JT Hats
James grew up on an Ozarks farm where tools like axes and picks were still used in the daily routine and the blades of stockman's pocketknives served their original functions. Receiving his first pocketknife at age four he got it open by himself nearly a year later and spent his formative years wandering the woods with a succession of ever larger knives, a book of matches and a rifle.

A veteran of Vietnam, James also served in Alaska during a stint in the Army, receiving his first intensive culinary training by setting a record for extra KP at Ft. Richardson.

Settling in the Pacific Northwest after his discharge, James crewed on sailing yachts in local races, backpacked hundreds of miles of mountain trails in search of good trout fishing, and occasionally attended college.

His first serious job as a civilian resulted from answering a Seattle Post Intelligencer want ad requesting someone who could lift 120 pounds repeatedly and wasn't afraid of fire. James apprenticed to John Frazier -- the most knowledgeable traditional foundryman in North America at that time -- for the next six years.

Returning to the Ozarks James made his living by growing ginseng on a hand-terraced wooded hillside and selling handmade wood turnery, furniture, sculpture and architectural carvings. James harvested trees from his own land, processing logs into posts and beams and turnery billets with saws, axes, froes and planes. Since many tools he needed were no longer available, James built his own forge from a barbeque grill, a vacuum cleaner and a 55 gallon steel drum, found a chunk of railroad track for his first anvil, and taught himself blacksmithing -- creating his own knives and tools from scrap steel and sweat.

Changing economic pressures eventually forced James back to the restaurant industry in Branson, Missouri, and later to even more success as a maintenance engineer for one of Branson's largest condominium resorts. Finally escaping to Indiana, James now makes his living telling true stories as a freelance writer.



Messermeister Meridian Elite Boning Knife | Full Tang Flexible Forged 6 Inch

1 min read

Messermeister Meridian Elite BoningMessermeister’s Meridian Elite 6″ boning knife overcomes one of the drawbacks of what is otherwise a very efficient forged pattern. Many of the older German cutlery patterns feature the same full bolster forged blades. That makes these old designs very strong, but the bolster does sometimes interfere with the work. In a knife where sliding the blade neatly and accurately along the bone of a carcass is essential, a bolster limits full use of the edge.

The unique feature of the Elite boning knife is the reduced and tapered bolster, still enough to strengthen the critical juncture between blade and handle but toned down enough to slide through a joint of meat or a poultry carcass without stopping short. Honing steels access the full length of the cutting edge instead of everything but the last quarter inch. The Elite boning knife also works on fish as a filet knife because of its thin and flexible high carbon stainless steel blade.

Cleanup is always important, but even more so when cutting meat. The triple stainless steel rivets bond the dark polymer handles solidly to the steel tang. Handle slabs fit tight against the bolster, giving fats, juices and germs no place to hide. The handle shape resists slipping either forward or backward even when the knife gets slick. Though the knife blade is small, the handle provides enough width for a firm and comfortable grip. There’s enough handle here to provide the leverage you need to guide the blade.

As with most of today’s fine cutlery steel, the Meridian Elite is dishwasher safe but survives much better with a hand wash and dry in mild detergent. Sharpen with a honing steel before use.

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JT Hats
James grew up on an Ozarks farm where tools like axes and picks were still used in the daily routine and the blades of stockman's pocketknives served their original functions. Receiving his first pocketknife at age four he got it open by himself nearly a year later and spent his formative years wandering the woods with a succession of ever larger knives, a book of matches and a rifle.

A veteran of Vietnam, James also served in Alaska during a stint in the Army, receiving his first intensive culinary training by setting a record for extra KP at Ft. Richardson.

Settling in the Pacific Northwest after his discharge, James crewed on sailing yachts in local races, backpacked hundreds of miles of mountain trails in search of good trout fishing, and occasionally attended college.

His first serious job as a civilian resulted from answering a Seattle Post Intelligencer want ad requesting someone who could lift 120 pounds repeatedly and wasn't afraid of fire. James apprenticed to John Frazier -- the most knowledgeable traditional foundryman in North America at that time -- for the next six years.

Returning to the Ozarks James made his living by growing ginseng on a hand-terraced wooded hillside and selling handmade wood turnery, furniture, sculpture and architectural carvings. James harvested trees from his own land, processing logs into posts and beams and turnery billets with saws, axes, froes and planes. Since many tools he needed were no longer available, James built his own forge from a barbeque grill, a vacuum cleaner and a 55 gallon steel drum, found a chunk of railroad track for his first anvil, and taught himself blacksmithing -- creating his own knives and tools from scrap steel and sweat.

Changing economic pressures eventually forced James back to the restaurant industry in Branson, Missouri, and later to even more success as a maintenance engineer for one of Branson's largest condominium resorts. Finally escaping to Indiana, James now makes his living telling true stories as a freelance writer.



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