Taking Aim: Bear & Son Cutlery - Alabamas13.com WVTM-TV Birmingham, AL

Taking Aim: Bear & Son Cutlery

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Bear & Son Cutlery in Jacksonville, Alabama has a lot of pride in what they do.

Not just because they believe in their products, but because their products are completely American made.

"We could actually go out and do more business if we turned around and brought in imports," Bear & Son Cutlery President Ken Griffey said. "No doubt about it. But it's not the right thing to do. A knife is man's oldest tool. With it being man's oldest tool, it should be American made and they should carry it with pride. They may have to spend a few more dollars to get to that product, but it ought to be American made."

Griffey is from Chattanooga. So how did his company end up in Jacksonville?

"The Alabama government came in and gave my old boss and the gentleman that was making the steel a grant to start up a knife company," Griffey said. "That's the only reason it's here. After we got all of the experience with the employees, we didn't want to move it to somewhere else. Alabama is our home. We root for Alabama and we still root for Tennessee sometimes. Don't hold that against me."

Then Griffey took us around the facility.

"This is a water jet," Griffey said. "It actually cuts by water pressure. It's actually going to cut out a knife blade into our exotic steels."

It really was an unbelievable machine.

"You ain't seen nothing yet," Griffey told me.

Then Griffey showed us how they made parts for the knives from coils of brass. Every knife has five to seven parts in it.

"It takes a lot of parts to make one knife," Griffey said.

The steel components then go through a heat-treating process. Then after the thickness is set, the pieces go to the grinders. The blades are grinded one side at a time.

After the blades have been grinded, they get shined via a Scotch Brite wheel.

The next process is the assembly. That's done by hand.

The knife comes out of assembly kind of rough. That gets fixed by the sanding process. There are six different hand operations of sanding. This is the step where the knife gets a lot of touch, so the knife feels good in your hand. This is also the most time consuming part of the process.

After that, it's time to sharpen the knife. Like the previous step, it's all done by touch.

The final stages of the process occur across the street from the factory. After the knife is steam cleaned, it gets inspected one last time before it is packaged for shipping.

It's a final step, a simpler step, and certainly a quieter step than the ones we saw in the factory.

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