Knife Business Used as an Example in New Business Book, on Radio Shows and Coming TEDx Talk

Banner on table with knives

My Georgia-based business, Hovey’s Knives of China, has been used in several types of media to illustrate the health and financial benefits of starting a company doing something you are passionate about in later life. The CDC has found what they call the “Epidemic of Loneliness” which they state is second only to obesity in leading to the early deaths of our aging population. Their message is that people with nothing that they think that is worthwhile to do, often sit at home alone and attempt to eat and drink their way out of depression, with frequently deadly results.

My knife business started when I was a pre-teen and was very interested in collector coins. One of the most interesting was the knife money of the Waring States Period in Central China. These were shaped like stylized kitchen knives, and this coinage was cast of bronze and was carried strung on strings like the square-centered bronze cash coins that are still commonly found among collector’s coins today.  Many decades later I saw some of the original knives at the International Blade Show in Atlanta and thought it would be neat to use these well-proven patterns as a basis from which to design similar knives made from modern steels for today’s cooks and Chefs.

I had known Japanese-trained bladesmith Murray Carter, and had videoed one of his knife-making classes in Oregon. He made a knife for me based on one of the Chinese knives. I took it to China and actually showed it to Chefs and cooks, where it was well received. Upon my return I started assembling knife-making equipment and built a knife shop attached to my house. I and local knife maker Paul Hjort started producing prototype blades from high-carbon saw blades and later from sheets of T-410 stainless. While we perfected our designs, I also did some 25 videos about building the shop and using the knives in my kitchen.

All these activities gave me interesting things to do, provided physical exercise and Cover Create Your Own Job Security Bestcertainly improved my mental well being after the death of my wife, Thresa, following a year-long bout with Pancreatic Cancer. I badly needed something to do and my new business provided that something and more. Being a writer, some 18 books thus far, I began to consider how to inform others of the benefits of starting a business in one’s 50s-70s and conceived of a how-to book to do just that.

Create Your Own Job Security: Plan to Start Your Own Business at Midlife, was the result. I had been a store clerk, Professional Geologist (still am), decorated Combat Engineer Officer, Writer, Videographer (some 700 YouTube videos), outdoor industry Business Consultant and also operated my own store-front shop, done art, plays and stand-up comedy. This variety of life experiences with the ups and downs of the economic climate, and of life, provided me with a look at the business world from many points of view.

In my book I conceived of the concept that a person in this economy’s only true job security is what he can manage himself and hold in his own hands. That a person should start many businesses throughout his life to accomplish whatever he, or she, needed to get done. This might be to raise immediate money through e-Bay sales, but consider it as a business rather than a one-time use of an electronic pawn shop. In the meantime he should become professionally qualified in some field through college or some other state licensing certifications, and go to work in some field where he could get health insurance and benefits.

All the while, he is gaining confidence and business experience with the ultimate aim of discovering a business that he loves to do so much that he would work at it even if no one paid him to do it. This might be a non-profit business to solve some community problem, it might be in the arts where he needed to build up a portfolio to get into art galleries, this might be an invention, a new App or something in IT.  While still employed, he quietly gets his business license, copyrights, starts on his patents, starts his consulting, goes to trade meetings, etc. Then in his 40s he already has his business running quietly in the background, and if he gets a pink slip instead of a gold watch, he can kick his new venture in the tires, rev it up and roar down the highway of success towards a golden future, rather than climb down a rat-hole of dark depression to die.

It is never too early or too late to get such a thing started. If I can start a truly original business concept in my mid-70s and continue to write books, speak, etc., those of you who are decades younger certainly can too. The pre-launch publicity program for my book has had me appear on several radio shows. In past weeks I have been on the Read My Lips and  Frankie Boyer shows which are heard in the New York area.  I am booked to be on Talk With Francisca radio show in Boston later this month. In the meantime I am preparing for a TEDx talk in Wilmington (you can see my 2-minute application video at: ), and I also have applications in Savannah and Atlanta for talks on different topics. I am not a shy speaker and have previously given business presentations in Vienna and China. These presentations broach a variety of topics including business, the environment and health issues.

