Backyard deer hunting

Inexpensive food from the outdoors

RFD (Rural Free Delivery) Wild Hog

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Woodman Hog 1

 

Hunter’s luck may sometimes  be good or bad.  In this instance I had RFD (Rural Free Delivery) of a wild hog which fed its way into my back yard in time to be cornered by my dogs and taken by a Woodman Arms .50 caliber muzzleloading rifle.   That particular rifle had completed  Georgia’s nearly six-months-long deer and turkey seasons without a  kill. As an outdoor writer, I shoot almost every different piece of game with a different gun. When a maker sends me a gun it is with the understanding that I will test it, with the hopeful culmination that I use it on a successful hunt. It was past time that the Woodman rifle needed to have some dead game on the ground.

The rifle had been carried on more than a dozen hunts on my farm and also on a trip to Florida in hopes of taking a deer, hog or wild turkey. I liked the way the 6-pound rifle carried.  In order to retain its favorable carrying characteristics,  I had equipped it with a Red Dot sight that weighed only three ounces. This combination resulted in a fast-acting rifle that was  perfectly sighted for my usual close-in shooting, which is often in thick cover at under 30 yards. This sight is also adequate for game out to  100 yards, should I have such an opportunity.  Despite many hunts  in two states, I could not put any legal game that I was willing to shoot in front of the gun.

A small doe had provided an early opportunity for the Woodman rifle early in Georgia’s muzzleloading season, but I hit the animal badly because the stock loosened on the mile walk into the stand. I finished this animal off with my 1858 Remington percussion revolver and made a repair on the stock.  From then on, it was like the gun was jinxed. I just could not see any game to take, despite many hours spent in some of the best game country in the Southeast.

Because wild hogs may be taken on private land any time of year and without limit in Georgia, I had kept the two guns I had prepped for the 2017-18 hunting season loaded. I prep two guns each season so I have a back-up gun, should I have a mechanical failure while on a hunt.  One gun was the Woodman Arms with its repaired stock and the other was a Markesbery .50-caliber muzzleloader from the 1980s that had the same barrel length, but was a pound heavier with its iron sights. I had also done a repair on the cracked fore-end of the Markesbery  by fitting steel reinforcing rods in the fore-end and a new desert ironwood fore-end cap.

To simplify loading I the 209-primed Marksbery, I used 90 grains of Blackhorn 209 and a 250 grain copper Markesbery  copper (bronze) Beast Buster bullet which had a very deep hollow point. In the Markesbery rifle I used a  no. 11 percussion cap in the out-of-line ignition system and 90 grains of Old Eynsford FFg Black Powder and a 295 grain Power Belt bullet. The heavier Markesbery with its larger stock was the more comfortable gun to shoot, and I also liked that I could silent-cock the external hammer. Silent cocking is important when you may have  hogs only a few feet away.  I had every reason to expect that both guns would be equally effective on hogs and deer.

Getting my Hovey’s Knives of China products ready for the International Blade Show in Atlanta consumed a lot of my  hog hunting time after the close of turkey season.  In previous years I had often hunted them in June. One year I took six at one time and on another occasion I killed one that weighed over 200 pounds under June’s blue moon.

The day I shot the hog I was working on rebuilding a Dexter boning knife. This had been a dirty, knife with a heavily stained grip. I had ground the grip away and replaced it with one   made of rosewood designed to fit a large hand. This grip, like many of my knives,  is designed to rest upright on the table with the blade clear of the surface. It also thickens towards the palm and has a thumb rest. This was one of the knives I was hoping to finish for the Blade
Show.

My work was interrupted by loud, insistent barking from Hera, my white Lab-Sheppard mix, and my half-dog Fred. Fred is a mixed breed with some Lab, Sheppard and hound. I call him a half-dog because of the time-share arrangement that I have with his owners who live nearly two-miles away. Fred is spooked by thunder, storms and gunfire. When he thinks a summer thunderstorm might be approaching, he comes to my house for shelter. This is no real problem. He is welcomed, fed, watered and comforted. He also provides a playmate for Hera and acts as effectively as a guard dog for my house as he does for his own.

When you live with dogs, you know from the tone and persistence of the barking episode when something serious is happening. I thought that they had found a 7-foot black snake that I had scooted off my back porch the day before and went out to rescue the snake. What I saw was a medium-sized hog standing under one of my pecan trees being confronted by the two dogs. The hog was not too much disturbed by the dogs. I went inside the house, retrieved the Woodman rifle, made sure it had a primer on the barrel and returned to the yard.

Although there was nothing that might be called a chase, the dogs and hog had moved about 30 yards from where I first saw them.  I had to shoot while I had a clear shot before it stepped back into the briers and timber. I turned on the Red Dot sight, took the safety off the gun and aimed low on the neck to pass the bullet transversely through the hog. When I fired the hog went down instantly. Good thing too, as I had no reloads with me, although I did  grab my 1858 Remington Sheriff’s Model and stuff it in my belt as I walked out the door.

In a very few seconds the hog was dead. Surprisingly Fred, the thunder and gun-shy dog, was  interested enough to stay around. Hera  cautiously sniffed the hog, but Fred would not approach it closer than 10 yards.  He obviously wanted nothing to do with it. Good thing too, because that 125-pound sow  outweighed them both. That is the reason that the hog did not run. It was confident that It could take on both dogs and win, should they be so stupid as to attack it.   Although I tried to get the dogs to pose with “their hog,” they would not. The best photo that I could  get was a picture of them sitting in the seat of my truck when I took Fred home before I started cleaning on the hog.

I thought it fitting that I use the boning knife I was working on to clean the sow. I also took advantage of my RFD hog to test out my Aspen Leaf Skinner and Billy Joe Rubideoux Rib Chopper. The Skinner has a leaf-shaped blade with two cutting surfaces, palm swell, flat-topped grip and an unusually long grip. The Rib Chopper was forged from a lawnmower blade, has a pipe grip and a hook to help handle meat. I will admit that my Rib Chopper would make any New Guinea Head Hunter proud, but it use is purely culinary. Both the skinning blade and the rib chopper worked fine, but the one-pin attachment allowed by the single hole in the boning knife’s tang allowed the blade to swing upward in the rosewood grips, threatening to break out of the grip scales.

