Joey Mantia Instagram
Connection to Joey
It is no secret that I love speed skating, and being a retired short-track skater myself, I still find ways to stay connected to the sport. Last year, I was able to get connected with Joey Mantia, and through our connection of speed skating and kitchen knives, I decided to become a corporate sponsor of Joey. My goal in becoming a sponsor was to support Joey, not just as a skater but as a friend. Joey has one of the most impressive resumes from inline speed skating and has made a great transition to ice speed skating – earning numerous World Champion titles and winning a Bronze medal at the 2022 Winter Olympics.
Significance of Collaboration Series
I have launched collaboration series before, and the last one was with Taku from OutdoorChefLife. It was a hugely successful launch, but more importantly, a great friendship with a like-minded creator. This series with Joey is no different. I’m collaborating with someone who shares a similar passion for knives, food, and speed skating.
The uniqueness of Mantia Edition Knives
The Joey Mantia edition knives are the first knives I am not making with Japanese artisans. I am not transitioning from Japanese knife makers. My love for knife-making and curiosity lead me to branch out beyond knife makers in Japan. I wanted to explore different steel options and be able to offer something never seen in the knife world.
mirror polish on the rounded choil
Connection to Sabol Brothers
To understand why and how I choose Sabol Brothers for this project, you have to understand the history of my connection with them. Four years ago, Andy Sabol reached out about reviewing some of their knives (Andy and Mike are brothers who run Sabol Brothers). I accepted their samples without having a plan or series to put them in. However, at the time, I was moving my filming studio from my garage to a dedicated office studio across town.
Once I had fully moved into my new filming location, the knives Andy had sent me were inboxes. Two months after I had moved to the new site, I emptied my last box, which contained the knives from Andy. After two years of owning them, I finally got a chance to use them. My first reaction upon inspecting them was, “WOW” these are well-made knives. My second reaction was, “Why have I left them in boxes for two years?!?” I was dumbfounded at how I let this happen, but I had to figure out how I was going to do the review for these fantastic knives. The polish, fit and finish, and of course, the knives’ edges were incredible. I filmed the unboxing and some b-roll in prep for next week.
mirror polish on the rounded spine
The Unthinkable Happened
That night, yes, a few hours after I filmed Sabol’s knives for the first time, my studio was burglarized. I am writing about it nearly two years later, so the negative emotions no longer bother me, and the reality of what happened comes and goes. I have moved on from that experience and am no longer negatively impacted by that experience. Along with tens of thousands of recording equipment, thieves stole authentic Japanese katanas and knives and stole the samples from Sabol.
After that event, I did not have the heart to reach out to Andy to explain his knives were boxed for two years and then stolen. It would make the situation worse, if not unbelievable. So fast forward two years from that event, and here we are.
Why Sabol for Mantia Edition?
Within a day of the sponsorship with Joey, Andy from Sabol reached out to me, asking me if I would like to review some of their latest knives. Coincidence? I think not. I humbly explained what had happened to the samples Andy originally sent me. Andy understood, did not give me any grief over the situation, and even offered to send me the new models. I have not accepted any review samples since 2018 and am not planning to take free samples again.
Andy and I began communicating through WhatsApp, and as two people who love knives, we just started geeking out over what we loved and would like to see in the knife world one day. Before any talks of collaborations, Andy began sharing his philosophy in knife making, and I shared my ideas of knife design. Next thing you know, I asked Andy about the possibility of a collaboration between the Sabol Brothers and Ryky via the Mantia Edition series. And crazy enough, he said he liked the idea and got right to work. I had sent Andy sketches and measurements for the different shapes, and within days, we had a plan for the Mantia x Ryky knives.
Design and Material choices
When drawing up plans for any knife launch, I have many considerations. Factors such as intended audience, which dictates price, materials, and finishing options. Joey loves cooking, but first and foremost, he’s a world-class athlete with an insane training and competition schedule. He wants a knife that isn’t going to rust on him should he forget to completely dry after washing or left on the cutting board during food prep. That ruled out carbon steel knives. He wants his blades to stay sharp and hold an edge since he does not plan on sharpening his knives weekly or even monthly – this would require higher grade steel with a Rockwell rating of 60-61, with a good grind.
I had sent Joey a sample of my latest designs, and he loved the cutting profile, size, and balance of the knife. So we decided to base the 210mm and 240mm version of the Mantia Edition knives off my latest design, but refining the choil and spine and giving it a custom grind, which should enhance the cutting performance of the blades. We settled on N690 steel for its ability to achieve and hold a razor-thin edge, toughness, and it is genuine stainless steel.
An all-new handle design
We went with the Japanese octagonal (wa) design for the handles, which are comfortable and offer a lot of flexibility when customizing. I wanted a design element that captured the spirit of the 2022 Winter Olympics while remaining functional and reliable. The pure white Juma handles can cost more than many exotic wood handles, but they are well worth it. Even when wet, the handles have a beautiful polish yet offer a good grip. We had to make our micarta in-house because nobody made the color combinations we needed. The shape of the octagonal handle is also my latest handle design, which I think is one of the most comfortable octagonal handles ever made.
Another look at the mirror polish of the choil
Availability Exclusively at BurrfectionStore
With the war happening in Ukraine, we have had delays. Since nothing used on Mantia Edition knives uses off-the-parts, Sabol had to retool their entire shop. New equipment had to be ordered, set up, and calibrated to make these knives a reality. We expect to have these ready to ship to customers in May. Only 100 pieces will be made available, so if you want to be among the first to get notified, sign up, subscribe, and enable notification.