So I built this table. The plate was like a 200 pound block of steel and all this stuff and everything. I did the drawing. I sent it to them. And they said, we love it. Charlie loves it. We want to meet with you. And then they gave me time to meet. And I said on the phone, I said, well, I can't because that time I'm going to culinary school.
They hired me on that phone call because they knew I had to get, they knew I had to get an internship because I was at, uh, uh, the, well, now it's the Institute of Culinary Education. Now when I was there, it was Peter Kump. So they knew I had an intern and they said on that phone call. Intern with us, we'll pay you.
They hired me on the phone call. I came in, I made the table. It was a, just getting it there was a total disaster. Me and my, you know, metalworking schlep friends, schlep this 300 pound table in the Grand Central.
[00:05:50] Josh Sharkey:
How old were you?
[00:05:52] Geoff Feder:
27, 27, 26, 27. Oh, no, no, I'm probably like 25, something like that. So we brought it in and then he had me be the, the project manager for the Charlie Palmer group.
So what I would do is I'd help him build restaurants, but then because I had a shop, I would build. things for, you know, little places. And I was going to culinary school at night. I thought maybe, you know, I was getting married. I thought maybe I could, you know, I could do this. Meanwhile, I really wanted to make sculpture and make art.
And the funny thing was before I met Tony, I actually, I, Charlie said to me, he's like, I know you want to, you went to culinary school. What do you want to do? And I said, well, I want to cook. So he said, well, if you want to cook an Aureole, you gotta, you gotta do, you know, you have to, uh, meet with the chef, Gerry Hayden, who was, you know, rest in peace and incredible chef.
[00:06:36] Josh Sharkey:
Just so everybody knows, Tony is Tony Aiazza, co founder of, uh, co founder of ChouxBox.
[00:06:44] Geoff Feder:
So Charlie said to me, he's like, look, Jerry is the chef at Aureole, you gotta talk to him. And you had an interview with him and I said, okay, no problem. So I didn't know he sat me down and at the time I was in a really, I was not, he saw me going through the kitchens and fixing things.
I was kind of, I was kind of like an upper scale handyman for the restaurants and he saw me and then he, I think that he thought that I was Charlie's guide. I was going to get a freebie into the restaurant. So he kind of grilled me. And yeah, Yeah. He said this one thing to me and he goes, well, I know you're a metal worker.
I know you're an iron worker. What makes you think you can cook? And I said to him, like, well, be honest with you, you know, metal work and sculpture and cooking are the same. You have ingredients and proper technique and you're giving it to someone. So I really don't see the difference between, you know, Making sculpture, making food.
I don't see any of it, the difference of it. And then he just looked at me with the scowl. He's like, okay, that was pretty good. And then meet me, meet you. Come in trail tomorrow. Yeah, it was some bullshit that he had never heard before. That was some high level. Dammit logic. That's that was bullshit. That was some high level horse shit.
Highest level horse shit. I've held on to that nugget because he was furious with that answer. Cause it was like, so then I met Tony the next day when I trailed and we became friends ever since. And then I would, I got. Charlie said this experiment with you trailing in the restaurant. I need you doing other things.
So I helped with restaurants and I helped with some of the things around New York. So I was running around to help project manage. And then we met Tony because one of the restaurants, they were, they were going to gut it and bring in new people. They wanted me to be the general manager and Tony and our other friend, Scott, he's going to be the chef.
So they had us come down there. And Tony and I worked together really well. So. All right, that's how I met Tony. We worked together really well, very parallel thinking in terms of what we needed to do. And then I went back into metalwork by working at a blacksmith shop. And a lot of people think, oh, blacksmith shops, guy with a long beard, shooing horses.
No, I worked as a fabricator at this metal shop when we would do ornamental ironwork for like, we redid the Dakota building, like the gates of the Dakota building, high end ornamental ironwork. And it was also a blacksmith shop that taught classes. So we were teaching a lot of classes. with blacksmiths from all over the world.
We were teaching forging classes and tool making classes and I was the assistant for a long time. So I worked in a couple fabrication shops and then I started to help teach bladesmithing classes, which is like a blacksmithing class, but bladesmithing is actually, so what forging is, is you're taking steel, bringing it to a very hot temperature, and then as it gets hot, you're able to manipulate it with a hammer and an anvil very much like the way you would manipulate clay with your fingers.
But at 1800 degrees, obviously, you ain't gonna happen. So you gotta have an anvil and a hammer and then proper technique. So there are expressions like, you hit it while the iron's hot or strike while the iron's hot, time's on your side. So I started teaching, uh, helping teach blacksmithing classes and bladesmithing classes.
