Hello! Welcome to Wheeler Knifeworks, my name is Phil Wheeler. Thanks very much for visiting my site and having a look at my knives. I am a 32 year old knife maker/ medical student in Winston Salem, NC. I have been making knives for about 8 years. I mostly began with fixed blade hunting and camping knives, and then ventured into the world of kitchen knives a few years ago. I try to make every knife unique in one way or another, whether it is just varying combinations of woods, to trying something wildly experimental. All of my knives are fully handmade from scratch using what is known as the stock-removal method. This means that your knife starts as a bar of steel and blocks of wood. I have my heat treating done by Brad at Peters heat treating in Pennsylvania, generally regarded as one the the finest heat treaters for knives anywhere. As much as I like to do everything in-house, Brad's experience and equipment guarantees that every blade is as good as it gets in terms of performance and durability. Please feel free to contact me with any questions!
My goal with each and every knife I make is to create a tool with the highest possible level of performance, as well as an object with distinct and enduring beauty. When it comes to kitchen cutlery, there are hundreds of knifemakers producing knives in traditional styles, frequently working in carbon steels. While many of these are marvelous knives, I chose to work primarily in stainless steel so that the chef does not need to worry about tarnishing their knife due to one lapse of attention, and the knife will therefore retain its beauty as long as possible. Rather than working in fully traditional styles such as santoku, gyuto, or yanagi, I also chose to develop my own shapes and designs, which are a blend of established styles that are known to be excellent performers, with my own twists on geometry, handle shape, and design.
Many handmade knives are finished to what I would consider a rustic or coarse level of presentation. Once again, there is nothing wrong with this philosophy, and many of those knives are excellent as well. However, my goal on every knife is to bring the finish quality as close as I can manage to flawlessness. Any knife that is not up to my standards does not go up for sale. While I am certainly not the only maker working with a similar set of goals, I strive to pay close attention to the quality and pricing of other producers, and offer my knives at very competitive prices based upon their materials, size, and finish quality.
I work almost exclusively in high end stainless steels. Many makers choose to use high carbon steels for their traditional appeal, high hardness capability, and ease of craftsmanship. I chose to work in stainless steels for their toughness and durability, and so that the beauty of the knives will endure for generations. Here is a quick run down of some of the steels I use.
S30V- This steel belongs to a class of steels sometimes called the "super-steels". It is extremely tough, and is hardened to 60-61 on the rockwell hardness scale. Due to its toughness, this steel takes a huge amount of persistence to finish by hand. For this reason, you do not see too many handmade S30V knives.
s35VN- A close relative to S30V, this steel has similar characteristics, just trades a little bit of edge holding for easier sharpening and finishing.
AEB-L- AEB-L is currently one of, if not the most, popular steel for cutlery among custom knife makers. It is easy to sharpen and takes a very keen edge, in fact you probably have AEB-L in your house already in the form of almost any good razor blade. Technically not as tough as S35VN, but the ease of sharpening is a big plus for those who like to maintain their edges regularly.
52100- Remember when I said I work "almost" exclusively in stainless steels? Thus far, one batch of 52100 is the exception. 52100 is very hard and will take an extremely sharp edge. With steels like 52100, a patina will develop on the blade. If treated properly, this patina will afford the blade some protection from corrosion. Carbon steel is the choice of a chef that wants the absolute maximal performance, and will pay close attention to their tools.
Service, Maintenance, Warranty
T0 maintain the beauty and performance of your knife for many years to come, proper care is essential. It is my hope that you will use your knife regularly and without fear of diminishing its appearance. No handmade knife (nor any good knife) should be put in the dishwasher. The best thing you can do is to only wash your knife as necessary. For example, if I am just cutting vegetables, all I do is rinse the blade with hot water, wipe it longways with a towel, and put it back in its case. If you have been cutting meat, you will obviously need to use soap and do some scrubbing. Always use something soft to scrub the knife, never use steel wool or scotchbrite, and I would stay away from other scrubber pads that have an abrasive feel, as the plastic may be impregnated with abrasives, as it is with scotchbrite. The handle woods I choose are either stabilized or naturally water resistant, nonetheless it is always best not to needlessly saturate your handles. I also recommend always drying your knife thoroughly with a towel rather than letting it sit to dry. This will prevent spots on a carbon steel knife, and preserve the wood on the handle of any knife. If you have a glass cutting board, I strongly recommend you take it out in the driveway and smash it, as that is the best way to murder any knife edge.
My goal in the construction of my knives is to create an object that will last for generations. If at any point, your knife develops an issue of any kind or simply loses some of its luster, I will repair or replace the knife as appropriate, at no cost. Likewise, if at any time you would like me to sharpen your knife, just send it back, and I will sharpen and return the knife to you for no charge.