Louise Hasson is the owner and lead chef of Bon Vivant School of Cooking, Seattle’s premier cooking school for beginning and experienced chefs.
After seeing the superior Theirs-Issard SABATIER****ELEPHANT line in the 1970’s at the San Francisco Gift Show, Louise was struck by their quality, history, techniques and commitment to bring these high end knives to the American market. Inspired, Louise started Great French Knives and has been bringing these works of arts to her students, local chefs and enthusiasts throughout America ever since.
How are knives made?
Generally, knife blades are either forged or stamped. Stamped blades are punched out from a thin ribbon of steel and then tempered and sharpened. Most of this work is done by machines. Forged blades are made when a steel bar is heated at high temperature, hammered into a die to form its shape and then tempered, sharpened and finished. Forging is the oldest method of construction and uses hand craftsmanship to produce the strongest and sharpest blades. While stamping may produce a consistent product, forging has traditionally been considered superior.
Our Sabatier **** Elephant knives are fully forged.
What does Sabatier mean?
Since the Middle Ages, the area of Thiers, France has been associated with the cutlery industry. Two separate families, Jean Sabatier of Le Moutier (lower Thiers) and Phillipe Sabatier of Bellevue (upper Thiers), began using the name in their maker’s mark. Over the years, many makers began using Sabatier in their branding. In general, it implies a high-quality knife made in the Thiers region of France using a fully forged process.
As intellectual property standards were established in France, manufacturers were required to include a second word or symbol along with SABATIER and many marks were registered. In 1979, when one of the trademarks was sold and the brand began to be used on inferior products, the various trademark holders formed an association to protect the brand name and reputation. Only knives manufactured in Thiers, France from well established manufacturers from the 19th century are considered “genuine” Sabatier knives.
Thiers-Issard is considered one of the leading manufacturers of Genuine Sabatier knives.
What does “Fully Forged” mean?
“Fully forged” means that, with the exception of the handle, the knife is made from a single piece of steel. In a several step process, the metal is shaped into the blade, bolster and tang. The handles are riveted on and the final shaping and sharpening is done by hand.
Each Thiers-Issard creation is completely hand crafted at their factory in Thiers, France.
How can I tell if it’s from Thiers-Issard?
All Thiers-Issard knives are stamped with their trademark SABATIER****ELEPHANT logo. This mark indicates you are receiving the finest quality French Sabatier knives in the world. These are among the last of the Old World Master Craftsman hand-forged knives.
What does INOX mean?
From the French acier inoxydable, INOX is a synonym for stainless steel.
What is high carbon stainless steel?
High carbon stainless steel is stainless steel with a higher amount of carbon, intended to incorporate the better attributes of both carbon steel and stainless steel.
Our Sabatier knives are made from a special high carbon stainless steel formula that is considered superior to most other high carbon stainless steel kitchen knives.
Why SABATIER****ELEPHANT knives?
Time tested and refined
French craftsmen have been making and, famous French chefs have been using these knives since 1615. These knives have been adored in American since the 40’s and continue to be a favorite among culinary professionals and students alike.
Individuality is the trademark of a hand-made knife. Each knife is a compromise between forging, grinding and honing. Thiers-Issard’s master craftsmen are trained to achieve the perfect balance and create a one-of-a-kind work of art.
High Carbon Stainless Steel
Our SABABTIER****ELEPHANT knives are made from Stainless 4116 norm Americain AISSY, a product superior to the Z40C13 used in most kitchen knives.
A higher percentage of carbon and chrome; the addition of vanadium (0.9%) and molybedenum (0.3%); hardening at 1050/1060 degrees centigrade; and, tempering at 310 degrees centigrade make this steel more resistant to corrosion, deformation and wear.
SABATIER****ELEPHANT knives weight 20% less than German equivalents. Lighter weight means less fatigue. Combined with the other precision design features of our knives will have you producing like a sous chef pro!
When gripped properly, our Sabatier knives are designed to be perfectly balanced in your hand. Precision instruments are the mark of a master craftsman and our knives will have you feeling like the master of your kitchen!
A secondary intermediate grind and an “effile” (final edge) hand ground by only a few of the highest trained master craftsmen ensure that your SABABTIER****ELEPHANT knives will be the sharpest you ever own. Higher quality steel requires finer sharpening material. Be sure to use a professional hand sharpening service and use your sharpening steel frequently in between.
The round bolster with fine quillon (or guard) makes it easier to sharpen and allows you to sharpen the blade all the way to the heel. This design allows for a better grip creating greater comfort and control.
Impregnated with epoxy resin and pressed at high pressure, our handles are more resistant to heat and moisture than regular wood. Thiers-Issard’s skilled artisan take pride in making each handle, affixed with polished brass rivets, a work of art.
Red Stamina – beech wood tinted red
Green Stamina – beech wood tinted green
White Micarta* – layers of linen
* While White Micarta handles are the most difficult to make commercially, we believe their stunning beauty is worth the effort.
Great French Knives is the foremost distributor of White Micarta Sabatier Four Star Elephant knives in the United States.
How can I return my knife?
A Brief History of Thiers-Issard
Knife-making in the city of Thiers, France dates from at least the 12th century. In 1884, Pierre Thiers established his own knife-making factory, which he named Thiers-Issard (a combination of his own name and that of his wife). His knife production thrived and became highly respected.
In 1958 the third generation of the Thiers family, Louise and Pierre, purchased the mark of SABATIER****ELEPHANT in order to continue the family heritage of producing fine French knives. After worldwide success, the business was sold in 1985 and is now operated by Gilles Rayenwaeter.
The present factory is in the center of the knife-making district of Thiers, France and employs about 40 people. These master craftsmen make the finest French knives available.
In addition to kitchen knives, Thiers Isaard is renown the world over for their straight razors. Their craftsmen are so skilled with their hands that they are often asked to make special tools for the defense industry, for the automobile trade, and for the medical trade throughout the world.
Although there are modern machines in the Thiers-Issard factory, there are no computerized robots doing the work. Each knife is hand made by a master craftsman.
If you’re not sure which Sabatier product you have, you might want to check out this link on Wikipedia for further information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sabatier
To learn more about the history of Thiers Issard, check out their Wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thiers_Issard
To get a sneak peak inside the factory, check out this video we found on YouTube: http://youtu.be/39gHw5vbPYU