And I realized that knife making is a lot easier than like, You know, it was fun. It was fun. And I'm not lifting anything over 25 pounds. And I started to make knives for friends. And I'm not a hunter, but I was a cook. I spent all this time with these chefs and friends like Tony. And then I started making culinary knives.
And this was about 10 years ago, nine, 10 years ago. I started really focusing on culinary knives and I got to the point where I needed to kind of not be making knives out of my backyard, out of my shed in my backyard. So I reached out to my friend Tony who we worked together very well and he became my business partner and we've been making knives now for 10 years and it's been dynamite and it's fun and we work with chefs, primarily my focus is with like the home user.
I think it's really important to provide a beautiful knife for the home user and we There you go. Those have, you know, gotten the weeds.
[00:10:38] Josh Sharkey:
It brings me to what I want to talk most about, because I don't know a lot about it. And it's funny because I think as chefs, we probably don't know nearly as much as we should about knives.
And I was watching you, uh, on a couple of videos. And so I wanted to start with just like, you know, we got a knife here. It's a pretty dope chef's knife. The composition of a knife. So I, you know, obviously I know there's a blade. There's a handle, bolster, whatever that, you know. Maybe we could talk a little, like, what is the composition of a knife that we should know about?
[00:11:03] Geoff Feder:
So there's two real different, if you're talking about a chef knife. And then we're talking about Western style. You can get in the, you know, Asian style and Western style. You have a full tang knife and a hidden tang knife.
[00:11:15] Josh Sharkey:
What does tang mean?
[00:11:18] Geoff Feder:
The tang is the part that's in the handle. So like a full tang knife would be when you, when you see the entire, when you're looking down the knife and you see these, the steel all the way around.
[00:11:26] Josh Sharkey: Versus the cheap paring knife where it pulls off the.
[00:11:26] Geoff Feder:
Yeah, we're getting into the back in the weeds, but yes, the answer is yes. So if you can see the steel. in the handle. That's a full tang knife. Then a hidden tang knife would be like a sushi knife or what the sushi guys use where it's embedded in the handle.
It's like a stick and then it's, it's kind of, uh, embedded in the handle and you don't see any of the steel at all. So there's different qualities to the different types of knives. So a lot of times a full tang knife will be a little bit more balanced because you have steel on the inside of where the handle is and the hidden tang knife is a little bit more blade heavy because there's not as much steel in the handle.
in the handle. But that's another thing. It's all very, you know, questionable. There's the scales. That's what if you have a full tang knife, the sides that are the handle parts that are riveted together referred to as scales. And then the bolster is that transition between the end of the handle to the steel.
[00:12:23] Josh Sharkey:
So when we think of what we want to look for in a good knife, and obviously some of it is subjective, but some of it isn't binary. It's not like it's better to have this versus that. It sounds like a full tang is going to be heavier and maybe if it doesn't have that, if there's more control or something, but what should we look for as like table stakes of a really good knife?
[00:12:42] Geoff Feder:
Weight and balance is a misnomer because a lot, it all depends on the size of the knife. So if you have a knife that's very long, you're going to have a different balance to a knife that's on the shorter side if the handle's the same. My opinion is for most cooks, I think the full tang western style chef knife is the most versatile.
And usually when people talk about the length of the blade, you know, when you measure the length of the blade, it's from the heel to the tip, the heel of the knife, the tip, not the whole thing. So an eight and a half inch, eight inch chef knife, nine inch chef knife, Western style knife are the most versatile and the easiest to use for the home user and for the professional, frankly.
[00:13:24] Josh Sharkey:
I also heard you talk about hardness. I don't know what the hell that is. So what is hardness and how do you achieve it?
[00:13:29] Geoff Feder:
All steel can't make a knife. For, in order to make a knife, you have to have a certain amount of carbon in the steel. So like, if you went and got a piece of rebar from a construction site, there's not enough carbon in it to make it into a knife.
So most knives that are culinary knives or hunting knives or hardenable knives, there's a higher amount of carbon in it. So what happens is, if you take a um, wire hanger that you hang your shirt on, if you bend it, it stays bent, right? Well, with a knife, you don't want that, because you want it to be, you want to flex.
So what happens is, every specific knife, there are thousands and thousands of different alloys that you can use. There's carbon steel, there's stainless steels, and most of those four knives are high carbon. So what each alloy has is a specific, I'm going to, here's what I, before your eyes roll in the back of your head, I'm going to give you the science and then I'm going to make it very palatable.
[00:14:25] Geoff Feder:
So what, what happens is, is to harden a knife, every knife has a critical temperature. The critical temperature is where the iron carbides in the knife go into solution. And then you reach that temperature, you hold it at that temperature. based on the the steel it is, and then you quench it either in oil or water between plates.
