Archive for July, 2010

Essential Utensils: A Cut Above

As in other areas of product design, form follows function when it comes to most kitchen knives.

That’s why cleavers — which butchers use to process bulk meat, cutting even through bone — are heavy, with a broad blade.

And that’s why a boning knife — used to remove cooked meat from a roast turkey, for example — has a slender blade, allowing it to fit easily between small bones.

But form and function in knives are affected by personal fancy, too.

One cook may prefer wooden handles to man-made materials. Another may want a deboning knife blade to be flexible rather than rigid.

That’s why people knowledgeable in cutlery, including Bellagio executive chef Grant MacPherson and Lynn Bonds of Bonds House of Cutlery, say that no matter what advice they give on choosing knives, it all comes down to individual preference.

The two do agree, at least, on the most essential trio of implements for the knife drawer of any well-equipped home kitchen: a chef’s knife, a paring knife and a bread knife.

The first, also known as a French knife or cook’s knife, can cut meats and vegetables in large or small strokes. A paring knife is often the best choice for doing fine cuts of small objects, such as fruits. A bread knife has a straight, fairly narrow blade with a serrated edge.

Serration is a series of sawlike notches. A serrated blade often helps a cook cut through delicate foods, such as bread, without crushing them. But a bread knife can also cut through a lobster shell, MacPherson points out.

Beyond that trio, a cook may expand his or her bladed arsenal with one or more of the following: a utility knife, deboning knife, carving knife, forked tomato knife, cleaver, sashimi knife, potato peeler and kitchen shears. The last is a two-bladed scissors.

The most expensive knives are not necessarily the best, but generally price does reflect a knife’s quality. Bonds¹ store offers various 8-inch chef’s knives for prices ranging from $29.35 to $130.

“I was the one that went to the dime store to buy cheap knives,” says Bonds of her habit before she started the House of Cutlery, 3540 W. Sahara Ave., which she has owned and run for more than 20 years.

If a knife is made solidly of good materials, it will probably last at home long enough to put in a will to one’s heirs.

“Unless you lose them, they should be there forever,” Bonds says.

But in a commercial kitchen, even a good-quality knife will wear out from frequent sharpenings.

Bonds¹ personal favorite kitchen knife is a discontinued line by Gerber, which now makes only hunting knives and tools. She describes their weighted, balanced handles as an asset.

“It was a trade secret,” she says of the line’s demise.

MacPherson likes Victorinox, a Swiss line of kitchen knives by the makers of the famous Swiss Army Knives.

“You can keep (a sharp) edge on them very well,” he says.

Other knife brands valued highly by the commercial cooks who patronize the House of Cutlery include Mundial from Brazil, Wüsthof from Germany, F. Dick from Germany and R.H. Forschner from Switzerland.

Knives by German manufacturer J.A. Henckels are also popular, according to MacPherson and Bonds, although Bonds notes that International, the cheapest Henckels product line, is made in China rather than in Europe.

Global is a Japanese knife-maker with some blades designed for Oriental-style cooking. Its products have modern, stark lines. Each knife is made entirely of metal, from blade tip to handle tip. For good gripping with wet hands, Global knives have indentations on the handles, which create a suction effect, says Rob Roberts, an employee at Bonds House of Cutlery.

When shopping for knives, examine the heft. The overall weight and the size plus shape of the handle will determine a knife’s appeal to different people. In large stores that sell boxed knife sets, a consumer can’t test for grip, while small dealers usually let customers handle knives and compare.

“It’s very important to be comfortable,” MacPherson explains. If it’s a strain to use, a knife becomes more dangerous since discomfort can distract the cook.

A serrated blade stays sharp longer than an equivalent nonserrated blade, Bonds maintains. The notches actually push seeds and bone chips out of the way, while a nonserrated blade gets small dings from constant contact with hard particles, which eventually makes cutting harder.

Most professionals prefer a nonserrated chef’s knife, but Bonds says some of her customers, who make a lot of sandwiches for a living, prefer a serrated chef’s knife.

