#69 Hand Trowel
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Master Shin-in Young. Established 1845.
Each towel and hoe is formed for specific types of soil and depth of digging, and is even produced for left or right handed use. While he hand forges each tool, his work is embedded with economy, simplicity and elegance. Tool edge retains sharpness for ≈ 2-3 seasons of normal use.
Master Shin makes roughly 300+ different designs of knives and farm tools. He uses railroad track, repurposing the carbon steel which is rich is manganese and can be heated to a very high temperature. This steel is hardened, wear-resistant and good for cutting. The handles are made of chestnut, slowly dried in sunlight for years so it is lightweight, strong and rot-resistant.
With knife production, the steel is hammered a thousand times to reach the thin and sharp edge, which keeps sharp longer than inferior knives. Master Shin’s knives do not have the angular beveled edge seen in Japanese and Western knives; this is Master’s Shin’s preference which takes additional hammering to achieve, and is an another unique feature of his.
Master Shin’s uses an X banding technique “dang ghi” around the wood handle without burning the wood, one of his many trademarks. In Korea the X mark was reserved traditionally for high quality knives, so as to distinguish them from lesser quality iron rich steel. Master Shin’s blades are stamped with his mark, the #60 referring to his heritage status.
- Handmade in South Korea
- Materials: Handle: chestnut or oak wood, shade-dried for years to achieve the correct weight, stability and water resistance. Blade: made from the strong steel used for railroad tracks.
- Dimensions: L: 13" x W: 2.75"
- Care Instructions: No need to sharpen before 2-3 years of regular use. After which point, sharpen by hand, using a honing stone. Avoid use on hard surfaces. Wipe clean with soft cloth or use water only. Clean and dry thoroughly to prevent rust. To store, dry and lightly oil the surface.
ABOUT MASTER SHIN'S ANVIL
Anseong is a South Korean city known for its brass, stone and iron implements, as well as a famous market of traditional craft and trade. The Shin Blacksmith was established there in 1845, today in the 5th generation of the family and the oldest blacksmith in Korea. At the age of 13 Master Shin In-young began his apprenticeship and at 17 he became a master, an unprecedented achievement even today. He produces there the best handmade knives and farming tools in the country. In 2016, Master Shin In-young was named by the Gyeonggi Province as an Intangible Cultural Heritage Treasure #60 recognizing his rare, traditional skills and talent and remains the first individual to be awarded this great honor. He is the only artisan who practices a traditional technique of attaching steel sheets to clay. He teaches widely, in an interest to pass down craft and tradition. When Korea undertook to restore the stone pagoda of the Mireuksa Temple in Iksan, Master Shin was prevailed upon to produce the necessary stone-working tools. Following old-world techniques and traditional minimalistic design, Master Shin creates high-quality, functional pieces that are also durable works of art.