You want to bring it down to a very specific temperature. And what happens is the solution goes into crystal structure. That makes it hard. Very much like creme brulee. So you have a, you have a pot of creme brulee and then you put the sugar on top of the creme brulee. If you think of the sugar as the iron carbides, there's no connection with the individual granules of the sugar, right?
They're just granules of sugar, right? But if you bring a torch, there's a specific temperature where the sugar all goes into solution. Right? And then all of a sudden you have this soluble puddle on top of your fucking pudding or what a custard, whatever, creme brulee, right? That's the critical temperature of your sugar.
And then as it cools, what happens? It turns into a crystal structure that you can knock through with your spoon. So that's what's happening with your knife. Now, with the creme brulee, you knock it through with your spoon, right? Well, If you harden the knife, that is the case too. If you just, you know, you bring your knife up to critical temperature, you quench it in oil and you drop it on the floor, there's a very good chance that it can break, can crack like glass, crack like the top of the creme brulee.
So what you do is you put it back into the oven at a lower temperature. So let's just say for argument's sake, for stainless steel, I'm bringing the stainless steel up to 1925 degrees Fahrenheit, and then I'm dropping it down quickly, as quickly as I can, specific to the stainless steel, to below 700 degrees.
Afterwards, it goes in the oven to temper, and what the tempering is, is you're bringing it to a lower temperature, 400 degrees, and that relaxes the iron carbides and everything in the knife, and it allows you to be flexible. So, there are different types of hardness, what, how hardness translates to culinary knives.
A lot of it is what the average user will notice is the sharpening. Because the harder the knife is, the harder it is to sharpen the knife. There are ranges in which different knives, uh, are hardened. It's usually, you know, when I get a customer tells me about the Rockwell, you know, the hardness, I, my eyes roll to the back of my head because it's like you don't really truly understand what you're talking about.
But at the same time, you can have very high hardness knives and very low hardness knives. And then as a knife maker, it's my job to give my customer what the best, I think is the best. And that's hardness.
[00:17:06] Josh Sharkey: Yeah. So it's, it's almost like flexibility while still being durable.
[00:17:10] Geoff Feder:
You have to create the flexibility because when the steel comes before it's hardened, I can bend it and it stays bent.
But what I have to do is I have to transform it from being, uh, a kneeled or regular to, when I flex it, it's, it flex it. When I bend it, it flexes back. And then you also, part of that hardness is you wanna make sure that it's soft enough to work, but it's also soft enough to sharpen, but it also has to be able to.
Hold an edge and the tempering allows you to gain some strength and durability in the way you heat treat allows you to have control over the durability of the edge itself.
[00:17:48] Josh Sharkey:
Yeah, I'm thinking of like a fish fillet knife right now. Like Ben's right.
[00:17:51] Geoff Feder:
Well, here's what's interesting about a fish fillet knife, fish fillet knife.
A lot of it is, I can heat treat a chef knife and a fillet knife exactly the same, exactly the same, and I'll have different results. And a lot of that's the geometry of the blade. So a chef knife, you look at this chef knife you have here, it's, the thickness is 3, 3 30 seconds, which is, which is a little bit under an eighth of an inch with.
over a two inch heel, right? So I have a triangle. The geometry is a triangle, right? But if I have a culinary, if I have a filet knife that's only an inch and I'm starting at a 16th of an inch, it becomes, as thin as it goes, it becomes more flexible because of the geometry of the blade itself. So I'm not heat treating it any different.
[00:18:31] Josh Sharkey:
Yeah, that makes sense. And then when you're buying like stainless steel, like I think about when Buying it for, you know, building out kitchens, you know, you have different gauges. They lower the gauge. Yeah. Are you, is there a specific gauge you have to buy or does it matter?
[00:18:44] Geoff Feder:
Most knife making steels or hammer making steels, I buy my, I buy when I make hammers, I forge hammers for myself.
You're getting very specific. Sizes from you can't get it from home. I can't go to Home Depot and get some 440 C stainless and I got to go get it from like I got to get it from like a nice Brooklyn or something. There's a, I work with some local steel manufacturers that just sell to knife makers and then they'll sell to, you know, from the big guys like Gerber and all these guys to, you know, a guy in his garage who just needs, you know, two, uh, enough for two hunting knives.
[00:19:19] Josh Sharkey:
So obviously there's different methodologies of design, but there's, it sounds like there's, there's forged, there's templated, obviously Damascus, which is its own sort of ordeal. But do you have like a preference or do you do different ones based on how you're, you know, thinking about the knives and maybe just a little bit of like one of those three methods.
