Ojeda the Knife[maker]

A few days ago, two of my friends here went over to Sayula, Jalisco, Mexico, to visit the knifeworks of Jose Ojeda and his sons.  Because I’m not a chef, by any stretch of the imagination, I had no idea that Ojeda knives are world renowned.  But I did know that they are great knives and I wanted one, so I asked them to pick out one for me.  Just a general purpose kitchen knife

For apparently 13 generations, the Ojeda family has been making sharp bladed objects of all kinds, ranging from sabers and lances to kitchen knives.  As much as I might like to get my hands on a machete [well, “hands on” might be a bad term], I really just wanted a good sharp kitchen knife.  You know, something to cut a prime rib or a watermelon in one swooping movement instead of having to saw through either, as I do now. 

Then I went online to check out prices and I almost passed out.  The prices seemed to start at about $50US and go on up into the hundreds.   I should have known something was up when Ojeda knives were listed under ‘fine arts.’  I figured that the ‘fine arts’ knives they were talking about were like those in the photo above.  You know, not a knife you would actually USE in the kitchen, but one that you could display.

And that’s generally correct.  But in looking online at US prices for the type of knife that I wanted, I still found them to be priced at about $70US.  So I told my friends to forget it.  While I might like a really good knife, I just couldn’t justify spending that much for one. 

The day after my friends returned from Sayula, I got an email saying “Hey, we got a great knife for you!”  I hesitated to even ask what the price was, but I trusted them not to spend TOO much….knowing that I would have to take out a loan to reimburse them. 

But when I finally DID ask, I found that instead of $70US, it was gonna cost me $200MX, or about $17US.   And, boy, is it a great knife!  It feels great in my hand and has, so far, whacked through anything I’ve used it on. 

Anyhow, thought you might be interested in reading more about the knifemaker of Sayula, so here’s a link where you can:  http://www.cuchillosojeda.com/ojedaen/index.htm

If it comes up in Spanish, look up in the right hand corner and there should be an option for English.  And be sure to check out the photo Gallery to see how these great knives are made.  In the meantime, I’ll be in the kitchen whacking something!

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About Barbara

in april of 2008, i moved from the united states to mexico. during my working days, i held lots and lots of jobs....almost all chosen because they were fun or interesting instead of how much they paid. when i started thinking about retirement (in my 40s), i realized that i would never be able to retire to a country where english was the native language. and although i had traveled to every state in the US -- and lived in lots of them -- i had never been outside the country with the exception of canada and mexico. and since you now know that i could never afford to retire in canada (even to the french-speaking area), mexico won by default.
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5 Responses to Ojeda the Knife[maker]

  1. Mike "El Cojo de Jocotepec" says:

    Mi Amiga,
    So glad you posted on one of my favorite tools. In the history of tools the knife (a rock chipped in a particular manner) was developed just after some cave guy used the rock as a hammer. That’s a just a little after I fell in love with knifes.

    Yes, Señor Ojeda’s work is world renown. Not only that, but known very widely by Nationals (that’s a Mexican) in this part of the country.

    A year or more ago I was asking some friends as information central, aka the Modelorama/beer store, “where can I find an well made, durable, wooden cane around here?” I had a few suggestions, but the best one was “You ought to take a trip to Sayula and talk to the old man about a sword cane.” Whoa! Something I need (cane) with something I love (cutlery). Unfortunately one thing led to the other and they all led to my not taking the short trip. Thanks for the reminder, I must get over there. Btw, don’t bother looking for the sword cane in the catalog.

    Tu amigo de Joco

  2. Jonnie says:

    Well, since I went on the trip I have to tell you the knife that fascinated me the most was a belt buckled knife. Obviously one end was the blade (very sharp!) and the other end had the buckle. The belt acts as a sheath to hold the blade. It must be a popular item because they had a whole wall covered with belts and a whole case filled with the knives!!!

    Mike, I also saw the sword cane. It was quite ornate and I didn’t ask how much it cost.

    Here is the knife Barb got:
    Sayula Knife Factory stamp

    Here are the belt buckle knives. The knives are so shiny that you can see the reflection of the boveda ceiling. At the very top of the picture you can see all the belts hanging on the wall.
    Sayula Knife Factory belt buckle blades

  3. Gigi says:

    A might sharp article with pointed remarks! I won’t turn my back on you!

  4. Kathi says:

    Road trip!!! Jonnie knows the way….when can we go?
    Thanks for including the web site….very informative.

  5. Does anyone know if they have a new website, the one listed does not seem to be available anymore. 😦

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