Massdrop x Apogee Vital 8-Inch Chef's Knifesearch
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Massdrop x Apogee Vital 8-Inch Chef's Knife

Massdrop x Apogee Vital 8-Inch Chef's Knife

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Hey everyone,

If you check out Massdrop’s Blades and Cooking communities, and almost any blog, forum, review site, YouTube channel etc. devoted to cooking or kitchen knives, you will find a lot of people asking the same question: “I want to start cooking more and I have $100 to $150 to spend on kitchen knives, what should I buy?” And, almost universally, the answer is the same, something like: “Don’t waste your money on a full set of cheaper knives - spend it all on a high-quality 8” chef’s knife, which can do 99% of the things a full set can do just as well, and will last you a lot longer.”

That’s good advice, and served as the inspiration for this project. Members have purchased thousands of knives from our Blades and Cooking communities, but few have been as popular as the Dragon and Dragon Fire series from Apogee Culinary Designs. The basic idea behind this project was to combine these same materials (nitrogen-enriched steel and durable G-10) are known by our community of knife enthusiasts with a classic, utilitarian 8” chef’s knife blade shape that is recommended as the “must-have” knife for any kitchen.

Then, we focused on creating a handle that would be comfortable and easy to hold, while guiding home chefs to use the same pinch grip that professional cooks use in commercial kitchens. While the word “ergonomic” is used to describe a lot of knife handles with sweeping curves, and that’s good for a handle grip, but not always for a pinch grip. The key here is to provide a large surface area for the index finger to rest on, instead of the narrow area of the blade’s spine, which any professional chef will tell you is the cause of the callous that develops on the first joint of the index finger after hours of chopping and slicing.

In addition to the purposefully-designed handle, the Vital 8” Chef’s Knife features Carpenter’s CTS® BD1N Alloy, a nitrogen enriched steel. Although nitrogen-enriched steels are relatively new the cutlery world, they’re already getting rave reviews from industry experts because they offer a tremendous value in terms of price-to-performance. Specifically, they offer a rare combination of hardness and resistance to chipping, even when sharpened to low angles, like 16 degrees per side on this knife. Here are some links to learn more about BD1N steel:
Carpenter - https://www.cartech.com/en/product-solutions/cartech-cts-bd1n-alloy/
Zknives . com - http://zknives.com/knives/steels/cts-bd1n.shtml

Although G-10 may not be a familiar material in the world of kitchen knives, it’s widely used in high-end folding knives that are popular in our Blades community and with collectors, as well as custom grips for handguns that are popular with the EDC crowd. Originally invented for use in circuit boards because it’s impervious to water and non-conductive, G-10 is a fiberglass resin laminate that’s even stronger than carbon fiber or it’s predecessor, micarta. G-10’s key characteristic for a kitchen knife application is its extraordinary ability to retain shape over time and exposure to the elements; it’s resistant to heat and chemicals, and won’t absorb water. By making the handle from a single piece of G-10, which is fit snugly around the full tand and secured by welding the rear bolster in place, we’ve made the knife even more durable than two scales, which are typically press-fit and glued to the tang.

Please note the changes from our prototype (pictured) to the final version, which were made with help from professional chefs. Ryan Wilson, who supervises the kitchen that serves over 2000 meals per day as Executive Chef at LinkedIn’s San Francisco office, was especially helpful in making these refinements:

* Crowned (rounded) spine for added comfort
* Slimmer handle (20mm down from 22.8mm) for better grip, even with smaller hands
* Shallower taper angle for improved ergonomics, especially where the thumb sits
* Extending the blade’s heel back toward the taper, to keep the index finger on the bolster (instead of the spine) while maintaining full pinch on the blade

Please also note that we will be closing the drop at 10:00 pm on 2/28/18 in order to get a jump on production, and then reopening the drop until 3/15/18 (or while supplies last). The Estimated Ship Date of 5/31/18 will be the same for everyone, regardless of when you join the drop.

