CJA Edged Art / Scorpion Forge
PROFESSIONAL CULINARY BLADESMITH
A GALLERY OF RECENTLY FINISHED WORK
CURRENT WORKS IN PROGRESS
ABOUT THE BLADESMITH
My name is Cris Anderson, and I began making knives and swords in late 2008. For some reason, when I picked up the hammer, heated the steel, and did the work necessary to make it bend to my expectations...it just felt right. I was hooked and have been making blades ever since.
In 2013, I began using my swordsmithing experience to focus on Japanese style knives intended for food preparation almost exclusively. The works you will see on this site are the direct result. So please, feel free to explore. You can purchase one of my preferred waterstones, or my premade gyuto, utility, and paring knives directly off the site. Or, if you decide that you'd like your own fully custom knife, please use the contact form below and I will get back to you as soon as possible.
No matter whether you are just looking, or decide to make a purchase...I would like to thank you for your interest in my work!
"The knife looks incredible and it cuts even better than it looks. It is easily the best gyuto that I have ever had a chance to use. Here are a few of the makers that I have or had in the past for comparison; Bill Burke, Michael Rader, Murray Carter, Heiji, Kagekiyo, Takeda, SIH, Ealy, Kato, Mizuno Tanrenjo, HHH, and I'm sure I'm missing some. One of the best parts of the whole 'custom' knife (I bought this as a stock/shelf gyuto without a handle, and Cris was happy to customize it from there) was the communication with Cris. If I wanted a zebra saya he would get a price for me haha. It's a great journey you go on from start to finish."
260mm W2 XH Gyuto
Sam F. / Professional Chef / Restaurant Owner
"Coming from all German stainless to one of Cris's knives is like going from riding a bicycle to driving a lamborghini. I've never felt a knife move through food like this before. I took it to work where I chopped enough veggies for 160 quarts of chicken soup, a case of broccoli, some spinach, stripped two dozen chicken breasts, and finished with a little parsley and basil. It put in a full day and kept going. When I got home I cubed some pancetta, halved some sprouts, and prepared some spuds for mashing. After everything without stropping or sharpening the knife still flew through an onion. I passed it over my 6000 stone as Cris had told me to do after each day and it was back to hair popping sharp.
I also wanted to mention dealing with Cris was really something else. I had a lot of questions for him, he always responded quickly, often going deeper than necessary into the subject to give me an answer. I feel like he went out of his way to make sure I was not only happy with the knife but with the process as a whole. I actually asked to be put on his list for another knife before I even got the first one."
200mm W2 XH/XT Gyuto
Anthony Pearce / Professional Pizzaiolo
"As for the Cris Anderson gyuto, I highly recommend the extra heavy version. I was rapping with Cris about how his knife compared to my older version Kato Workhorse and Billipp's most recent knife. His knife can definitely hold its own up against those two. Vs Billipp & Kato: Both the Kato and Billipp have a little more ease in cutting carrots, but the Billipp suffers a tiny touch of wedging on onions. It's hardly noticeable, but when compared to the Anderson it becomes a little amplified. The Anderson also falls through carrots extremely easy, and on its own you'd think it couldn't get much better. But when comparing it to the Kato and Billipp, you notice a hint of extra effort needed when cutting large (6cm diameter) carrots. That has nothing to do with Cris's grind or his knife being inferior in any way, it's just that his knife possess an extreme distal taper, and his profile is much more pointed. Both of these elements makes the Anderson lack the forward weight that both the Billipp and Kato have. That's not necessarily a bad thing, mind you. This fwd weight will make the Billipp and Kato cut carrots easier, but the Anderson profile makes his knife a little more versatile. I could travel to any kitchen with just my Anderson and perform almost any task with it. Would I break down sub primals with it? Not a chance. But I could definitely butcher seafood with it, along with an array of sashimi cuts and other slicing needs. This on top of the already outstanding regular gyuto chopping and dicing tasks, plus it's ability to tackle delicate, intricate knife work makes the Anderson a fantastic all-arounder.Comparing the XH/XT (extra heavy/extra tall) Anderson with his regular style, I'm a bigger fan of his bigger blade. I've used two other gyutos from him, one being the passaround, and though they are both fantastic cutters I prefer the extra weight and height. His lighter versions are great for speed cutting/prepping. Very nimble and easy to steer without concern of being all over the place. But they do require some extra umph of your muscle behind them when cutting the denser veggies. Whereas his heavier gyuto doesn't require extra energy to cut more dense veggies, but it's not quite as fast as his lighter versions. Don't get me wrong, his XH gyuto is fast, very fast, when you need it to be. I'd say it's akin to a Ferrari with all wheel drive."
