying your new knife. Details are included with any purchase, but we will of course always be prepared to repair a damaged knife, be that a chipped edge from slamming through a pig carcass or from a helpful house guest putting your blade through the dreaded dishwasher.

Custom, Bespoke & Tailored Top

What we mean by custom, tailored and bespoke and how to redeem a custom or bespoke knife gift invitation.

Custom, Tailored & Bespoke Knives

What’s the difference between a custom, tailored and bespoke Savernake knife?

Our custom knife option allows you to choose from any of our standard knives and then customise it by choosing from a wide selection of handle materials, liner colours, spine patterns, different blade edges and adding your own complimentary engraving to the blade. There are 44,380 different options to choose from, so you are practically guaranteed a unique design. Use our configurator to customise your knife and create an account to be able to save and share your design with someone else, or apply your customisation to other knives to build your own set. Custom knife prices start from £250.

If you can’t find what you’re looking for within our Custom range, then you may wish to consider either our tailored or bespoke knife making service – read on for more details.

What does tailored mean?

Our tailored option allows you to tweak the design of any of our existing knife models to suit your own personal preference. We can tailor any combination of individual elements making up the overall finished knife – whether this is the handle material, handle shape or size, knife design or blade profile.

If you would simply like to tweak the material options slightly then just ask – if you have your own wood that you would like us to use or would like us to source a particular material for you we’re always happy to help. Dependent on what you’d like us to find for you there may be a small additional charge if the material is more expensive than our standard options (usually no more than £50 per knife).

If you would like a G . F Smith paper or G . F Smith paper and wood veneer handle this will add £75 to the cost of your knife.

Tailored knives (changes to the blade profile or handle shape) are priced from £750 to £850 dependent on the size of the knife.

If you would like us to tailor any of our existing knives please get in touch with us to discuss options. Please note that any tailoring will add a minimum of 1 week extra making time to our standard lead-times.

I’d like to design my own knife – is this possible?

If you can’t find a model in amongst our Custom or Special Edition range, you may want to think about working with us on a Bespoke knife. Our bespoke knife service is priced at £1,250 and includes initial sketches, CAD drawings, an acrylic mock up and a fully-working steel prototype in addition to the finished knife with whatever handle material you desire.

We are also increasingly confident in our designs for outdoor knives and so can often make your specific design without needing to make a prototype en route.

How do I commission a bespoke knife?

Our Bespoke knife service always begins with a conversation. Whether you know exactly what you’re looking for, or you only have a vague inkling, we will work with you to develop a design that’s truly unique and completely tailored to you. From concept to complete in 8 weeks, this is precision engineering just for you. If this sounds like the perfect option for you, why not get in touch to chat it through with us.

What’s the largest blade you can make?

We’re set up to make any knife you can possibly dream of, with our only constraints being the size of the plate in our steel mill and the size of our furnace. At present, the largest overall length we can make is 500mm, and since we recommend a handle size of at least 150mm for a long blade, then this would mean a resulting 350mm blade length (14″) which we consider ample. We can make knives larger than this, however it means making the blade and handle separately and welding them together which differs from our current standard making method.

Knife Gift Invitations

I’d like to gift someone a knife but aren’t sure what model or customisation they’d prefer?

If you’re nervous of customising a knife on behalf of someone else, our custom knife gift invitation allows you to give someone a particular knife model which they can then customise themselves. Our custom knife gift package includes:

  • Personalised gift certificate
  • Personalised letter outlining the design process
  • Beautiful brochure about their knife
  • Branded Savernake keepsake gift box, in our signature black Richlite which opens to become a chopping board

Prices for our custom knife gift invitations start from £130 for a customised honing steel and £275 for a custom knife.

If you’re unsure of which model to choose, then a safe bet may be to opt for a Savernake Gift Card, prices of which start from £50. And add the option of a keepsake Savernake keepsake gift box, which transforms into a supremely useful chopping board if you’d prefer a gift card with a difference.

I’d like to gift someone a bespoke knife – is this possible?

Absolutely! Our bespoke knife gift invitations make exceptional presents for very special occasions – or for people who are very hard to buy for! Working with our expert knife makers and crafts people, our bespoke knife gift allows the lucky recipient to design their very own knife from scratch – and includes a personal, guided tour of the workshop, knife consultation, acrylic mock-up of their design followed by a fully-functioning steel prototype and last but not least, their finished knife itself. All gifts are sent in a keepsake Savernake gift box which transforms into a chopping board once opened – the perfect surface for them to use the finished bespoke knife to slice on.

Our bespoke knife gift costs £950.

I’ve been bought a custom or bespoke knife gift – what do I do next?

Congratulations! If you’ve been lucky enough to have been gifted a Savernake custom or bespoke knife gift, your accompanying gift card will include a QR code and have a redemption code written on it. Using any smart phone (Android or iPhone), launch the camera app and hover the lens over the QR code. This will automatically open a personalised web page with instructions for how to customise your knife or start the process of commissioning your bespoke knife, dependent on which option you’ve been gifted. If you’re confused or experience any technical issues then please get in touch with us and we’ll be delighted to help by phone or email!

