This article about my knife-making appeared in the Port Townsend Leader. The title is "Carder Hones the Art of Knife Making".

Pt Townsend Leader article p1 (1.35 mb)

Pt Townsend Leader article p2 (1.11 mb)

custom kitchen knife


"My senses are idle.
The spirit, free to work without plan,
Follows its own instinct
Guided by natural line,
By the secret opening, the hidden space,
My cleaver finds its own way"

- from Chuan Tzu: Cutting Up an Ox



"The knife arrived today. I have never possessed anything before that so reflected the spirit of its maker. First slice was a piece of salami, not a very graceful christening but the nearest thing at hand. The result was perfection! You have exceeded all of my expectations."
- Eric, Pasadena CA

"I once again believe that craftsmanship is alive and well... The quality of this wonderful piece of art is outstanding! I will treasure it for years to come. I haven't been this impressed with a talent since watching my dad build a Ford Flathead racing engine from the block up during the '50s!"
- Mary, San Francisco CA

"I'm slicin' and dicein' and whistlin' while I work, thanks to your fine artisanship. Well, maybe not whistlin', but... I read the article about you with much interest. And understand the passion of your inspiration. You do very fine work which is aesthetically pleasing and of perfect utilitarian function. Every time I pick up one of your knives, I pause for a moment and think, wow, that's a nice knife; every time I use one, I think, wow, that's a great knife.... I have had several of your knives for a few years now, and it is still a thrill to open the drawer or box and select one for use. The feel of the wood and the sharpness of the blades is a marvel; I always have to stop and take a moment to appreciate anew their beauty-- not bullshitting about that either..."
- Ed, Maywood NJ

Dear Sir,
Please let me introduce myself, my name is Charley Snow.
I am a constant traveller, not by choice, it just seems to work out that way.
Some years ago I had the delight to be able to travel to Seattle and thence to Pt. Townsend.
Whilst there I bought one of my most treasured knives. It was one of yours, a Stone Soup Sailor´s knife. Even the name rang true to my thinking.
Should a man love a knife? Why not. It was not just the fact that it was so good to look at, it felt good in my hand. It was the obvious, the care that had gone into its making. Even and possibly especially, because the care had extended to the sheath, I wanted it.
It was a little out of my price range, but when would the opportunity arise again when such a piece could be my working knife.
I went to sea this year for six months on a motor yacht, to Italy, France, Sardinia, and my favourite Corsica.
Only whilst I was away my house was broken into and because I was on a motor yacht I had not taken my Stone Soup knife with me, only the gods know why.
Of all the things taken from my desk, the knife is the one thing I noticed first was not there.
I was gutted. Since then by some miracle, I´ve found it else where.
So to the purpose of this letter. You don't always know how important something is until it´s gone.
I´ve learnt that lesson with my Stone Soup Sailor´s knife.
I just wanted to pass on my appreciation for your workmanship. To tell you that I still have it and still think it a great knife.

rigging knife

rigging knife





Why buy a handmade knife?

A friend of mine won an essay competition - advice to the young on healthy aging - with the following words.


Why have your knives sharpened?

Maikel sharpening a knife

The advantage of having a sharp knife is not only that it makes the job go faster; it is also safer to use-- more cutting of food, less cutting of fingers! All cooks worth their salt will maintain the edge of their knives with a steel or stone. Eventually, however, any knife will wear down to the point where it needs re-sharpening.

Knives that are in constant use, especially those with a bolster, tend to end up with a concave section just where they should be straight or slightly curved. This hollow is often made worse by heavy use of a steel for re-sharpening. Commercial knife sharpeners, like the Chef's Choice machines (and, unfortunately, some human knife sharpeners), do restore the edge quickly but they grind away the blade, shortening the life of the knife more than necessary.

When I re-sharpen a knife I remove just enough material, from the sides of the blade only, to restore the edge. The only reduction in width comes from use and what is necessary to eliminate any hollow. I use a specialized belt grinder for material removal -- reshaping damaged tips, taking out nicks and regrinding bevels. For final sharpening I use hard Arkansas oilstones or Japanese waterstones and a leather strop. This technique produces a very sharp edge that holds up well while removing the least material possible and eliminating the danger of overheating.

If you live in Brooklyn, or even in the greater New York City area, I would be happy to sharpen your knives for you-- just get in touch.

Examples of past custom work

carving set with box

knives in gimballed (tilting) holder

slant block holder



slant block knife holder

backwoods knife

hunting knife