We met one of the members of the family that owns Barnstable Sea Farms this weekend at the Love Local Fest in Hyannis! They tried one of our oyster knives and gave us a favorable bit of write up. They raise oysters in Barnstable and Osterville so they get the taste of both sides of the Cape! Pretty awesome stuff! October is the Month for Oysters and we will be at the Wellfleet Oyster Fest and Shuck! A Day of Oysters and Beer at Cape Cod Beer the following week. We are so excited!!
People often ask us, “Are you fabulously wealthy knife makers by now?” I then respond with maniacal laughter. Actually no one asks that but if anyone is wondering we have made virtually nothing at this job so far in the past 5 years. Everything we make has gone into upgrading and improving our shop and production process. This is the latest thing that has taken all our money. This is an Evenheat kiln. Why do we have it? Well it lets us improve our temp cycling of our steel for better grain structure and harder steel and it gives us accurate tempering cycles as well so we can bring the steel down to a serviceable hardness. It also will get the knives out of the kitchen oven for tempering which makes my wife happy. It will also allow us to experiment with D2 steel and a whole variety of stainless steels. Right now we are making a batch of Aeb-l Stainless oyster shuckers as well as our normal 1095 steel shuckers. This will allow us to do all our own heat treating of these more complicated steels in house with out having to send them out for heat treating. It has a really cool computer controller that lets us program all our heat treating recipes and save them which assures consistency and quality every time.
We had two cleavers brought to us this month for rehandling and sharpening. The first belonged to a gentleman’s father or grandfather it was verified from the 1800’s it had no handle but was in other wise good shape.
The second one was found in the ground of a back yard by a plumber. The house was from the 60’s but prior to that the land had housed soldiers. It was a rust crusted archaeology find but the biggest cleaver I have ever seen. It of course needed a handle and the edge needed a complete reprofiling. Here it is after he cleaned it up with about a 15 inch overall knife for size comparison. Both knives received handles of center cut cherry boards from my grand dad’s chicken house he built in the 1950’s. My father had them milled when the house collapsed a few years ago. They were the central roof supports. They were still fine it was the rest of the building that collapsed. They still smell like Mississippi clay, hay and musty barn. Kind of awesome.
We will be a the Harwich Cranberry Fest this weekend for what we hope is a repeat of a remarkable event last year. We have a good assortment of Japanese style chef knives and a great selection of outdoor knives for the camping and hunting enthusiast.
Hi all! We are winding down the farmers market season. The tourists have left in droves and we can finally take a breath. WRONG! We have a mad crazy holiday season lined up that promises to be busier than summer if only we can make enough knives! Yeah, I may have way over booked a tiny two man shop but Tom told me the other day he works best under pressure so I took it to heart!
We had an awesome meeting with town zoning and building commissioner today. We weren’t previously aware that while we can still be “two guys in a garage” we aren’t allowed to advertise our residential location to the public. We really do want to be good neighbors. This means we cannot have people coming to the shop from now on which is sad but probably for the best. We’ll still be around though! If you’d like a knife sharpened, or to check out our custom knives, check our schedule page or email us at email@example.com to find out when we’ll be in your area or to see if we can schedule a pickup at a nearby public location.
We will meet with a SCORE volunteer next Tuesday to talk about working on a long term business plan to grow from a home business to a medium sized custom knife maker and a destination location on the Cape. I have hung around Ann Miller of Summer House Soap and Todd and Beth Marcus of Cape Cod Beer too much and have been inspired to become something as integral to the Cape Cod experience and community as Great White Sharks. Just a matter of figuring out how to get there.
So we are setting at a market and someone asks about oyster knives and we tell them what we tell everyone about the design we make and how it is the regional design called a Boston or Cape Cod Stabber. One of these people happened to be a reporter for the online travel magazine Atlas Obscura!! A brief interview later and permission to use our photos and boom!! Here we are. I present to you. https://www.atlasobscura.com/foods/the-boston-stabber Also we got a small mention in the most recent issue of Edible Cape Cod in an article about Summer House Soap who I happen to work for as my day job. It is in stores now and will hopefully be online soon. I will be sure to post a link to it when it comes out.
Updated both the Gallery and the Schedule Page through December. Our email newsletter list is at almost 200 people! If you want to be added just drop me an email saying “Add me!” and I will. We send out an awesome news letter once a month.
A friend wanted me to make her a steampunk ray gun. So here it is. This does not mean that we are changing our line of work. It was a fun project. Teak and ebony and brass.
An antique dealer brought me this knife. It was form an old house in Brewster. We have no idea its function. It is forged with a stick tang peened over a washer at the end of the handle. It is a bit longer than an 8 ” chef knife. The blade has a thick tip and the top and bottom are tapered thin. Also the thickness of the tip carries down through the middle of the blade. despite the cleaver like hole the knife is to thin to be a traditional cleaver. At some point the top spine was hammered through stuff and the blade was poorly sharpened and maybe the hammering cause a slight warp in the middle of the blade around the uneven spot in the middle of the blade edge. The customer wanted the knife made serviceable for the kitchen. I ground off the sharp jagged and broken bit off the top where it had been hammered and straightened out the bottom edge. I gave it a good buffing with a soft fiber wheel to get rid of all the lose rust and then worked the surface with WD40 and a brass brush to loosen and remove rust from down in the pitting. I then gave it a good buffing with a cloth wheel. I then sharpened it and left the handle soaking in bees wax and mineral oil all day and the old dry walnut drank it in turning a deep almost black rather than a light dry brown. It is a cool conversation piece that now is a cool Asian style cleaver. Still not sure its original use.
A customer came to me and said he owned the worlds greatest quahog knife and had been using it since 1968. He said it has never broken a shell and worked like a dream. However recently it appears to have broken inside the handle and there is a piece of metal sticking out. Could we help? I was not sure we could but I said I would try.
As you can see once opened the handle was not really broken but rotted. The piece of metal sticking out is in between the handle halves and is all that remains of the tang.
So after cleaning up what was left of the blade we welded a new piece of steel to the remaining blade.
We then re handled it in mahogany with a green fiber liner.
You can not tell where the blade was broken now looking from the top. We wish him another 50 happy years with the worlds greatest quahog knife!