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Knife Care 101

Weige Custom Knife shop – How Knives are made

We visited Travis Weige of Weige Knives in Austin to learn how he creates custom chef knives, Santoku, petty, paring, boning, utility and hunting knives in his home shop.

Each knife is made by hand, from shaping the blade to smoothing the handle. Customers can choose the type of steel they’d like; the shape and weight of the knife; the handle material (wood, stone, bone); even choosing from a collection of handmade decorative pins that hold the handle.

For an especially custom knife, Travis will take a clay mold of your grip and form the handle of your knife just for you. And you don’t have to live in Austin to have a knife made. Measurements or clay molds can be sent by mail for out-of-towners. A small selection of Weige hand-made chef knives are available at Metier Cook Supply in south Austin. Travis can also restore your antique knives, replace handles and sharpen your knives.

Knife Care 101

How to Sharpen a Knife

In the second half of the video, we learn how to sharpen a knife. Here are Travis’s tips for knife sharpening:

  1. Use a wetstone or an oilstone. For a knife of average dullness, 1000 grit is a good starting point. If your knife is very dull, start with a coarser stone (200-300 grit) and move up from there. (I’ve linked the stones suggested by Travis at the bottom of this post)
  2. Hold the blade at about a 15º angle. When the blade is pressed against the stone, you should be able to slip a matchbook in the space between the spine of the knife and the stone.
  3. Starting at the tip of the knife, slowly push the blade away from you, gliding the edge along the stone from tip to heel releasing the pressure as you go. Maintain the 15º angle the entire way.
  4. Keep the turns even. Try 5 swipes on one side, 5 on the other; then 4, then 3, 2, 1. This prevents the blade from being sharpened unevenly.
  5. Rinse or wipe the stone occasionally during sharpening to remove steel build-up.
  6. Use a honing steel once a week or so to keep your sharp knives sharp.
  7. Once a year have your knives professionally sharpened with a belt grinder. Contact Weige knives for sharpening service in Austin or check your nearest flea or farmers’ market. Most have a knife sharpener on site.

Recommended Sharpening Stones (Affiliate links)

7 Comments

  1. The Other Randy on May 2, 2015 at 4:59 pm

    I love the idea of a guy making custom knives for chefs and cooks! So many custom knife makers cater to knife fetishists. Mr. Weige also has convinced me to give up my electric knife sharpener. Thanks for the links to his recommendations.

    On the other hand, dearest Hilah, YOU are totally EVIL!!! As soon as the video was over, I immediately went to his website to order a couple of knives only to find he’s booked until the summer of 2016!!! Oh wait, why was I surprised? What with his reputation for quality and his affordable prices (I can’t remember his first name but that Kramer guy’s knives aren’t even close, unless you’re rich).

    I’m glad you mentioned Métier Cook Supply. I’ll try them. That actually might be best, since I’d probably be paralyzed with indecision if I had to make all of the choices of materials. I can’t believe that for years I lived within walking distance of them and had no idea they existed.

    • Hilah on May 2, 2015 at 5:54 pm

      Ha! I know it’s a long wait. He told me that when he first went full-time (thanks to a write-up in the Chronicle) the wait time was 4 years! He hired an assistant at that point 🙂
      Check at Metier and also the Sunset Valley farmers market. He said they’d have some there at the sharpening station, too.

  2. Bob on May 2, 2015 at 6:09 pm

    Great video. I am knife-inspired now. I’m big on serrated knives out of laziness. My best regular knife is a santuko with a more trapezoidal front end. $5 at the Chinese market many years ago. It is “Kiwi Brand”, made in Thailand and has an anteater logo on the blade. I begged them to carry it again as I’ve opened cans with it camping and it has spent some time underwater in the sink. Now I’ll just sharpen it

    • Hilah on May 6, 2015 at 8:20 am

      Have fun sharpening your knives! It’s very therapeutic 🙂

    • Kevin on May 18, 2015 at 7:18 pm

      Kiwi knives are amazing for the price. You can order from the selection at Import Food (http://importfood.com/thai_knives.html). Other than being a satisfied customer of theirs for many years I have no affiliation with the company. As a bonus, they have quite a bit of inventory of great products from Thailand in addition to the knives.

      • bob on May 21, 2015 at 10:36 pm

        The knife I have was a gift from a neighbor who since regretted it as they were no longer available at the Oriental Market. But now you can get them online – 6 dolla’, cash American.

  3. jim on April 25, 2016 at 7:35 pm

    I do agree with him the only true and sharp way for a knife edge is a oil stone or some use water on it — which ever works for them is the way to go – I learn this method from the old timers at the cigar store who use to sit around who made their own knifes — they were usually looking but sharp too cut a blade of hair if you can see that —

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