About Me and My Knives: I am a 75-year-old Quaker raised in a family where simplicity, durability, and concern for the environment were highly valued whereas fashions and trends were not. My knives reflect those same values. They are highly functional by design; made to be used daily; and reminiscent of the knives you might have found in your great-grandmother’s kitchen 100+ years ago.

I make each knife one at a time in my Richmond, Indiana shop.

Holiday Special: 15% off on orders of $350 or more. Enter coupon code 15HF350 when placing order. (Note: 20% discount on 6-Piece Quaker Kitchen Knife Sets already included in purchase price. 15% coupon code does not apply.)

Two Ways to Purchase My Knives:

In-Person Saturdays 9:00am-Noon at the Richmond (Indiana) Farmers Market (Indoor Winter Market: Nov.-Apr.; Outdoor Summer Market: May-Oct.)

Recently voted “7th Best Farmers Market in America“, our market is known for its small-town feel; friendly farmers, and the best artisan breads and pastries in east central Indiana. (You can’t miss me. Lots of people selling vegetables. Only one old guy selling knives.) Since my wife and I have six grandchildren spread out from Ohio to Texas, it is best to let me know by email, if you are planning to come in from out-of-state to purchase one of my knives. (Email address: henry@hfreemanknives.com) I usually have 50+ knives on display. Select what you want; pick them up the following Saturday; or I will deliver to you by Priority Mail within 7-10 days.

On-Line: Here on my website: www.hfreemanknives.com On-line orders are handled on a first-come, first-served basis. Orders received between December 1 and December 14 will be delivered January 15-30, 2023 (Note: If your purchase is for a birthday, anniversary, or other special occasion in January or February, please contact me via email or write a note in the comment section when placing your order so I can try to accomodate your request.)

1095 High Carbon Steel Blades: What You Need to Know

High carbon steel knives have long had a reputation for being the “blade of choice” by professional chefs, hunters and outdoor enthusiasts. The reason is simple. First, they “maintain their edge” better and longer than stainless steel blades. Second, a high carbon steel knife is easier to sharpen to a razor-sharp edge.

Caring for Your High Carbon Steel Knife: Three Simple Steps

Like your grandmother’s cast iron skillet, a high carbon steel knife requires more care and attention than a stainless steel blade. If, however, you take the following three steps to care for your knife it will serve you and your family well for many generations to come.

Step 1: Store your knife in a safe and dry location.

Step 2: Clean your knife by hand and dry thoroughly following use.

Step 3: Periodically place 1 or 2 drops of oil on each side of the blade then lightly rub the oil into the blade with a dry cloth. (My personal preference is canola oil.)

With your order you will receive a letter and gift envelope with details about your new knife including how it was crafted and a history of the wood selected for the handle.

Quaker kitchen knife with chopped vegetables.

Quaker Kitchen Knife

My traditional style kitchen knives would feel very much at home in your great-grandmother’s kitchen.

Professor Brent Smith with rare piece of rough-cut Colonial Era (1700s) American Chestnut

The practice of using treenails/hardwood pins for commercial production has largely been abandoned due to the convenience of modern-day nails and screws. This 7,000 year-old technology is, however, still used today by skilled woodworkers and craftsmen around the world

Handle Construction: 

I craft each knife handle from “scratch” starting with a large beam of 100+ year-old reclaimed timber. Rather than cover up or discard signs of each beam’s rich legacy–such as patterns left on the wood by a burrowing beetle or marks from a square nail crafted by a local blacksmith–I incorporate whenever possible these rich “bits of history” into each of my knives.  Four wood options are available.

Indiana Reclaimed Barnwood: Walnut and Cherry

Early 1900s Reclaimed Walnut:  My small supply of reclaimed walnut was salvaged from an old Indiana barn several hours from my shop.  Marks from the sawblade used to plane the beams suggest that the barn was constructed in the early 1900s.  This beautiful walnut is an unusually dark burgundy/purplish color which makes for a unique and interesting handle.

Civil War Era (1850s) Reclaimed Cherry:  After months of searching I recently came across a 8′ long 8″ by 8″ beam of cherry salvaged from a barn built in the 1850s “just up the road” in Randolph County Indiana.  This Civil War Era find is rare given that few barns of that era were constructed with cherry beams.  I am excited to be able to offer this option.

American Chestnut: A Rare Piece of History (Two Options)

100+ Year-Old “Wormy” American Chestnut: “Wormy Chestnut” is the term used for wood salvaged from the more than four billion American Chestnuts killed off by a blight fungus which brought America’s “King of the Hardwoods” to the brink of extinction in the late 1800 and early 1900s. The small holes that are a defining characteristic of this difficult-to-find wood are the work of beetles and other insects that attacked the dead and dying trees 100+ years ago.

Colonial Era (1700s) American Chestnut (Limited Availability) : In the summer of 2021, my brother-in-law invited me to take my pick of several pieces of old wood that had sat undisturbed in his North Carolina barn for over a half-century. The piece that immediately caught my eye was a rough-cut plank four feet long and 22″ wide. With the help of a local craftsman and the assistance of Brent Smith (a forest ecologist and Professor Emeritus of Botany at Earlham College) we soon discovered that what I had thought was nothing more than an old piece of oak was a primitive-cut piece of American Chestnut that dates back to before the American Revolution.

While authentic 100+ year-old “Wormy” American Chestnut is difficult to find (and expensive to purchase), a piece of primitive-cut Colonial Era American Chestnut is extremely rare.

Why I Construct My Knives With Treenails (Rather Than Brass Pins)

With rare exceptions virtually all knifemakers use some form of metal pin in the construction of their knife handles. After seeing that the barns from which I secure my wood where often constructed with very large wooden pegs, I did extensive research on the history of treenails (more commonly known today as handcrafted hardwood pegs) and decided to make the use of treenails a signature feature of my knives.

I made the decision to construct my knife handles using treenails rather than brass pins for two very practical reasons. First, as experienced woodworkers will tell you, hardwood joinery results in a stronger and longer-lasting seal than screws and brass pins. Second, I like the unique look of treenail pins and the fact that they enable me to make a one-of-a-kind knife that can be used daily and also handed down to future generations.

I handcraft each treenail one-at-a-time from a block of Brazilian Cherry: a wood I find provides a strong seal (which is critical) and is a joy to work with. While the use of treenails in construction of my knife handles is a signature feature of my work, I also offer the option of standard brass pins if requested.

Forged Finish (Drop Points and Kitchen Cleavers)

My 100+ year old Fisher-Norris anvil and decades old hammer proudly display the many hairline cracks, pot-marks and worn edges accumulated over time.  Each imperfection is the result of a former owner pursuing their craft as a blacksmith shoeing a neighbor’s mule; making a tool for the family farm; or repairing a wagon wheel for a stranger passing through town.

The lost memories and life experiences embedded in my tools over the past 100+ years are passed on through the markings which I intentionally leave on each of my rustic-style hammered blades.  Like a human fingerprint, they are a unique feature of each individual knife that can only be formed with my vintage hammer and anvil.

100% Life-Time Warranty:

If, for any reason, you are not completely satisfied with the knife when it is received please feel free to return it within 90 days for a full “no questions asked” refund. Each knife you purchase is also backed by a 100% Life-Time Warranty that covers any breakage or damage due to a defect in material or workmanship.