Archive for the ‘Maestro Wu’ Category

Jende Chef Knife Roll – Review by Celebrity Chef Kevin Gillespie

December 9, 2014

Chef Kevin Gillespie gave us one of the most amazing reviews of our new custom leather Chef Knife Roll on his facebook page! Chef Gillespie is a celebrity chef at his restaurant, Gunshow, in  Atlanta GA. He’s got a cookbook Fire in my Belly, has been featured on CNN and in Travel + Leisure, Food & Wine and Men’s Health magazines, and was a finalist and fan favorite on the show “Top Chef”. (You can read his full bio, here).  He’s also probably one of the nicest, down-to-earth guys on the planet.

Just in case you don’t have facebook, here are his exact words:

I get asked all the time to suggest gifts for the chef in someone’s life. Usually it’s a book, a gadget, or maybe a new knife. This year I want to share with you guys one of the finest chef gifts I have ever received. A custom made leather knife roll from Jende Industries. Not only is it beautiful to look at, it really gets the job done. I know it is not inexpensive, but it feels like it will last a lifetime. Check out my pics and the link below to see why I finally have an answer to “what should I get my chef?”

http://www.jendeindustries.com/products/knife-rolls-bags/product/253-jende-custom-knife-roll

…and here’s our video intro for some eye candy:

Thank you Chef Gillespie for the very kind words!

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Diamond Bars by Ken Schwartz – For Buffers

November 17, 2014

We’re happy to announce that we now have Diamond Bars from Ken Schwartz! These specially formulated diamond bars are packed full of diamond abrasive, making them very fast, and very consistent. They also come in a wide range of grits – from 80 micron down to 0.10 micron! So if you’re removing rust from a blade, repairing chips, profiling or reprofiling, sharpening, or polishing the blade, these bars are essential.

Maestro Wu Bombshell Steel Knives in action – Video Heavy

February 9, 2014

A while back I did a series of videos to introduce the Maestro Wu Bombshell Steel Knives. They are grouped here into similar-functions – for example, the chef knives like the D-6 and D-7, the curved knives used in a rocking motion, such as the D-3, D-4 and D-9, the slicers like the D-8, D-10, and D-11, and the meat cleavers like the D-5 and D-12. There is a size and shape for every need. Please enjoy!

And just for fun…

Bullock Blades – Maestro Wu Knife Dealer and Expert Sharpening

October 14, 2013

We are excited to announce that Bullock Blades and Sharpening is an official dealer of Maestro Wu Bombshell Steel Knives!

Bullock Blades and Sharpening are now able to provide for all of your Maestro Wu needs, with in-stock knives and access to the entire Maestro Wu catalog. Please contact Bullock Blades and Sharpening on their website or their facebook page for further information.

JM Bullman of Bullock Blades and Sharpening is well known and respected in sharpening circles for his high quality service and skills, and a Maestro Wu Bombshell Steel Knife with a Bullman edge can only make the smile on your face bigger when you use it! 🙂 Here’s a quick video to prove it:

And for those who don’t know the Maestro Wu story, here it is:

金合利鋼刀 Maestro Wu Logo

Chin Ho Li Steel Knife Factory, located in the Wu-Tsuo (“Wu’s Residence”) of Kinmen, has been dedicated to knife making and design for over 60 years. Mr. Wu Tsong Shan, the founder of Kinmen’s cutlery industry, specialized in iron casting and learned tool-making techniques in Xiamen, China during the period of Emperor Kwang-Hsu of the Ching Dynasty. Subsequently, his son, Mr. Wu Chao Hsi, inherited the business and established the Chin Ho Li Steel Knife Factory.

During World War II, there was a serious lack of resources on Kinmen. Steel was particularly hard to come by, so Mr. Wu Chao Hsi began to collect the artillery that had been dropped by the U.S. and the Allied Air Force and used the shells to make knives. That is the story of the renowned “Kinmen Steel Knife”. Mr. Wu Chao Hsi earned the reputation of “MAESTRO WU” by carrying his forging furnace on his shoulder and travelling throughout Kinmen Island to serve the local communities.

