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I've chipped my Mac Pro knife

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Only noticed I was cleaning up after dinner, but my chefs knife has a dirty nasty big chip on it. It's a Mac Pro 10.5 inch chefs

It must have been from today which means the offending item was shallot, a chicken breast or some portobello mushrooms. :( I mean, seriously? I'm an amateurs amateur chef, so I don't know all the correct temrminlogy, but I was rocking through the shallots, chopping the mushrooms and slicing the (cooked) chicken breast

I know the MAC blades are relatively fragile to my old German kinves but I was hardly swingin it round like I was in Kill Bill :(

Anyway, I cannot imagine Mac nor the shop will take it back (not least because, why should they?) so I guess I am gonna have to get it re-profiled

Does anyone have any suggestions as to what to do about this blade? I'm genuinely and utterly down about this :( - it was a wonderful knife (once I got the handle sorted out - see other thread)
post #2 of 18
How big of a chip?

And how are your sharpening skills.

Small chips aren't worth worrying about as you'll sharpen through them sufficiently fast.

A big chip might be a poorly tempered blade and might be warrantable. But that claim would probably take quite a few weeks with sending the blade back, analysis and so on.
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 
My shaprneing skills are approx nada

I'll take a picture tomororw and stick it on here for folks to look at
post #4 of 18
it's one of those marvelous hard steel knives that hold an edge longer than James Bond.

whatever you chipped it on, it's toast.

grind it out, stone it out. or just go back to those infinitely inferior German steel knives that do not chip out a five iron divot on sight of a four hour cooked chicken bone.

what can one say? there are ranting raves and there is reality. it is not chiseled in stone - which one cannot do - anyway - with a j-knife, that the two must meet.
post #5 of 18
Call and talk with Harold at MACKnives before you do ANYTHING! His email is thebest@macknife.com and the web site is MAC Knife Inc. USA and the rest of the contact info is:

MAC Knife, Inc.

9624 Kiefer Blvd. #1
Sacramento, CA 95827-3822
phone: MAC-Knife (888-622-5643)
fax: 916-854-9974
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
post #6 of 18
Thread Starter 
I will indeed inddeed be writing to Harald

Chips here Picasa Web Albums - Craig - Mac Knife Chip#
post #7 of 18
While I don't know what steel that is, at the hardness level of a Mac knife, here's what I've seen in some high-end pocket knives at comparable hardness. This was particularly true of the Benchmade RSK1. Many of those knives chipped similarly to your MAC in not particularly stressful situations.

However, once the knife had been sharpened a few times it wouldn't chip again. What seems to have been the problem is that the thin edge of the knife overheated during the edge grinding. Once you had removed that bit of factory edge, the knife and steel behaved as expected. A lot of these blades were warranted. Probably even more of them were just sharpened through.

Of particular note in the case here was that the steel in question forms large carbides. These carbides are prone to chipe out of a thin edge as they lacked sufficient support in the over-tempered steel edge.

A chip is a heart wrenching thing. If that were my knife, I'd proceed to sharpen and use it as normal, with a bit of a draw stroke at the finish to compensate for where the chipped area wouldn't cut through all the way. After a few sharpenings, it would be working normally though you might still see it, it would cut fine.

Where you aren't confident in your ability to sharpen, wait and see what the folks at MAC have to say. And once you have that info, you can decide about having it sharpened professionally or having MAC service it if they offer.
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
post #8 of 18
Look LONG and HARD at your MAC warranty!


I would NOT attempt to repair it myself until AFTER discussing it with Harold, regardless as to your skills in doing so.

A few minutes on the telephone, an email, or even a letter may save you a lot of anguish!
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
post #9 of 18
That knife has been nothing but trouble for you.

I agree with Peter that you should get in touch with MAC. Although IIRC you bought your knife from a catering wholesaler in England and not MAC USA. In any case get in touch with the distributor as opposed to the retailer. Offhand I don't know who the European distributor is. "Arimoto" sticks in my mind for some reason. But perhaps not a good one.

If they won't replace your knife, you certainly have sufficient cause to be angry. The good news is that it's very easy to grind a chip out. I'd do it by hand myself, but you don't sharpen your own knives -- which makes it even easier. Any sharpener can do it.

Here's a tip: The edge MAC puts on the Professional isn't the best possible edge for the knife. When you have the knife reground, tell the sharpener that you want the edge ground to a double bevel on both sides. And that you have a very particular and acute bevel in mind. That is, a 15* edge bevel over a 10* secondary (or "thinning") bevel.

