Weige Knives will be sharpening knives and giving knife tips at the next two Knife Skills classes offered by SFC’s The Happy Kitchen/La Cocina Alegre®. They can also be found at SFC’s Farmers’ Market at Sunset Valley. We had a chance to talk to founder and owner of Weige Knives, Travis Weige, about the business he started and the knives he crafts.
1. What got you started making knives?
I started making knives for fun in my garage. It was a hobby I picked up to get outside and make something since I was spending so much time in front of a computer for my day job. I've always enjoyed making and fixing things so I chose to make a kitchen knife since the ones we used in our home weren't very good. One day while using our cheap kitchen knives I thought, "I bet I can make a knife better than this one."
2. What types of knives do you make?
I focus on kitchen cutlery, but I can make most any type of knife. We make chef, santoku, slicing, utility, paring, nakiri, cleavers, boning, filet and even several different styles of hunting and camping knives. We offer a truly unique experience to the customer that makes us different from other knife makers. We allow the consumer the option to design the knife, choose from various materials and colors and then do a clay mold of the customer's hand to make sure the knife fits perfectly. This type of input from the customer allows them a great deal of interaction with the knife and how the knife will eventually look and perform.
3. What prompted you to start selling (and sharpening?) knives at the SFC Farmers’ Market at Sunset Valley ?
I've always enjoyed the farmer's market and I would go there almost every weekend. There was a knife sharpener there and I got to know him over time. When he told me he was moving to a different farmerss market I explored the opportunity. I sharpen and sell knives there now and have fun doing it. Getting to know the other vendors and meeting people who stop by my booth has been one of the most rewarding parts.
4. If I’m not mistaken, you now run your business full time. What do you like and dislike most about being an artisan and having your own business?
I became a full time knife maker in September 2014 and am still very happy about that decision. I enjoy being my own boss and doing something that I truly love. I look forward to work each day and get to spend more time with my family. I also work with a close friend of mine, Dirk Michener, who has become a terrific knife maker. Having your own business can be difficult since there's lots of work involved that you can't bill for. I don't mind it though because I like to do it. Of course there are things I prefer to do. For instance, I'd rather be in the shop making knives than in my office running inventory or paying my taxes.
5. In your opinion, what are some of the problems you see in how people handle and/or care for their kitchen knives?
Most people seem to be used to having inexpensive knives they can throw into a drawer and don't learn to sharpen their knives properly. I understand this because I used to be the same way. I've developed a new love and respect for the kitchen knife since it's a daily tool that helps in the preparation for my family's meal. When you enjoy using your knife, looking at it and know that you helped design this one of a kind tool that is just for you there's something special about it and it helps make every meal a little more special.