Carter Cutlery News
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Happy New Year, Carter Cutlery friends and patrons!

I pray that you would all be blessed beyond your expectations in 2010. Our year here at Carter Cutlery is already off to a fantastic start.

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Do you have questions about steels, knife-making, or just cutlery in general? Send us an email and Murray will be happy to answer them for you.

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What Our Customers Are Saying...

"I am an enlisted member of the U.S. Navy working on nuclear submarines. My job is very demanding and stressful, so, to clear my mind, I enjoy cooking as a hobby.

"Unfortunately, I have always been disappointed with the quality of the knives I can find. Thanks to your knife sharpening and maintenance techniques, I am now able to turn any blade into a useful tool.

"You have also helped me to better understand what to look for when buying a quality knife.

"This has brought me much joy while cooking and provided me with a new wonderful hobby to be passionate about. I tremendously appreciate your commitment to quality and service. Thank you for sharing your wealth of knowledge and bringing the joy of scary sharp blades into my home." --- Nicholas Smith, U.S. Navy

"Your series of tips on knife maintenance is easily the best, most useful toolbox I own. I've copied all seven articles, reformatted them for framing, printed, framed and hung them on the walls of my workshop for easy, one-glance reference.

"The whole series is invaluable, covering the gamut of what one needs to maintain and properly use one's blades. From sharpening to storing to evaluating, it's all there. And I got it all for free, simply for asking.

"This is what the Internet used to be all about: fast, useful information free for public use. I salute you, sir." --- John Fogarty

Trip to Japan

I made a voyage to Japan for the first time in four years since I moved to the US. The purpose of the trip was to visit family and to pursue some new business ventures. In last month's newsletter, I asked you all if there were any specific requests for me to procure top quality Japanese products. The overwhelming responses were requests for high-end scissors and traditional axes and forestry tools.

Boy, do I have good news for you!

In both areas I was extremely successful. Just look at some of the pieces I was able to bring back with me and read about the wonderful business relationships I was lucky to forge while there.

Shozaburo shears Tosa axehead
Itobasami thread cutters Shozaburo scissors

The World's Best Forged Scissors

When I lived and worked as a village bladesmith in Japan for 18 years, I had occasion to sharpen and repair several hundred pairs of scissors of all kinds, shapes and sizes. Over the years, one brand of scissors left a lasting impression on me as being of the very finest quality. No matter what condition they were in when the customer brought them to me for refurbishing, they always cleaned up the best, and always got "scary sharp" when I was finished working on them. The brand that cut and performed better than all the others was and remains to this day, TOKYO SHOZABURO TOBASAMI.

Shears Co.

Before heading to Japan in December, I made a "cold" sales phone call to Shozaburo and introduced myself in my best Japanese. After a few tense moments, not knowing whether they would take me seriously or not (it is not Japanese custom to call on a company with no prior introduction from someone who personally knows the staff), the conversation became very friendly. They were open to the idea that I come visit their factory office while I was in Japan. I was encouraged that, so far, things seemed to be going very well indeed.

When the day came to pay them a visit, I summoned my best formal Japanese language skills and mentally reviewed business etiquette, so as to not ruin a fantastic business opportunity by being too casual on the first meeting. I met with the president's son, who manages operations. He interviewed me for about 30 minutes, while his father, the president, sat at his desk within earshot. After talking about specific smithing processes and metallurgy, and about my specific techniques for disassembling and sharpening scissors, the president finally came over and introduced himself to me. That was a very good sign, and at this point, I gathered they realized I was very serious about responsibly representing their prestigious product.

The rest of the two-hour long meeting was very friendly and both the president and his son gladly accepted my proposal to be Shozaburo's main dealer and repair technician for all of North America. I purchased a quantity of their finest products and brought them back to Oregon, where now you all will get to see them before everyone else. We parted on the understanding that as I gain a strong foothold in the high-end scissor market, they will have me back to their factory to spend a full day with their best craftsman to study their refurbishing process from start to finish, just to be sure I have mastered all the tricks there is to know about sharpening and repairing scissors.

Watch for our scheduled YouTube release which will highlight the extraordinary features of these spectacular scissors. That will coincide with the posting of Shozaburo scissors for sale directly on our site (it will take us a few days to photograph and post them).