To straighten out the microscopic dings caused by seeds or bone, take a knife blade to a sharpening steel before each use, Roberts recommends.

Beware, however, that most sharpening steels just realign a blade’s edge. A steel doesn’t truly sharpen unless it is a diamond-surfaced steel, Bonds says.

A steel should have a collar at the handle, to protect the hand holding it from a slip of a blade. A longer steel, 10 or 12 inches long, will also minimize accidents.

Retailers stock knife-sharpening equipment for do-it-yourselfers, but Bonds urges home cooks to take their arsenal of blades to a professional at least once, to get the knives back in good shape and to learn how to properly sharpen them.

Care is crucial to the longevity of a knife, particularly if the handle is wood.

“Don’t leave it in water,” Bonds warns. That also means don’t put a good knife through a dishwasher cycle and don’t let it air dry.

“Hand-wash your blade and towel-dry it off,” she says.

Wood swells with water and then shrinks, which can cause a handle to eventually loosen, allowing bacteria to build up between the blade and handle. Also, prolonged water exposure will change the coloring of a wooden knife handle.

Storage is also important, not just to protect the knife, but for home safety.

Knives purchased as a set often come in a wooden block holder for countertop storage. But chefs often buy special carrying cases, which resemble a satchel. Individual blade covers are also available for knives to be stored in a drawer.

Asked about the risk of bacteria accumulating in a wooden block, MacPherson and Bonds downplayed it as long as knifes are dry when put away.

Knife 1: An Alaskan ulu has a short blade that is usually rocked against a cutting board or bowl for chopping.

Knife 2: The J.A. Henckels paring knife has a short blade to cut or peel small objects.

Knife 3: This R.H. Forschner knife is called a tomato knife, because the forked tip permits a cook to stab and lift a tomato. It can also be used to spear olives in a jar or to transfer freshly sliced cold cuts.

Knife 4: J.A. Henckels bread knife’s serrated blade has notches to saw through delicate breads without smashing them.

Knife 5: The R.H. Forschner carving knife has a 10-inch granton blade, which means there are recessed areas on the blade to hold meat juices, so they don’t accidentally spurt out when meat is carved.

Experts advise home cooks to stock their kitchens with quality cutlery

Over The Counter Customs At Bonds House Of Cutlery

Looking for a wide selection of custom knives that you can actually put in your hand instead of looking at them in pictures in magazines or on computer screens? Other than knife shows, the best place to do that is a brick-and-mortar retail store that actually sells custom knives.

There are storefront locations that offer custom knives other than the retailers outlined here, of course, such as BladeGallery Inc., in Kirkland, Washington, Davi’s in Raleigh, North Carolina, G. Lorenzi in Milan, Italy, Paragon Sports in New York City, and Portland Cutlery in Portland, Oregon, to name but five. In alphabetical order, some of today’s top custom knife stores (all of which also sell factory knives, knife accessories and much more) are as follows:

Bonds House of Cutlery and Knives & More (702-870-2347)
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Store hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday
custom knife sales: Yes

While some businesses may be struggling in today’s economy, Lynn Bonds recently bought an additional store space—the new shop’s name is Knives & More—to go with her original Bonds House of Cutlery store two doors down in the Spanish Oaks Shopping Center. Offering a range of custom folders and fixed blades, both stores feature the work of a number of makers, many with a Western flavor, including Tom Barminski, Bill Cheatham, Stan Fujisaka, Blade Magazine Cutlery Hall-Of-Famer© Gil Hibben, Bob Lay, Ty Montell, Wayne Watanabe, Larry Westberg, D’holder, Jimmy Lile, and others. This retail outlet also carries many of the factory customs by such manufacturers as Benchmade(Gold Series) Buck custom shop and old school Gerber factory customs from back in the day when Gerber was still Gerber way before Fiskars of Finland ever bought them.