The field testing on this hog allowed me to identify this problem with the boning knife, detach the scales, install another pin and correct the problem. All of these actions regarding testing the knives and working up the hog are recorded in my YouTube video, “Backyard Adventures with Hog, Hera and the Half-Dog Fred.”  Just as our ancestors did when they settled this part of Georgia in the 1790s, one has to be ready for the unexpected. Sometimes these happenings are adverse advents, but on other occasions they may be beneficial.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Written by hoveysmith

June 21, 2017 at 7:20 am

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Tree Lounge Replacement Parts and New Stands Available from Tree Lounger

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A new company , Tree Lounger is making climbing tree stands using the same jigs and much of the same equipment used by Tree Lounge in their new facility near Cummings, Georgia.  The first stand produced is the Ground Lounger, a strap-on tree stand, and they are now taking orders for the Tree Lounger climbing stand. The climbing stands are the original square-aluminum tubed design. They are shipped with a safety harness and booklet.

Also offered are replacement parts for the Tree Lounge stand, including knobs, gun holders, bow holders, seats and the complete bow adapter with an aluminum floor, instead of the plywood used in the original stands.  They can also replace the cloth chill paths and cushion.   For information on current offerings and prices go to their website at http://www.treelounger.com.

I visited the facility last week and did the following video which you may see at: https://youtu.be/hP2fuoyz2sc

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Written by hoveysmith

May 9, 2017 at 1:49 am

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Hovey’s Knives of China in Hometown Magazine

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Hovey’s Knives of China in Hometown Magazine

It is often said that, “a profit is not honored in his own land,” but in this instance I was when I was interviewed by Taylor Hembree for a story that ran in Summer Issue 1, 2017,  of the Sandersville Scene Magazine. This is a town promotional magazine published by The Union-Recorder news staff in nearby Milledgeville, Georgia. After the interview in Milledgeville, photographer Will Woolever visited my shop and took supporting photos for the feature. Many more photos were shot than published, and I have included some similar pictures to provide a more complete look at the knife-making process.

Hovey’s Knives of China offers three distinct services. The first is to make our original custom knives that are based on ancient patterns of cooking knives from China and other cultures. These are made in Sandersville by me and  bladesmith Paul Hjort. The second is to rebuilt old cooking knives so that they are again presentable enough so that Grandma’s knives can again be used in today ‘s kitchens and the third is to take found steels and salvaged woods from old homesteads and make useful cooking implements from them. Although the house may no longer be there, these tools become lasting, functional reminders of a once vibrant, but now long gone, rural family history.

Hembree included several quotes that I often use. One was how I first learned about the unique qualities of Chinese cooking knives through photos of the knife money, which were cast bronze pieces used as currency during the Waring States Period, before the rise of Imperial China. Another quote was, “These knives are derivative designs, not exact copies of any particular knife of that period, but take the spirit of the knife and transform with modern stainless steels into functional tools for the modern cook and chef.”

Perhaps the best expression of my philosophy of knife making in the article was, “To be sellable these days, knives have to have several different characteristics. One, knives have to be distinctive – you have to look at these knives and know that the knife is not like any other. Two, it has to be intrinsically useful. I have no use for fantasy knives, I have no use for fancy knives; but I do have great use for functional knives.”

I am also a believer in the proposition that the best kitchen knives are designed by those who use them. I am a recognized outdoor cook, and have recipes and common mentions on cooking game and fish in Backyard Deer Hunting, Crossbow Hunting, X-Treme Muzzleloading and Practical Bowfishing.  As an outdoor writer I have been publishing on knives for two decades, with many articles in national knife magazines. In 2015 I made two trips to China as a guest of the People’s Government as a presenter and attendee to international conferences. While there, I had a chance to visit museums and see some of their historic artifacts and cooking techniques.

Since the article was written, I have received several inquiries about knife making classes. I will offer a 2-day class where the student will make a knife of his choice under my supervision from materials that I will supply for $350 which includes meals and lodging if they are from out-of-town. For locals there will be a shop-time charge of $150 a day.

Photos that were used in connection with the article was one at me in the exterior portion of my shop grinding using an angle grinder to profile the blade of my Billy Joe Rubideoux Rib Chopper and another of  some of my knives and a plate of cut deer being guarded by Hera, my Yellow Lab-Sheppard mix.  A more complete selection of photos appears below.

Hera with blooming bells 2Hovey's Knives of China June 2016 on pegboardBilly Joe's Chef's knife in kitchen

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Hovey, center, with Chef and Hotel Manager for the J.W. Marriott In Zhengzhou, China

Blade being tempered in forge

 

 

Written by hoveysmith

March 9, 2017 at 4:45 pm

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Hovey’s Knives of China Shoots a Bull’s-eye at SEOPA

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hoveys-knives-seopa-award

Lakeland, Florida, Oct. 6. Hovey’s Knives of China, a new knife-making company based in Sandersville, Georgia, won the First Place Award for an Outdoor Entrepreneur Project at the Southeastern Outdoor Press Association’s (SEOPA) annual meeting in Lakeland, Florida.
This award is sponsored by Mossy Oak Brand Camo and includes a plaque along with a cash prize. The award is part of SEOPA’s Excellence in Crafts competition where members compete in categories for the best newspaper, magazine, book, video and other media published during the contest period. The Outdoor Entrepreneur Project is unusual in that it is, “Any original activity, product or service created between the contest dates by the entrant and related to the outdoors demonstrating creativity and risk-taking, and designed to produce a profit…”

Assorted knives on red back. banner

The creative aspects of the new company is that more than 15 patterns of cooking knives have been made based on ancient designs used during the Chinese Bronze Age and now made of modern materials for today’s Chefs and cooks. The designs had undergone hundreds of years of development and were used as inspiration for a series of cooking knives that are more efficient than any in use today.
Risks in launching any new product in the culinary market are that knives are durable tools, a wide variety of styles are already available at sometimes nearly give-away prices and low-volume production custom-made knives must command premium prices in order to be profitable. For those who cannot afford costly hand-made products, many low-cost substitutes are readily available.
New cooking knives must have distinctive designs, high quality, be demonstrably functional and aggressively marketed to be successful in today’s market. A low-volume maker cannot hope to compete in price against inexpensive unlicensed copies made in China and elsewhere. Patents offer no protection in today’s knife market, as even most minor variation in design or materials may be claimed to be a new knife, and the cost of lengthy court battles would quickly consume any profit from the products. Considering these realities, the business plan for Hovey’s Knives of China is to produce the knives and license their designs to anyone who wishes to make them for a small royalty.