The World's Best Forged Axes, Hatchets and Forestry Tools

Ten years ago, while living in Japan, I made a week-long road trip to the Island of Shikoku, which is the eastern-most of the four main islands of Japan. Within the island of Shikoku is Kochi Prefecture, and therein is a small town well known throughout all of Japan for the highest performance forestry tools: Tosa Yamada. Even today, after all the modernization that has overwhelmed Japan, the bladesmiths in Tosa Yamada still honor the time-proven traditions and techniques used for several hundred years to forge the best quality heavy blades.

I was attracted to the bladesmiths of this area because of their legendary axes, hatchets and other unique forestry tools. Even though I am a competent bladesmith, the axesmith is as specialized from the kitchen bladesmith as the orthopedic surgeon is from the neurosurgeon. Despite a good understanding of what the axesmith does, it would literally take me thousands of axes before I could forge even one half as decent as the best axesmiths in Tosa Yamada. So I investigated the possibility of representing their best work as their North American dealer.

During this past trip to Japan, I flew to Kochi and then drove to Tosa Yamada to specifically meet with the best axesmiths, and with their encouragement, purchased and brought back some of the best of the best blades they had to offer. I personally inspected each blade and only chose the best examples of the lot. Folks, these are, bar none, the sharpest blades of this kind you will ever encounter. Keep tuned for several new YouTube clips where I will share with you many of the attributes of these wonderful blades. The best news of all is that just as with the Shozaburo scissors, I am very experienced at servicing, sharpening and refurbishing these Tosa Yamada blades. Customers will never have to worry about complete after-sales servicing with these tools.

Forget about "The Last Samurai" -- THIS IS FOR REAL!

While in Tosa Yamada, after several hours of talking and consulting over a cup of Japanese tea, the president of the axesmith's association suddenly asked me if I wanted to see "katana" (samurai sword). Now, let me tell you that in the Japanese language, there is no distinction between singular and plural. So my thought was, "OK, he is going to show me one sword, and it will take five minutes." As a matter of fact, as I was there for serious business that had nothing to do with swords, and with time constraints, I wasn't too interested in the offer. However, it would have been rude to say "No," so I followed him a short distance away to his house. As we entered his house, I was taking notice of how ornate the construction was, and that is obviously a very expensive house by Japanese standards. The details of the woodwork were fascinating.

In one corner of the tatami room we entered was a vaguely familiar sight. There appeared to be a steel gun safe, but it was on its side. I quickly realized that it was a sword safe. I couldn't have prepared myself for what was to come -- a two-hour showing of some of the most rare and exquisite swords in the entire world. We looked at swords as old as 750 years, with steel textures and colors rarely seen today.

Katana inspection 1

Sitting seiza-style (on one's knees, the only appropriate posture for the occasion), I was invited to comment on each sword. I couldn't critique credibly as an official "appraiser," but did pass my honest comments from the perspective of one who has forged more than 14,000 Japanese blades. I was surprised to get an overwhelmingly favorable reaction. The president said, "Carter-san, you know more about these swords than any of the members of the Nihonto Bijitsu Hozon Kyokai (Japanese Art Sword Preservation Society). Those guys are well studied and can pass intellectual assessment, but really don't know about metallurgy the way a bladesmith understands it."

I was so highly honored by this guy, I was truly embarrassed. We just lost ourselves in the moment, looking at one beautiful sword after another. Time seemed to stand still, until there were no more swords to pull out of the safe. What I originally thought was going to be an inconvenience to my tight schedule turned out to be the highlight of the whole trip to Japan.

Katana inspection 1

Traditional Japanese Bladesmithing School News

We have just one spot left in the scheduled April 5~10, 2010, 500-level Intensive class and two spots open in a newly scheduled "Skills Builder, Three-day Class," March 12~14, 2010. This new "Skills Builder" class is for those of you who have some basic knife-making experience, but want to spend three intense days learning Japanese methods which will expand your knife-making skills.

Murray Carter's Bladesmithing School

Inner Circle Lifetime Membership

Due to a very high volume of inquiries that I couldn't fully answer while I was in Japan, I have decided to extend the deadline for this awesome offer for just one last week. See the details here:

Carter Cutlery Inner Circle Lifetime Membership News

The final deadline for the Carter Cutlery Inner Circle Lifetime Membership will be January 31st.

Until our next email news,

Stay Sharp and may God richly bless you!

Carter Cutlery

P.O.Box 307
Vernonia, OR 97064

phone 503-429-0447
Carter Cutlery


Carter Cutlery, 981 Fairway Lane, PO Box 307, Vernonia, OR 97064, USA
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