In short, my knife business keeps me intellectually and physically active, out in the world in all respects, and I recommend to any one that starting such a venture can be your key to a longer, more productive, life. Think about it. One of the precepts that I develop in my book is that, “There is nothing in human experience that cannot be turned into profit by an inventive mind.” Select a business venture that is within your physical and financial abilities and go for it.

My book has been submitted to publishers. It may be that the E-book will be out first. It will be available for $4.99 from every available bookseller on or about July 1. The softcover will be published by, and an advanced order may be placed by using the form below.

Create Your Own Job Security: Plan to Start Your Own Business at Midlife.

This is a business book for beginners and goes through the steps of choosing businesses to activate at various time in your life to raise money and accomplish life goals.




Harsh Criticism Leads to Significant Changes in Product Designs

Hovey's Knife Banner

A selection of Hovey’s Knives of China Knives with many showing the oval ring grip typical of the designs. 

When you are a knife maker as well as a writer, it is sometimes difficult to take criticism of your own designs, but if you are going to sell consumer goods it makes since to pay close attention to what people say, especially if they do not like your product. In my case I have a business, Hovey ‘s Knives of China, where I take inspiration of Chinese kitchen knives made 3000 years ago in bronze and now make them out of modern steels in my shop in Central Georgia.

A distinctive feature of many of these knives is an oval ring on the end of the grip which is designed to fit in the palm of the hand and has three significant functions: A. It provides an absolutely non-slip grip. B. It permits the knife to be hung by the work station so that  it does not dull in a drawer or take up work space in a knife block. and C. It is used as a pestle to break up spices in a bowl. If a person’s hand is precisely the size to grasp the oval in the middle of the palm this design works well. However, Western cooks are taught to use knives differently with the hands wrapped around an oblate or round grip, and an end cap, if any, sticks out beyond the hand. The index finger also does not ride on top of the blade, as is useful when the oval end is grasped in the palm. Another person, a large-handed guy, said that he liked the shape of one of my smaller blades, but the entire grip was too small, with the exception of the very largest of our knives, the Cabbage and Duck Chopper which has a 11-inch blade and correspondingly large grip.

Peg Cabbage and Duck Chopper

As these are custom-made knives, I offer many custom features on the blades. These include right and left handed grinds, pencil or truncated points, and type of edge. These criticisms indicated to me that I need to also offer similar flexibility in grip designs. However authentic and distinctive my oval-ended grips might be, they are impediments to many potential consumers. The obvious solution is to offer a “Western Design Option” where this feature is removed and the grip can be enlarged or reduced. This is done by using the “hidden tang” method of construction where the tang is completely enclosed by the grips or a “partial tang” method where a portion of the tang is exposed on one or both sides of the handle.

I am going to continue to offer the grips with the Ovals as “Classic Knives,”  and with the new grip option as the “Modern Chinese Knife.” For several years we have included a sheet for a hand tracing on our order form. This redesign will allow us to make knives that fit the customer’s hand, independent of the size of the blade to allow the fullest possible range of customer options. Changes in the grip design will also allow us to reduce the price of product, sometimes by as much as $100 because of the amount of extra hand work required to finish the oval-gripped knives.

In my case paying attention to what my potential customers were saying has inspired me to sell a better product at a lessor price. Pay attention. It pays.

Hovey’s Original Knife Designs at Atlanta Blade Show Recognized by Individuals and Industry

Backyard deer hunting

Hovey at blade Show 2018

Hovey at the International Blade Show in Atlanta exhibiting his unique knives which are largely inspired by bronze knives made in China 3000 years ago and now produced in modern steels in rural Georgia for today’s cooks and Chefs.

Atlanta’s International Blade Show is one of the largest in the world and brings together representatives from knife companies, custom makers, suppliers, collectors and knife enthusiasts from all over the world. As a knife maker this gave me the opportunity to exhibit my knives, ask some pointed questions and get some useful criticisms. My knives are independently derived from ancient sources and one question I asked was, “Have you ever seen anything like these designs before?” This question was put to knife making companies, individuals who had been collectors for more than 40 years and even those who grew up in the industry. All gave the same answer.

I had succeeded…

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