If you can't find a sharpener who will do a double bevel for you, you must find one who will sharpen to a 15* flat bevel. If you can't, you're going to have to make other arrangments -- like schlepping the knife to Copenhagen or buying Chef's Choice sharpener. A MAC "RollSharp" won't grind the chip out, but a Chef's Choice will.

Despite Dillbert's remarks, chipping isn't that common in mass-produced, western style Japanese knives. They're using better steels and not hardening as extremely. The knife steel MAC uses for its Professional series is under-hardened if anything in favor toughness over strength. Consequently it's perhaps the most robust of any mass-produced Japanese knife, and certainly highly chip resistant as those things go. Yours is one of very few chip stories I've heard.

If the knife wasn't in some way defective, and actually chipped on something it wasn't a shallot. It's could well have chipped on the board itself rather than in the food. Very hard boards can cause chipping, and so can very soft boards like nylon.

How a hard board (like stone, glass, composition, etc.) chips a knife is intuitively obvious. Soft boards have a tendency to "grab" the knife, and if the user doesn't use the knife straight up and down, it has a tendency to chip. You can actually feel the grab of the board and the ping of the chip, if you're paying attention to what you're doing at the time. FWIW, it isn't uncommon with Wusties, Henckles or other forged, stainless "German" knives. Sharpening to a "toothy" finish with a very coarse stone or diamond steel also increases the tendency to chip.

Sometimes, you end up with little rocky pieces of gravel on the board when you chop herbs, leafy vegetables -- or mushrooms (many growers use "vermiculite" to keep mushroom soil drained and airy). It's easy to chip an edge, especially when you hold the tip with one hand and rock-chop through the leaves. The action generates a lot of force. It's not the best way to chop, and a lot of us use other techniques. Or, we know we should -- but it's hard to resist one pass of running the knife through that way when you want a fine mince.

If it's any consolation I've chipped Henckles, Wusties, Shuns, and a lot of others. Even Sabatier carbon. It happens. In fact, I was having a heck of a time sharpening an antique "Nogent" style Sabatier, until a huge carbide crystal broke off (on a very coarse stone). It took a complete reprofile to get the edge back in shape, but it's been an easy knife to sharpen ever since.

Hope yours works out for the better too,
post #10 of 18
Ah yes, it is "Harold Arimoto", the US distributor.
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
post #11 of 18
A follow-up to BDL's excellent remarks.

1. If you chipped a non-defective edge, I'm betting you did it roll-mincing. I have done this myself, and a friend here in Kyoto does it constantly. You always get the chips in about the same place: just where the strong curve from the belly of the blade begins. What happens is this: you are pressing down on the tip and the handle and rocking, and as you roll the knife you twist it around just a bit to get the next bit of chives or whatever for your mince. But you're pushing down a bit too hard, the board is too soft in a particular way (e.g. nylon or mediocre wood). The edge is actually embedded in the wood at the curve, and when you twist, the little bit of metal inside the wood is subjected to powerful cross-strain. Do it a bunch of times and you'll get chips.

For future reference, assuming you don't want to give up roll-mincing entirely, you must stop pushing down so hard. If the knife is really sharp, it's not necessary to push: the fingers on the tip of the blade are there just to keep it in place, not to press down, as the weight of the knife should do the work.

2. If you are having trouble finding someone to do the sharpening BDL suggested, try a woodworking specialty shop. There are more of these than you might think. If you can't find one, ask a professional carpenter who doesn't do slap-bang work: he has people he relies on for serious tool work. These people are often very knowledgeable about knives and edges, and they don't give a [expletive!] about what's cool in food. Fortunately as well, many of them know nothing about what is and isn't "normal" in kitchen knives or sharpening, so if you say double-beveled, 15 and 10, they'll just do it and not second-guess. You may pay a hair more for the service, but it will be done right. Incidentally, if you should ever lose your marbles and buy a single-beveled Japanese knife, get help from the same people as far as sharpening is concerned.

3. For what it's worth, the chip in the photograph is not something to panic about. It's not nearly as bad as it looks. I am a home cook like you, and relatively new to serious sharpening, and I well remember your feeling: OMG, I've ruined this knife, I can't believe I broke it, etc. You haven't. This is not completely trivial, but it's not a big deal either. If you were a middling home sharpener, you could take this out in well under an hour and do a beautiful job; someone with a lot of experience could do it in 15-20 minutes. So stop beating yourself up.

All of this assumes that, after talking to the MAC people, you conclude that this is something you have to deal with and not them. I don't know the back-story -- maybe you got a lemon.
post #12 of 18
I hadn't seen the picture of the chip when I wrote. Your diagnosis has a lot going for it. "Roll mincing" you call it? I'd always thought of it as the dreaded "rock chop while holding the point with the free hand." It does put a lot of sidewise torque on the fulcrum. .