Later, Kinmen also suffered artillery bombardment from Mainland China. The “August 23, 1958 Artillery Battle“ was the severest battle during that period. The bombing left millions of shells that became an abundant source of material for the production of knives. Mr. Wu Chao Hsi started to collect the shells from all over Kinmen Island, and earned his reputation by forging the artillery shells into fine cutlery. Today, the “Kinmen Steel Knife” enjoys an international reputation.

Through the consistent and premium quality and design, the “Chin Ho Li Steel Knife” is the most renowned brand name and a legend in Taiwan. Mr. Wu Tseng Dong, the current president, devotes himself to promoting the products throughout the world. He defined his company as a service provider instead of a conventional knife maker and named the product as MAESTRO WU to represent the Chin Ho Li Steel Knife, and the Kinmen Steel Knife as its identity on the international market. Visitors can see the process of the steel knives making and forging techniques, and even assign a shell and observe a knife being forged from that.

Review – Haidu Ceramic Sharpening Stones

November 17, 2012

I recently received 3 sharpening stones for review from Attila at Haidu Ceramics.  These are Silicone Carbide stones that come in several sizes, which are indicated by either HCA  (230x65x20mm) , HCB (170x60x20mm) , or HCC (100x35x10mm).

These stones are rated with the FEPA grit rating at F180 (JiS 180), F280 (JiS 360), F600 (JiS 1200) and F1,000 (JiS 2600). The F1,000 comes in a Medium (M) and Hard (H) formulation. I received the F280, F600, and F1,00o M grit stones.

Haidu Ceramic Sharpening Stones

Since these stones were making their rounds for reviews from others, they were clearly used, and were slightly dished and uneven. So the first thing I did was lap them. I used the Atoma #140 diamond plate. Lapping the 280 was pretty straight forward – it is solid, but not nearly as hard as Spyderco Ceramic stones (which is good news!). The 600 was more difficult to lap due to it being more dense, and the 1K was about the same, if not just a little bit easier. Overall, lapping them is not impossible, but it is clear that they will keep their flatness well over time. I’d highly recommend not letting them get too far out of flat, though.

On to the sharpening 🙂 These stones are porous, so I gave them a good soak in the bucket for about 30 minutes since they were completely dried out. The bubbles were fine – like champagne. Once they were good and soaked, they only needed a spritz before using. I first started on a Maestro Wu D-4 Veggie Cleaver, which is carbon steel at around RC 57-58.

The 280 did not seem as coarse as it is advertised (JiS 360), but more like a JiS 1,ooo. The stone worked better with a more roughly textured surface, and there seemed to be more burnishing effects than cutting effects with this particular knife, although there is cutting action. On the 600, the action was smoother, and had more positive feedback that reflects the JiS 1200 rating, and left a very good, smooth working edge. The 1K reacted best with this knife – there was still some nice feedback with cutting action, and the polishing effects were more desired. The edge after the 1K was improved over the 600.

The next knife was a cheapo stainless steel paring knife in desperate need of sharpening, which I’d say is RC 50-52. The 280 stone really came to life, with aggressive action that easily reprofiled the very blunt edge. The 600 put a very nice working edge, with there being no real difference on the 1K – this is a characteristic of the softer steels, not of the stone.

Conclusion

I would rate the Haidu Ceramic stones as very good mid-range/ mid-price stones that are very well suited for routine maintenance and minor repair. Their hardness will resist gouging and stay relatively flat over time. The burnishing effects on the lower grit did help “increase” the overall grit of the edge, which is good if you want to finish on the 280, but has the opposite effect if you need to do repair work – but keep in mind that I didn’t try the F180, which should be the most aggressive stone.

I’d like to thank Attila from Haidu Ceramics for the opportunity to try these stones out!