We hope that you like the perks being offered, which include a special introductory price that won’t be available in the future, as well as an invitation to join a knife skills demo using this knife with Kitchen on Fire cooking school. Thanks for making this possible!
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If you guys have the aspiration to be the first to use the metal of the old gods to make kitchen knives, by all means go for it! If I am in the production, I will really look into the mass production capacity of the OEM plant, even checking what kind of abrasives they use for the grind, and really pick a number of production samples by random and test the edge retention on cardboard and check if there are random variation. I would also be making specific instruction for the user understand with the great power of these exotic knives also come the responsibility to respect and treat them well :)
LoremicusIpsuminus
Thank you
Hey everyone,

I see some comments from members, it looks like you are seeing a few different issues with knives that have just been received so I will do my best to address everything here:

1) Sharpness: The samples that I tested were shaving sharp...I know this because I actually shaved a small patch of my arm with them. I test every knife we make before approving the shipment to customers. We randomly pull samples for testing, but that's not a guarantee that every blade is as sharp as our test units. However, if you think your knife should be sharper out of the box, Apogee Culinary does provide free lifetime sharpening. You can email them directly (sglassen@apogeeculinary.com) and they will send you a call tag so you can send it in.

2) Handle scuffs: These are basically impossible for us to assess or address without photos, and so far nobody has posted any. We have no reason to doubt what you're saying, but we also can't know if what you're seeing is normal our outside acceptable tolerances based just on these comments. Some of the scuffs could just be the natural pattern of the handle material. I haven't read specifically if anyone had washed them or was just reporting the look as they were delivered - a quick wash with soap and water may address some of these concerns. If there are manufacturing defects with the materials or finishing, they will be covered by our warranty.

3) Bent blades: We don't have a machine shop here, so we can do another visual inspection but we'd like to get some measurements on a larger sample size to check this out. I've asked for additional units to be pulled from the warehouse so that we can measure them. The processes of welding the blades to the bolsters and polishing them are both done by hand. With any knife, this can sometimes result in a less-than-perfect-90-degree final angle. Some slight variation (less than 1 degree) is not uncommon, but much more than that would be considered "out of spec" - we'll have to do some measuring before we can determine which is the case here. In addition to their offer of free lifetime sharpening, and regardless of how much the blade may be out of alignment, Apogee Culinary has a tool to straighten blades and has offered to do that for anyone who thinks theirs is out of alignment. You can email them directly (sglassen@apogeeculinary.com) and they will send you a call tag so you can send it in.

4) Quality Control: Deaomega1214 reviewed over 200 pieces at the factory before they left the factory, and we reviewed a random sampling of five units before we approved shipment to members. We didn't see anything like what members are describing, but we're glad to take another look and we want to make sure everyone is happy. These blades are covered by our warranty, so if they are not up to spec you can send them in to Apogee Culinary to be touched up, or request an exchange or refund.

5) Warranty: So far, out of 1200+ orders, I see a total of two support tickets for any "Defective / Warranty Issues." Some people haven't received theirs yet, but so far this doesn't indicate a problem affecting the whole group. It would seem that some members who have commented also haven't yet filed support tickets for these issues...

You're certainly welcome to discuss any issues here, but we can't do anything to support your order unless you submit a help ticket - you can do that by going to the Transactions tab in your member profile and clicking the "Contact Support" button just below your order record for this item. https://www.massdrop.com/transactions

Our support team will ask for pictures so that we can understand the nature and seriousness of the problem, and also so that we can collect a record of the number and type of complaints. This will enable us to understand the scope of the problem and decide if it needs to be addressed internally for a handful of units (normal and minor) or with the vendor for the whole group (rare and serious).

I hope that addresses any concerns, we're glad to support any member who submits a ticket in getting warranty service. Massdrop and Apogee stand by the product and the warranty that covers it, and we'll make sure to address any issues you may have - please help us to do this by contacting support so we can refer to your order when responding.

