Dear readers, I am so exited to present you this review. I have been testing Le Petit from Les Fines Lames (translated thin blades) for a week and really like knifes in general. As a cigar smoker I also really like cigar cutters. I have tested and used quite a lot of high end cutters and I am always very critical to the following points:
- Hardness Rockwell C-Scale
- Performance on the cut
I ordered the box online on the official website of Les Fines Lames. I must say the customer service, shipment and ordering went really smooth. I had contact twice for technical details about the blade, and the answers where very friendly and helpful. Shipping was done in 4 working days, which was fine for me. It was packed superb, they packed it very tight so it couldn’t be damaged.
Now the box of Les Fines Lames – Le Petit gave me the feeling of Apple combined with S.T. Dupont. The French flag, the black box with Silver and the beautiful logo made me think of S.T. Dupont. After opening the box, pure minimalism in a beautiful way, was putting al the attention on the blade. The leather sheet was packed below the Le Petit. It contains some Les Fines Lames stickers, a warranty card and a minimalistic yet very helpful user guide. So far I am impressed.
I must be honest, when I first had the knife in my hand, I was a bit doubtful. The knife is quite light and like the name Le Petit, it is also quite petit (small). I was not sure of this light weighted blade could achieve a perfect cut. The wood is stunning, I have the olive wood version. I think it is great that Les Fines Lames is using a lot of materials and wood for the handles. There are also options to buy limited edition knifes, which is really amazing.
With Le Petit you have a lot of choice so you can distinct yourself with the handle, the blade (laser printed logo’s, shapes) and the leather sheet. I own a lot of materials made of olive wood and the contrast with the Burgundy leather sheet is in my opinion really elegant. The wooden handle is stunning, the finishing of the wood is just absolute craftmanship.
The blade is very well balanced and friction based. Normally a blade like this locks, think for example a Victorinox pocket knife. The friction works really well, but in the box is also a little tool to adjust tightness. Out of the box it is perfectly balanced.
The logo on the blade is something special, really distinctive and detailed. I am a fan of the logo itself. On the quality leather sheet the logo is also very defined.
Hardness Rockwell C-Scale
The blade is made of the following steel ’14C28N’ a serious kitchen/utility grade metal by Sandvik. The metal can achieve a HRC (Hardness) of 55-62 based on the treatment. Sandvik says: ‘his new grade matches the previous highest achievable hardness without affecting the microstructure. Blade re-sharpening is therefore easy. At the same time, edge stability in terms of microchipping and edge folding or rolling is also good.’
HRC stands for Hardness Rockwell C-Scale. The lower the number the softer the metal. Metal that is to soft gets dull really quick and can not be perfectly sharp. The higher number the harder the metal. Above 60, it is harder to sharp and the blade is more fragile for breaking.
- 55-56 HRC, Cheaper knives. Chinese quality
- 58-59 HRC, German quality knives
- 60-64 HRC, Japanese handcrafted knives
This is what Les Fines Lames e-mailed to me about the Le Petit: ‘The hardness of our 14C28N LE PETIT blades is 59 HRC‘. 59 HRC is really impressive, this mean that the blade could be really sharp if sharpened well and the blade is not too fragile as well.
This blade is a single beveled knife. What does that mean? I will try to explain. Japanese sushi knives a.k.a. Yanagiba is also single beveled. This to achieve really thin cuts. This is necessary with sushi, but can also be helpful to cut a cigar cap.
I asked Les Fines Lames how they achieve sharpness on the Le Petit and how their quality control is done.
Quote from Les Fines Lames: ‘A lot of steps in the crafting process to give birth to LE PETIT are made by hand. This is what’s happening with the blade using a back stand. 2 sharpening’s are necessary to give the thin and precise cut of the edge. The “S” or “wave” shape of the edge needs 2 movements from the knifemaker with different angles. Once done, the assembling is also done by hand, like polishing of the handle, lubrication, and quality control. There is 1 quality control at the knifemakers workshop, and another 1 at LES FINES LAMES warehouse : eye control, precise measurements of the scissor effect (the most important thing), and a cutting test of a cigar if we have a doubt on the previous criteria’s.’ Unquote
Out of the box the blade is really sharp. I tested this with 2 basic cutting tests. Slicing a tomato and slicing paper. I will share the paper test in a video.
Performance on the cut
A picture says more then a thousand words, doesn’t it? Therefore I will share 2 pictures, that way I don’t have to type anymore haha. I have cut both a parejo and a figurado shaped cigar for honest judgement. See for yourself.
The user guide will help you, because of the single bevel you have to place the cigar cap towards the logo. It feels like a pair of hand scissors and the sound of the cut is just orgasmic… Not really classy, I know. It is what is is.
Like every other knife this also needs maintenance. Based on my own experience with this knife I would advice to clean the blade after each cut with a piece of damp cloth. Oil of the cigar can be removed with some 96% pure alcohol on a cue tip (watch out, that you don’t remove the lubricant). In between the wooden handle is a lot of space, you can blow the debris of the cigar out of there.
If you keep the bevel clean, I don’t expect that you have to sharpen this blade much. Sharpening can be tricky because of the S shape of the blade and has to be done in 2 stages. If you don’t know what you are doing, I advice you to bring it to a professional sharpener.
- Craftsmanship on the wooden handle
- Design and distinctive options
- High HRC of the blade
- Single bevel
- Performance on the cut
- Lightness and balance
- High buying price
- S blade shape
The blade it self is magnificent and beats my S.T. Dupont maxijet cutter as main cutter. A cigar aficionado always wants a perfect cut, giving their precious cigars the best draw possible. Le Petit can get the job done.
You do need some practice in holding the knife and cutting a cigar. As for the price. Retail price €159 is really sky high, for such a small knife. The material costs, craftsmanship and marketing taken in to account, I would say that €80 would be a more fair price. That said, would I buy it again? 100% yes, without any regret.