Maestro Wu Bombshell Steel 8″ Fillet Knife – Pics + Videos

August 19, 2012

We got our first official feedback of the Maestro Wu 8″ Bombshell Steel Fillet knife! Videos are at the bottom of this post.

This knife came along as a result of speaking to more and more fishermen lately. I’ve always known that the fillet knife is the most important knife to these guys – much like a skinning knife is the most important to a hunter, and a chef’s knife to a chef. In my conversations, people have always asked if Maestro Wu made a fillet knife, and I finally went ahead and drew something up. Here are the results:

Maestro Wu Fillet 1

Maestro Wu Fillet 1

Maestro Wu Fillet 2

Maestro Wu Fillet 2

Maestro Wu Fillet 3

Maestro Wu Fillet 3

Maestro Wu Fillet 4

Maestro Wu Fillet 4

There are some defining features to this knife – the first and most noticeable is the finger guard. It’s incorporated into the blade for 2 reasons. The first is obviously to protect the finger from sliding up onto/into the edge of the knife. As we all know, cleaning fish can be slippery task. Secondly, the “fin” actually acts as a stabilizer for the blade, giving it some more rigidity, while still allowing it to remain flexible.

The next feature is that the blade is also only about 1mm thick along it’s whole  length. There’s about 3mm of thickness going into the handle, but it quickly tapers so the entire cutting edge will remain easier to sharpen and maintain over time.

Lastly, the Japanese “D” handle, which is made from willow wood, gives a lot of surface area to hold onto firmly, yet it keeps the knife light so that you have ultimate control over your fish cleaning.

After sharpening the knife up to 5K on the Shapton Pro stones, I sent the prototype to Brett, a friend of mine who is an avid sport fisherman. He and his friend Rick (who did the videos below) compete and win a lot of the fishing competitions in their area. These videos are the knife’s first use after the day’s catch.

This first video demonstrates the knife’s capabilities wonderfully. You can see that some of the initial cutting is still forced (@ 0:23), which is more a habit of using his old knives, IMO. But if you watch closely, you can see how quickly he adapts his cutting technique to let the knife do the work, especially on the back side of the fish 🙂 Notice how easily the knife slices into the tail on both sides!

This second video is Rick skinning the Fillet. He must’ve liked it because there is a slow-motion instant replay 😀

The final video is Rick fillets a sea bass, and then skins one of the fillets.

I’m hoping to get a few videos with Brett using the knife in the next couple of weeks!

A sepcial thanks to Brett and Rick for doing this!

IDRS 2012 – Oxford, Ohio + Meeting Nasty & Gary Nicholas Sass

July 23, 2012

Even though I already had tons of fun in Chicago, Austin, and at the sharpening party, it was finally time to do what I initially intended to do on this trip – and that is to go to the International Double Reed Society’s  (IDRS) annual conference, which was held at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. (I know it’s a geographic mess – but it’s a real place!)

Due to the 4th of July holiday right before the show, there was no rush to drive to Ohio, so I scheduled a couple of stops along the way. The first stop was at knife maker Gary Nicholas Sass’s place in Sharpsville, PA. Yes, I said Sharpsville. It does exist! Interestingly enough, there are still remains of the  locks that were once part of the Erie canal system in Western Pennsylvania.

Upon arriving, I immediately got inducted into Gary’s knife shop – I hit my head on the low door even though he warned me it was low 🙂 A couple of days earlier, we had discussed him making a custom Reed knife for me, and he had a prototype for me that was ground down from an existing knife to take a look at. With a minor adjustment or 2, the knife was ready to go. There was a traditional samurai sword wrap on the handle that consisted of Ray skin wrapped in a synthetic silk, and this traditional approach was one of the things that drew me towards Gary’s knives a few weeks earlier at the Blade show in Atlanta.

