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The Maker

Moriah Cowles

 

It all started with a blacksmithing class in college out in Colorado. I fell in love. That seed of intrigue for the craft followed me home to Vermont, brought me to the hills of North Carolina, and found me again in Mexico.  It led me to a metalworking school in Maine and eventually, of all places, to Brooklyn New York, working and learning for two years from my dear friend and mentor Joel Bukiewicz at Cut Brooklyn.

I have always loved art and had not just a desire, but a need to make things with my hands.

I now have my own metal shop in Burlington, Vermont where I make my own kitchen knives from start to finish, all in house. I forge, heat treat, grind, sharpen, make and fit and sculpt the handle pieces, epoxy it all together and finish the knives in the shop.  

 

 

The Knives

Steel:  The knives are all made from non-stainless steel. I use 52100 Carbon Steel. I love working with this steel and love how it holds an edge. To understand how to care for a non-stainless carbon steel knife, please see the care info on the FAQ page of this site.

Design: My design is influenced by a combination of the Japanese Gyoto and French Sabatier styles, shifted and worked into my own thing. 

Handle: I use wood both from my family’s orchard in Vermont, and from friends who work with wood and have beautiful pieces they're willing to let go of!

The wood is stabilized in a process that saturates the wood with a mix of monomers and acrylics making the wood more durable and resistant to the effects of moisture and heat.

 

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The Process: 

I never know how detailed to get in explaining the process. I will keep it simple and add detail later if enough people ask for it!

Basically the knives start out as a bar of 52100 high carbon steel. I heat the steel up to over 1600º in a forge and hammer the knives into shape. I get them as close to their final shape as I can get them, then finish the profiling on my belt sander. I drill holes for pins and heat treat the knives using a heat treat oven, quenching in oil and then tempering them in the oven.

I then grind, hand sand, sharpen and etch my signature into the knives before epoxying the knife blanks with the wooden handle pieces. The mosaic pins are made by a talented woman in Oregon named Sally Martin. Sally makes beautiful designs I have so much fun choosing each knife's pins based on the handle wood's color and figure.

Once the epoxy is cured, I shape the handle, buff the wood, and etch the blade to show what the steel will look like as it develops its own patina with age. Each knife gets its edge tested, just to make sure it is working as it should, and is placed in a little box to be sent off to you!