Knife in the Fast Lane

By The Editors
March 13, 2013 9:00 am

Handcrafted products, nicely done. This is Made By Hand, a recurring series in which we celebrate great American things and the tradesmen who create them.

The second best thing about having a porterhouse on hand is you get to cut it (the first, of course, is you get to eat it).

Which means, in turn, that you have an excuse to wield a very, very sharp knife.

And that’s where Brooklyn metalsmith Paul Cox comes in.

Any bargain-bin knife will cut if you sharpen it enough. But Cox — a motorcycle builder by trade — lovingly crafts tempered, lethally sharp objets d’art. And he’s accepting clients for custom jobs now.

Blades come in everything from mirror-finished stainless steel to swirl-patterned Damascus steel – the latter folded hundreds of times (literally) when forged.

Cox traces a knife pattern onto the metal before cutting it out with a massive bandsaw, then grinds the knife’s edge down to one-20,000th of an inch. 

After heat and oil baths to temper the steel, Cox uses a 20-ton press to affix the blades to guards of polished brass, nickel or silver.

As for the handle, Cox sources exotic woods from as far afield as Africa and Australia. That is, if he hasn’t already cast one from mother of pearl, abalone shell or a 10,000 year-old fossilized wooly mammoth tusk dug up in Siberia (true story).

Now that’s a knife.

Paul also makes blades for your non-steak needs. To see more of his handiwork, check out our photo gallery.

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