Gary Nicholas Sass

We also discussed the different customizing of the handle options, which included different colored wraps and wood.  Here are some of his handles which included the ray skin wrap, dyed giraffe bone, and several types of wood. The far right is a boar tusk. I doubt it would ever be chosen for a reed knife, but it did fit in the hand quite comfortably…(BTW, the second from the left was the reed knife prototype).

Gary Sass’s Reed Knife handle options

Unfortunately, the prototype reed knife sold at the show the first day, and all I have are some quick photos I took so we can tweak the knife even more to suite oboists and bassoonists. With the slight curvature, the bassoonists LOVED the knife for getting into the channels, but the oboists were not as thrilled about it since their reeds are just so much smaller. FWIW, I asked Gary to put that slight curve on it for the bassoonists, and it was interesting that the oboists responded like they did! It was a bassoonist who bought the knife.

Gary Nicholas Sass Reed Knife 1

Gary Nicholas Sass Reed Knife 2

After some other business discussion (which will be posted soon!) Gary took us to Quaker Steak for some of their famous wings. The pepper parmesan sauce was just too good!

After a wonderful lunch at Quaker Steak, we headed out toward Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. I was supposed to meet up with one of the super mods over at the knife forums, whose username is “Nasty”, but due to the storms that blew through OH, PA and West VA the previous weekend, our meeting was cancelled due to some cleaning up that needed to be done. There was mostly downed trees, but it was severe enough to cancel the local 4th of July celebrations. This setback would be remedied on the weekend, when Nasty and his wife came out to the university. But more on that in a little bit 🙂

We got to the beautiful Miami University campus, and started our normal setup routine, running into the usual suspects, including Ann Hodge of Hodge Products, Inc., who is one of my biggest retailers of the Jende Reed Knife and surrounding products. Her new display was amazing!

We bumped into Hanna Selznick, the “Oboe Fairy“, Robert Morgan of the Chicago Reed Company and inventor of the W.R.I.S.T, and Shawna Lake of Oboe Chicago.

I also ran into 2 new exhibitors – the first was Lisa Allen of Lisa’s oboe reedery, who also happened to be a fellow classmate and alumnus of The Boston Conservatory. She is now making oboe reeds full time. I couldn’t believe a fellow alum didn’t have my knife,  so I lent her my 15K Jende Reed Knife for a couple of days. She was happy 🙂

Lisa Allen of Lisa’s Oboe Reedery

I also ran into Robert Huffman, a long time “disciple” of mine who has sat at my table over the years observing, and absorbing the whole reed knife sharpening process. He’s a recently retired oboist of the US Army Band, and while he completely understands the sharpening process, his results were driving him to the point of no longer playing the oboe. Then he found the Wicked Edge Precision Sharpener (WEPS), which is an excellent guided sharpening system. Robert and I spoke about using the WEPS for reed knives several months ago, but when I saw him at the IDRS as an exhibitor FOR Wicked Edge, I was taken totally by surprise!

Wicked Edge Precision Sharpener for Reed Knives!

This was incredible news because I love my Wicked Edge, and Robert and I immediately went into the pros of using this system for reed knives – the most obvious is that it holds the angles for you. This is beneficial for repeatability, and for those players who might not have the dexterity needed for freehand sharpening on full sized stones, (which is the method I generally promote). For you double-reeders out there, I  also happen to be somewhat of an *ahem* expert on the Wicked Edge, although most of my you tube videos and blogging with the WEPS have been kitchen knife and shaving related. In fact, a few of us, including Robert, sat around watching some of my favorite shaving videos on one of the nights 🙂 Shave 1Shave 2, Shave 3 (#3 is not for the faint of heart!)

Back on track here – the good news is that you can use the same Shapton stones that I use, or their major competitor, the Chosera stones which are custom cut to fit the WEPS. The bad news was that Robert didn’t have them at this show…. We’ll soon remedy that, though!