250mm W2 XH/XT Gyuto
Marc Dixon / Professional Chef
"Let me start by saying a huge thank you to Cris for these amazing pieces of functional art!! This order started with a 'stock/shelf' 225mm XH Gyuto with a custom handle and progressed to a two knife order including a 320mm sujihiki. Now I'm not a knife maker or bladesmith so some of the correct terminology eludes me but in saying that I am an avid enthusiast and having some 'high end' knives I know what I like and don't like. THIS knife has been a revelation!! As soon as you pick it up it's like....'Oh my!' The handle style and design is just so comfortable. Facilitates the pinch grip with ease. If you wish to use the hammer grip, no problem there.The balance point is just a little in front of the heal which I personally prefer, gives it a bit more forward weight. Being an 'extra heavy' this is even more personal joy.
Now, I have obtained some very special knives from various world class makers, including Kato, Shigefuse, (name removed at the direct request of the maker), Tristone Blades, Maskagee, and Murray Carter to name a few. But I'm not going to compare to other makes as I feel that isn't fair, as any comparison is purely personal opinion. Cris's knives are their own entity! Profile on the knife just screams performance at you and the dispal taper is truly something to behold. Starts at approx. 4mm at the heel and just goes down to "OH MY GOD". Seriously, the first inch would be akin to a laser. Scares the crap out of onions just showing them the knife. Truly amazing and absolutely minimal flex. (I'm smiling just thinking about it). The grind is perfection and thinness behind the edge is off the charts!! My initial test was on some root vegetables and after only a few cuts, I was literally giggling like a school boy! My technique prevails itself to using more of the last 1/3 of the blade. Tend to use a circular, push cut style. Oh lordy this blade excels at this, laps it up with consummate ease. Please don't be fooled by all the handsome good looks these knives have all the 'show' and 'GO'! Will continue testing in the coming weeks and update.
Now, I just want to share a little about the build process with Cris making this knife. It was an absolute joy to be involved in this build with Cris as the guiding force. The mans passion and enthusiaism is staggering and contagious. He provides total customer interaction and immersion with constant update messages, photos and video links. Due too the time differences between the US and Australia, sometime he was working till all hours of the night/morning and still giving updates, checking that I was happy where the build was. Amazing stuff. A couple of times early in the build he caught me off guard still in bed. Looked over at the mobile at 4am and cursed the caller. Saw who it was and straight away all sins were forgiven. Instantly awake and drooling over the latest photos coming down the line. Ok, I lied. I'm not a morning person. Told him I'd BRB, got a coffee, looked at the photos and then started drooling. Was conversing for at least an hour about the updates and where we were at. He shares the love. The attention to detail is superb. The fit and finish on the knife is excellent and photos have trouble capturing the true beauty. At the risk of repeating myself, the attention to detail is literally amazing. Easily one of the best I have encountered. Cris will not allow the knife out of his possession until it has been personally tested and he is completely satisfied with the package. True craftsman in every sense. Seriously people, if you are considering a custom knife I would not hesitate to recommend CJA Edged Art/Scorpion Forge. Cris will take care of you. So much so that I will be a repeat customer and can't wait to work with Cris again.