I’ve been bought a custom knife gift but would prefer to choose a different knife model – can I change it?

Yes of course. You’re welcome to choose any of our standard custom knives to the same value as the knife you’ve been gifted or to pay the additional if the model you’d prefer is a more expensive knife. Just get in touch with us and we’ll be happy to help.

Payment, Shipping & Returns Top

Information on shipping methods, prices and lead times, returns and what's covered by the Savernake lifetime guarantee.

Payment Methods

What payment methods do you accept?

We use Stripe as our online payment provider and accept all major debit and credit cards, including American Express. Alternatively you are welcome to select PayPal at checkout and we also support Apple Pay and Google Pay for faster checkout.

Payments taken over the phone are processed using Square and if we send you an invoice by email you can choose to pay this via whichever card method is most convenient.

If you would prefer to pay via bank transfer (BACS) please get in touch to request our bank details.

Pay later in 3 interest-free instalments with Klarna

Klarna is a Swedish payment service provider that takes end-to-end responsibility for your payment. Klarna is the provider of smooth payments to more than 200,000 online stores. Over 85 million consumers worldwide have trusted Klarna to securely handle their payments.

How does Pay later in 3 interest-free instalments work?

Pay later in 3 interest-free instalments will allow you to spread the cost of your purchase over 3 equal payments. The payment for each instalment will automatically be collected from the debit or credit card you entered at checkout. Your first instalment will be collected when your order is confirmed by Savernake Knives and instalments 2 and 3 are scheduled 30 and 60 days later, respectively. You can always monitor your payments’ schedule in the ​Klarna app​.

Am I eligible for Pay later in 3 interest-free instalments?

To use Pay later in 3 interest-free instalments you must be at least 18. Whilst this option is widely promoted, Pay later in 3 interest-free instalments is subject to your financial circumstances. When choosing Pay later in 3 interest-free instalments, our assessment will not affect your credit rating.

How can I increase my chances of being accepted for Pay later in 3 interest-free instalments?

Klarna is unique and offers Pay later in 3 interest-free instalments based on a number of factors such as the order value, previous order history and item availability. If you are 18 or over, you can improve your chances of being offered Pay later in 3 interest-free instalments by ensuring you provide your full name and accurate address details and shipping to your registered billing address. All orders are assessed individually. Just because you have been accepted for a Klarna payment method before does not mean it will be offered for every order and in turn, as it is denied does not mean it will be denied for all future orders.

What do I need to provide when I make a purchase?

If you want to make a purchase with Klarna using Pay later in 3 interest-free instalments, you’ll need to provide your mobile phone number, email address, current billing address and a debit or card card. The mobile number is required in case we need to reach you. All communications will be sent to your email address. It’s very important that you give us the correct details, as otherwise you will not receive your payment schedule and any updated order information.

Will a credit search take place against me?

Klarna may run so-called unrecorded enquiries (or soft credit searches) that do not affect credit scoring and are only visible to you and Klarna, but not visible to other lenders. Neither Klarna nor Savernake Knives run credit searches against you that could impact your credit rating.

Why have I not been offered Pay later in 3 interest-free instalments?

Although Pay later in 3 interest-free instalments is widely promoted it is not always universally available. The Pay later in 3 interest-free instalments payment option is automatically generated by algorithms that are dependent upon a number of factors including address details, cardholder details, amount of order, the online store, previous order history and item availability.

What are my payment options with Klarna?

Payment for your Pay later in 3 interest-free instalments will automatically be collected from the debit or credit card you entered at checkout. The first payment is taken when the order is confirmed. The second and third instalments are collected 30 and 60 days, respectively, after the first instalment. You can always monitor your payments’ schedule in the Klarna app.

What happens if I cancel or return my order?

As soon as Savernake Knives have accepted your cancellation/return, Klarna will cancel any future scheduled payments as well as refund any amounts due. The return will be reflected in the Klarna app immediately.

What happens if I don’t pay for my order?

Klarna will automatically attempt to collect your payment for your Pay later in 3 interest-free instalments purchase at Savernake Knives from the debit or credit card you entered at checkout. If we are unable to collect your payment on the scheduled due date Klarna will make one further attempt to automatically collect payment two days later. Should this last payment attempt fail, Klarna will issue you a statement for the full outstanding order amount which will become payable 15 days later. Klarna shall notify you when a payment is due two days in advance of attempting to collect your payment and you can always monitor the due date in Klarna app at your convenience. Your credit score will not be impacted by using Klarna’s ‘Pay later in 3 instalments’ product even if you have failed to pay on time.

I have been asked to go to the Klarna site. Is this correct?

You can view all of your Klarna purchases and payment schedule in the Klarna app or by logging onto Klarna.com/uk.

Is my payment information safe?

Payment information is processed securely by Klarna. No card details are transferred to or held by Savernake Knives. All transactions take place via connections secured with the latest industry standard security protocols.

Can I pay before the due date?

Yes. Just go to the Klarna app or log onto Klarna.com/uk and pay off early.