Back at my table, Things were moving along as usual – lots of people dropping off knives for sharpening. This year was a little different because I brought an extra sharpening station for people to sharpen by themselves. In the past, there is just not enough time for me to “let” people sharpen on their own. I’ve seen more and more knives coming back for their yearly service in much better condition, which tells me people are getting results – no doubt a result of  the help from my Reed Knife Sharpening Book. 😀 It is also clear that more and more bassoonists are starting to get into sharp knives.

One of my self-sharpening visitors was oboist Aybegüm Şekercioğlu, from Turkey. She was very good at sharpening, and we had fun modifying my usual nickel and dime method of sharpening to using Turkish currency, which would help her students get good results when she returned home.

Turkish Oboist Aybegüm Şekercioğlu

In the middle of all the fun and noise, Nasty (the supermod from knife forums) and his wife paid us a visit at the exhibition hall. I was very excited that the meeting was actually taking place after all! With a little help from some friends and a small fortune in hush money, we got them in for a few minutes to show them what the IDRS was all about.

I showed Nasty my sharpening setup, and a few of the knives I was working on. We posed for the obligatory picture (otherwise it didn’t happen!) :

Nasty and Tom Blodgett

But then the real treat came when Nasty offered to give me a few pointers on my sharpening – it was an offer that I eagerly accepted. I like to learn from everyone, and it is clear from the footage below that Nasty truly is a master at his craft, and I walked away a better sharpener! 😀

We then headed into town for some lunch at Mac and Joe’s, Oxford’s oldest tavern, where we were able to talk in a quieter setting. Since we know Nasty and I are both respectful, but unmovable as far as our sharpening preferences, the conversation easily shifted toward life things such as our work and places we’ve lived. I can’t tell you more without having to kill you, but if anyone from the knife forums is driving through Ohio, it’s well worth stopping by to meet Nasty, who really isn’t so nasty at all. The only regret in meeting him and his wife is that our time was limited to just a few minutes at the show, and a quick lunch. This meeting was yet another amazing feather in the cap of this trip, though!

That was pretty much the peak of the trip! The next couple of days was full of sharpening, and showing off another reed knife prototype, this time made out of Bombshell Steel by Maestro Wu. It’s a single bevel, with the back side hollow ground. This one is left-handed, but there will be right handed ones available soon.

Maestro Wu Single Bevel Reed Knife -

Maestro Wu Single Bevel Reed Knife -1

Maestro Wu Single Bevel Reed Knife -2

Maestro Wu Single Bevel Reed Knife -2

Maestro Wu Single Bevel Reed Knife -3

Maestro Wu Single Bevel Reed Knife -3

Maestro Wu Single Bevel Reed Knife -4
Maestro Wu Single Bevel Reed Knife -4

 

With a quick wrap up of the table, and a 12 hour drive back to NJ, We made it back just in time for me to get some laundry done, grab that last slice of pizza, and head out to the airport.

This trip was a whirlwind 3 weeks, with so many great things happening. It already seems like an eternity since the Northwestern Summer Camp that started this whole journey off, and I can’t wait until next year’s trip!

Jende Industries, LLC 2012 Sharpening Party!

July 19, 2012

After a short 2 day break from my travels to Chicago and Austin, it was finally time for my Sharpening Party! Ken Schwartz from Precise Sharpening flew in the previous evening, and we had a chance to catch up again – after only 2 weeks since seeing each other at the BLADE show in Atlanta 😀 Greg (Dudly the togi from the knife forums), John Fortune (Hone Ranger), and Ron Swartz of KME Sharpeners arrived with lots of goodies in tow! Greg brought his sword polishing station, complete with stones and a couple of Katanas, John brought the all important Arizona Iced Tea along with a few sharpening goodies, and Ron brought his KME Sharpener with about 20 different accessory stones, including the new Choseras.