225mm W2 XH Gyuto
Ian Reid / Respected Kitchen Knife Enthusiast
At this point in life I'm a home cook so all of my impressions are from that, I have worked in kitchens and a bakery in the past so I have my fair share of experience around knives of all sorts. I've used quite the collection so what I'm about to say shouldn't be taken lightly. Out of everything I have owned there are only a handful of things I would ever buy again, for simplicity sake I'm going with just 3 now that I have had further time to reflect on price, value and performance of everything I have owned. I would buy these CCK 1303 Cleaver, Misono Dragon 240mm Gyuto, Cris Anderson 260-270mm Gyuto (honorable mention to the Kohetsu Blue#2 and Takamura)
To put that into perspective here is everything I can remember having owned or used extensively (everything is either a 210 or 240mm gyuto):
Germans like Wust and Henckles
Suisin Inox Western
Suisin Inox Honyaki
Gesshin Ginga Western
Z Kramer Essential and 52100
Takamura Migaki R2
Sakai Yusuke Extra Hard Stainless
Konosuke Fujiyama W2
Kohetsu Blue #2
That should put some backing to what I'm going to say, the gyuto from Cris I was able to test out was the only WA handle I have ever felt perfectly comfortable with. I have continually struggled with comfort with WA's and as a result tended to favor Westerns but Cris's gradual curve and shaping made the knife feel at home in my hand. Possibly one of the most agile feeling knives, balance was spot on where it felt neutral and even throughout, excellent in this regard.
Further, this thing held an edge flawlessly through a week of home use, granted that isn't a ton but that is meals and dinners every day along with some random prep work. No need to touch the edge up, it was fine and shaving tomato's for fun at the end of it. Aside from the edge holding, the knife was incredibly thin and had surprisingly good food release for something of this nature. I have used some exceedingly thin knives before like the Takamura but they did tend to suffer from sticking (not that this is a huge deal for me, cutting performance is top). In speaking of cutting performance, this knife was top, no question there. It was lightsaber-esque and wonderful to use as a result. You didn't hear carrots break in the cut if that makes sense.
In the short summary I mentioned that I didn't really like the flex especially in the front 1/3 of the blade, this is correct and true however, in speaking with Cris, I understand that this is part of the deal to get something so thin. I already had a feeling that was the case and in any rate, I would vastly prefer the performance associated with this level of thinness vs. what might occur with a thicker but stiffer knife. This point for me was absolutely a nit pick type thing but I can't just go around saying a knife is perfect, that is silly because there is always something an owner/buyer/user might want to chance regardless of if its totally rational or do-able or not.
When I mentioned that the knife showed me/helped me confirm what I like in a knife I meant that it firmly stamped itself in my mind in regards to what I want. For me, the rest of the custom's and production knives I have tried, be it Marko or Martell, Kato or Shig, aren't worth it. This knife, quite simply put, was better. It really is as simple as that, I arguable have tried just about all the "heavy hitters" out there be it custom or production and this was what I would buy. Cris put out something better than the rest.....and it wasn't close.
Again, I have tried many knives and spent some quality cutting time with all those listed. The 3 I choose represent the best I had/have ever used at very distinct price points. The CCK 1303 is an amazing value, it looks rough and ugly but it simply performs better than many gyuto's at 2x or 3x the price. The Misono Dragon is the next step or teir in my mind, it's not a better "value" than the CCK for example but it holds an edge well and performs wonderfully all around. The Cris Anderson is the "top teir" or dream class for many people. Again this is not at all a value item but if you're interested in that level of knife I don't see a reason to go with anything else. That's the easiest way of breaking those 3 down, they all have a great place in my kitchen and in any discussion on knives. Each is stellar at what it does without pause and for me, without peer in their respective groupings for a variety of reasons (long long discussion possible there I know). I would argue that going with the flow would be something more along the lines of "each of these custom makers had a great product for their own reasons etc...." Instead, I chose the more confrontation path overall in that I straight up said, this one (Cris) is better than the rest and that I wouldn't bother personally with any of the others after using it. When you call out one custom maker as top dog after having owned and used quite a few that can bring out some strong feelings regardless of if it is in that makers thread....because other's will read it and may or may not agree despite the location of the posting.Anyhow, just one guys take on the whole thing, it's an end game knife without question for me.