The knives are so distinctive as to be unmistakable, regardless of who makes them. Hovey’s Knives will recognize, display and publicize knives made under license by custom makers and larger manufacturers at trade shows and other events. This way these eminently useful knife patterns will be quickly available worldwide to anyone who wishes to make dishes of quality and character using effective tools that have ancient cultural roots.
Low cost publicity about these knives is being produced through social medial including some 30 YouTube videos about the knives on a dedicated channel, blogs (www.hoveysknivesofchinablog.co), Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and other outlets. Added publicity on these knives will also result from reviews in magazines, newspapers and TV outlets.
Prototype production has begun at a new shop located in Sandersville, Georgia, and custom production of stainless steel designs will start in January, 2017, following an extensive period of product testing.
According to Hovey Smith, the company’s founder and owner, “We are now testing designs, hardening techniques, evaluating steels and production methods in the field and kitchen to make these designs. Each knife will be custom made. We have a variety of patterns and sizes to fit the users’ hands and satisfy their needs. The new designs include left and right-handed versions of chopping knives, fish-cleaning knives, utility knives, paring knives, cleavers and sushi and lox-cutting knives along with a special design for caterers.
“This isn’t all. We also have the “Billy Joe Rubideoux” line of forged knives, such as might have been made in the Lower Louisiana Delta by a fictional cook and entrepreneur from whatever materials he had at hand to make the tools he needed. Included in this group are a Chef’s and bread knife along with a sharpening steel made from an 150-year-old scythe blade and a rib flipper and forge cleaner made from a piece of lawnmower steel. A version of the “rib flipper” will be produced as a commercial product.
“We have an exciting adventure ahead of us, in bringing these eminently useful new knives to market, and I look forward to showing people how to use them to make some dishes that may not been seen for 1000 years.”

For additional information contact Hovey Smith at hoveysmith@bellsouth.net or call (478) 552-7455. Cooking demonstrations with the knives and media visits to the shop are available to media representatives by prior arrangement along with limited overnight housing.

Written by hoveysmith

October 22, 2016 at 6:17 am

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Billy Joe Rubideoux Knives and Cooking Tools Made from Salvaged Steels

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Rustic cooking tools and knives have been produced from old steel tool parts as a result of testing a new forge and other knife-making equipment at Hovey’s Knives of China’s shop in Georgia. A rib flipper and forge tool have been made from a piece of lawnmower steel, and a Chef’s knife was cut from a 100-year-old blade from a scythe.

These Billy Joe Rubideoux  products are named after a fictional character from Plaquemine Parish in the Louisiana Delta. Raised in the water-logged swamps below Lafitte, Billy Joe had a hard-scrabble existence where trips to town were infrequent. If he needed a tool, he had to make it  or do without. Working in this tradition, a rib flipper was made for turning meat on a charcoal grill and the rounded piece of left-over steel was used to pound out a forge-cleaning tool.

The rib flipper

Anyone who cooks on a grill must turn their meat. The most commonly use tools to flip ribs, turn chickens and move chops are spatulas, tongs and forks. None of these are very efficient. A piece of steel from the bottom of a riding lawnmower had a curved shape and appeared that if it was straightened and handled would be ideal for that purpose.

The steel was heated on the forge to the point where it could be pounded flat, cut and ground. The result proved to be a somewhat dogleg-shaped object that only needed a handle to be functional. I used a piece of salvaged wormy tea olive as a fitting grip for this tool and designed an asymmetrically – shaped grip that could be held horizontally in the hand. This grip proved ideal for turning ribs and other objects on the grill and outperformed anything I had used.

As the carbon steel in the flipper easily rust, I polished it with a steel wheel and coated it with canola oil to provide a non-toxic protective coating. Square holes in the flipper’s blade provide a handy means for hanging on the sides of my smoker. More custom flippers will be made in the Billy Joe style will be made along with stainless steel adaptations  for commercial use.

The forge cleaner

After the Rib Flipper was completed a piece of steel remained which had a distinctively curved profile, similar in shape of a flattened spoon. I used this piece to clean the ashes out of my forge, which has a steel tire rim as a fire-box. This worked and needed only a longer grip to make it efficient. I wire-brushed it down to bright metal, dressed the edges with grinding wheels and drilled it for a grip. This grip would be firmly attached by four pins made from cut-off nails. The result was an efficient forge-cleaning tool that I protected from further rust by giving the blade a coating of black enimal paint. Thus, both pieces of salvaged lawnmower steel were put to beneficial use to make new-to-the-world tools that performed beneficial functions.

The Chef’s knife

I had been saving the blade from an old scythe from the 1800s that was given to me over 30-year-ago. It had been exposed to rust and was well-pitted, but was nonetheless sound. The steel used in this scythe was among the highest quality steels available in the day  and similar to that used to make straight razors. The shape of the blade was wide enough to provide sufficient steel to make a Chef’s knife. After the basic shape had been drawn on the blade, a torch was used to  profile of the blade. Rough shaping was done using a grinder and final edging was completed on a 72-inch knife-making machine, which is basically a 72-inch variable-speed belt grinder with a 2-inch wide belt. To preserve the blade’s rustic look, the deep brown rust patina on the sides of the blade was left intact.

Once the blade was ground and holes drilled for the scales, the forge was  used to re-temper the blade, as heat from the cutting torch had heated the steel sufficient to soften the steel. The tempering process served to stiffen the blade and harden the edge. A video showing how the knife was made is at: https://youtu.be/maFAogwdrcw.

Wood from the tea olive, a native American tree whose fragrant-smelling blossoms caused it to be planted around  many antebellum plantations,  was selected as the handle material. This wood is harder than pine, ivory colored, commonly spalted and worm-holed when it has been on the forest floor.  The natural holes and contrasting colors proved to be complementary to the over-all look of the knife. Although the finished knife is fully functional and has a sharp edge, it would appear to be hundreds of years old. Closer inspection would reveal that its cutting edge is brightly finished, the grips are coated with a tough polyurethane and the back of the blade exposes bright metal.

