Date Posted:5 May 2021
C5 = Carbon steel x Cast x Cold forged x Corrugated x Chisel edge
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Solidteknics Söliditi™ C5 was developed by Mark J. Henry to embody a lifetime of knife making knowledge and engineering expertise into the ‘ultimate, no-compromise, purist’s knife’. The radical friction-reducing corrugated blade needed a whole new patented method of knife manufacturing: investment cast with his custom carbon steel composition, then precisely closed-die cold-forged in one solid monobloc.
Söliditi™ C5 also had to have the ultimate purist’s edge: the Japanese chisel edge. Legendary for many centuries for their far superior sharpness, but rarely used by Western cooks due to the complexity of sharpening the chisel edge. Mark J. Henry knew he had to eliminate this sharpening problem, if Western cooks were to embrace this edge, so he also invented a new, radically simplified, ‘inversion’ method of maintaining razor sharp edges on chisel-edged knives, with real Japanese water stones. Our packaing had to be innovative and multi-functional, so our sustainable bamboo board packaging flips over to become a chopping board.
Our founder and development engineer, Mark Henry, has been hand making knives all his life, and production manufacturing knives his whole career. He was still at university finishing his engineering degree when he founded Füri™ knives in 1996. They look common now because they have been ‘adapted’ by many mass consumer import knives over the decades, but they were considered cutting edge back then! His honours thesis was based on a pioneering deep study of knife materials and cutting edges under wear conditions, which produced insights he still relies on to this day. He took the Füri™ company to the USA in 2005 and sold it in 2008 when he was making half a million knives each year.
After developing a new knife division for de Buyer of France (the first in their nearly 200 year history), and launching an Australian cookware company, he didn’t stop developing knives, but worked long and hard to find a way to achieve a whole new blade geometry and new manufacturing method, to overcome the old bane of ‘sticking friction’ in knife blades. He also wanted to find a way to demystify the ancient Japanese chisel edge, particularly sharpening, and put their legendary sharpness into the hands of many more cooks.
After launching the world-first, patented, machine-wrought Solidteknics cookware in 2015, this is Mark’s long-anticipated return to his first love in engineering: high performance chef knives. After many years of research, and a few intensive years of solving the manufacturing challenges, the Söliditi™ knives and InversionEdge™ sharpening system are the ultimate syntheses of everything he has learned, and everything he loves, in knives.
He has plans to roll out many more Solid knives and accessories in coming years, so this could well be the start of an iconic new knife brand. If so, this first numbered limited series, signed and hand-finished by Mark, will become the most cherished heirloom Solid knives of all in coming decades and centuries. That is why he is offering this first batch exclusively to his beloved Solid Lovers Group, in appreciation for everything they have done to help build this remarkable new era in innovative, local, healthy, sustainable cookware … and knives.
Easier slicing: World-first patented corrugated blade and chisel edge geometry reduces ‘sticking friction’ between blade and food by introducing air to break the vacuum – the major source of drag/resistance felt when slicing with regular flat blades, even with scallops. Sliced food just drops away, instead of sticking tight.
Sharper edge: Ancient Japanese chisel edge (single bevel), updated with Solidteknics™ corrugations, reduces the cutting force for thin slicing. There’s less food compression with one cutting edge (instead of the normal two) and much less friction from the Solidteknics™ forged blade corrugations, making any edge feel sharper. Being a single-sided bevel, blades are specifically right- or left-handed (if you are right-handed, order a right-hand blade).
Easier pro sharpening: Pair your Söliditi™ knives with our patent pending Japanese water stone-based InversionEdge™ sharpening system and you will have, for the first time ever, the ability to quickly and easily maintain ‘old master level’ cutting edges. No complicated rods and adjustments, no destructive drag-through gadgets. Just real water stone sharpening to extremely fine mirror-polish finish (3,000 and 8,000 grit stages), with perfect double bevel geometry. Traditional manual sharpening on stones, to this level, takes years to master. The InversionEdge™ takes just minutes, and results are made more accurate and consistent by eliminating human error. We’ll show you how in simple video instructions.