Having Ken, Ron, John and Greg would’ve easily been more than enough for an all day sharpening “meeting of the minds,” but we took this party to an all new level – we went international, baby! That’s right, we hooked up our laptops and had Skype video calls from Belgium with Michiel Vanhoudt from Belgian Sharpening, and Jens Skandevall (our famous – and crazy – shaving competition winner) from Sweden.
And this was completely interactive – Jens and Michiel were honing razors in front of each other (we turned the computers toward themselves 😀 ), Michiel gave Ron a Belgian coticule/BBW tutorial, and then we all watched with complete amazement while Greg blew our minds with his sword polishing demo, which took us all too quickly through just about the entire process (obviously not on the entire sword, which would take over a week).

International Skype Call

Greg’s Katana Polishing Demo

We were in the garage for the sword polishing demo for about 2 hours before we decided to head inside for some much needed AC!

Once inside, the fun continued – we brought Michiel and Jens in with us, and we all continued to sharpen stuff – Ron broke out his EDC, clamped it into the KME sharpener, and we documented the entire Chosera series on the KME on the microscope. Ken started bringing out all kinds of Nubatama stones – Japanese naturals and synthetics – for Greg to play with, and John started in on a Maestro Wu folding knife with the Atoma diamond plates for the Edge pro. I played with a few EP stones that John brought and generously gifted to me. Jens started sharpening some knives while Michiel honed up a razor or two. This was just too much fun!

L-R: Greg, John, Ken, Ron

Geeking out with the loupes and microscopes!

The fun continued until about 5pm, when we took a dinner break. This was a 7 hour marathon, and Michiel and Jens lasted over 5 hours with us, and John had to head home to his family ( a few hours later than anticipated!). Since Ron took Ken and me out to the Longhorn steakhouse a few weeks earlier, we decided to return the favor.

After the wonderful steak dinner, Greg took off, and Ron, Ken and I returned to the kitchen to sharpen even more. This time, Ken broke out his famed CBN sprays on Balsa, and put them on Ron’s KME Sharpener. I must say, that CBN is totally awesome, and it works so much faster than you would think given it’s just a spritz or two on the balsa! We continued the sharpening madness until around 11pm, a full 13 hours since we started.

It was really great to spend time with John and Greg again, and for Michiel and Jens to watch us patiently for so long (even though they were included in on the conversations). This was the first real significant amount of time Ken and I got to spend with Ron since he picked up the Choseras for the KME, and I must say, we all got along grandly. What was most amazing about this party was the fact that we all sharpened only 1 knife the entire day – not because we were slow, but because we were able to take the time to discuss and explore things in depth, rather than having to bang out a bunch of knives like we would at a trade show or convention.

What a great sharpening party!

Wicked Edge (WEPS) Chosera Stone Video Tuturials – Part 1 and 2 + a Shave!

April 22, 2012

Clay Alison of Wicked Edge Precision Sharpener (WEPS) recently asked me to do a tutorial on the Chosera stones for the WEPS, and rather than write up another of my famous long-winded posts, I tried my hand at a video tutorial.  We ended up with 3 videos 🙂

The first video is the introduction to Chosera stones, and touches on flattening/cleaning the stones, as well as adjusting angles to account for the different thickness between the Choseras stones and the stock WEPS. (Read more about that here). I also go through the 3 different strokes that I use on the WEPS – Circles, Scrubbing, and Sweeping, and show some nice microscope pictures along the way.

The second video is the actual sharpening of a 3.5″ Maestro Wu Bombshell Steel folding knife using the 400, 1K, 3K, 5K and 10K Chosera stones. It’s a bit long because I wanted viewers to see a “real time” version. Due to the repetitive nature of the process, there was editing on the higher grits, where you should have the idea of the process and the time it takes by then. I finished with the WEPS leather strops with one side loaded with Ken Schwartz’s .125 micron CBN, and the other side with clean leather. More microscope pictures are posted along the way.

