All of my knives are hand forged in my shop in Newington, CT. I start with a bar of 52100 high carbon steel cut to length, which is then heated in a gas forge. Through a series of heats the blade is hammered all the way down to its final shape and thickness, leaving hammer marks and fire scale on the surface of the steel. This detail provides a rough surface that sheds food well, and also the distinctive look and markings of a handmade tool.
Once the blade is forged to shape, it is ground to a specific profile, and then heat treated.
Heat treatment ensures the proper balance of hardness and toughness in the finished knife; an edge that is too hard will be brittle and could chip, and one that is too soft will not hold a sharp edge. This is a multi-step process that takes place over two days, beginning with a series of high heats in a digitally controlled kiln, around 1500 farenheit. This step converts the molecules in the steel into a fine structure; quenching the hot steel in oil freezes them in that position, leaving a fine-grained, very hard blade. The second step is tempering, where the hardened blades are subjected to much lower heats, around 300-400 Farenheit, to relieve stress and brittleness in the steel, and bring the blade to its working hardness.
Then begins the long process of grinding the blade to the correct angle and final shape. This is a delicate and nuanced step, slowly working down through the grits to remove material and scratches without overheating the blade on the grinder.
The finished planes of the grind determine how well the knife will move through food and what tasks it will be used for. Throughout the grinding the knife is tested for proper edge geometry.
Once ground, the knife is ready for handle fitting and finishing. A brass bolster is cut to shape and snugly fitted onto the tang. Several more layers of bolster material are stacked on to create a balanced visual transition to the handle. Then the handle block is drilled, widened, and cut to shape. A perpendicular hole is drilled through the handle material and tang of the knife for the fitting of a brass pin which secures the handle and tang together. The handle wood is roughly shaped, then all the pieces are carefully glued together.
After the glue has dried overnight, the blade is hand finished with very fine grit sandpaper and sharpened. The wooden handle and bolster are also finished to an even smoothness. The final step is the application of several coats of oil to protect the wooden handle, worked in with a soft cloth.
The entire process takes about 5 days to complete.