April 29th 10-4 at Mashpee Middle school will be the Cape Cod Mini Makers Faire.
Cape Cod Cutlery will be in attendance. We will be co sponsoring a Black smithing demo along with the local chapter of the Society for Creative Anachronisms of which we are also a part. We hope to have local medieval weapon smith Rusty Griffin at the Anvil along with weapon and armor smith Brian Dimmock. These master craftsmen will be joined by Cape Cod Cutlery and the local metal workers group within the SCA. There will also be fighting and fencing and music and dance and all sorts of other demonstrations of the things we do in the SCA. You can of course purchase Cape Cod Cutlery knives as well. We look forward to seeing you there and come see people make things by hand. If you don’t make something ask yourself, “why not ?” If you don’t know what you will like to make come on down there are plenty of people to help you figure it out.
If you have been following this blog for a while you have seen us make knives out of recycled materials. You have heard me explain how just like every person who owns a Great Dane wishes they had a dollar for every time they were asked if “they had a saddle for that thing?” knife makers are always asked the same questions. Have you ever made a knife out of a ….. ? Well up until now I have be able to say yes to files, yes to rail road spikes, yes to lawn mower blades, yes to saw blades but no leaf springs. My friend Fergus who has connections in the auto repair world got us a set of truck leaf springs. So here it is our first leaf spring knife. Our number one customer Jon asked for a Nessmuck as a gift for his brother who is an outdoors guy who likes to bush craft. so we took the idea of our Nessmuck and Camp Chopper and modified it. We had new steel and a new project so the path was clear. The steel was incredibly tough even after two annelings it ate through cut off wheels and belts. We left the original spring thickness of 1/4 inch in the spine to give it weight for chopping and tapered the handle for comfort so it did not feel like you were swinging a leaf spring. To make a big knife like this still be usable without tiring you out we lightened it by drilling holes in the handle and giving the blade a deep hollow grind. The bevel was brought up high like a kitchen knife so it is super sharp for the fine work but the steel along the edge is still thick enough for the hard work. The handle is Walnut with one brass and one mosaic pin. Our in shop sheath guy Ken is getting better at his craft too! The sheath is comfortable and attractive with a glossy waterproof finish. Happy Birthday Bro! hope you use it in good health for many years to come!
So you get into knife making cause you want to make a knife. Then you think I could sell this and pay for my hobby. Then you think I could sell these and do this for a living. Then you realize you have to take your product to market which is an entirely different skill set then making a knife. From a knife makers stand point this should be as simple as getting a table and laying the knives out flat in neat rows so people can look at them. However, after your first trip to a craft show or farmers market you realize it is just not that simple. Some people spend hours setting up their booth with very elaborate displays. In an effort to broaden our flat table world view we are trying to add some height in the back and some variety of presentation. We were going to go with an ocean theme but could not find any drift wood so we went with chunks of Cherry burls, because that is what we had on hand. We then messed with some flower pots and bricks. Someone suggested magnetic strips in the wood. The long and the short of it is we are messing with presentation. If you have any good ideas please help us with developing a new skill set.
While looking through our camera today I found a bunch of great pics of one of our favorite knives from 2014 the Cedar Bowie! Enjoy!
Removing the blade and end cap was tricky. The blade had been glued in as had the silver cap on the end. We were not sure how things worked so we chiseled off the end cap to find that it had been brazed to a rod and glued in one end of the knife. The blade came out with a little twist and the round short tang offered little resistance. We tried to make a blade out of the steel. Here it is hammered flat on the right. We ground it into a long and elegant filet knife but after 3 efforts at hardening the back half of the blade would not take a temper. So we switched to Plan B. We had a file from Johnson Brothers File Co. circa 1860-1914. We turned it into a multipurpose outdoor knife with a much beefier tang. So in the end the wedding knife from the 1800’s met a file from the 1800’s and lived happily ever after.
Here is a custom fighter and a chef knife for one of our best customers. Both handles are from our stash of Dad’s Cherry Burls. Steel is 52100.
Here at Cape Cod Cutlery we get some interesting requests from time to time We have re-handled an old K-Bar re-profiled and reshaped broken tips on knives, converted one type of knife into another. This most recent project is by far the coolest to date. A lady who I would guess to be in her late 70’s early 80’s came into the soap company today and said she had a question for me. She had seen us in Edible Cape Cod Magazine. She pulled out a knife steel and carving knife. She told me there used to be a fork as well. It belonged to her grandmother, you can do the math. The knife was rusted so bad that it looked like it had come out of a viking dig. The antler handle had a couple of big cracks running through it. It was clearly hand forged I would guess by the barely legible stamped makers info in the early to mid 180o’s in possibly Germany. She said her grandson is and outdoors man and she wanted me to make a knife he might use out of one of the handles of her grandmothers carving set. I told her I would try with the knife steel because the antler was in far better shape. My first thought was to remove the handle and put a brand new blade into it. The next thought was forge the blade out of the original steel. That is the current plan. We can always use the other plan as a fall back if the forging does not turn out satisfactory. My thought is a small filet knife or bird and trout knife. Stay tuned for the process.
Here are our second generation chef knives, they are waiting for some blade polishing and logos. After that they will be going out to our test chefs at Spoon and Seed, The Naked Oyster, The Portside Tavern, Bleu and the Cape Sea Grille. Also present an oyster knife a paring knife and a friction folder. They are on top of our new price tags created by our shop apprentice Marwin who has been helping us with out new logo and branding.
We decided to streamline our logo. We picked these two colors and a carbon color so gray it looks black to be our company’s official colors. The official company font is called Damascus. Which is pretty awesome because of Damascus steel which we will be getting more involved with in the future. We are looking into Tee shirts and stickers and various marketing items to get the image out there and recognizable this summer.
Check out our friend Bruce’s photos of a day in the life of a knife maker.
Our friend Bruce Bishop, who is a professional photographer , came down to shoot us while looking for images for a photo contest. This is what he came up with.
Come on down and check out our first retail store. Summer House Natural Soaps of Hyannis is now our retailer for our line of straight razors. They also sell an excellent shaving soap, brushes and other men’s grooming items.