Larry Bard's 260mm W2 'Ultra Laser' Gyuto
Jordan Sabez / Respected Kitchen Knife Enthusiast
I had the honor of being first on the pass-around list. The knife and accessories arrived on the Friday of the ECG weekend. They arrived in a vault. A vault that put Fort Knox to shame
Suffice it to say that if I were to pack up and ship my 2-year-old – who is one of the absolute most important things in my life -- chances are the protection wouldn’t hold a candle to what Cris provided for his baby.
First Impressions: Wow, a well-executed 'line knife' profile. An amazingly thin spine at the heel tapering to a vanishing tip. Definitely a bit more svelte then I expected. Did I say thin? I meant THIN! And the hamon was more beautiful even in person then in the pics. The fit and finish on this knife were absolute spectacular. I would go as far as saying flawless, although I really did not take a magnifying glass to it. The hamon popped, the handle was beautiful, all edges were eased/ rounded to perfection, etc. So while the price point of this knife may seem high for a monosteel knife, there is no question in my mind that Cris takes care of all the details to ensure you feel like you got a bargain at that price and don’t have any regrets.
In hand, the knife was far lighter then I envisioned. And while the handle seemed a little funky to me (sorry about using a Guy Fieri phrase), it actually felt very comfortable. Granted I was just fondling it and not cutting with it at this point, but our relationship was just budding and I wanted to be a gentleman.
By the time I successfully breeched the vault, extracted the knife and admired its, uhm, body, it was time to head into DC to meet up with some KKF members. Unfortunately it wound up being limited to ChefCosta, but he was stuck working the line at Zaytinya that night and gladly took the knife – along with Carter and Mareko gyutos – back into the kitchen to briefly put them through their paces. He came back a short time later with a smile on his face. Unfortunately it was due to the Mareko, as he thought the handle was one of the most comfortable he had used. In fact, he brought out a Rader slicer to show me, and indicated he thought the Mareko handle was even more comfortable. As far as Cris’s knife was concerned, he seemed to think it cut well but he was not a fan of the handle. Okay, that may sound bad, but it was still #2 on the list and the Carter gyuto was the least favorite, which I think is saying something.
ECG: Fast forward 1-1/2 days. Mucho Bucho was kind enough to take a bunch of my knives to a JKI touch-up stone (6k?), as he touched up the pass-around knife as well, in preparation for the ECG. When we arrived I spread out a bunch of knives on a couple cutting boards, and people wandered around trying them out. Before much time passed Cris’s knife was appropriated and moved to marc4pt0’s table, and repeatedly put through its paces with onions and potatoes. The feedback I heard was very positive. Dennis, Marc and Rick (Theory) gave it the most use. Marc is on the pass-around list and should be receiving the knife any day now, so any comments from him are best left until he has really had a chance to use the knife in a professional environment. But he did seem to enjoy using it. But overall from ECG attendees the consensus was:
1. "Wow, that's thin"
2. "Wow, that's light"
3. "That really is a great knife"
The blade looked pretty good at the end of the day, with minimal patina. The only issue was I never got the chance to use the dang thing!
My Home Use: Finally, it was time for me to start using the knife. While I was first on the list, at least a dozen and a half other people had already gotten to use it a bit, so I was itching to get some time in the kitchen free from distraction by our 2-year-old. Oops, never mind – my wife beat me to the punch and used it to prep dinner while I was still at work. She primarily cut onions, sweet potatoes and carrots. Usually anything over 225 is too unwieldy for her, but she found the knife to be quite nimble and easy to control. She said it was great on the onions, and had almost no wedging except a little on the sweet potatoes, where she needed to press down on the spine a bit (although a lot less then she is used to doing with other gyutos we have). Also, she thought the handle was very comfortable. For comparison, she often uses my DT ITK AEB-L gyuto and a HHH mid-tech gyuto, and prefers knives in the 210-220 length. I passed on this feedback to Cris, who indicated using a slight push helped him get through sweet potatoes with almost zero resistance.
