The pillar and pride of our Big Red Knives collection was inspired by the most iconic Australian animal, the Red Kangaroo. The muscular animal can only be translated in to the most powerfully built knife, with a total length of 356mm (14 inches) and crafted with premium Japanese hard steel it’s a great beaut of knife! Designed to cut just about everything you’d need to in the kitchen, the Chef’s knife it is as multi-purpose as it gets. Like the Roo bouncing in great arcs across the desert, the curved cutting edge of this knife was designed for a rapid rocking style of chopping. Crafted with ergonomic handles made with local woods, you can take the hard yakka out of the kitchen with a piece of Australia in your hand!
The Big Red Chef’s Knife is a must have in a kitchen. It is designed to feel like an extension of your arm, except your arm is now a long, broad blade crafted with high-carbon Japanese hard VG-10 steel! It is widest across the heel, tapering up to a finely pointed sharp tip. A powerful yet versatile tool, it makes light work of larger tasks such as slicing up roast meat, dicing large onions, cutting potatoes and spatchcocking a chicken. However, the Chef’s knife also excels at smaller tasks such as mincing garlic, julienning carrots and chopping herbs. This knife is ideal for chopping and dicing a large quantity of vegetables at once with its curved blade as this allows for it to rock back and forth on the chopping board, with one point of the knife always in contact with the board. With a broad heal area the Big Red Knife can easily stand up to heavy-duty tasks such as cutting thicker and harder foods like potatoes, radishes and onions. Less pressure needs to be applied compared to the conventional Western knife however, as our knife has a high-carbon Japanese steel core which was then honed to a razor-sharp edge. This makes it utterly lethal to the kitchen’s number one enemy, the tomato!
The Australian Red Kangaroo:
The red kangaroos live all across mainland Australia, in the deserts and open grassland. A group of kangaroos is called a mob, a warning of their roguish behaviour. An adult male can grow up to 1.6m (5.25 ft) and when bounding across the plains they can cover 8 to 9m (26.2 to 29.5 ft) in a single gait, while a single jump reaches from 1.8 to 3m (6 to 10 ft) high. Called the “Big Red” by locals, it is a truly formidable animal in size as the world’s largest marsupial, but they also have an equally formidable temper to match. When confronted by a foe, whether another male Roo, its common enemy such as the dingo or an unsuspecting fool of a human, the kangaroo will often lean back on their sturdy tail like a tripod and “box” with their strong hind legs while biting and swiping with their sharp claws. An estimated 25 to 50 million of these beasts bound across Australia, they are a thriving species and a great example of the unique fauna on this big red continent.
We chose the Big Red as the emblem of this knife as a Chef’s Knife is the most vital knife in the kitchen and the Roo is not only our official national animal but the most iconic as well. The shape of the knife and handle was designed to subtly mirror that of the animal. With the tip of the blade and butt of the handle tilted down, it looks like a Big Red in full motion with its head tilted down against the wind and its tail pointing from where it leaped off as it bounds through the Aussie bush. Like the arching bouncing motion of the Big Red Kangaroo the Chef’s Knife was designed with a curved cutting edge which allows for a continuous rocking style of chopping.
BIG RED FACT: Female red kangaroos are smaller and lighter but faster than males. They often boast a blue-hued coat which is why many Australians call them “blue fliers!”
Collection: Big Red Knives
Manufacturer: Koi Knives
Made in Australia with Japanese steel
Blade steel: VG-10 Japanese hard steel core with Stainless Steel cladding
Blade length: 220mm
Handle wood: All local but varies from wood of olive trees, Shiraz grapevines from McLaren Vale (wine region of South Australia) to specially sourced wood Australian deserts.
Handle length: 136mm
Aussie Knives by Aussies:
“That’s not a knife, THAT’S a knife” now we all know the memorable quote from Crocodile Dundee but his Bowie knife though good for hunting is not ideal for use in the kitchen. In fact, as far as Aussie knives made by Aussies go and in the words of our bladesmith Shannon “there’s nothing like it that exists.”