“We can get custom orders directly through our makers,” Lynn said. “That was out big hang-up at first—people wanted custom handles and other custom features on their knives but we couldn’t get them. Now we can.” A valuable source of custom knives for Lynn is the annual Las Vegas Antique Arms, International Sporting Arms & Invitational Knifemakers Show (Jan. 16-18, 2009, Riviera Hotel & Casino). “I hit the show on Friday morning and buy what I want. The [knifemaker exhibitors] look for me and come after me. They have a fight over me,” she laughed.

A 30-year knife-retail veteran, Lynn said she will buy knife collections from individuals but is very selective.

If you are looking for knives of any kind whether production new or old and hard to find items or just are searching for something that you just can’t find where you live then call Bond’s House Of Cutlery at (702)870-2347

Steve Shackeford

June 25, 2008

Business Owner Keeps On The Cutting Edge

Patrons find more than just knives at Bond’s House of Cutlery

When you walk into her shop, you will be dazzled by the thousands of knives that adorn the walls, as well as cases and stands that make up one of the most successful retail cutlery businesses in the world.

Bonds House of Cutlery, Knives and More, located at 3540 W. Sahara Ave., Suite E2, is owned by Lynn Bond, and stocks everything you can imagine that cuts, from the smallest pocket knife to the largest Bowie knife, to artistic collectors’ knives, to beautifully adorned swords. Looking for a stainless steel hatchet? Just ask.

Born in Chicago, Bond’s family moved to California when she was 8 years old.

“I was shy as a kid,” she said.

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, the Russian composer, was her great-grandfather, and her mother was a concert pianist. Lynn Bonds learned to play the violin and piano at a young age. But she had a rebellious, thrill-seeking side to her, as well.

Lynn met her husband, Luke, in high school, and they both loved to drag-race across California’s streets and highways. They married after high school, and Luke spent four years in the U.S. Navy, learning to become a nuclear technician for missile fuel. When he left the Navy, his work took him to several cities, so the couple traveled quite a bit. Lynn and Luke and their daughter were motorcycle enthusiasts. She always has loved riding Harleys.

Lynn didn’t know it at the time, but her life-long interest in cutlery began when she and Luke ran a fishing boat business in West Port just outside of  Seattle. The deck hands needed knives for their work, and the customers needed knives for filleting their catch.

“You tell me I don’t know how to do something and I’ll do it,” she said, explaining how she rose to the challenge of learning about the many different blades available. After purchasing knives from a local dealer in Seattle and finding its inventory limited, Lynn called her first manufacturer. When it required a $500 minimum order, Lynn became a dealer. And that was the start of her business.

Later, when Luke, a nuclear technician, landed a job at the Nevada test site in 1962, the couple moved to Las Vegas.

While working as an accountant and office manager, Lynn continued to dabble in knives. She began selling them at an indoor swap meet. Soon, her inventory began to grow as she started buying from several companies.

“It took most of the time just to set up,” she said.

After four years, she moved to the Indoor Swap Meet on Decatur Boulevard and she was in the knife business full time. Once there, business boomed and soon Lynn found herself leasing four booths.

Over the next several years, Lynn operated the knife business in several locations until finally moving into her present location. Of the Valley View Boulevard storefront, which she designed, Lynn says, “I had the vision,” and remains the store’s “encyclopedia.”

Inside the shop, customers get a sense of Lynn’s knowledge of knives while perusing everything from butcher-block kitchen cutlery to knife sharpeners to walking sticks. Once past the basics, limited-edition blades by manufacturers like Hibbens, Coho and Buck keep aficionados coming back for more.


Gerber Silver Knight Pocket Knives High End Gerber Legendary Blades

The old saying that Peter Gerber of Gerber Knives Inc. used to say was “Just because a knife is tough doesn’t mean it can’t be pretty.” He was right. He made that statement when Gerber was till Gerber. In the early to middle 1980’s Gerber finally sold out to Fiskars of Finland and the knife world has never been the same.

