Forging Knives with Chef-Owner Red Barn Kitchen

Red Barn Kitchen - Decatur Illinois - Brown County Forge

Dagan Stocks, the chef-owner of Red Barn Kitchen (Decatur, Illinois) made the trip to the shop today to forge his first knife.

As a long-time professional chef, Mr. Stocks has used many knives over the years. He also has a good-sized personal collection.

During the class, we geeked out a bit over Bob Kramer’s Meteorite Knives while I showed Stocks how to forge steel the old-fashioned way.

First Time Forging – Excellent Results

I’ve had a few professional knife wielders and collectors in the shop over the years. They consistently do a great job.

I think using and studying a tool for a long time makes it easier to forge.

With over 530 student projects at the shop over the years, having manual dexterity and heat tolerance help, too.

An Epic Gift

Red Barn Kitchen - Brown County Forge

Mr. Stocks didn’t end up at Brown County Forge by chance.

His wife set up a weekday knife class for him some months back.

After solving some scheduling issues, we were able to make it happen.

Putting the Knife to Use for Red Barn Kitchen

Stocks plans to use the knife to section some hogs for the restaurant.

The pork will be sliced into the cuts he needs for his barbecue entrees.

Is it sharp enough, you might ask?

Yes, it is. He took his time grinding in the bevel and hand filing to get it sharp enough to slice.

He’ll be using his personal whetstones to put the final edge on it.

Is forged steel food-safe?

Absolutely! Your kitchen knives at home are made out of steel.

Granted, very few of you will have forged blades, but steel is a great choice for cutlery.

It’s durable, easily cleanable, and won’t transfer food particles like porous plastics.

Red Barn Kitchen - Decatur Illinois - Brown County Forge 3

More Info on Red Barn Kitchen

To experience their farm-to-table comfort food, craft cocktails, and a huge selection of whiskeys go to:

910 S. Airport Rd.

Decatur, IL 62521


Thanks for making the drive to Brown County Forge!

Wood and Steel – A Collaboration with ThriftyWoodShop

Thrifty Woodshop Barn Style Doors

Before Christmas, Michael from ThriftyWoodShop contacted me about possibly incorporating some of the hooks we make at Brown County Forge in a project. He runs a small woodworking business in New Jersey making custom cabinetry, barn-style sliding doors, and kitchen islands.

I’m a big fan of combining metal and wood to create useful things. Metal is great on its own. So is wood. When you put them together the results are even better.

Here’s the handmade wine crate shelf he created:

ThriftyWoodShop New Jersey Wine Crate Shelf

The hooks he used are a hand-hammered version of our large wall hooks. They have a dimpled texture that gives them a more rustic look.

Hammered Wall Hooks - Brown County Forge

It’s a lot of fun working together to create beautiful things. Bringing different craft traditions and talents together is always¬†a great experience.

See you in the New Year! Stay safe!