[00:19:37] Geoff Feder:
So there's really, so there's two styles of knife making and I'm going to be in general, I'm generalizing. There's forging a knife. where you're basically, you know, like you're putting it in a, in a, in a, in a forge and then you're pulling it out and with the hammer and you're kind of, you're taking it at its plastic stage and you're forming it into the shape that you want.
In stock removal, which is you're getting steel at a specific size, like let's just say I want 3 30 seconds by two inches, I will use a bandsaw or grinders and cut it out or I'll use a water jet and then I'll have it cut out. So you're not really, it's not gaining or losing. It's just. It's a true preference, like especially there are certain knives that can only be forged, like with an integral bolster.
And I'm sorry, I'm throwing it more at you. The integral bolster has like a forged lug on the front of it that you can't really, you'd be grinding this until the rest of your life in order to accomplish it. So there's the idea behind forging in and of itself. We used to be back in the day. There was a very limited amount of material.
You couldn't go and order, you know, back in the, you know, olden days, you couldn't order steel, you're making the steel. So it was such a, it was such a finite. material that you had to be very, you had to learn how to be efficient with it. So forging allowed you to be efficient with the material that you had and you weren't wasting anything.
So that's one of the reasons why hidden tang knives came about because you're not going to spend all this time making a knife and then throw all of it into a handle. So you're gonna make a long stick that's probably the garbage end and then you're gonna stick it in. So the forging has become, bladesmithing is a little bit more in regards to the skill of the of the knife maker.
That also falls under What, um, Damascus is we can talk about that. But so stock removal is, yeah, I get steel. in sheets and I cut it out and then I'm able to just grind it and heat treat it normally. Forging is more like you're taking raw material and then you're, you're kind of imposing your will on it in technique and then you're kind of massaging it into this, into the, it takes a lot longer.
There's more effort, there's more years of training in order to do it correctly. And it's just a question of how do I pass on the savings to my customer? And my experience as a blacksmith and a bladesmith was Great. I mean, that's why I learned how to do that before I made knives. It was forging for railings and stuff.
I wanted to be able to pass on the savings to my customers. So I really used sock removal because it was a little bit less labor.
[00:22:03] Josh Sharkey:
Yeah. And from what I understand, Damascus is basically blending a couple different materials together. And there's like this organic pattern that arises, but I'd love to hear more about with that.
[00:22:12] Geoff Feder:
All right. So what Damascus is, in Damascus, in the knife making world in general, it's, it's the synonymous word for pattern welded steel. So you have, what you start off with was. All the steel is high. We have stacks of high carbon steel and high nickel steel, and they're all stacked together, and then you bring it to a very high temperature, and then with either a press or a power hammer or you have a striker with you, you're forge welding it together.
You're kind of mushing it together, but it's you're creating a homogenous piece of steel. Right. So, but you still have those layers. So you do alternating layers. And then you draw it out like you would make candy cane or something like that. So like a candy cane is perfect. Or I got one better for you.
Croissant. You have the butter packet and then you have the flour packet and then you're mixing them up and then there are layers and layers and layers. That's the same thing with Damascus except for you have high carbon steel and high nickel steel and then you're forge welding it and drawing it out, cutting it up, forge welding and cutting it up and cutting it up and forge welding it and putting it to the knife that you want.
Once you grind that steel and hand sand and get it ready, you won't notice that there's any pattern until you put it into an acid and what the acid does is it. eats the high carbon steel, and then the high nickel steel is resistant to the acid. So that's how you get those high contrast colors between the silver, which is the high nickel, and then the the black, which is the high carbon steel.
[00:23:42] Geoff Feder:
So what Damascus is, is Damascus pattern welded steel knives are, what they do is they show the craftsmanship and the skill of the bladesmith. They're still carbon steel, so they won't, they will rust if you don't take care of them. They will patina when you cut your lemons for your margaritas. And they will react exactly like a stainless steel or, there's no added benefit to Damascus knife.
There's a lot of bullshit going out that, you know, this is the ultimate knife. It's fine. It's beautiful. They're wonderful. More aesthetic than anything. It's aesthetic and it shows the, it shows the skill and the, um, incredible, uh, craftsmanship of the blades.
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[00:25:17] Josh Sharkey:
There's like circular patterns that show up in a Damascus knife. Is that, is that just naturally occurring when you dip it in the acid?
[00:25:23] Geoff Feder:
So you can do different things to the billet, and what happens is you have these layers. So what you're referring to
[00:25:30] Josh Sharkey:
Sorry, what's a billet?
[00:25:32] Geoff Feder:
A billet is, is uh, your friend. The billet is like, like a block. So when they, when we refer to a block of Damascus, it's not turned into a knife, it's referred to as a billet. So what you can do is different things to that, you know, that stack. So when you see those circles, that's referred to as raindrop Damascus. And what you can do is you can, you can actually take your block of Damascus that you forge weld and did all that thing, drill three quarters of the way through, and then reforge it.
