Your questions answered

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

Why the name Savernake Knives?

Because half of us live in it, both of us spend 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.

I can't find exactly what I want on the site, what are my options?

If you can’t find a model in amongst our Classic or Specialist range, you may want to think about working with us on a Bespoke knife. We’re set up to make any knife you can possibly dream of, with our only constraint being the size of the plate in our steel mill (which can create knives up to a maximum blade length of approximately 18″, which we think is ample).

What is the process with your Classic and Specialist knives?

Our Classic and Specialist collections are your chance to design a knife that says something about who you are. Tinker to your heart’s content with over 12000 variants of blade style, handle material, liner colour and pin metal. Not to mention infinite engraving options. Design your perfect knife and we’ll make it for you.

How do I get 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.

Which steel do you use?

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. This is the sort of thing we’re talking about.

A rather better option might be Japanese layered steel.

What do all these different grind types mean?

Whilst several grind styles exist, we opt for a full hollow grind, resulting in a blade which is concave in profile. This approach is favoured for several reasons: it produces a light knife, due to the removal of more steel than other methods; it makes for smoother cutting and slicing, due again to the lack in metal passing through an ingredient; large ingredients are far less likely to stick to the side of the blade due to a reduced surface area when compared to a flat grind; and finally, a hollow ground blade will stay sharper for longer, due to a thinner blade profile. (see diagrams below)

Savernake Knives signature hollow grind

Which handle materials do you use?

We use 3 different materials to make the main part of our handles: Richlite, natural wood and stabilised condensed wood. All 3 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.

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'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 17-22 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.

Caring for your knife

Your knife should really require very little maintenance, less occasional sharpening and frequent honing. If you have a non-stabilised wooden handle then the odd touch-up with Danish oil – or equivalent – will be all you need.

The main thing to remember is not to put your knife through the dishwasher. Not only will it damage the handle, the steam and salt will – even with the best stainless steel – cause corrosion, particularly at the cutting edge.

Lastly, if you have a finely-balanced, delicate filleting knife then don’t use it to hack your way through a recalcitrant leg of lamb!

For more info on this topic, have a read of our blog post on how to care for your knife.

I hacked my way through a recalcitrant leg of lamb, what do 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.

Get in touch...

If you have a question that we haven’t covered here, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.