Here begins the story of oysters: we all know that these sea creatures are special: They live under the sea and endure years of storms, currents, and waves to become a delicacy. These years have made the oysters quite tough, and you will need a good tool to open them.
Why not have a personalized knife that is as special as the oyster? With an Emergo Designs handmade oyster knife, every oyster you open feels like it has a pearl inside.
This page is all about my oyster knives: the history, the design and how I make them. Emergo Designs makes all the oyster shuckers in the Netherlands, in a workshop that’s located 10 meters from the water.
My knives are a combination of craftsmanship and modern manufacturing. I’m very open about how I make my knives and I make short films to share my methods. I’ve always documented my making journey on social media. I have made a lot of videos about how I make my oyster knives and why mine they are special. I love to make and I love to share what I do.
My name is Alexander Bol from the province of Zeeland in The Netherlands, and I would love to make an oyster knife for you.
Our family has been growing and fishing oysters for 100 years in the Eastern Scheldt region in the Netherlands, and as a child, I happily spent my summers working on our family’s oyster fishing ship. It’s really special to be out on the water and I look back with great memories.
Growing up, I took an interest in designing and making products. I became an engineer and combined my passion for knife making with my family heritage. In 2014 I developed my first oyster knife.
On a fine Sunday afternoon, my dad broke his cheap oyster shucker. He was lucky that he didn’t hurt himself, and stories about people unsuccessfully shucking oysters led me to create a durable handmade oyster knife.
I was already designing and making knives at the time and decided right that moment to develop a safer, more durable handmade opener for oysters.
Now my company Emergo Designs proudly makes and sells exclusive oyster opening tools that ship all over the world. To see more of the various handmade knife models that I made, please scroll down a little to see the link below.
The first knife design came forth out a design process with 6 months of development, followed by multiple designs that are engineered using CAD (computer-aided modeling).
The next step was to make 3 different shaped knife models and test them. I visited local fishermen, restaurateurs and even an old Dutch champion in the Oyster Opening. This is a competition to see who can open oysters the fasted and most precise.
With their feedback, I simply chose a model to optimize the knife’s design which became the ”original” oyster shucker. Moving forward, the design and processes for my handmade knives have continuously improved and even surpassed the first version.
There have been changes in methods too, and new machinery has greatly enabled me to improve the fit and finish in every piece. Part of the changes was the option to put the Emergo Designs logo and a serial number on the knife.
The Differences Between Oyster Knives and Kitchen Knives
A chef’s knife designed for cutting vegetables has a vertical orientation. The blade is vertically designed and you hold the knife in a way that the edge is oriented downward.
It’s quite different with a shucking knife for oysters: the blade needs to be designed horizontally for both comfort and control when opening an oyster. My high-quality steel shuckers have very pointy ends for easy entry into the hard shell, which would break an ordinary steel knife tip.
These handmade oyster knives are a combination of elegant aesthetics with seamless integration of material choice and functional shape.
Making A Handmade Opener for Oysters
The handmade oyster knife that I make is made of the beautiful Damasteel or the RWL34 steel. Both materials are made with superior powder metallurgy technology. This makes the blade extremely rust-resistant and resilient against cracking. An the excellent choice of steel for my knives.
Read more of the forged and folded Damasteel’s amazing patterns on their website.
When making an oyster opening tool , I proceeded next to ground the bevels and glue the hardwood handles. The thoroughly selected wood used in the knives’ handles certainly adds character and richness to the handmade shucker.
You can watch how I make my handmade oyster knife in the video below:
With years spent in experimenting, I now have found an oiling process that makes wooden handles absolutely gorgeous The final steps are making a case, etching the maker’s mark and quality control. It takes 8 to 20 hours to make an oyster knife from scratch.
Quite new to my workshop is the addition of a CNC router. A computer-controlled milling machine (CNC). I use it for making elegant high quality packaging to match to the knife.
This new case transforms the knife into a beautiful gift to give or receive. It comes with certificates, maintenance oil, a microfiber cloth in a meranti wood housing.
How I use the CNC machine can be seen here:
These custom-made shucking knives for oysters make an excellent addition to your kitchen tools. Want this as a gift? Check out my other oyster openers here.