About Hock Tools
We've been at this since 1981, starting out making knives and doing the craftsfair gigs, which has got to be the toughest marketing work in the world. The staff and students at James Krenov's Fine Woodworking Program at the College of the Redwoods (soon to be part of Mendocino College instead of CR) here in Fort Bragg convinced me to re-tool to make plane irons for them. I soon discovered that woodworkers are very appreciative of better-quality tools and one blade led to another and another and it wasn't long before we were making only woodworking tools.
We are a small metalworking cottage industry located in the middle of Mendocino's renowned woodworking enclave. For seventeen years all our tools had been handcrafted to satisfy the demands of the most discriminating professional. Shaping, beveling, and slotting was done by hand-grinding and precision machining on pre-digital machinery. But we grew so much in the late nineties that we started "outsourcing" some of the blades to a high-precision factory in France. Many of our standard replacement blades and kitchen knife blades items are being cut out with a laser and ground flat after hardening. You may notice the change from the black oxide surface that has identified our blades for so long to a bright, shiny (and flat) surface on the new ones. Alloy and hardness specifications remain the same and we are pleased and proud of our wares. We still focus on the intended use of the item and work to facilitate that end. Little attention (or expense) is spent on "image" considerations such as packaging, non-functional cosmetics or promotional gimmicks. The extra thickness of our blades offers superior stability, precise adjustment, and easier honing.
High-carbon tool steel* -- not "stainless", "high speed" or "chrome vanadium" -- holds and takes a keener edge better than anything else we've tried.
-- Ron Hock
*See About Tool Steel