Cutting-Edge Cutlery

New West Knifeworks' high-tech knives appeal to pros and amateurs alike.

Ever feel like throwing an axe? You’re in luck: Head over to recently opened New West Knifeworks, a small knife boutique on Main Street in St. Helena, for the chance to chuck custom-made throwing tomahawks.

"New Yorkers throw darts. We throw tomahawks," says founder Corey Milligan, who opened the first Knifeworks in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. (Don’t worry; there’s a retractable chainmail curtain to protect the shop—and other customers—from errant throws.)

During a trip to the Napa Valley, Milligan fell in love with the area. He knew he had to expand his business to Wine Country. "This is foodie heaven. It’s a great place for New West," he says.

While the throwing cage is a popular attraction, it is the knives that set the shop apart. The gorgeously colored blades are displayed on magnetic boards that line the shop. But don’t let the knives’ beauty fool you, says Milligan. When it comes to cutting, they’re some of the best.

Take the process to manufacture the knives’ vivid handles. Composed from a durable material originally designed for computer motherboards, the handles are made with multiple layers of colored glass cloth soaked in an epoxy resin, creating a stunning rainbow-like cross section. More importantly, the material is heat- and water-resistant while giving the handle a hefty feel, a detail which any aspiring chef will appreciate.

The blades are impressive, too. They’re made with S35vn powder metal steel, a material developed in the 1970s for the aerospace industry. That means knives with improved wear resistance, little to no chipping, extreme sharpness, and better edge-holding (i.e. they stay sharper for longer). newwestknifeworks.com.