Billy Joe's Chef's knife in kitchen

In a video, Billy Joe’s knife was tested against a commercial kitchen knife from the mark-down table of a mass-market retailer.

Billy Joe’s knife was compared to a $7.00 Chef’s knife from a mass-market-outlet’s discount table during cutting tests using bond paper and vegetables as I prepared some soup. Although Billy Joe’s knife had the advantages of having a sharper, deeper and longer blade, the pitted sides of the blade produced much more friction. In most cases the commercial knife was superior as a usable kitchen knife, although the rustic Rubideoux knife felt better, worked better as a chopping blade and kept its edge during the test. In short it proved itself to be a usable Chef’s knife, although not as good as the inexpensive commercial product.

The Billy Joe Rubideoux knife is more art than functional knife,  but it will work for its intended purposes in a home setting. Its design is superior to the commercial knife. The longer, deeper blade and long grip with the stag-like feel imparted by the worm holes give it a distinctive feel while the light-weight wood of the grips provide a desirable weight-forward balance for the knife. Only the roughness and perhaps the slight lip at the top of the blade made the Billy Joe knife function less well than the commercial blade.  The wooden grips, which provide an artistic counterpoint to the blade,   will  also soften  if immersed in water or put in a dishwasher. These grips demand careful handling, which is not likely to happen in a commercial kitchen.

A video, “A $700 Billy Joe Rubideoux Chef’s Knife Vs. a $7.00 Mass-Market Markdown Makes Soup for the Toothless,”  was made when showing this knife being used to chop vegetables for a soup. While the knife felt good in the hand and handled better than the commercial knife as a chopper; overall, the slicker-sided commercial knife proved to be much more efficient. While distinctive as a piece of rustic functional art made and fine for casual use in a home kitchen, its pitted blade caused it to be inefficient. Billy Joe’s knife would be thrown out of a commercial kitchen, although it did serve to demonstrate that a functional Chef’s knife could be made from scrap materials in a home workshop.  This video may be seen at:https://youtu.be/jpsLeNHNY-E.

This experiment was sufficiently successful that the decision was made to custom make knives and tools in the Billy Joe fashion using salvaged steels and handle materials furnished by the anyone who wants a custom-made, functional tool made of something that had significance to him. As long as it is a reasonable carbon steel, a useful knife or tool can probably be made by the  combined processes of cutting, forging, grinding and tempering. The last is significant, because if too much heat is applied to the metal during cutting or grinding the result will be a softer steel and a weaker tool that will not hold an edge or quickly fail if exposed to heat or stress.

Written by hoveysmith

August 24, 2016 at 9:58 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Late Life Business As A Pathway to Heath in Old Age

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Banner with TM

Retirement, freedom from the stress of the corporate world, laying back and doing noting is often viewed as the state of bliss that is supposed to come when one retires. As with most such suppositions, this statement is only part true in that you are free of the constant state of accountability to your bosses, coworkers and even life partner for your mutual success. Woe betide you should you fail, and the chances of failure from predicted and unknowable events are too numerous to mention. No wonder that you are relieved to be out from under the crushing millstone of corporate life.

A few weeks or months later, you become bored with your now mostly sedentary life and want to get back to doing something interesting, useful and intellectually challenging without falling back into the morass that you just escaped from. It may well be that starting your own business might be the key to better psychological and mental health, at a lesser costs than conventional doctors, pills and surgeries.

I found myself in this situation. I was downsized out of a corporate job of my own creation as part of the R&D arm of a multinational corporation. I was  their “Information Scientist.”  This job title was one that I created in that I assisted researchers in finding information, organized the company  patent collection, created a searchable database, kept the company library and developed 15 new ideas for possible company products. Being continually awash with information about patents in our and related fields, I was sometimes able to offer insights into solutions to problems that might have been overlooked.

Since the 1970s, I had been selling articles to newspapers and magazines.  I concentrated on the outdoor press, writing primarily about hunting. Ultimately, I focused on the more specialized area of hunting with muzzleloading guns and for the past decade have been the corresponding editor covering black-powder guns and hunting  for the Gun Digest, which bills itself as “The world’s greatest gun book.” Although interesting, this was mostly a money-losing proposition. I expanded into books and published over 15 books and E-books with the same degree of economic success.  I also tried a year-and-a-half of podcast radio with a variety outdoor show, but that was also an economic failure.

Even though I continued my writing after I was laid off,  I found my body showing increasing signs of failure  as I passed through my 60s to my  mid-70s. These ills included  joint pain, losing the ability to walk freely without pain in the legs, coronary  by-pass surgery and apparently failing mental capacity. Except for the coronary difficulties, the remainder of my problems were generally dismissed by my doctors as the impact of normal aging. There was no ready explanation for the joint pain, but restricted circulation  in the in my legs due to claudication caused by  plaque in the blood vessels.

Some of the usual medications were prescribed, but I found that Lipitor caused me more pain than benefit. When I increased the dose, the level of pain in my legs also increased, further restricted mobility.

A New Business As a Solution

In my previous experience I found that the key to good mental and physical health was to be interested in something that involved risks and rewards and incorporated physical activity. A degree of risk taking has been part of my life since I served in the military as an Engineer Officer after college. Although I served during the Viet Nam era, the bulk of my 2.5-years of service time was spent in Alaska. Although a stateside assignment, working in an Sub-Arctic environment where temperatures, weather and accidents could kill a man provided a challenge. One of my fellow Engineer Officers died as a result of a bad weather caused plane crash on St. Laurence Island in mid-winter – a trip that I later made myself under similar circumstances.

I did my MS Geology thesis by spending all summer largely alone mapping an area of the 40-Mile District, near Chicken, Alaska. As an exploration Geologist in Alaska, we worked every day from helicopters where we were out all Summer hundreds of miles away from any cities and often weathered in for days at the time. I worked on glaciers and mountains, had encounters with black, brown and grizzly bears as well as momma moose, who will fearsely protect their young. All of this was exciting, interesting stuff for a young guy in his 20s and 30s. For a number of years I geologized during the Summer months in Alaska and wintered, and wrote, in Tucson, during the Winter.

