Out of the Ashes: Restoring a Knife from the California Wild Fires
January 06, 2021
2020 was challenging for all of us. In addition to the pandemic, economic uncertainty and civil unrest, the Napa Valley community also experienced devastating wildfires throughout the fall. Over 850 homes were lost. Read more about the experiences of our St. Helena employees during the wildfires in our prior blog post.
Homeowner Tony Burgess, and his wife Mary Beth Curley, were among those who lost their home to wildfire in the CZU Complex fire. When Tony returned home to look through the destruction, he found his two New West knives in the ashes.
Wildfires can be well over 1000 degrees so the knives were in terrible shape. We helped Tony replace the knives - but we also wanted to see if we could restore the ruined knives as a testament to the resilience of the Napa Valley community.
Out of the ashes the knives were recognizable only by shape. Their previous vibrant green handles were discolored by heat and ash. Dascia sent the knives back to the team in Victor, Idaho to see what could be done. Using belt sanders, our team removed the crusty, burnt outer layers of steel. To restore durability and edge-holding, the steel was heat treated again. The G10 handle scales on these New West knives held up to the heat far better than Tony's other knives. As shown in the video photo, the other handles were totally destroyed. As part of the restoration, our team replaced the knife handle with new G10 scales.
The makers were able to restore the 7" Fillet Knife, as shown below. The Teton Edge Santoku sustained greater heat damage and broke during repair.
The tip of the blade is shorter and thinner than the original knife due to material loss in reshaping. The remaining steel of the restored fillet knife is strong and factory sharp.
Tony replaced his knives with new ones at the shop, so this restored fillet knife will hang in our St. Helena store as a sharp testament to the resilient spirit of our Napa Valley friends and neighbors.