And what happens is wherever those drill holes were, you kind of pushing it forward. And then you end up with this pattern. It looks like. Raindrops, you can hit it with, uh, you can make a ladder pattern where you have these lines and they're forged through you can do different things to the Damascus to, uh, get different outcomes, like, uh, chocolate babka.
You know what I'm saying? You got it?
[00:26:20] Josh Sharkey:
Yeah, yeah, yeah. I'm actually curious. Go ahead. Obviously, there's so much work that goes into these knives. What's. Thank you. What does it mean to create one of these sort of commoditized knives? So we're, so we're on this end of the spectrum of where you're forging and this is all handmade and handcrafted and you're, the materials are pretty sort of, you know, specific, but like a Misen or like a Shun or a Wusthof, you know, and no.
No shame to those knives, but like, what is commoditized knife making, uh, how does that differ from what you're doing? I'll tell you.
[00:26:48] Geoff Feder: I
t's an awesome question because what we do is we're, we're a custom knife maker. So I will basically make what you want. Like I have stuff on the website at FederKnives.com
[00:26:58] Geoff Feder:
You can buy stuff direct or we can do something that you want. What a big company will, they use machines. Every step of the, every step of the process is, they use machines. So a $150 knife is not touched by hands as much as it's touched by machines. The machines can only do certain things. Like, there are machines that cannot, they, you can, I could go, we could go to a company now, I have a design, I want you to make this into a mass market or a, uh, you know, a production run line.
And I'll say, I wanted to have this. clip on the top, and I want to have bevels here, and I want to have this S grind here, and all this food release there. And what they'll say is we, our machines can't do that. We can't do it and keep it at 150 bucks. So what a custom knife maker can do is they can make what you want.
So I can round the spine. I can make it so when you're in the pinch position, you're much more comfortable. I can make it heavier on the bottom and lighter on the front. I can do, I can manipulate, I can give you a colorful handle that they can't do. I had to figure out ways in which I frankly. There was a celebrity chef who took one of my designs and brought it to one of his fleabag companies.
And I got a call from a knifemaker friend of mine saying they're making your knives. And it was because they saw what I was doing on Instagram or through other people, and they were trying to make that knife, they couldn't do it. And that's just kind of the way it is. So when you're dealing with a custom knifemaker, especially like us, is we have a lot more flexibility in terms of...
what we can do for our customers. And the price is a little bit higher than something you would get from like Wusthof or something like that. But you're also getting, you know, you're getting someone you can talk to. I get, I'll send you an email on Sunday morning, you know.
[00:28:37] Josh Sharkey:
Yeah, yeah, for sure. And then obviously there's different levels of, actually I don't even know if it's commoditized, like something like a Nenox, you know, good quality knife.
You know, it's, it's not a hundred bucks, it's 350, 400 bucks, but it's not. I'm assuming it's, it's also sort of mass produced. Yeah. So what is the difference between sort of that very, very mass produced to something like an Anox to, and I think we already know what, like how a Feder knife is made now, so like
[00:29:04] Geoff Feder:
Frankly, I don't know. The answer is I don't know. The, the only company that has really done a very good job in terms of transitioning into a, uh, making something as custom as possible, looking as custom as possible, And making that transition between a, uh, and I am not, you know, as willing, used Bob Kramer, who's one of the best, one of the OG knife makers, and they did these, they did their version of his knives.
In regards to the different qualities, you know, steels. different, the production's different, the material's different. Uh, I don't, I can't really speak on, on production costs and stuff like that. When you're dealing with a custom knife maker, you're getting a much more, you're getting a person. Yeah.
[00:29:47] Josh Sharkey:
What for you has been the hardest culinary knife to make? I always think about how most serrated knives suck.
[00:29:53] Geoff Feder:
Oh, dude, that's my ball. That's my, that's my jam. I figured out how to do a serrate. I figured out how to make serrations so easy for me. And I've kind of helped too many knife makers learn how to do serrated knives. Serrations are.
Easy. And then when this is all over, I'll show you how easy it is. Interesting thing about blacksmithing, bladesmithing, knife making, and cooking is it's problem solving. So how can you problem solve something efficiently? Serrated knives used to be like the hardest thing in the world. That is my, if I had to do a thousand serrated knives, I do it in a heartbeat.
[00:30:26] Geoff Feder:
I can do it. I can put an edge on a serrated knife 10 times more confident than a, you know, a really thin chef knife. For me, I did, we did a, uh, a very long whippy smoked salmon knife. I did like, it's almost like two feet long. This thing is ridiculous. And it is like a noodle. I can go. Is that the one that's like the beveled?