The third video is the same Maestro Wu knife put to a straight razor shave right out of the WEPS. It’s not my most controversial shaving video (like these!),  but there are some good closeups and the music is nice! 🙂

A special thanks to Colin Brown of ModelMosa for the use of his studio, and to Trevor Joines (TVGUY101), my cameraman and video editor.

Maestro Wu Bombshell Steel Knives in The News Feb.3, 2012

February 3, 2012

Maestro WU made the News again!

Zeit Online, a German news site just did an article on Kin Men and focused on Maestro Wu:

http://www.zeit.de/2011/46/Taiwan-Meister-Wu

Page two of the article has even more about Maestro Wu.

Here is the weak, yet tolerable Google translation:

The diameter of Master Wu

What is on the Taiwanese island of Kinmen a decades-old conflict into a tourist attraction.

It looks like a scene from an absurd theater piece: Among the marching orders of the commander bellowed six uniformed men and women in lockstep on a huge cannon to. Together they carry a stretcher, is on – nothing. In their minds, and in the audience but they carry a heavy artillery shell, which they then kneel, they introduce into the gun by means of synchronous arm movement, and – accompanied by a loud bang from the speakers – fire. In the direction of China.

Only a few kilometers of sea separating the small island of Kinmen to Taiwan proper from the Fujian province in mainland China. Should it occur to one big, weird brother to incorporate the “renegade province” of Taiwan by military means, Kinmen would be back first thing in the scope. It would not be the first time
About a million shells fired the People’s Republic of China in the course of two decades on Kinmen. After a first wave in spring 1958 with live ammunition, the shells were filled later with propaganda leaflets. Twenty years of fighting the two countries are in a bizarre ritual: On odd days of shelling China, the island, on even days were firing the Taiwan armed forces of Kinmen back out – again with propaganda grenades, the contents of the political achievements, material and especially the praised Taiwan’s advantage over the People’s Republic. At that time the island was like a fortress, always ready to repel desires of the mainland.

Since the relations between Taiwan and China have expanded in the nineties, but has the climate changed to Kinmen. A large part of the army has been withdrawn. Some of the underground, deep into the granite island blown up military installations are released today as a tourist attraction for visitors. And the cast of the shell-enactment are not real soldiers, but student athletes, to earn the four performances a day in some money. With guests from around 230 kilometers from the main island of Taiwan, the spectacle is very popular, but more and more tourists come to the People’s Republic of China.

The former enemies even closer – in very practical terms. Day after day ten vessels operate between Kinmen and Fujian Province. The crossing takes just under an hour. The former provincial city Xiamen on the other side has emerged as a major metropolis. From the beaches of Kinmen can be seen in the distant haze grow the impressive skyline of the city. For residents of Xiamen, the island offers a welcome opportunity for day trips into the countryside. It is estimated that clean air, the old architecture and the famous sorghum liquor. Kinmen residents use the ferry, however, to go shopping and to schuppern urban air. All very peaceful and civil, so it seems. Yet visitors from the mainland ferry terminal are still welcomed in the Armed: the cute, smiling cartoon silhouette target with machine guns.

As if in a trance Wu weighs back and forth as he grinds the blank

The conflict has left its mark, and they are nowhere more palpable than in the blacksmith shop of the island Tseng-dong Wu, stainless projectiles, remnants of war days, made into knives. The idea came from his father, Chao-Hsi Wu, who learned his craft even during the Qing Dynasty on the mainland. During the Japanese occupation from 1937 to 1945 Kinmen drove the chronic shortage of material to the blacksmith and his ten-member family to the brink of ruin. And so began the resourceful Chao-Hsi Wu, part of Allied bombs that rained down during the Second World War on the island to use as a raw material for his tools and kitchen knives. Soon, even that source dried up. Until the Chinese “People’s Liberation Army, the island” in 1958 was under attack.