Multi-century durability: A solid one-piece monobloc knife will not fall apart unlike all inherently fragile riveted or jointed knives, and will last centuries. Sharpen with the gentle and extremely fine Solidteknics InversionEdge™ sharpening system for the bare minimum of blade metal wear over the centuries.
Handle dynamics, not ergonomics: Yes, the Söliditi™ handle is very comfortable, and fits the hand beautifully (we discovered inner sides of handles aren’t needed by fingers). But that is simple static ergonomics. More important is dynamics when pushing a moving knife, and this mechanical engineering is our strength. The handle’s reverse-wedge shape is ideal for resisting hand slip toward the blade, thereby reducing fatigue in long prep sessions. Metal surface? Most of the grip in a moving handle is in the shape, not the colour, nor the material, and our shape is the best for resisting forward slip. We know the physics behind making metal grip better than plastic.
That feeling: Söliditi™ feels unlike any other knife. It is impossible to describe the feeling of solidity, strength, and comfort (far beyond ergonomics) when holding this 350g monobloc of forged carbon steel. You will feel it the moment you grip it. Part of that comfort is knowing your dated, signed, numbered, First Lovers Edition knife will be handed down for many generations as a prized family heirloom. A tradition you started in ancient 2020. It’s a feeling of pride in continuity, legacy, and an important part of what elevates this knife above just another exceptional utilitarian cutting tool. Metal with meaning. Heirloom with history.
The blade of our first ever Söliditi™ knife is based on a combination of two ‘purist’ Japanese vegetable knives: the thin Usuba and the thick Deba. The ‘Usudeba’ was thus conceived in Australia.
Cross-sectional blade geometry is the key to performance, not outside profile. Modern Santoku, or even traditional Nakiri knives, are thin and symmetrical-edged (Western blade geometry, but thinner, with a fine equal bevel on each side), and are favoured by regular home cooks, whereas Usuba and Deba blades are favoured by expert Japanese chefs for vegetable work because their chisel edges are sharper and more precise, even if the Deba blade is thicker and heavier (similar to their legendary Yanagiba sashimi blades, which are often 8mm thick, and still sharper for thin slices than any thin Western blade). We can use them very efficiently for slicing meats too. The only thing they don’t do as well as very thin ‘Westernised’ Japanese Gyuto blades (very popular in recent years) is chopping through the middle of very hard vegetables, where their thickness then becomes a disadvantage. For almost everything else, particularly fine slicing, they are a superior blade. Usuba and Deba blades are not usually chosen by non-experts, but fear not: we will show you how to optimally use this beautiful blade style, and easily keep it razor sharp like traditional elite chef’s blades, with our simple video tutorials.
There are a lot of world-firsts distilled into the achievement of this Söliditi™ knife, and some will never be known beyond our founder/engineer Mark Henry and his tech team, for reasons we’ll explain below*. All the manufacturing and materials tech detail we are able to share with our core Lovers Group members is summarized here and on our Facebook Lovers Group page (much more than will eventually be shared with the wider public).
The patent pending for our Söliditi™ knives is based on our world-first combination of manufacturing method and blade geometry. They are intertwined: our complex corrugated geometry is not possible with traditional grinding methods or rough hot forging. With precise closed die forging of an accurate investment cast blank we made it possible, and pioneered this world-first knife.
Carbon steel? We make our own - in Australia! Unlike most knife makers who use ‘off the shelf’ blade material (most of which is excellent), we wanted something different. Mark’s long experience with Japanese knives, particularly their modern carbon steels, made those the obvious starting point for this ‘flagship’ Söliditi™ knife. However, the exact composition didn’t exist to best suit the blade/edge properties he wanted, with his new cast + cold forged method and geometry. Investment casting gave him the ability to precisely smelt his own carbon steel composition to achieve the perfect material for Söliditi™. We can’t disclose the exact composition, but it is broadly a high carbon alloy steel, with a tiny amount of Chromium (not for corrosion resistance, though it helps a little, but for the properties he wanted). Not at all related to all the stainless steel knife materials (particularly the common CrMoV stainless alloys), our steel is also unlike old soft carbon steels (in the French tradition), and not exactly like other common (and excellent) modern Japanese carbon steel grades. This is something else again, and perfectly suited for optimal performance with our Söliditi™ blade design and manufacturing.