Fast forward another night or two, and it was FINALLY my chance to start using the knife. I diced up piles of potatoes, sweet potatoes and onions. The onions parted like buttah. It was an almost sublime experience. Same with the russets. Very little sticktion whatsoever; the onion and potato pieces came right off the blade. One thing I did notice was the knife seemed to cut best on the front and rear 1/3s of the blade, and required a little more effort in the middle 1/3. I initially chalked this up to the light sharpening on the use at the ECG.
The sweet potato was bit more of a challenge. This was not a long, thin sweet potato – it was almost the shape and size of a softball. The required cutting effort was about the same as with most of my other gyutos. Nothing was out-of-sorts here, it just that the knife did not surprise me the way it did on the onions and russets.
I found the handle to be quite comfortable during use, and a good fit for my hand size. Nothing about it interfered with the cutting duties.
The one thing that caught me off guard during the use was the reactivity with the onions. The knife slightly blackened the onions and the blade darkened quickly. It was surprising because blackening was not apparent at the ECG. I’m not sure what the issue was, as I wasn't exactly being careless or negligent -- I was wiping the blade after dicing each onion half. In comparison with some of my other knives it was a not-too-distant cousin of Shigifusa's cladding. It definitely was more reactive then Devin Thomas's 52100, which is no slouch in this department either. At this point I was expecting a Shigi-like battle to combat discoloration of acidic foods, but in another surprise to me it stabilized (due to the hot-water washes maybe?) and did not get any worse with further use of the knife over the next week. Additionally, acidic foods were no longer getting discolored. So after a day of discoloration issues everything became ok, although there was some patina on the blade that would have Cris’s ODC (see what I did there?) keeping him awake at night.
I had a chance to attack more onion and potatoes later in the week, as well as lemons, tomatoes, garlic, apples, steak and some other odds and ends. The knife was a joy to use each and every time I had some prep to take care of.
The key items that became apparent to me during this use were:
1) The very thin tip (really the end 1/3 of the blade) was great for slicing and mincing. It was very nimble even though the tip was so far from the handle (see pics below for comparison of length to a collection of gyutos).
2) The back 1/3 of the blade (towards the heel) excelled at chopping. In a ‘fell right through it’ kind of way.
3) The overall thinness of the blade (see pics below for some spine comparisons – the Fowler is the only gyuto that is remotely similar in blade profile and thickness) did not result in too much flex or instability. In fact, the knife felt quite stable, even on harder items such as the sweet potato. I chalk this up to the relatively low blade height. The combo of thinness and low height ‘just works’.
4) The middle 1/3 of the blade really did not get much use. Overall the blade was long enough that chopping a large onion only required the rear 1/3-1/2, and slicing tomatoes, lemons, etc. and mincing garlic only required the front 1/3. MAYBE the lack of weight of this knife resulted in the middle 1/3 being slightly more awkward to use because there just wasn’t much weight behind it. I am very interested to see what other pass-around participants think of this aspect. But to me, based on my limited home use, you could take one inch out of the middle of the blade and I would not have missed it. Odd thing to say, but at least with my cutting style the middle part of the blade just did not get used much.
Conclusions: I found this 'line knife' profile punched well above its weight class. The blade geometry and grind allowed it to perform more like a gyuto when chopping, and the suji-like height made the knife far lighter and more nimble than I anticipated. The only 'negative’ of the profile was the limited blade height meant it did not do that well as a 'scoop' for the cut product; a pair of cupped hands got the job done quicker.
