Rick Stein, CBE, celebrity chef, restaurateur and television presenter loves his Wolf & Dingo Kollell so much that he now stocks them…this is what he had to say;
While filming on Bodmin Moor for his upcoming TV series, Rick met the magnificent craftsman Charles Atkinson who has worked on many restoration projects in iron, steel and bronze for several Oxford Colleges and UK cathedrals. Atkinson combines traditional blacksmithing and metalworking techniques with modern design to produce knives which, according to Rick are a dream to use. “They are works of art” says Rick.
“Wolf & Dingo, Cornish knife wizardry extraordinaire…
The knives are hand forged and looked like they were something more akin to Game of Thrones or a Mad Max movie with a style and patina that to me was out of this world. Made using ancient skills as old as man himself in the rugged wilds of Bodmin Moor, they reflect the time worn environment they were created in.
I spent some time handling and weighing the knives for balance as they are made from a single piece of metal in traditional style as swords and knives would have been in times gone by. Eventually, I settled on a seven inch dragon tail style which felt right and was within my budget. Being 440c it is not only ferociously sharp but will hold its edge for longer too. Charles also makes knives using Titanium and re-cycled high carbon steel and jewelry too, a very talented individual.
I got it home and tried it out on some air-cured Spanish ham I had bought. The trick with this is to cut it so fine it melts in your mouth and this knife is the first one I have ever had that did that so a brilliant result.”
reported Andy from Tavistock on his blog devonunclotted blog referring to his Wolf & Dingo 7″ 440C Dragon Tail Chef’s Knife.
“My favourite is Pendragon 230 then the Kollell 225 – Weight is perfect, heavier than standard Japanese or Victorinox knives. It’s bloody sharp, I like the balance – spot on. Yeah because it’s so sharp it makes it easier to prep – no effort!” as Tim, the award winning Head Chef at Porth Avallen Hotel, Cornwall pointed out.
Wolf & Dingo Chef knives and blades are;
It must be stated and it is very important to understand that not all 440 Stainless Steels are the same, there are 440A, 440B and 440C.
Both 440A and 440B are ‘softer’ grades of 440 Stainless Steel – whilst giving some performance they do not hold an edge like 440C Stainless Steel.
Up to 67 RC – 440C Stainless Steel is a high Carbon, Chromium, Molybdenum, Silicon , Manganese Steel – specially developed for making the finest blades.
Mass production processes in knife making factories use dies to stamp out blade blanks from sheet stainless steel, in the main they can only use 440A or 440B because 440C is too hard and too expensive for their process. Manufactures can become vague at this point about the type of steel they use, sometimes calling it ‘440 Stainless Steel’ or ‘Surgical Steel’ – unless it clearly states 440C Stainless Steel then you can be sure that it is not.
While many people say many things about the qualities of various Steels, the ingredients of which can all be looked up, all to often it turns out that the commentators have never forged anything in this life or previous, they are spectators on the side line. Of those who have and do move metal, few have formal qualifications in the art of blacksmithing and fewer are fortunate enough to have the knowledge passed down from a Master Smith.
Whilst 440C Stainless Steel is too hard for factories to use it is a perfect Carbon Steel for working by hand in a traditional fashion, giving rise to the ability to make some of the finest blades available today.
Today most factory and handmade blades are stamped or cut out of steel a few millimetres in thickness, then ground down from a rectangular cross section to a triangular cross section – rendering most of the expensive steel as waste. The remaining sliver is heat treated, because it has to be and usually given a piece a wood either side, glued and riveted for a handle – full tang. With a rat tail tang you get even less.
Historically blades were forged from a single piece of iron or steel, morphed out of the bloom, drawn out in section by a bladesmith using a hammer and an anvil, giving inherent strength to the steel through the forging process. With a sword the blade length, weight and handle determine the size of pommel, the all important counter balance – for the blade to feel light in the hand, giving a quick action. Wolf & Dingo blades are made this way, combining traditional methods and timeless practices with some of the best quality blade steel available today.
Kollell – Not Dead Yet – recycled Carbon Steel and 440C Chef Knife care; wash and dry thoroughly after use, store in a dry place, if possible resharpen with a fine whetstone for best performance, lightly Olive oil occasionally – Wolf & Dingo.co.uk
Designed and forged by Charles Atkinson, award winning designer artist blacksmith.
Forging Wolf & Dingo blades from high Carbon 440C Stainless Steel requires extreme force, delivered locally in measured amounts, at the correct temperature, starting at approx 1525°C – Quick Eddie, no delay, fly like the wind – move metal without fracture, defect or delay.
Alldays and Onions 2CWT pneumatic clear space power hammer, circa 1942, 14″ stroke, 160 blows per minute working up to 6″ section bar efficiently. With an anvil weight of over a ton, the hammer at about two and a half tons, sits on an eleven ton 45 newton concrete inertia block, on a 1.5″ thickness rubber insulator, on a reinforced concrete floor with a 2″ air gap to the side walls.
Hattersley and Davidson, Sheffield 2CWT reciprocal spring hammer, circa 1922, adjustable stroke set at approx 1.5″, blows per minute – ridiculous, like a machine gun. Weight approx two and a half tons, sits on a three ton 45 newton concrete inertia block, on a 3/4″ rubber insulator, on a reinforced concrete floor with a 2″ air gap to the side walls.
Both are 3-phase, powered by the former standby generator for Carlisle Services M6 North bound – Dale circa 1974.
The Hammer House, Bodmin Moor, Cornwall was designed and built by Charles Atkinson, taking a couple of seasons, single handed.
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