I started making knives around 1998 and found that knife making fits me like a glove. I enjoy making a premium product using just my own two hands and basic materials.
I have done several other jobs over the years: chef, photographer, programmer, and controls engineer. Although my jobs have changed, one thing hasn’t – my desire to make the best product I can with my own two hands and raw materials.
The knives I make today are a culmination of the things that I have learned over the years. From my time cooking, I know what a pleasure it is to work with a knife that fits your hand, that is sharp and doesn’t tire you out after hours at the cutting board. My 20 years of engineering background allows me to understand the steels, processes, and geometry that transform a raw piece of steel into a fine cutting instrument. My 15 years of photography gives me an eye for design, symmetry, color, and aesthetics. My time spent working with leather makes it easy for me to make sheaths and cases for all my knives. I am a member of the American Bladesmiths Society and will be taking my ABS Journeyman Test later in 2019 and will then start working towards becoming an ABS Master Smith.
Like everything else, the world has changed over the years. There is a growing desire for stainless steel over carbon steel knives, cheap imported products are flooding the market in the USA, and a plethora of inferior “handmade” knives are coming from everywhere on the planet. With all of this, there is still a booming market for premium quality knives that are handmade in the USA. I believe that after years of dealing with the cheap imported products from third world countries, consumers are learning that there is value in quality products that are made in the USA and will last a lifetime.
When you purchase a knife from Ken Avery Knives, you get beautiful designs, the best materials, premium quality that will last for generations, and something that you can feel good about each time you use your knife. You also get my commitment to quality, to the planet, and to good people starting out their careers as chefs.
I try to be as environmentally responsible as I can. My Circa 1874 Carbon Steel Knives are hand forged and have a hand rubbed finish. Hand forging and finishing use less steel and less electrical energy than stock removal knives. Hand-forged knives take longer, so they are slightly more expensive, but I believe that hand forging makes a superior product. Many of the handles I make are from reclaimed wood like American Chestnut, Hickory, and Ash, all appropriate for knives made in their time period.
In keeping with being environmentally responsible, I try to salvage as many knives as I can. There is something special about a knife that has a rich history. Most of the knives I rescue are from the 1800s and have been forged in France or Germany by the best makers of their time. Many of the knives have handles that are split from age and lack of care, so they get a new reclaimed wood handle appropriate for their era. I put a fresh profile on the blade if necessary, then sharpen and polish the knife to like-new condition. These knives are then offered for sale under the RESCUE page.
Some of the Rescue knives, as well as several hand-forged knives, are gifted to upcoming chefs from the top cooking schools in the USA each year. I like to give back when I can, and I remember that I really wanted my own knife when I started cooking, but just couldn’t afford a good one. I hope that I can put a smile on the faces of several upcoming and deserving students. See the CULINARY STUDENTS page for more information.