A well-crafted knife doesn’t have to be seen — it just needs to get the job done.
But we never refuse a beautiful blade.
Which is why we recommend the handiwork of Chicagoan Michael Jarvis, maker of exquisitely handsome, very sharp custom knives.
Jarvis started Auxiliary MFG. in early 2016 after a 15-year reign in the restaurant business, where he cut his teeth in just about every post imaginable, from dishwasher to head chef. So, the man’s been around some knives. And now he spends his days grinding top-shelf cutlery at his Elston Corridor workshop full-time.
It should be noted: no two Auxiliary knives are the same. Forged by high-carbon steel, each blade is shaped and cut by Jarvis by hand, then affixed to custom-casted handles sourced from exotic wood and resin artist Travis Zumalt.
A look at Jarvis’ Instagram reveals a sneak peek into his process and handiwork, from gorgeous pocket cleavers and chef knives to fixed-blade EDC and survivalist cutters.
As you’d expect from a one-man show, availability is limited.
Basic no-frills knives can take up to 15 hours, while more elaborate numbers — the ones with the complex finishes and multi-material handles — can take up to 50 hours.
We suggest going the custom route. It’ll add about three months to the process, but be well worth the wait. You’ll essentially be designing your own knife — a process Jarvis takes very seriously. “You’ve gotta know the job the knife wants to accomplish,” he says. “Whether it’s for the kitchen or your pocket, every knife has an intended job, and that’s a good place to start.”
Or you can buy one of the few that are currently available.
They won’t be there for long, though. So chop, chop.
Photos: Tom Gallagher