No, no, it's like a long slicer, but it's like three quarters of an inch thick, but it's like, you know, 20 inches long. I'll get it out when it's done. This grinding this thing, because it was so thin and so flexible, it was like, it was like trying to grind a piece of spaghetti. It was brutal. So that would be to me that the longer and the thinner ones are harder to grind.
And frankly, the harder to make knives are the ones with a super duper flat, straight edge.
[00:31:11] Josh Sharkey:
Yeah. I also noticed there's like different types of serrations. There's like, you know, the teeth, there's like scallop ones. Is there a, is that just because of whatever material, whatever template they have or?
[00:31:23] Geoff Feder:
That's the one part is, so you have scallops and teeth. I have to do the teeth just because there's no, I don't, I don't have the equipment or the machinery or the know how to do that scallop thing, but that's definitely on the, that's on the horizon. It's something I've always wanted to do. Serrated knives aren't hard, and it's just a question of figuring out a technique that works for you.
And I actually, on my Instagram, I do, there's a video, um, there's a video on how I do the serrations.
[00:31:47] Josh Sharkey:
I'm curious. I mean, you're obviously a craftsman. You're not just making knives. You're constantly thinking about how to make them better. Is there like some sort of milestone or elusive thing you're trying to accomplish with your, with your knife making that you haven't gotten to, or that you're working towards?
[00:32:01] Geoff Feder:
I want to make a less expensive knife. I mean, that's, that's more, I would rather have a more approach. My knives are meant to be approachable. So I'd prefer to have something that people can have as opposed to something people can covet. A lot of knife makers make things that are almost like fetish items, and I, I would rather people use my knives.
[00:32:19] Geoff Feder:
That's one of the reasons why 95 percent of the knives you make are stainless steel, because I don't want people to be intimidated by a price tag and then have to take out the white gloves and like put a shirt tie on a top hat in order to cut their fucking dinner. The, in terms of the highlight, in terms of the biggest highlight we've had here is Jacques Pepin uses my knife.
[00:32:38] Geoff Feder:
And, uh, in all his videos, he's got a grip of knives, a pile of knives, and he always goes for my knife. Which is like, without question, that's the biggest highlight as a knife maker. Yeah. Possible. And we don't pay him. We don't do any of that. He just grabs my knife. He uses my knife all the time.
[00:32:53] Josh Sharkey: That's awesome. The most important question, I think, for today. is when is the Hattori Hanzo comparable sword coming out?
[00:33:02] Geoff Feder:
You know what? This is the thing. This is Forged In Fire has done to everybody. Everybody, everybody wants ninja knives. Everybody wants ninja knives. I teach blade smithing class at the Center for Mental Arts.
And we make friction folders, which is a forged, all hand, all by... hand, uh, knife all by, uh, hammer and we make, and I make them a little bit closer to that Japanese style tanto knife. At some point, I'm just going to have to make a samurai sword. I just, uh, I'm blowed to do it at the same time, but at the same time, you know, I want to make knives that people actually use like culinary knives.
There's nothing more satisfying than making something for someone to use to nurture and feed their family and like to use and feed their family.
[00:33:45] Josh Sharkey:
You know, I don't know if I need a samurai knife.
[00:33:46] Geoff Feder:
No one needs a samurai sword. Nobody needs a samurai sword. They love it though. I think
[00:33:50] Josh Sharkey:
I'm curious, but you have two podcasts.
Right. I mean, and they're pretty like, you know, well, well known in your community, like, what is the blade making community like? It seems like they're pretty close knit.
[00:34:00] Geoff Feder:
Podcasting for me has always been, I've been in podcasting for about 13 years. And to me, growing up as a, as a, um, latchkey kid, I was home alone as a child and I was scared.
And the radio was a voice that was keeping me company. They weren't telling me what to do. telling me jokes. They were, it was keeping me company and keeping me relaxed until someone came home. So, you know, I usually say that Howard Stern and Don Imus were my like surrogate parents. Um, well, Don Imus and Stern.
Well, I mean, I listened to my dad. I listened to whoever, but I mean, I was more of a Howard Stern guy, but I mean, I got pushed into whatever. I mean, I'm more of a Howard Stern. I listened to him yesterday or two days ago. So podcasting, to me, became one of these things where I felt like I was by my, I was with someone.
So I got asked to be on Knife Talk, which is the number one knife related podcast on this Germ-infested planet. And we started doing it about five years ago, and there are a lot of guys who are in their shops. They have questions about knife making, like, like real tricky stuff. And then they shoot us a message and then it's, it's me, uh, and then Craig Lockwood of Chop Knives.
