JOHNSON, Vt. -
In a little shop in Johnson, Nick Anger is hard at work creating functional art. "It's not like all the other knives you see," said Anger.
He's been a blades smith for the last seven years and works with 10 different types of steel. He spends his days grinding and molding. "I'm saving this piece right here for a really fancy knife, this is 500 layers of steel," said Anger.
Anger worked in mental health before a friend asked him if he wanted to cut a Volkswagen in half -- and the rest is history. "I started nerding out pretty hard, and bought every book that I could buy. I'm self-taught with most of this, well pretty much all of it," said Anger.
He's learned by trial and error and is inspired by blade smiths from around the world. He uses different techniques to create different patterns. One knife could take anywhere from a few hours to days to complete. "I'm not really interested in making knives just to make knives, I'm interested in taking things that weren't together, sticking them together, moving them and then pulling them into this new form," said Anger.
The results are always different and each knife is like its own language. "The right geometry at the right heat treatment -- you can get something that will really perform in a way that most people haven't really experienced," said Anger.
After being treated by heat, the knives are thrown into a mix of grinders and hammers. "It's an Anyang 33 self-contained hematic power hammer. It’s super cute. It’s like the smallest one they make," said Anger.
Hard work to say the least, but for Anger it's this little shop that has been the most fulfilling. "It's hard to put a price on things that you're making because you just want to see them exist," said Anger.
Anger depends on word-of-mouth and social media for sales, but as talented as he is at creating works of art destined for the chopping block -- like this classic six inch petty knife -- he does have his faults. "I'm a horrible business man -- like I'm not good at all. If somebody says, 'Oh, I'll give $200 and a bunch of cheese,' I'm like -- cool," said Anger.
As Anger works on his business skills and prepares to take his first formal blades smith class, he says that it's about more than where his work comes from. "Just the fact that something is made in Vermont doesn't make it good. You have to make something good," said Anger.
The Made in Vermont knives are better than just good -- they're a cut above the rest.
For more information on Nick Anger's knives click here.