Mineral and oil exploration are cyclic markets and when metal prices fell during the early 1980s, I found my self out of work, returned home to Georgia to write, produced a number of books which were not particularly successful and was ultimately hired by a multinational kaolin-mining company, English China Clays, where I became their Information Scientist.

Past retirement age, I continued my writing and did some industrial Public Relations work and occasionally made some money, but my writing was mostly an economic drain, rather than a revenue producer. As a result I found myself looking for something that had the potential of making significant money.

Parameters for a Successful Retirement Business

Retail trade in small town America is a dying proposition. Independent stores cannot compete against the larger chains and increasingly easy on-line buying opportunities. While offering the comforts of being in a community of fellow merchants and interacting with the public, I could think of nothing that I could sell locally that would potentially return investment, much less make money from – not even in the area of muzzleloading guns and knives where I was an acknowledged expert.

I needed to develop products that were proven, had world-wide sales potential, were sufficiently new to attract a lot of free publicity, relatively easy to make, would allow my personal input into design and not require my setting up a large factory to make them or have a large staff to sell them. My ideal would be a company consisting of a few people with million-dollar sales potential. One way to reach this goal was to conceive of a concept where I designed and demonstrated a class of objects and licensed production to others on a royalty basis. I developed this concept in print, in one of my books Ideas for New Businesses: How to start your own million or billion dollar business, which is available from Amazon.com and other sources.

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All new businesses, from the largest to the smallest start with an idea.

Hovey’s Knives of China

While in undergraduate school at the University of Georgia, I toyed with the concept of majoring in Archeology, rather than Geology. I was always interested in Archeology and while in High School spent a summer at Mesa Verde National Park working for the concessionaire. On days off I would explore the ruins myself. At the time there were few paying positions in Archeology, and Geology seemed to offer better opportunities for a successful career. The situation for Archeologist has improved somewhat, but these are mostly lower paying salvage exploration jobs requiring extreme mobility and much dull, repetitive work in uncomfortable settings.

A minor thing that attracted my attention was Chinese knife money, which was a coin shaped like a knife with a hole in the handle used as currency  in central China during the Warring States Period, before the rise of Imperial China.  This was put in long-term memory storage among millions of other interesting, but apparently useless, bits of information. Some 40-years later, I saw some of these knives exhibited at the International Blade Show in Atlanta. I could not afford to buy one, but arranged to take detailed photos. After forming a relationship with Bladesmith Murray Carter, which included making knives in his shop, I asked him to produce a copy of one of these knives in forged steel.

Now that I had a working knife, I used it in the field for a variety of tasks and even took it to China where I demonstrated it to a Chef at the J.W. Marriott Hotel in Zhengzhou. While there, I had a chance to visit the Henan Provincial Museum, and saw some of the original knife money as well as other bronze cooking implements. I have several YouTube videos about this trip. One showing Carter’s knife is at:   https://youtu.be/TCSJSbJxRMs . By the time I made my second trip to China in 2015, I had made wooden models of a dozen patterns and was considering different ways of producing them.

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Hovey, center, with Chef and Hotel Manager.

These flights to China were man-killers, and 30-hours of sitting in cramped seats provided little comfort for my legs. By the time I was even partly recovered, it was time to do it again and return home. By happenstance, I ran into Paul Hjort, a knifemaker who makes Bowie-style knives, at our local Kaolin Festival. At the time he had comparatively little equipment and worked out of his trailer. We came to an arrangement, and he made prototype knives from my designs, which we exhibited at the Cobb Galleria at the International Blade Show. My knives were so different that many did not understand them or appreciate how they might be used. Nonetheless, they attracted considerable attention. I was hoping to obtain sufficient numbers of orders to finance the construction of a stand-alone knife shop, but these were not forthcoming.Assorted knives on red back. banner

The preceding events required quite a bit of mental and physical effort and even more was to come when I turned a portion of my back porch into a workshop where Paul and I could make our custom signature knives. As my activity state increased, my mental and physical health improved. I find myself regaining my physical abilities and in much less pain than formerly  without taking increased amounts of medications.

Although these knives are made by stock reduction from water-jet cut blanks, rather than forging, the operation of the equipment, the labor involved in making charcoal for my forge and the general upkeep of my house, grounds and hunting land provides sufficient exercise to keep me mobile while giving me something potentially profitable to do. This works reasonably well, because I can interspersed times of physical and lest strenuous mental activities throughout the day.

Conclusions

My approach of taking risks with my late-life savings to found a new company with an uncertain outcome, has provided me with a business that keeps me engaged and provides a reason to continue an active existence. If successful, the business will outlive me and provide income for many others who may be associated with my namesake products. This has provided me with something that I feel is worth doing, worth the risk-taking and is providing me with an improved life experience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Written by hoveysmith

July 14, 2016 at 9:29 am

Posted in Uncategorized

My Knives of China Catalog, July,2016

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Hovey’s Knives of China Signature Series Knives Catalog, July, 2016

Banner with TM

Because of a WordPress blog-construction artifact my registered domain “hoveysknivesofchina.com” is associated with this blog. For this reason I have attached a copy of the current catalog. There are two other blogs that are exclusively concerned with these knives. An informational chatty blog, hoveysknivesofchinablog.co has articles about the development of the knives and how we make them. The website, hoveysknivesofchina.wordpress.com, serves more of the functions of a catalog and order site for my knives and associated products. The connections between these blogs are that I am a hunter who kills and processes his own game animals. I have written about guns and knives for decades and made  knives. When I was introduced to China’s historic knives, I thought how these old patterns, and others, might be constructed of modern materials to introduce some time-proven, yet new, varieties of culinary knives to today’s Chefs and cooks.

Congratulations on considering an order for one of our Signature Knives. Besides having the unique design characteristics of all of our knives, the Signature series is all about producing true custom knives, one by one, designed for the user. Ultimately, you may be able to purchase both licensed and unlicensed copies of my knives produced by any number of makers for much less money. I realize that low-priced products are significant if you are a young cook just starting out. Buy the knock-off knives now if you must, but someday let me work with you and show you the pleasures of owning the real thing.

 Assorted knives on red back. banner

Hovey’s Knives of China Signature Knives are made only for you and for what you need your cooking knife to do. This is the equivalent to going to London and having a shirt custom made for you by a Bond Street tailor.