He's a knife maker in England. Well, he lives in France. He's in, he's Welsh. And then Mareko Maumasi is one of the great knife makers in the country. He was a Forged in Fire champion. He makes knives for like the best of the best. He's probably one of the top 10 knife maker, top five knife makers in the United States.
So we get together every week. And we'll answer questions, we'll tell dilemmas, we'll tell funny stories, lots of dick jokes. You know, something to keep a lot of these guys company. Because a lot of craftsmen and makers, they're solitary people. You know, they're solitary people, and maybe they have a job that they don't like.
And maybe that they're, you know, their time alone is, you know, they need company. They need someone to speak their language. So we have, we have listeners from all, knife makers from all over the world. Except for Cyprus. We have a problem with Cyprus. That's another story. We had a real I wish this was a longer podcast.
I have the funniest Can you give like the 50,000 foot This guy, we helped this guy in Cyprus for four years. He listened every week. We showed him how to make knives. He became a knife maker. And then when the Queen of England died One of my partners is from Wales, so he wanted to eulogize the queen, just because it was part of his life.
Well, this guy, after four years of using all of our information, decided he was going to stop listening to our podcast, because of all the terrible things that England had done to the people of Cyprus. So my response was, then you can't make knives anymore, and all the information we've given you, you've got to give it back.
So you've got to give it back. You're not, you're
back to slingshots in the world, in Cyprus. So, we do, there's a lot of bullshit and a lot of horseshit, but, and then I do the Full Blast Podcast, which is makers in general, and I talk to makers about, it's not just knife making. Within the medium of steel or just generally?
Yeah, I talk to artists, I talk to photographers, I talk to, it's basically the concept of creativity and how you got to the point of, where does your creativity go? So, the interesting thing is, is there are people who, You know, podcasting like yours is you people want to hear your like, you know, they want to hear you speak their language.
So it's been a lot of fun and very rewarding. And, um,
[00:37:19] Josh Sharkey:
So it's a full blast. Like you're talking with so many creators and everyone is. You know, constantly iterating and creating. Is there like any common denominators or things that after so many years, I find this is only, I think this might be the 40th podcast 40th and I'm already seeing like these common threads.
[00:37:34] Geoff Feder:
Like, what are you, what are the common threads that you're seeing?
[00:37:36] Josh Sharkey:
So for me, like a lot of what we talk about is entrepreneurship and, you know, and creativity, and I think some of the things that have been sort of common threads along the way with everyone is obviously surrounding yourself with really good people and being really clear.
with your vision, like being, like being absolutely, you know, crystal clear with why you're doing what you're doing so that your team can understand.
[00:37:59] Geoff Feder:
If you were to go deeper, the more unconscious, what would you say the more unconscious reason behind that is?
[00:38:05] Josh Sharkey:
Well, I think that people want to have a purpose for being.
[00:38:08] Geoff Feder:
Validation. It's all, it's all like the problems and the traumas of their childhood. Yeah, that too. Everybody wants to, when you're making anything or being creative or, we refer to it as executing creativity. Mm hmm. Like if you can figure out a way to execute creativity, what you're doing is, is you're looking for some validation generally with the maker community.
It's all from like not getting the validation from their family and they're looking for validation from strangers. But at the same time, it's how do you find happiness?
[00:38:33] Josh Sharkey:
That's so interesting you say that
[00:38:35] Geoff Feder:
because I know what I'm doing Josh been doing this for fucking 13 years
[00:38:39] Josh Sharkey:
Well, I mean it shows one, but like, you know, we think about just being a chef right?
There's so much narcissism, right and And yeah, when you think about, like, any artist, it's like, here's my thing, here's my thing, and yes, of course, we love the thing, but yeah, if you, if you try to get through some of the bullshit, you're like, okay, but you could love something and not show anybody.
[00:38:58] Geoff Feder:
When I was doing sculpture full time, I had interns, and their parents would come to me and they would say, my son wants to be, or my daughter wants to be an artist, what is the, what is the reason, what, what should I tell them?
And I said, it has to be a compulsion. It has to be the compulsion of. I'm, if I'm on a deserted island with no hope of rescue, am I going to still make sculpture? If the answer is no, then A for you. So a lot of these things have to be self satisfying and they have to be, um, for me, it's changed. I'm about to be 50 and it's changed for me and the, the, the buzz that I get isn't from making knives, but it's, am I able to be disciplined enough and execute organization discipline?
In order for that to reach the goals of the day, of the week, of the month, of the year. And then that becomes my drug, so to speak. So, but most of these guys, frankly, never mind. No,
[00:39:51] Josh Sharkey:
no, it's, it's, I love talking about this because it's, it's, you have to have I mean, you don't have to, but if you don't have craft and commerce, then, well, I mean, you need another job, right?