Cris has the profile and grind down pretty well, and he deserves a big ‘congratulations’ for reaching that point so quickly! To me, the fit 'n' finish is definitely worth of the price point and the handle shape definitely works.
If I were to own and regularly use this knife I would probably sacrifice the hamon visibility and work to get a good patina on the blade, but then again I am not a polish kind of guy – I like seeing patina on carbon blades. And I’ll bet when Cris reads that statement he’ll get a nervous twitch
All-in-all using this knife was a revelation for me. I had seen photos of Cris’s knives, and figured using one would be like trying to cut a bowling ball with an overcooked piece of spaghetti. But nothing could be further from the truth – the relatively low blade height helps keep the blade much more stable than one would expect (at least in my experience). And the handle – which I thought would be awkward – proved to be very comfortable for my hand size/ shape. And even though the blade is on the long side, the knife is so nimble the tip got a lot of use. No need to drop the gyuto and reach for a petty with this one!
The overall lack of heft and *possibly* the grind resulted in me not utilizing some of the middle portion of the blade, although with more time I likely would figure out a tweak or two to my cutting motions to help with that. But like I stated earlier, you could take one inch out of the middle and I probably would not miss it. That’s really the most negative thing I have to say, as my overall experience was extremely positive/ favorable.
The photos below illustrate the range of gyutos I use, so you can see where the pass-around falls in relation to some DTs, a couple Markos, a HHH midway, a Fowler, a Carter, a Catchside, a couple Japanese blades, and probably one or two others. Some of the spine shots show how the dang thing is even thinner along the spine than my 210mm Takeda suji(!) and DT ITK 150mm petty(!!).
Cris, thanks for letting me try out your knife! Your work is already exceptional, and is only going to keep getting better.
265mm W2 'KitchenKnifeFora.com Passaround' Gyuto-Hiki
David (WildBoar) / Respected Kitchen Knife Enthusiast
Hiya guys! So this is my little ko gyuto, and I've been using it for around two weeks now in a pro environment. Thought I'd share my thoughts and experiences with Cris's work.
So the first few days after I received the knife, I didn't use anything else in my kit. The knife is super comfy in hand, and due to it's length, is extremely nimble. The dual taper handle design is strange at first, but I quickly got used to it and now prefer it over standard octagonal and western shapes. It fits my hand super well and it encourages forward momentum, making it easier to do tasks where i'd rather have a longer blade. The blade itself, besides looking incredible, performs right up there with the best. I own DT san mai, Mizuno honyaki, Rodrigue, and a Kato workhorse gyuto. Cris's f&f surpassed all of these and his "all-purpose" grind really stands out and shines as one of the best I've ever worked with. It is thin and falls through everything without flexing or feeling too light to accomplish heavy root veg or thick produce. I used it to break down a bunch of fruit, where it did an awesome job. It handled watermelon and pineapple like a champ. I honestly didn't feel like I needed more blade due to how nimble this knife is in hand. I've also been using it as my line knife, where it has also been doing a fantastic job. Cooked proteins are easy, it even performs well on seared fish and large thick proteins like rib-eye medallions. All this being said, the area I thought it did the best in is edge retention. I haven't had a single knife I've owned stand up to the hard plastic cutting boards the way this one does. I haven't even felt like I really need to touch it up in two weeks of banging it on plastic for 10-14 hours a day. As of last night, it was still dicing tomatoes like a boss, not exactly with the same ease as when it first arrived, but certainly not to the point I feel it actually needs it. All this being said, I'm extremely pleased with my purchase from Cris. He's incredibly down to earth and easy to deal with, he's also an excellent communicator and someone I wouldn't hesitate to buy from again. I'll be updating this review and supplementing it with videos and more pictures as the weeks go on .
175mm W2 Ko-Gyuto
Julian Kurz / Professional Chef
PO Box 249
Ewing VA, 24248
Mon - Fri: 8am - 10pm
Saturday: 9am - 10pm
Sunday: 10am - 10pm