Thanks,
Jonas

CC: harveyfnj MJKelly Moximo Mandrake Despoiler tarachii anteck7

UPDATED 7/19/18: We've been keeping track of how many Defective/Warranty support requests come in for this, and it's only 12 so far - that's less than 1%. Return rates for kitchen knives can often fall around 3%, so we feel confident in saying that it's not a widespread issue.

That being said, Apogee and Massdrop want to make sure that you're happy, and this knife is covered by warranty. If you did receive a knife that is blemished or has a blade which is off-center, then we'll be glad to take care of it - and you have options:

1) You can send your blade directly to Apogee for sharpening, or straightening. Just send an email to <sglassen@apogeeculinary.com> and let them know that you'd like to send it in and they will help you with shipping.

2) If you'd prefer a return or exchange, just go to the Transactions tab in your member profile and click "Contact Support" below your order record for this item. https://www.massdrop.com/transactions
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JonasHeineman
So about this... -
"* Shallower taper angle for improved ergonomics, especially where the thumb sits
* Extending the blade’s heel back toward the taper, to keep the index finger on the bolster (instead of the spine) while maintaining full pinch on the blade"

Does this mean the blade was designed to be off-center? Because this has honestly made gripping the blade as a lefty feel a tad more awkward because of the deeper thumb placement (in-reverse of how it would be gripping the blade as a righty).
Hello, anyone home at massxrop? Still waiting for a reply to this simple question.
Why no shipping to Israel?
Any word on getting smaller, matching knives to this made? I'd love a full set!
I want one anyway to get this shipped to Singapore?
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Sure! Is there any other platform I can contact you?
Unincrediblehaq
Sweet, look for darell John on fb. I’ll send you my number there.
So far my knife did not show up. Still waiting on FedEx Smartpost.
Where can we send it for sharpening? Are there places distributed internationally?
A little disappointed with the G-10, bit too slippery, would have preferred more 'grip/feel texture' . Great workmanship otherwise, and sharp.
I haven't gotten the knife home yet to test, just received it.

General quality control seems fine on it, however like a few others mine has sliced through the end tip cover, the plastic cover, the foam and the cardboard. The knife now has literally no sharp point to it. This is not an issue worthy of my time in terms of returning the blade as actually it costs $25-30 just to get it through customs here in the UK when receiving it, but it's very disappointing that I'll have to spend some time repairing it. I'll think twice before buying another Apogee blade...

<Edit: Actually, I’m wrong, the blade is off center on mine too. It’s straight? But it is off center. Sad times.>
Has anyone found a good sheath for this knife?

JonasHeineman maybe we can get a drop for one? :)
JCruk
I've been using the Apogee 8" Magnetic Bamboo sheath. Fits the knife decently well. Blade retention is ok (if you hold it vertically by the sheath, the knife will slowly slide out over about 5-6 seconds). My main issue is that due to the tapered bolster it's SLIGHTLY too short, which you can amend pretty easily. I'd like to have a saya pin or some other form of secondary physical system to restrain the blade, but for just tossing in the kitchen drawer it gets the job done.

Apogee has increased the sheath length to 8.5 inches, I haven't tested it out yet, but that should presumably do the job.

I've got a picture of my fix for the ghetto-modded sheath over in the reviews.

Nice packaging!! No wonder delivery is restricted, countries outside the US probably worry about their delivery people :(
doofalb
Yikes, thanks for letting us know. You are precisely correct about why shipping of fixed blade knives is restricted to many countries - even inside two layers of cardboard, plus foam, plus a plastic cover on the tip, crazy stuff like this can happen.
I got my knife here in AU today.

Excellent quality, no visible issues at all.
Sharp, handling is well above expectations, very comfortable in my hands.
No sharp edges on the heel, it's nicely rounded.

All together - WOW, I'm really impressed!

Thanks Massdrop and Jonas!

Kind regards