There's something I really admire about knife makers. I really respect their craftsmanship. I was honored to meet a talented knife maker at his shop in Southern Erie County. 

The shop, in Mill Village, is where Matthew McAlevy creates his custom made knives.  It’s also the place where a hobby turned into a business. Matthew, ten years ago, wanted to find a winter time hobby. He is an outdoorsman and always carried a knife.  He's also a full-time engineer and knows all about design, material science, and quality control.  So, he decided to make a nice knife.

"I thought I would make one or two that winter and move onto something else.  But I caught the bug and I just haven't stopped since,” says Matthew.  

Knife making is now a side business for Matthew. He spends about 15 hours a week creating custom made knives. Business is good.  People like his knives and want one for themselves. Customers like the fact that their knife was made exactly how they wanted it.

"Someone made it,” says Matthew. “It wasn't made by a machine in a factory. You know who made it.  They made it with their hands.  A lot of people like that."  

The customer can select the type of steel to be used for their knife.  The steel is cut into the shape the customer wants.  The metal is heated, then quenched in oil for hardness. The customer can also select the material used for the handle.  Matthew likes natural materials like wood, bone, and antler.  There's sharpening of the blade and sanding of the handle. Eventually, you have nice looking knife.

Matthew's wife Ramona creates the leather sheaths for the finished knives. Just like the knives, the sheaths are a beautiful work of art.  Matthew used to make both the knives and the sheaths until five or six years ago. He convinced Ramona to join him in the artistry.

"I would sit and watch him and just spend time in the shop together,” remembers Ramona. “Then he would little by little say, 'Do you want to try this?"  

Ramona cuts the leather to fit the finished knife. She sews the pieces together, smooths the sides of the sheath, and then uses a stamp to make some outstanding designs. Then there's one final detail. The McAlevy family stamp. It’s placed on every sheath.

A knife and sheath made by a husband and wife team...a work of art that's one of a kind. A knife made at the McAlevy's shop would make a wonderful Christmas gift.  However, the husband and wife team are booked with orders through the month of February.