There are many people out there that love the old Gerber knives. I myself will not purchase any of the stuff that Gerber makes since Fiskars took over the company. I am a collector of the good old stuff from the good old days when Gerber was still 100% American and 100% legendary! Here at Bonds House Of Cutlery we pride ourselves on having a large collection of Gerber Legendary Blades in all varieties and one of those varieties is the Gerber Silver Knight line of knives. Not the new stuff, the old stuff from 1977!

Gerber was producing the Silver Knight line of knives in Seki, Japan long before brands like Spyderco or anyone else was utilizing the quality of Seki steel. Pete Gerber knew of the quality knives of George Sakai and when you look at the back of the tang on a Gerber Silver Knight you will see stamped G. Sakai. A great maker from Japan! The Silver Knights were designed in Gerbers Portland, Oregon facility and produced by Sakai in Seki, Japan.

These excellent knives from Japan set the standard and still set the standard for all knives that have come out of Japan since. Pete Gerber was very innovative. A first grade surgical high carbon stainless steel was used to produce these excellent knives. Pete Gerber also had a patented concave grind. The patent number was 4,495,698. The blades have a Rockwell hardness of 57-59 and come in both lock blade and slip joint versions.

The knives came with both exotic cordia wood, pearl, black pearl and white scrimshaw reproduction, and green ABS checkered. There was also a small series in plain satin stainless. These fine knives are elegant in style and are more then tough enough to make it outdoors. If you are a collector of quality “old school” Gerber Legendary Blades and are looking for some Gerber Silver Knights then please contact either Peter or Lynn here at Bonds House Of Cutlery at 702-870-2347 for pricing and availability. All Silver Knights are new/unused and in the original box.

Here are some pics. Please excuse the price tags and photo quality, as I am not a pro photographer.

Gerber Silver Knight Green ABS Checkered Grips

Gerber Silver Knight Green ABS Checkered Grips

Gerber Silver Knights In Pearl

Gerber Silver Knights In Pearl

Gerber Silver Knights Cordia Wood Grips

Gerber Silver Knights Cordia Wood Grips

Gerber Silver Knights Cordia Wood Grips

Gerber Silver Knights Cordia Wood Grips

Gerber Silver Knights Scrimshaw Reproduction

Gerber Silver Knights Scrimshaw Reproduction

Benchmade 910 Stryker-A Classic Benchmade Folder

benchmade 910 stryker

benchmade 910 stryker

In the middle to the late 1990’s the Benchmade Knife Co. was doing custom collaborations with many makers of fine tactical one hand opening knives. One of the most popular makers that Benchmade aligned itself with was Allen Elishewitz. Allen is no stranger to knives and martial arts as an ex-marine ( in my opinion once a Marine, always a Marine) and practitioner of many types of martial arts including thai boxing and filipino kali escrima, he knows something about knives. I feel this is one major reason Benchmade and allen got along for so many years. At the time Allen was designing for Benchmade he came up with the design for the Benchmade 910 Stryker, a tactical folder with a modified tanto style blade that was specifically designed for piercing.

The knife was made of G-10 grips and full titanium liners with an adjustable blade pivot and thumb disc for quick openings. The steel of the day was 154CM rockwell hardened at 58-60. This knife at the time was in direct competition with the Emerson CQC7. In my humble the 910 Stryker was and still is the better of the two knives. Anyway the original Benchmade 910 Strykers went out of production until about 2006. There have been many iterations of this quality knife since the original. The knife has been made with M4 high speed tool steel as well as D2 tool steel. The thumb disc has been replaced with a thumb stud and now the model comes in an assisted opening model. No matter how you cut it the Stryker is still the Stryker and is still an excellent knife.

Here at Bonds House Of Cutlery we have a small cache of 10 of these original Benchmade 910BT Strykers with the 154CM steel in the original blue box. These are excellent knives and if you are an “old school” Benchmade knife collector then you will want one of these. The pic shown is of Benchmade 910 Stryker plain finish and plain blade.

For information and special pricing call (702) 870-2347