Hard to resist leaning on it. It feels so good.

Hadn't thought of that. Great idea.

It would take about 15 minutes on a pink brick (water stone), about 20 on a coarse India (oil stone). There's a technique called "the Magic Marker Trick" which would be darn near mandatory if you (Der Tillster) are going after it yourself. You would have to be willing to grind aggressively, and not just swipe your knife across the stone, or move it in little circles. If you're not comfortable sharpening, let alone profiling, your new MAC probably isn't the best choice for practice. If MAC won't give you a replacement, you'd be best served by a professional sharpener. Still, if you want to do it yourself on a stone, I'll write you comprehensive instructions.

Another thought: You absolutely can sharpen the chip out with one of the Chef's Choice maches that does "an Asian Edge." They make four, and two of them have a sufficiently aggressive first stage to profile. It would take awhile, and you'd have to be careful; but at the end you'd be left with a smooth profile and a way of keeping it relatively sharp that doesn't require much learning. Chef's Choice aren't perfect. They don't sharpen as well as a good sharpener using good stones, or as well as a rod guide system like Edge Pro Apex. When the machine clogs it can't be cleaned by the user. And, I have no idea what they cost in Denmark. Here in the states, they're actually cheaper than a good set of waterstones -- but in Europe, I doubt it.

Tillster -- Let us know how it's going,
post #13 of 18
Here is a video, that although made by a very experienced sharpener, provides a pretty nice tutorial on knife sharpening.
post #14 of 18
That chip does not look to severe from the photo's.
The advice of talking to the manufacturer is sound, several quality knives makers have lifetime warranties to a point.
If Mac will not resharpen it or replace it under warranty it would not take long on the stones to fix.
post #15 of 18
Thread Starter 
Hi all

Sorry for the absence of my replies. I've been ill with a painful attack of my gall bladder / gall stones. Ouch ouch ouch

And then I've just got back from 2 weeks in NYC. Was my first trip to the US so I had a truly wonderful time.

Anyway, before we get onto the chip, I thought I'd tell about a complete d'oh moment. We stayed for a week in Tribeca, on Chambers Street.

(The savvy amongst you are already going "Ahhhhhhh, i know where this is going" :lol:)

On the last day in NYC (THE LAST BLOODY DAY !!!!!) I turned down a street close to the hotel which I had not yet been down. And what do i find on the street?

I'll leave it for the new yorkers to tell me ;)

Suffice to say i coulda taken the knife with me and had it re-profiled while I was sightseeing in NYC. Oops

Anyway, I have written to Harald. We'll see what he says. I'm not even bothering with the retailer (for now) as they were not the happiest bunch when I had it replaced previously because of the poor handle finish (as an aside, I have had to soak this handle as well to get it to fit properly - it seems to have dried out over the few months I have had it - I guess this is part of the joy of MAC:look:)

Anyway, to answer some of the really helpful and insightful comments, yes Chris I was doing what you and I would refer to as roll mincing. My board - on reflection - is nothing of note. It's a big block from IKEA. I guess the less said the better and I'll have a look around this forum for suggestions of which wood / maintenance I should be aiming at.

I know I'm asking for a world of pain with saying this, but I had taken a conscious decision not to get 'into' the area of stones and would have been happy enough (for now) with a MAC roll sharp

Therefore, depending on what Harald tells me I will seek out someone who knows what they're doing. It may well be that i have to ship it someone as Denmark is not the most cosmo of places, but we'll cross that bridge when we get to it

Thanks once again for the advice and help and sorry that it's taken me a while to reply
post #16 of 18
Thread Starter 
So - all is well

Had some excellent correspondence from Harold @ MAC. Not generally covered under warranty though had I been living in the US he'd have taken care of it for me

He's put me in touch with the local distributor who I have just spoken to - excellent and helpful guy who will be getting the knife tomorrow and reprofiling it for a ridiculously small sum.

Wish I'd known about him before buying from Hansens in London (though he's a bit more expensive)

As I am but a home cook I may well forego a whetstone and give them to him to take care of twice a year or so (just need to sort myself out with a rod now)

Oh, and the shop around the corner form my hotel in NYC was Korin. I could have spent quite some time in there, but sadly time was one thing we just did not have enough of over there
post #17 of 18
Glad it worked out. Now you'll have to start contributing Danish recipes.

Loving the story with a happy ending,
post #18 of 18
I'm of the opinion that when you use fine cutlery, you owe it to yourself to learn to sharpen and maintain it.
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