If you love knives and geek out on metals, the launch of the Artisan Revere Chef Knife may raise your eyebrows. The Elmax steel chef knife could be the ultimate blade for your camp (or home) kitchen.
I take my camp cooking pretty seriously. I love to cook a good breakfast of diced potatoes and onions in a well-seasoned cast iron skillet or an elk steak seared over a fire.
While a pocket knife will do the job in a pinch, there’s really nothing like a real chef’s knife for camp cooking. When car camping, I love to bring a cutting board and knife for food prep.
So when Artisan Revere reached out about the brand’s new Elmax chef knife (launching now on Kickstarter), I was obviously interested. An 8.6-inch chef knife made from one of the best all-around knife steels on the market? Yes, please!
Artisan Revere Chef Knife
I’m going to get the elephant out of the room right away: This is an expensive knife. It sells on Kickstarter now for $260. The brand plans to retail it for more than $400, which puts it among top-shelf knives. So would I bring it camping? Car camping, yes, why not? But I would not let any rowdy friends use it to baton a log.
The brand sent one over to test out last week. While my impressions are limited, this one looks like a winner so far.
For context, my go-to chef knife for the past several years has been a Shun DM0706, which I adore. I’m an avid home cook but am in no way a professional in the kitchen. And I am definitely a knife knut. So the Shun, with its proprietary VG MAX steel, is my benchmark.
The Artisan Revere starts out with very good steel. While the brand calling it “super steel” may be a stretch, it is exceptional. Some high-end outdoor folding knife brands like ZT use Elmax in sweet blades like the 0562.
The Swedish steel then makes its way to Pennsylvania, where Artisan Revere waterjet cuts, heat treats, and deep cryo finishes the steel. It then ships to Michigan, where the brand bevel grinds the blade. Finally, it assembles the knives in Idaho.
Travel pedigree and very good steel aside, the Artisan Revere is a beautifully designed chef’s knife. The 8.6-inch blade is about the right length as an all-around kitchen knife. It has a nice, uniform belly that makes for smooth, fast cutting. And the blade is light but with enough heft to balance the well-sculpted handle.
And let’s talk about the handle a little more. The brand uses an interesting material called Richlite. It’s a mix of 65 percent Forest Stewardship Council-certified recycled wood and resin. The result is a smooth, warm handle that provides excellent grip. The shape fits wonderfully in the hand.
The brand claims the knife is resistant to fire, heat, impact, and water. Still, I haven’t abused this knife and have only used it for a few meals so far. But my first impression of the handle is really good. It just feels great.
Now, you may be wondering why this would be appropriate for the campsite. Well, my answer starts with the excellent sheath.
These knives ship with 10-ounce English bridle leather sheaths. Crafted by tannery Wickett & Craig, they fit most chef knives up to 2.125 inches tall. This is a rugged material and definitely suitable for a kitchen setup in the back of a truck or camper.
Couple a good sheath with a blade hardened to 60 RC, and you have two elements for an heirloom-quality kitchen knife that should serve well in the field.
I noted 60 RC above. That is very hard knife steel. The intent is for this knife to hold a sharp edge for a very long time.
It’s also worth noting that very hard steel is also hard to resharpen. So those shopping for a kitchen knife that resharpens quickly and easily may want to pass on this one. Don’t expect to grab honing steel and slap this knife with a few strokes to sharpen the edge.
However, the knife should hold an edge for a really long time, and that’s the point of the design. When it needs resharpening, take your time with a whetstone or quality sharpener. Strop it frequently and avoid big resharpening projects.
Now the downside — this knife is expensive. You’re looking at a $260 investment on Kickstarter now. And that is a significant discount at the projected $410-plus retail price these will carry in the future.
That said, good kitchen knives aren’t cheap. The aforementioned Shun 8-inch knife retails for $188, has no sheath, and requires regular resharpening.
I still love the feel of my old Shun, and it will likely maintain a prime spot among my kitchen knives. But it definitely has new competition in the kitchen. And when it comes to my campsite, I expect the Artisan Revere, with its excellent steel and sheath, will tap out a rhythm on the cutting board all summer long.