Yue Dong, known online as Doctor EDC, is crowdfunding his first ever independent knife project, the Vostheed Morgan. Unlike Dong’s previous work with Kizer in the production folder world, the Vostheed Morgan is kitchen knife, which brings with it an entirely different set of design challenges.
Part of that challenge, according to the Doctor, is that a kitchen knife project demands more engineering than design. “In my humble opinion, most mid-to-high-end quality production folding knives are functional art pieces,” he says. “By that I mean consumers tend to pay more attention to the shape and form of the knives than to the actual functionality of the knife.” In most circumstances, even a well-used EDC knife doesn’t see that much action on a day-to-day basis. “It’s safe to say that on average, not too many people use their folding knives for over two or three hours per day.”
Putting custom knives to one side, Doctor EDC notes that it’s almost the opposite situation for kitchen knives. “In contrast, chef knives are tools with some artistic elements,” he continues. “A large percentage of the chef knife buyers have used their chef knives for more than an hour a day. More often than not, most of the buyer’s concerns are about functionality as well as durability.”
Doctor EDC’s approach with the Morgan was to marry Western knife profile to with Eastern kitchen knife geometry. Thus this knife (in the chef knife size) has an 8-inch blade, with an edge profile that is one long, continuous curve, but an asymmetrical edge bevel: 18 degrees on one side, and 12 degrees on the other. Doctor EDC explains the logic here, citing Japanese knives like the yanagi ba as an inspiration. “Usually, when we need to do repeated cuts in food preparation, we hold the food steady with our non-knife hands, curl our fingers into a claw and tuck our knuckles underneath, rest the flat side of the knife on our knuckles, and apply force to the knife,” Doctor EDC says. “By doing so, we created a non-vertical angle between the knife and the cutting board. The smaller bevel angle makes it easier for us to have a clean and fast cut (especially for pull-cut), while the slightly larger bevel angle provides some edge strength and makes it easier for the cut piece to leave the knife.”
The Morgan design comes in three different lengths: the aforementioned 8-inch Chef Knife, a 7-inch Santoku, and a 5-inch Utility knife. Across the board the materials are the same. The blade steel is 9Cr18MoV, a solid stainless popular in quality-focused budget knife designs due to its amenable balance of characteristics. The handle scales are black G-10, laid over a full tang construction. Worth noting, however, is that the Santoku and Utility knives are only available as part of a 3-piece set with the Chef’s Knife, while the latter is available on its own as well.
It wasn’t just the design process that was different compared to a folding knife; Doctor EDC tells us the entire production scene is different. “The supply chain of chef knives is decentralized, and only a few factories provide a one-stop solution for the designers. In my case, because my quantity is small, my friends and I have used all our formal and informal connections to secure different parts manufacturers.” But despite the difficulties, he says the end result was worth it, both in terms of the knife itself and the insights its creation brought. “The whole process took a lot of time, energy, planning, and patience. With that being said, this unique experience has given us a deep and rich understanding of the knife and kitchenware industries.”
Doctor EDC also looks forward to more independent works in the future. “First of all, I want to give a special shoutout to the owner of Kizer,” he tells us, noting that the company provided him with his first international platform to showcase his design chops. “I plan to do more independent work in the future. I think it’s the best way for me to have more time with my family, as well as with the friends that I made through the knife community.”
The Morgan project is live now on Kickstarter, and open for funding through January 13th.
Knife in Featured Image: Vostheed Morgan Chef Knife