We are a local Australian company of two, Shannon and Ramon. Our story began in the dry Adelaide Hills with our parents, Shannon’s father was a blacksmith and Ramon has an affinity with Japanese culture as his parents met in Japan. Combined with our love for knives, cooking and making things from local materials, we came up with a unique idea of making traditional Japanese knives with an Australian twist. Since then our company Koi Knives have been making knives for several years we have made a range of 12 Japanese knives. However, many have asked us to make a range of Western knives. Initially, we were hesitant as Western knives are made with softer steel, they tend to be less sharp and also blunt quicker. Where’s our true Aussie early settlers’ pioneering spirit we thought? This is not a challenge! This is an opportunity! We decided to give the idea a fair suck of the bottled sauce and a fair crack of the whip. From there we began designing and eventually crafting this new range. Instead of western steels, we stuck with a Japanese hard high-carbon VG-10 steel as the core of the knife but designed with a Western-style grip.
Our knife shed as our HMS Endeavour, we hit the shores of our expedition with this new set of Aussie knives. The first and finest truly Australian knives are crafted here locally by your two local blokes. We sought to pay homage to our land and our native animals with this set. To create a truly unique and Australia product the shape and form of each knife was modelled after a specially chosen iconic native animal which we also emboss onto the steel at the end.
The core of the blade is made entirely of VG-10 is a type of Japanese hard steel, it is cutlery-grade steel with a high carbon content containing 1% Carbon, 15% Chromium, 1% Molybdenum, 0.2% Vanadium, and 1.5% Cobalt. The ‘G’ in VG-10 stands for Gold, as an indicator of the premium standard of quality. This core is then sharpened to razor sharpness and then cladded with the same steel for protection and longevity. After this, we smelt three layers of sandblasted stainless steel on the top section of the blade for a gun-mental steel finish. The sandblasting also on a practical level provide micro air cavities which prevent vegetables from sticking to the blade while cutting. The final result is like the Australian landscape in a blade, from the scorching sands to shimmering shore: from the spine, the darker sandblasted steel tapers down from the grind line to reveal shiny stainless steel before a dancing line glints off the clad edge to the razor-sharp cutting edge.
These Aussie knives are part of our Full Tang Clan. Full tang is when the steel of the blade runs all the way through the handle instead of Partial Tang where the steel might end partway through. Full tang allows for more force to be applied without a risk of the knife snapping at the bolster (the base where the blade transitions to the handle). Our knives are very sharp so less force would have to be applied in any case, however, we chose the full tang design in keeping with the aesthetics of Western knives and to set this collection apart from our Japanese Koi Knives. Functionality was designed into the handle with different grips in mind to fit ambidextrously and snugly in your hand. When using a "Handle In Hand Grip" the bevel contours seamlessly from fingers to palm. When using the "Pinch Grip" the smooth transition from handle to blade forms a great comfortable position to pinch the knife.
One of the elements we are most proud of is our signature resin-infused handles crafted with local woods. Each handle is one of a kind and cannot be replicated. All the wood is sourced locally, typically in South Australia’s wine region and varies from the wood from olive trees to Shiraz grapevines, however we have even gathered Gidgee wood from the Simpson Desert. These handles are made with resin in a range of different colours, we feel very strongly about pairing certain colours to the animal that inspired the knife.
After each use:
Simply wipe down in warm soapy water, dry and place on a knife rack away from humidity. Job done!
Long term maintenance:
Big Red Knives are made with a VG-10 Japanese steel core and therefore has a higher carbon content than the average Western kitchen knives. This lends the knives their particular long lasting sharpness, however they also like to be kept dry when not in use and should not be exposed extensively to heat, hot water or ambient high humidity. They should most definitely never be put into the dishwasher or other such nonsense. Each knife was made with love, so please take care of them for us!
Knives made with a VG-10 Japanese steel core are harder at the edge, this means less honing is needed but should instead be professionally sharpened and ideally with a whetstone. Depending on frequency of use, the knife may need to be sharpened by a professional every 3-6 months for most people. We have an extensive list of sharpeners we can recommend in every state if you’d like to contact us.
Similarly, the handle was crafted with resin and coated with a polish that also should not be soaked in hot water. Extended exposure to hot water may damage the polish on the handle that is the protective shield for the wood and resin. Over the years, if the handle starts to look a bit dull a small amount of furniture polish may be used to buff back the shine.