When it comes to holiday gifting, there are times where you just feel the need to swing for the fences.
Perhaps you’ve got a big client that you’re very much “looking forward to continuing business with in the coming year.” Perhaps you’ve got a significant other who has resigned you to a doghouse you’d like to emerge from sooner rather than later. Perhaps you’ve just had a helluva year (or several) and money just ain’t no object.
Any way you slice it, you’re in need of a true showstopper of a gift. Not only something of truly superlative quality, but something with a story — something the recipient can crow about whenever someone invariably inquires “damn, where did you get that??“
And thus we bring you the Rare Finds Gift Guide, a handy compendium of holiday swag for just about any type of person on your list (or, perhaps, if you’re just in the market for yourself — no judgement).
This installment concerns Max Poglia, the Brazilian-born bladesmith creating some of the handsomest cutting instruments we’ve ever seen.
At InsideHook, we get more than our fair share of knives coming through HQ. Pocket knives, chef’s knives, survival knives — you name it, and our managing editor (affectionately known as “knife guy Mike”) has likely toyed with it in that idle, offhand way that makes you think he’s one day going to lose a finger. We would be hard pressed, however, to find you a collection of cutting instruments more drop dead gorgeous than the ones produced by Brooklyn’s Max Poglia.
As a child in his native Brazil, Max developed an affinity for old school craftsmanship and well-worn tools around his grandfather’s hardware store. After kicking around the globe, he eventually fell in love with New York, where he began to put that affinity into practice, experimenting with bygone techniques and old materials in his Williamsburg studio.
Before long, a vacation took Poglia back down to Brazil, where just such materials were to be found in abundance. Forgotten agricultural tools (predominantly plow discs) made of old carbon steel would become his blades, while reclaimed natural woods and animal horn/bone (a byproduct of Brazil’s rich Gaucho culture) would become his handles.
We strive to embody quality, utility and sustainability on all fronts, and are proud of our devotion to ethical and sustainable processes. We’re committed to preserving the history & uniqueness of our materials and practices.Max Poglia, Founder and Designer of Poglia
Each blade is hand-drawn and cut by eye, then forged by a second-generation Brazilian blacksmith. The result is a craggy, weathered look, with marks and abrasions (and the occasional serial number) nodding to its prior life as a tool of the fields. No two are ever alike, and because the steel isn’t stainless, this patina is meant to grow as one uses it.
Similarly, Poglia notes that because the handles are crafted from organic material that “breathes” and reacts to changes in temperature and weather, they too will develop a completely unique character. “We don’t have total control over how they’ll age over time.” he says. “That’s the beauty of our process.”
Throw in bits of recycled brass (and Poglia’s formidable design acumen), and you’ve got beautiful knives of every type that fall at the exact intersection of rugged and refined. Poglia likes to call them “functional art,” and we agree — these are heirloom pieces meant to be used with love, held onto and passed down for the next generation to try.
And what’s better than a gift that keeps on giving?
In addition to his badass knifeware, Poglia also proffers a variety of handsome homewares (this bar set and these candle holders being our favorites) as well as a line of artfully weathered leather bags — any of which would also make a killer gift.
Again, Poglia’s got a range of cutlery and thus a range of prices, but even the smallest of his blades will run you a couple hundred bucks. A small price to pay, however, for something that will last a lifetime (perhaps to be gifted again some time down the line to your giftee’s progeny) and only gets better with age.
Crown Royal XR Extra Rare, the second edition to the storied Canadian brand’s Extra Rare series, is crafted from one of the final barrels of whisky saved from the now ghost LaSalle distillery.
To mark the model’s 55th anniversary, TAG Heuer’s flagship Carrera line is being driven by the brand’s premium, Swiss-made in-house column wheel chronograph movement, the Heuer 02, for the first time.
With a journey that begins on the steppes of Mongolia and ends in an NYC design studio, SAVED proffers ultra-soft cashmere throws, pillows, blankets, hats, and scarves — all featuring the sort of punchy, voguish designs one might expect to catch in the background of a Wes Anderson film.
Helmed by two Canadian brothers in the heart of Alberta, AdrianMartinus focuses on gorgeous furniture and home goods painstakingly crafted from a very interesting type of reclaimed wood: old skateboards.
In Jackson Hole, Wyoming, legendary shaper Mikey Franco and his team are building snowboards in a way no one else in America does: by hand, specifically tailored to each and every client from the ground up.
Hailing from the tiny island of Kagoshima in Japan’s smallest prefecture, Olive Wagyu is the rarest beef on planet earth. Only a handful of Japanese cattle farmers produce it, and in extremely limited quantities — only 2,000 of these mythic cows exist in the world at any given time.
The first generation Ford Bronco is one of the most beloved SUVs of all time, unchanged from 1966 to 1977. Illinois outfit Gateway Bronco reigns supreme in the restomod game, hunting down these classics and meticulously restoring/refurbishing them to new levels of glory.
There is no piece of equipment more essential to mountaineering than the humble backpack. And no one makes them quite like Dan McHale, a veteran climber who’s been making bespoke ultralight packs out of a workshop in Seattle for more than 40 years.
Plying her trade from a by-appointment-only studio in the heart of Nashville, Savannah Yarborough is one of the most sought after designers of bespoke leather jackets in the country — her clients include Jack White, Jason Isbell, and, with a bit of luck, you.
Knife imagery courtesy of Max Poglia