 Such knives are not inexpensive, and they are not quickly made. You will find that they will perform better than any knife you have ever used, or we will make it so. Our blade steels are the best that we can obtain to sustain your needs. At present all Signature Blades will be made of 440 C stainless. This is a workable standard for modern cutlery use. It will dull, as will all steels, and will need to be periodically sharpened, as any knowledgeable Chef would do.

 On some knives the points are very delicate. These are a pleasure to work with. When carving meat they are like pushing a knife through soft cheese. However, they will not accept any bending stress. If you assistant cook tries to break a meat joint with one, the point will likely snap off the first time that stupid mistake is tried. Nor is this point designed for prying open cans. Any assistant cook who tries to cut open cans with one of these knives may find his skills better employed working in a salvage yard. This is the reason that some of my knives are offered without points. If sent back to us, broken points can be restored a few times. However, the ultimate result may be that the knife becomes a truncated-blade knife which is still a very useful and durable shape. It is also safer in that it is less likely to go through a shoe should it fall from a table.

 First a few blunt facts. The least expensive of these knives start at $200 for the handle-less Point Square series. The most expensive package that we currently offer is a $10,000 three-knife set where you come to Whitehall for three days. We talk knives and cook together, and you decide which of three of our knives you would like us to make. The knives are roughed out and fitted to your hand and tried while you are here. Once that is done, the three knives are completed and mailed to you along with a video of your visit and how the knives were made. You may bring, at your expense, a companion, who might also be a translator if you speak something other than English.

 A feature that we offer with this package is that when you pass on and if two of the knives are returned to us, we will purposefully break the blade of the larger knife and return it to your family, framed with a black flock and corner photo of you that was made while you were here. The other knife will be reconditioned and presented to a young Chef whose cooking style and techniques best match your own. This presentation will be made at the International Blade Show in Atlanta, or some other venue. Not only will these acts celebrate your life, but will also inspire new Chefs to cook dishes of care, quality and spirit using your knife. In return, when the recipient passes on or withdraws from the business, the knife is returned to us for another reconditioning and presentation.

 Knife Orders

 Small Utility Knife “The Caterer’s Friend”

 One of our most popular patterns, The Caterer’s Friend, is offered with a truncated point and choice of either a single ground in right or left-

Small Utility Caterer s Friend

This prototype version is in carbon steel. Production blades will be of 440 C stainless. The jade-wood grip material is in limited supply. Photo on 1-inch grid.  

 -handed versions or with a double-ground blade. The single-ground blade is preferred for precision cutting. It is used not only to cut small vegetables, but also to spread mixes on bread, and even the head of the hilt is sometimes employed to grind lumps of salt, sugar etc. to a uniform powder. This product is frequently presented as a gift to a Caterer by a host in recognition of a “job well done.”

 Base Price $300

 __Single Ground Blade               Handle Material

 __Double Ground Blade               __Jade Green

 __Left Handed                                __Micarta

 __Right Handed                             __Cocobolo

__Cherry*

 *Cherry is a natural wood, is not safe for water immersion and may chip if dropped on a hard surface. One grip replacement/exchange will be made for free. Subsequent replacements are $50. Sharpening is $40 and blade regrinding to remove chips $60.

 

Medium Utility Knife

Medium utility on pegboard 

These prototype versions are in carbon steel with brown Micarta grips, production knives will be in 440C Stainless. Top knife has a double-ground blade and the bottom a single-ground blade. Photo on 1-inch grid.  

 The larger brother to the Small Utility Knife, this knife has a longer blade and larger grips intended for those with medium-sized hands. It is offered with the same options. The single ground blade version is available in right or left-handed versions. This blade grind is preferred for more precision cutting.

 Base Price $350 + $50 if use your grip materials

 __Single Ground Blade               Handle Material

 __Double Ground Blade               __Jade Green

 __Left Handed                               __Micarta

 __Right Handed                             __Cocobolo

                                                                __Cherry*

 *Cherry is a natural wood, is not safe for water immersion and may chip if dropped on a hard surface. One grip replacement/exchange will be made for free. Subsequent replacements are $50. Sharpening is $40 and blade regrinding to remove chips $60.

 Bok Choy Chopper

 Bok Choy Chopper

The Bok Choy Chopper shown here with pencil-point blade and cherry grips. This is a carbon-steel prototype knife, production knives will be of 440C stainless.  

Photo on 1-inch grid.

In regards to both appearance and general usefulness, the Bok Choy Chopper is my personal favorite of these designs. It has sufficient blade length to be a useful chopper, the version with a pencil point works for very fine cutting on a variety of materials while the truncated version makes for a strong knife that may be used in any kitchen. If broken, the pencil point may be reground a limited number of times; but may ultimately become a truncated-point knife.

 Base Price $400 + $50 if use your grip materials

 __Single Ground Blade               Handle Material

 __Double Ground Blade               __Jade Green

 __Left Handed                               __Micarta

 __Right Handed                            __Cocobolo

 __Truncated Point                         __Cherry*

 *Cherry is a natural wood, is not safe for water immersion and may chip if dropped on a hard surface. One grip replacement/exchange will be made for free. Subsequent replacements are $50. Sharpening is $40 and blade regrinding to remove chips or refresh points is $70.

 Pepper and Small Veggy Knife

 Pepper knife on pegboard

This prototype knife is shown made of carbon steel, but production versions will be in 440C stainless. The jade grip material is in short supply and may be discontinued. Photo on 1-inch grid. 

This cleaver-looking knife is not made for forceful chopping, but is a broad-bladed knife with a thin blade intended to work peppers, medium-sized fruit and meats. It may be used as a spatula, scraper, to stir a pot or even as a server without having to reach for three or four different implements. It is offered as a single (recommended) or double-ground blade with a distinctive scooped out front point so the knife can be grasped at the end of the blade for delicate cutting as well as used for its intended chopping purposes. Of all the knives in this series, this blade, when used for the medium-weight cutting for which it was designed, is the most versatile of these designs in either right or left-handed versions with a single-ground blade.

 Base Price $400 + $50 if use your grip materials

 __Single Ground Blade               Handle Material

 __Double Ground Blade               __Jade Green

 __Left Handed                               __Micarta

 __Right Handed                            __Cocobolo

 __Truncated Point                        __Cherry*

 *Cherry is a natural wood, is not safe for water immersion and may chip if dropped on a hard surface. One grip replacement/exchange will be made for free. Subsequent replacements are $50. Sharpening is $40 and blade regrinding to remove chips is $70.