Slice with Söliditi™, and sharpen it, and you will know this material, at this hardness, with this new patented geometry and manufacturing method, is something entirely new and exceptional in knives.
Your investment in our First Lovers Edition is helping make history. This is the birth of a whole new knife category.
Those of you who know us well know that we love simplicity and multi-functionality in products. Now, what if beautiful packaging could also be functional and sustainable after purchase, rather than toxic and disposable?
We are very proud to introduce our innovative bamboo board packaging for Söliditi™ knives: great for shipping and storage, then flip it over for a great cutting board! Bevelled edges make it easy during ‘mise en place’ to position shallow trays under the board edge for scraping different chopped foods off the board and staging them for cooking. Button magnets embedded in the bamboo hold the knife secure during storage. Stack your collection of future Söliditi™ knife models in their boards, slide out the board you need and remove the knife (blade style/size laser printed on end of board), flip it over, and slice. If you're concerned about cross-contamination, some boards/blades could be reserved for meat, and others for vegetables.
Why bamboo? If you know us and our vision, plastic is, of course, out of the question. Bamboo grows 1,000 times faster than oak, and is the most sustainable material available for anything that you know needs to wear and eventually be discarded, like cutting boards. We know we could have chosen Australian ‘semi-sustainable’ hardwoods for this purpose, but we couldn’t bring ourselves to add to the consumer demand for these local slow growth trees, even if they were from plantation/replanted sources. So we sourced our storage/cutting boards from the international bamboo experts: China!
Plus, a bonus for our Solid Lovers who invested in this First Edition is a beeswax cloth wrap to help protect your heirloom Söliditi C5.
We highly recommend reading some background information on Japanese chisel-edged knives if you're not too familiar with them. Here is a good place to start, then the internet will recommend many more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_kitchen_knife
These blades are legendary among serious knife users because they are simply the sharpest (practical) blades, by nature of their geometry (one bevel crushing the food, instead of two, in simple terms). We used that principle as a starting point, then did something entirely different with the blade geometry to radically reduce 'sticking friction', and basically eliminate the sticking of sliced food to blades.
This will no doubt be interesting for any serious knife user but could be a little overwhelming for anyone without much knowledge of Japanese traditional chisel-edged knives, and why they are so revered (and feared!). We aim to take away that fear with knowledge, a new innovation in the way these blades are made, and with a whole new 'master level' sharpening system that's quick and easy for anyone. With your help, we hope to finally bring this ancient Japanese blade wisdom to many more regular Western chefs and cooks - like us!
Hey, we’re knife nerds too, so we understand the passion and enthusiasm as much as anyone! However, like our cookware, we will need to protect our many trade secrets. Why? Competitors are watching. Also, we really just never will have time for long debates with amateur engineers and knife forum heroes. We believe our time is better spent doing intensive development work - which we hope will benefit everyone! We have many other world-first innovations in development behind the scenes, lining up for launch in the coming months, years, and even decades! We hope you will understand when we say that there is a limit to the information we can put in the public domain, and the volume of personalized responses to FAQs. Again, everything we are able to reveal is on this page. We understand that may not be enough to satisfy the curiosity of some and they may want to look elsewhere - and that’s OK. Life is short!
After an engineering honours degree thesis on ‘Knife materials and cutting edges’, multiple patents, and decades of knife making around the world, including the USA, France, and Japan, Mark J. Henry is widely regarded as a leader in chef knife innovation. We hope you'll trust our expertise and extensive experience!
All the information presented here is confidential, and only for the eyes of Solid Lovers Group members who have signed up for an account on our exclusive Lovers store (this page is only visible to that sub-group). Eventually we will launch this Söliditi™ knife on Kickstarter, then to retail, but they may not necessarily receive as much information. Therefore, do not copy or share any of the detail of this document with anyone else. If you think your ‘like-minded’ friends might be interested, please ask them to apply to join our Solid Lovers group, then set up a Lovers store account, just like you did. Thank you!
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In the spirit of reconciliation Solidteknics acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their Elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.