Maker Profile: Erin Hemmings

JACKSON, Wyo. — New West KnifeWorks’ 25th anniversary calls for its biggest sale of the year and the best time to expand your collection of American-made knives and tools. Now through the end of August, save 20% on all G-Fusion and Ironwood Chef Knives, Fixed Blade Field Knives, Utensils, Tomahawks, and select knife sets.

New West KnifeWorks is highlighting one of the people that went from developing products to Chief Engineer, who helps give New West its edge.

Meet Erin Hemmings, Director of Production and Chief Engineer for New West KnifeWorks, a man with many talents. In his lifetime, he has designed and built everything from rockets to boats to gigantic thermometers. He currently oversees the creative production and design of all of New West KnifeWorks resin magnets, rock blocks, and more.

Not to mention in 2004, Hemmings set the Guinness World Record for the longest frisbee toss – 1,331 feet.

In 2014, Hemmings answered an ad in the paper to be a knife sharpener beginning his career with New West KnifeWorks. Corey Milligan, company founder, and Hemmings found they worked well together.

Encouraged to try new things, Hemmings found inspiration in local raw materials like river rock and juniper, eventually developing the first edition of our famous Rock Block.

He realizes his art through engineering design with an aim at functionality. He describes his process of designing sculptural knife blocks as something he works through entirely in his mind. He calls it “mental tinkering.” By the time he is ready to take a block to production, he has worked through all the possible challenges and knows it will be beautiful and functional.

Hemmings thrives as the NWKW engineering R&D guru. Often the art created in the factory requires special equipment, tools, or a machine that doesn’t exist yet – that’s where Hemmings shines the brightest. He has created more than 100 unique tools and more than ten machines.

Erin Hemmings, Director of Production and Chief Engineer for New West KnifeWorks, created the first edition of the Rock Block.
One of the many unique and ever-developing Rock Block designs.

While he is no longer making rock blocks, he oversees the six individuals who will produce more than 150 unique Rock Blocks this year. Each of these artists and craftspeople brings something new to the table.

He is delighted to see our factory artists get inspired by the process and the materials and try new things. The Rock Block is a product of innovation, collaboration, and the personal creative freedom of many people who want to make really beautiful things that will protect and display the best kitchen knives in the world.

Visit New West KnifeWorks’ biggest sale of the year online and in-store at 625 Main St. for unrivaled quality knives and specialty kitchen tools.

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