Be consumed by the remains of the following material battle son Tseng-dong Wu today. We meet him at work in his workshop, a small hall with a brick oven rußüberzogenen and a shrine with incense sticks to the wall. “He’s” the owner of this place, says Wu – meaning the local spirit, without which no blessing would be on its activities. The smith, a tall lanky wearing jeans and apron. Viewed from the side, he looks as thin as his knife blades, but his vice-handshake reveals immediately the craftsman.

In order to forge a knife, he cuts with the torch a piece of metal from one of the projectiles, which already has the shape of the blade and handle. In coal bed of the furnace, he brings it to glow, then hammering the narrow one Master Wu for his work, that the only way stieben spark across the room. The cut is ultimately the decisive factor: As in a trance, Wu weighs back and forth, while the blank on his lap to the grindstone rotating leads and approach grinds to a radio beam to the perfect sharpness.

Since the age of six has Tseng-dong Wu helped his father at work – like all his seven siblings. “First I have served as a youngster the bellows for the fire, which made me very proud,” he says. Gradually he learned to his brothers and all the steps. “The finished blades were hanging for sale on the workshop wall. Customers have always chosen my “The reason. Wu worked slower than his brothers, but incomparably more precise.

At age 16 he dropped out of school, although he would have liked to study. But his talent for forging a particularly fine blade was obvious, and the family should be maintained. Sun-Dong Wu Tseng acquiesced – the right decision, as he says today. Initially, the grateful soldiers stationed on Kinmen purchasers of his goods. But the boom began only in the nineties, when the tourists came. Wu’s reputation got around – in the catering trade, with foreign visitors, in the media. Finally, the knife master built around a portion of his workshop to the auditorium. Since then his work is like a stage on which the making of his iconic performance blades for is: Here forge a military dominated the history of his island to tourists for a piece of the future.

A consultant advised the Ministry of Industry Wu to establish a trademark that was best in himself So from Tseng-dong Wu “Maestro Wu”. Also embarrassed laugh about the blacksmith. With his 54 years he has maintained a friendly, boyish nature. “The Master is not me, but the customer,” he says. A shot that hits: Wu now supplies to Russia, Italy, France, the United States.

On Kinmen “Maestro Wu has four knife shops” opened. From time to time, he considers his blades also offer there, where his grandfather had once learned the craft: on the mainland. But he shuns the big leap. Wu feels as Taiwan – even though the coast of Fujian is so much closer than the main island of Taiwan, even though his family originally came from the mainland, like most residents of Kinmen.

The houses of the island is the common heritage to be considered. Many settlements are built in traditional Fujian style – and miraculously spared most of the attacks. They lead the visitors still remember how the lives of wealthy Fujianesen the time of the Qing Dynasty was like. The often used term “village” is somewhat misleading – it really is small, walled residences, the wealthy merchants between the 17th and 19th Century were built. With their characteristic swallowtail gables, granite and wood facades seem to be representative, yet modest.

Whoever enters through the double doors to escape from terraces, patios, walls and corridors shrines, has the feeling of moving through a nested series of small jewelry box. Many apartments are still inhabited by the heirs of the ancient clans, others serve as guest houses for tourists, mainly from Taiwan, Singapore and Europe. “At guests from the mainland, we are not” properly set, says the manager of a small pension. Your visitors appreciate the calm and elegance of the old houses. Mainland Chinese are often rude and loud. “You want to smoke, drink and socialize – sometimes disturbs the other guests.”

“Maestro Wu,” has nothing against tourists from the People’s Republic, on the contrary: “Such a group can be a whole boutique” buying up, says the smith, as he prepares Taiwanese oolong tea. The blacksmith carefully handled with delicate tea sets. The Gong Fu ceremony is a major fixture for Wu everyday bustle. Devoutly he sniffs his tea cups. Then he tells him that are now offered shells from around the world, most recently from Iraq. Wu raises his arms up: “The world is crazy,” laughs and embarrassed!. “I’m here but still have enough material for years!”

Maestro Wu Bombshell Steel Knives are currently available in Europe at maestro-wu.de and kochmesser-shop.com