 

The Cabbage and Duck Chopper

 Cabbage and Duck chopper

While this prototype is made of carbon steel, production blades will be made of 440C stainless. Photo on 1-inch grid.

 An impressive knife by any standards, the Cabbage and Duck Chopper is the largest knife offered in the Hovey’s Knives of China Series. This knife is designed, as were the original bronze versions, meant to be used not like the cleaver with a forceful downward swing of the blade by using downward pressure applied to the top of the blade and long handle to cut through cabbages and break through duck carcasses. This Chopper, The Cleaver (not ready yet) and the long handled Rib Flipper are made of heavier gauge steel that is cut less frequently that other knives in this series. There may be delays in delivery while sufficient orders accumulate to cut a piece of steel.

 Base Price $550 + 50 for using your handle material                   

 Grip Options

 __Cherry*                      __Tea Olive*

 __Cocobolo

 __Micarta

 

*Cherry and Tea Olive are natural woods, are not safe for water immersion and may chip if dropped on a hard surface. One grip replacement/exchange will be made for free. Subsequent replacements are $50. Sharpening is $40 and blade regrinding to remove chips is $70.

 The Point Series

The point series on peg board

On left and right are two Point Squares shown with a strong truncated point on the left and a pencil point on the right. These are grasped in the palm of the hand with the index finger resting on the top of the blade. The central knife, The Point, does not have the square cut-out and works well for those with smaller hands, while The Point Square does better for those with medium-sized hands. Not shown is a version of the Point Square for larger hands. Photo on 1-inch grid.

 Points are generally overrated on kitchen knives. Most of the work that cooking knives do is slicing or dicing; not stabbing and jabbing. However, there are times when a point is required for carving thin meats or doughs into decorative shapes or for the sportsman to use for skinning an animal. These are  very small, light-weight knives that not only have uses in the kitchen, but also in backpackers or hunters packs.

 Base Price $200

 __The Point

 __The Point Square Truncated Blade

 __The Point Square Pencil Point Blade

 __The Point Square Truncated Blade Large (not shown)

__The Point Square Pencil Point Blade Large (not shown)

 

The Fish Knife

Fish knife 

 The fish knife is a derivation of the Eskimo Ulu in that it has a central handle, but one end is shaped as a sharp gut hook to open large fish at the vent and the other with a point to cut out internal organs and scrape them from the body cavity. The blade, with a different grasp, is also useful for scaling. The knife shown is a prototype design that has been improved with the new design of gut hook that may be seen below in the Offset Grip Fish and Shushi Knife. Photo on 1-inch grid.

 Base Price $300 + $50 if use your grip materials

 __Right Handed                     Handle Material

 __Left Handed                      __Jade Green

   __Micarta                             __Cocoabolo

   __Cherry*

 *Cherry is a natural wood, is not safe for water immersion and may chip if dropped on a hard surface. One grip replacement/exchange will be made for free. Subsequent replacements are $50. Sharpening is $40 and blade regrinding to remove chips is $70.

Offset Grip Fish and Shushi Knife

 Shushi and Fish knife bent prototype

Although not easily seen in this photo there are two bends in this blade, neither of which are at right angles. This is a prototype knife made of T 410 stainless steel. Photo on 1-inch grid.

 Related in concept to the Fish Knife, the offset grip allows the knife blade to be held vertically while the wrist is in a more natural, and comfortable, inclined position. This design allows the user to look directly down at the cut, as when slicing Shushi or Lox. The Fish and Shushi knives have the same blade, but the bends in the handle are reversed. In the Shushi Knife the point faces towards the user, but in the Fish Knife it faces away. The angle of the grip may be adjusted by gentle bending, and such adjustments will be made at the table during later Blade Show events in Atlanta and elsewhere.

 Starting with flat blanks getting the correct bend of these blades is a complex task, best done with the ultimate user in hand.

 Base Price $400 + $50 if use your grip materials

 __Fish Knife                      Handle Material

 __Sushi (Lox) Knife               __Jade Green

 __Right Handed                    __Cocoabolo

 __Left Handed                       __Micarta               

                                                      __Cherry

                                                      __Your material     

 *Cherry is a natural wood, is not safe for water immersion and may chip if dropped on a hard surface. One grip replacement/exchange will be made for free. Subsequent replacements are $50. Sharpening is $40 and blade regrinding to sharpen gut hook is $70. Blade bending to reset handle angle is free if done in the presence of the knife’s owner. If necessary to be done by mail order specify the exact number of degrees and direction of the bend. The first re-bending is free. Subsequent ones are $50. Grip re-shaping or replacement is $150 depending on the material required. If suitable, a knife using the handle material that you furnish can be made for an additional charge of $50.

 Long Grip Slicer

 Long handled slicer on pegboard

This prototype blade has a re-ground point that is intermediate between the pencil point and the truncated point designs generally offered in Hovey’s Knives. As with all such points the knife may be grasped at the front of the blade to do delicate cutting tasks. Photo on 1-inch grid.  

 Available with either a pencil or truncated point this slicer’s grip is unusually long to allow the hand to be further away from the large joint of meat that he may be slicing. The oval ring on the slicer fits in the palm of the hand and allows for unusually good control for well-supported forward and backwards cuts. This knife is offered with a single ground blade (recommended) or with a double-ground blade. The upswept grip and relatively distant position of the hand with the index finger over the forward part of the grip offers unusual control of this relatively large knife. The point allows a slice of meat to be speared and placed on a serving dish.   

 Base Price $400 + $50 if use your grip materials

 __Single Ground Blade               Handle Material

 __Double Ground Blade               __Jade Green

 __Left Handed                               __Micarta

 __Right Handed                            __Cocobolo

 __Truncated Point                          __Cherry*

 *Cherry is a natural wood, is not safe for water immersion and may chip if dropped on a hard surface. One grip replacement/exchange will be made for free. Subsequent replacements are $50. Sharpening is $40 and blade regrinding to remove chips is $70.

 The Small Butcher

 Small butcher on pegboard

This derivation of the butcher knife is handled in Cocobolo wood and made of carbon steel. Production knives will be in 440C stainless. Photo on 1-inch grid.

