Frequently Asked Questions « Jonas Blade & Metalworks |

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

The short answer? Anywhere from $100-$10,000 or more.

A look through my work will help to give you some sense of my pricing. The price of any given knife is based primarily on the labor involved in producing it, and that can vary dramatically as the parameters of a project shift, often in ways that are not at first obvious.


I take great pride in my work, and I build my knives to last for generations. If you manage to break one, it probably I haven’t done my job properly. Should this ever come to pass, please reach out to me here so that I can make arrangements to repair or replace your knife.

It must also be said that once a knife is out of my hands, I have no way to guarantee that it is properly cared for, or that it is used for its intended task. I have tested many of my knives to destruction, and I can discern easily if a failure is due to improper use or care (e.g. handle damage due to running a knife through the dish washer, or using a straight razor to chop wood), and I have to reserve the right to proceed accordingly.


Caring for your custom knife is simple:

Wash & dry the blade after each use.

Oil the blade periodically to protect it from ambient moisture/humidity (which can lead to rust). Mineral oil is my top recommendation.

As the handle’s finish dulls, apply a new coat of polymerizing oil. Boiled linseed oil is a good choice, or Danish oil. Follow the instructions on the package.

For more info, please review these care instructions.

 


The intricate patterns you see on many of my blades are the result of two contrasting alloys of steel being folded together in specific ways. This process is known as pattern welding, and the resulting material is called damascus steel. You can learn more about this unique material here.


High carbon steel is the original blade steel. In its most basic form, steel is a properly balanced alloy of iron and carbon. Other elements are often also present and may have a significant impact on the performance characteristics of the alloy, but the carbon is what enables the steel to harden, and that hardenability is what makes steel so ideally suited for cutting implements. The higher the carbon content, the more hardenable the steel (up to a point). Thus “high carbon” steel.

Stainless steel alloys also contain carbon, but there are relatively high concentrations of other alloying elements that make it stainless. Chromium is the most common one. While modern technology is developing better and better stainless alloys, the general rule of thumb is that high carbon steel makes a superior blade.


Simply put, the striking aesthetics of damascus steel are its only real advantage in a modern context. The techniques for producing damascus date back to a time when high quality blade steel was scarce; smiths used to combine two or more alloys in order to stretch the valuable material further. As with many things, experimentation led to mastery, and smiths began to experiment enthusiastically with pattern, as well as performance. Modern steel production has come a long way, and good steel is plentiful; these days, the main advantage is its unique, exotic appearance.


NO!

Unless specifically noted, all of my knives are made from hand forged high carbon steel. Lacking the chromium that gives “stainless” steel its name, high carbon steel will rust in the hot, damp environment of the dishwasher. Natural handle materials should likewise never be exposed to these conditions.

On a personal note, I strongly recommend that you avoid putting any of your cooking knives in the dishwasher, whether they were made by me, another custom maker, or by an anonymous factory somewhere. Even with the most durable synthetic materials, the dishwasher is a destructive environment for handles and fasteners, and unless you can completely isolate the blade during the wash cycle, chances are very good that the edge will be rattling around against its neighbors–which will cause it to dull prematurely.

Just hand wash them.


Have a look at Zack’s upcoming classes here.

There are also a number of schools and individual bladesmiths offering classes. The American Bladesmiths Society is a good resource. If you are in the northeastern United States, we highly recommend the New England School of Metalwork.

Zack has been involved with both the ABS and NESM for years. You can’t go wrong with either one.


The short answer is no.

I have been making knives for a little over ten years now, and I consider mysef fortunate to have found the craft. During that time, I have worked diligently to cultivate my style the vocabulary of my personal aesthetic. It is because my work grows naturally from within that I enjoy working on it, and it’s because of that enjoyment that I am able to produce the quality of work I am known for.

That being said, I specialize in interpreting his clients’ input and producing work in my own style that meets their requirements and their tastes. If you have something in mind, a sketch may be a good starting point for me to begin to design a completely custom piece, just for you.


Rust is steel’s number one enemy, and if a blade is put a way wet or neglected for too long, rust can find its way in. If the rust is minor–just a haze, or a few tiny specs–make a thick paste of water and baking soda to use as an abrasive. Carefully scrub the affected area to remove the rust. (NOTE: if your blade is damascus steel, this process may also remove some of the pattern’s contrast. While the pattern itself is intrinsic, the contrast is caused by a thin black iron oxide layer on the surface of the steel. Rust is red iron oxide, and I do not know of any way to remove one without the other.)

If your blade is more severely rusted, please contact me right away and arrange to ship your knife back to the studio for more thorough restoration. Depending on the extent of the corrosion, there may be a charge for this service as it will likely involve completely refinishing the steel.


High carbon steel lacks the alloying elements that give “stainless” steel its name. This means that it is more susceptible to chemical interaction with its environment. Acidic foods like citrus, apples, onions, and tomatoes will cause the surface of the steel to oxidize and darken. This is completely normal, and in my opinion it is part of the beauty of high carbon steel. Over time, your blade will develop a patina of use that reflects the work it has done.

If you would like to refresh the surface of your steel, scrub it gently with a thick paste of baking soda and water. The paste will act as a light abrasive and will lift the oxides away. (Note: in the case of damascus steel, this process will also reduce the contrast of the pattern. This contrast is produced by essentially the same type of oxide layer, so abrasion will scrub some of that away too.)