Have you received my payment?

Klarna will notify you via email and push notification from the Klarna app when a payment is due and when this has successfully been collected, or in the unlikely event of your payment failing. If a payment has been collected but you have not received payment confirmation, you can always check the status of your order and payments in the Klarna app or by logging in at ​www.klarna.com/uk​.

What happens to my statement, when I’ve returned the goods?

Once Savernake Knives has received the return (partial or full) and you have received their confirmation of this, an updated statement with an adjusted payment schedule will be sent to you by Klarna if you’ve made a partial return. With a full return, we shall refund any payments collected and cancel any future scheduled payments. You are always able to monitor the status of your order in the Klarna app.

I’ve received a statement, but I’ve not yet received my goods.

In the event that your goods have not been received please call Savernake Knives to check on your order and delivery status. You can also contact Klarna’s Customer Service so that we can postpone the due date on your payment or put the order on hold in the Klarna app while you wait for the goods to arrive.

I have cancelled my order. How long will it take until I receive my refund?

As soon as the store has registered your cancellation or your return, the refund will be processed within 5-7 business days.

I have asked for a refund. How will I be refunded?

Refunds shall be issued back to the debit or credit card which was originally entered at checkout.

I haven’t received an email with my statement/payment information.

You can log in the Klarna app or at​ www.klarna.com/uk​, where you will find all of your orders and payment schedule information.

I still have questions regarding payment, how can I get in touch?

Visit Klarna app or ​Klarna’s Customer Service page​ for a full list of FAQ’s, live chat and telephone options.

I need a knife in a hurry – what are my options?

We keep a selection ready made knives available to buy in our online shop so it’s always worth taking a look to see what we have available. If ordered by 2pm we can have our ready made knives engraved and posted to reach you by the next day. If you don’t see anything you like then please get in touch to see if we can make a knife for you as a priority order. Our gift cards and knife gift invitations make fantastic presents and again, in most cases we can have these sent out for next day delivery – do let us know when ordering if you need them by a particular date.

What delivery methods do you use?

Your order will be delivered next day, registered delivery by Royal Mail Special Delivery Guaranteed which are insured but require a signature. Your order will arrive in its specially-designed tubular Savernake packaging, including guidance on knife care and a personalised note from the team.

We use UPS for all non-UK deliveries, but we can use another service if your location is not served well by UPS (although we’ve found them to be the most globally reliable)

Please note that in the UK, Royal Mail are unable to deliver our knives without a signature, but that they will be available to collect for 3 weeks from your nearest Royal Mail sorting office if you’re not in.

The Savernake Lifetime Guarantee

How long are your knives guaranteed for?

Our products are guaranteed for a lifetime. We also offer a reconditioning service for damaged knives for a small fee. Please note that putting your knife through the dishwasher will automatically invalidate the lifetime guarantee and whilst we are happy to repair them for you there will be a charge involved. We expect a bit of care to be taken – if you have damaged the knife through negligence, then while we can certainly do our best to help, we’d be unlikely to replace the knife save a clearly identifiable manufacturing fault is to blame.

We’re sure you’ll love your new knife. If there’s something not right with your order, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Will you resharpen my knives for me?

All Savernake knives include complimentary sharpening and servicing for the first three years of their life. After this, you are welcome to return them to us (please deliver them in person or via recorded delivery) for us to sharpen them for you for a small fee per knife. For advice on honing and sharpening, take a look at our knife care FAQs.

 

Delivery Information

How long will I have to wait for my knife to be made?

We aim to despatch all orders within 3-4 weeks, depending on the complexity of the design and the materials we use. However, there’s many a twist twixt beginning and end, and so sometimes we’re early and sometimes the knife wants to spend more time in the workshop.

The absolute best thing to do is to get in touch with us if you have a specific date that you need your order by – we’re almost always able to fast-track and prioritise if the need be, but please don’t order a vitally important knife for a vitally important date and then just assume that we’ll precisely hit the target! It’s an art with a bit of science chucked in, and all that implies.

If you have any queries please send us an email and we’ll usually get back to you within an hour or so (given it’s Christmas and we all need a rest we may be a little slower than normal to reply!)

I need a knife in a hurry – what are my options?

We  keep a  selection of ready made knives available to buy in our online shop so it’s always worth taking a look to see what we have available. If ordered by 2pm we can have our ready made knives engraved and posted to reach you by the next day. If you don’t see anything you like then please get in touch to see if we can make a knife for you as a priority order. Our gift cards and knife gift invitations make fantastic presents and again, in most cases we can have these sent out for next day delivery (apart from during the Christmas workshop shutdown – see note above) – do let us know when ordering if you need them by a particular date.

What delivery methods do you use?

Your order will be delivered next day, registered delivery by Royal Mail Special Delivery Guaranteed which are insured but require a signature. Your order will arrive in its specially-designed tubular Savernake packaging, including guidance on knife care and a small sample of finishing oil if you’ve ordered a wood handled knife.

We use UPS for all on-UK and/or ROI deliveries.

Please note that in the UK, Royal Mail are unable to deliver without a signature.