 Looking somewhat more like regular butcher knives, this knife has a sweeping curve on its blade and a weight-forward feel while positive control is assured by the oval grip fitting in the palm. It is smaller than a conventional American butcher knife to appeal to home cooks and Chefs who feel more comfortable using the smaller knife in a home setting.  

  Base Price $350 + $50 if use your grip materials

 __Single Ground Blade               Handle Material

 __Double Ground Blade               __Jade Green

 __Left Handed                               __Micarta

 __Right Handed                           __Cocobolo

 __Truncated Point                         __Cherry*

 *Cherry is a natural wood, is not safe for water immersion and may chip if dropped on a hard surface. One grip replacement/exchange will be made for free. Subsequent replacements are $50. Sharpening is $40 and blade regrinding to remove chips is $70.

 Rib Flipper (Billy Joe Roubideaux’s Rib Flipper)

Billy Joe s Rib Flipper prtotype 

 This rib flipper is made of salvaged steel and fitted with a hand-fitting, but non-symmetrical grip. Inspired by those who must make do with what they have, production models of the flipper will be made from 400C stainless steel, have the two square cutouts in the blade and be gripped to fit a horizontal hold by right or left-handed individuals. It will also be offered in two grips. This is the first of a series of open fire and barbeque cooking aids that will be offered by Hovey’s Knives of China. Photo on 1-inch grid.

 This tool looks as if it had been made by Billy Joe Roubideaux who is a fictional pit master who made barbeque of questionable legality in the vanishing world of the Mississippi Delta below Lafayette, Louisiana. Billy Joe would have used what he had to make the tools that he needed. This Rib Flipper was derived from a piece of scrap steel shaped like a dog’s leg and is handled with Tea Olive, an unusual native wood. There is no point or sharp edges on this tool. Its grip is non-uniform and is carved to fit into the palm of the hand when held horizontally. The reach of the blade allows it to flip a small rack of wild-hog ribs that are being blackened over a flaming grill.

 The blade shown is the prototype and will be offered in two lengths. The length shown here is for home cooks and one with an extended metal section is for those who cook on larger grills. The extended version is made of heavier metal and has a longer two-handed grip. The rib flipper is for small racks of ribs, chickens and the like and not for flipping a whole hog. Another, stronger tool will be made for handling entire carcasses. Extended Rib Flippers will be occasionally run when heavier knives like The Cleaver (not ready yet) and Cabbage and Duck Choppers are cut.    

 Base Price $350 + $50 if use your grip materials

           $425 for extended length version

 __Right handed regular length   Handle Material

 __Left Handed regular length      __Tea Olive*

 __Right Handed extended length    __Cherry**

 __Left Handed extended length    

 *Tea olive is an uncommon wood and nicely figured and wormy material may not always be in stock, but a small amount is available for these and other knives at present.

 **Cherry is a natural wood, is not safe for water immersion and may chip if dropped on a hard surface. One grip replacement/exchange will be made for free. Subsequent replacements are $50.

 $10,000 three knife custom package

 Hovey's Knives of China June 2016 on pegboard

 

You may select any three of these patterns, a new pattern or we will design knives for your use. Photo on 1-inch grid.

  $1,000 deposit to reserve dates

  $5,000 after fitting

  $4,000 on approval of photos of finished knives prior to shipment

 One round of alterations to these knives is allowed at no charge. Subsequent repairs due to normal wear will be charged at customary rates, such as $50 plus shipping for regrinding a point.

 You and one other person, if desired, can fly to Atlanta at your expense. I will pick you up at the airport, if desired, and bring you to Whitehall. Room and meals will be provided for three days and your return to Atlanta, if needed. Please bring, or gather, any ingredients that you need to cook your specialty dishes. This cooking together and cooking observations will allow me to make the best recommendations for your knives and for you to try the knives in real-world situations. I live a rustic, rural lifestyle and have one bath in the house. If you wish to stay elsewhere at your expense, there are  conveniently located motels nearby.

 Name 1.________________________________________

 Name 2.________________________________________

 Address________________________________________

 City/State_____________________________________

 Zip Code_______________________________________

 E-mail address_________________________________

 Website________________________________________

 Telephone no.__________________________________

 Cell Phone_____________________________________

 Payment Method Cash__ Money Order__Company Check__

               Pay Pal (add 20% surcharge)___

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hand Trace

 

Outline your hand on this page with a ball-point pin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Order Sheet

 

Hovey’s Knives of China

1325 Jordan Mill Pond Rd.

Sandersville, GA 31082

hovey@hoveysknivesofchina.com

(478) 552-7455

 

Name 1.________________________________________

 

Name 2.________________________________________

 

Address________________________________________

 

City/State_____________________________________

 

Zip Code_______________________________________

 

E-mail address_________________________________

 

Website________________________________________

 

Telephone no.__________________________________

 

Cell Phone_____________________________________

 

Payment Method Cash__ Money Order__Company Check__

               Pay Pal (add 20% surcharge)___

 

A follow-up letter will be sent to confirm the details of the order, including handle materials, blade grind and any special features. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Item and Options

Number Product             Price  Options   Total

 Write L by order for left-handed knives

Write S on order for single-ground blades

 __   Custom 3-knife set $10,000            _____

__   Small Utility                      300      50    _____

__   Medium Utility                  350      50    _____

__   Bok Choy Chopper            400      50    ­­­_____

__   Pepper and Small Veggy  400      50    _____

__   Cabbage and Duck             550      50    _____

__   The Point                               200            _____

__   The Point Square pencil    200            _____

__   The Point Square trun.      200            _____

__   Fish Knife                            300      50    _____

__   Offset Fish Knife               400      50    _____

__   Long Grip Slicer                 400      50    _____

__   Small Butcher                      350      50    ­­_____

__   Rib Flipper Regular             350      50    _____

__   Rib Flipper Extended            425      50    _____

  Total                                      ——

 Ga. State Tax 8 percent                    ——

 Packing and shipping 10% of order          ——

 If paid by Pay Pal add 20 percent of order ——

 Total cost of order    ——————

 Payment may be made in cash, by P.O. from recognized company or by money order. Not ready for credit cards at this time.

Written by hoveysmith

July 12, 2016 at 3:05 pm

Posted in Uncategorized