In the Studio: Pfeil
[In the Studio: Pfeil Carving Tools (2011) /Image & Artwork: designslinger studio]
In 1541 Jehan Calvin, Jean Calvin or John Calvin depending on your native tongue, introduced his religious reformations in Basel, Switzerland - which had an unintended effect on the Swiss. Calvinism banned the making of jewelery in Switzerland and so enterprising jewelers switched to making time pieces. Their efforts produced some of the finest clocks - and eventually watches - that the world had, and has, ever seen. Producing high quality, precisely machined instruments crossed over into the blade manufacturing industry, and the Swiss also became well known for their razor sharp, durable and keen-edged knives.
[Pfeil Carving Tools and linoleum /Image & Artwork: designslinger studio]
In 1902 Werner Zulauf opened a cutting tool operation in the town of Langentahl, Switzerland in a building that housed his wife's cafe. Zulauf branded his finely honed knives Pfeil, German for arrow or dart, and stamped each one of his blades with a double-arrowed insignia. Then in 1942 Zulauf and his son Werner II introduced a line of carving tools with the same high-quality, steel cutting edge that the Pfeil name had become known for.
[Pfeil Carving Tools /Image & Artwork: designslinger studio]
Today Pfeil still offers the finest carving tools on the market. If you work with wood, the shiny Swiss-made blades make carving a pleasure. If you carve linoleum for your relief print work there are several decent products out there to choose from, but once you use a Pfeil blade there is no going back. They are expensive. But as long as the Zulauf's (yep, they still own and run the company) continue to produce a product that cleanly slices through linoleum like butter, we'll glady pay the price.
You can see the linoleum block prints we produced using these knives in our gallery.