On top of doing this, but like, so you have to, you have to have that compulsion. You have to love doing it no matter what. But if you don't have also some sort of desire to make people happy or create, like build knives that are approachable, if you don't also have that. Then you can be an artist in a garage and do and just do it for yourself, but then you gotta have another job.
[00:40:24] Geoff Feder:
Well, but you might, that might make you happy. And it might make you happy. Some of the best knife makers in the world in the United States, Master Bladesmiths, you know, a total, you know, high acclaim, and they don't want knife making to be their job because they don't want to lose the joy of, of, they don't want to have to all of a sudden deal with customers and deal with the troubles and they want their, they have their job and then they make what they want on the weekends.
That makes it the, finding their joy as opposed to I don't need the, uh, validation by having a big company. I'd rather, I'll make whatever I want, and then you want it, you want it, you don't want it, I gotta, I'm gonna be a, you know, train engineer tomorrow. So it's, there's, finding joy is, is, is the most interesting thing.
I do have a hot take for you, by the way. This is, I'm convinced that this is the case about narcissism. I'm, I'm obsessed with it. I was raised by two narcissists. Narc, you know, here's a hot take. Narcissists don't like team sports. Do you know any narcissists who follow the Yankees? Or the Knicks? Or any sports?
They don't like it. You know why? Because it's not about them anymore. It's not about them. All right, well then you, I won, because if you need time to think, I know, I know five narcissists are betting on the Jets this weekend.
[00:41:35] Josh Sharkey:
You know, I ask people all the time, I ask almost every guest now, and so whether you're, whether they're a writer or they're a chef, like if it's, the question changes a little bit, but you know, for example, if you were a writer and you wrote the greatest book you've ever written and you know that it's a Pulitzer Prize winning book, you know it, you know that it is, or, you know, or you're a chef, you create the most incredible.
You know it is the best, but no one else could read it, no one else could see it. You build the most incredible knife in the world, and you know it is, this has just like hit the pinnacle, but no one else other than you could ever see it. Would it still feel the same?
[00:42:11] Geoff Feder:
I don't covet my work. And I learned at an early age as a sculptor, or as a sculptor, that coveting your work is a mistake.
And the reason why is because... If you find something you think is the masterpiece, what happens is, is you set this terrible guardrail in your brain that it's not going to get better than this, which is a, which is a terrible way to be creative. If you think that this is the best thing I've ever made and you have to be able to take your work and get rid of it.
So I had, when I was making sculptures, there would be one sculpture that I really, really loved and I didn't want to sell. And the problem was, was I felt as though I realized that that makes me think that I can't do it again or better. You have to, the key is, is I don't really think about stuff. I make it, and then I let it go.
I don't, because if you don't believe that the next one's better, you're out. So, and it doesn't mean the next one has to be better, but you need to know the potential that, like, you can do this again and, you know, You'll be as just as happy.
[00:43:08] Josh Sharkey: I love it, man. Wise words. That's a good place for us to, to transition here. Where do people find your knives? How can, how can a chef or anybody find your knives?
[00:43:14] Geoff Feder:
Feder knives. F E D E R K N I V E S, uh, dot com. I do a lot of bullshit on Instagram at Feder Knives, and I have two podcasts. The Full Blast podcast and Knife Talk. Uh, they're both very approachable. You don't have to be, you know, you don't have to know everything in order to get it.
Um, there you wherever you get podcasts, but a Feder knives on it, federknives.com is where you can buy knives or you can also send us a message if you want something specific. And we rarely say no. We say no sometimes, like sometimes a guy will want something from a movie like a ninja sword from a cartoon.
Like a Hattori Hanzo? Like a cartoon, no like a cartoon, like a guy will say, Hey, do you think you can make this movie from this, and we gotta watch, you know, you gotta watch, you know, 30 minutes in on episode 5 of this movie, make that, I don't do, that we don't do.
[00:44:05] Josh Sharkey: Okay, no cartoon knives. Whatever you want.
Awesome man, this was great, appreciate it. Thanks for having us in your knife home.
[00:44:11] Geoff Feder:
Josh, it's a pleasure, thank you very much, and I'm with you.
[00:44:17] Josh Sharkey:
Thanks for tuning into the meez Podcast. The music from the show is a remix of the song Art Mirror by an old friend, hip hop artist, Fresh Daily. For show notes and more, visit getmeez.com/podcast. That's G E T M E E Z dot com forward slash podcast. If you enjoyed the show, I'd love it if you can share it with fellow entrepreneurs and culinary pros and give us a five star rating wherever you listen to your podcasts.
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