Expert Interview: Clay Allison of Wicked Edge
Clay Allison is the CEO and founder of Wicked Edge Precision Sharpeners: experts in the field of premium sharpening systems. In this exclusive interview with Knivesandtools, Clay explains what makes a Wicked Edge sharpening system so special.
Please introduce yourself and share the story behind Wicked Edge and what motivated you to create high-end sharpening systems.
My name is Clay Allison, and I'm the CEO and founder of Wicked Edge Precision Sharpeners. Ever since I was little, I wanted to be an inventor. I started my working life in the hospitality industry where I mainly worked as a waiter. It was in a French restaurant where I worked as a pantry chef that I first picked up cutting skills. Later, I refined these skills by working in different restaurants as a chef and sous-chef. I also worked as a wildlife guide for 15 years, leading elk hunts on a large private ranch in Colorado. This entailed a lot of field work, requiring a sharp knife with a durable edge. Over the years, I tried a wide range of sharpening methods and products - from whetstones to electric sharpeners to guided sharpening systems. But I always felt something was missing. While figuring out another system, I had a breakthrough, sparking the idea for Wicked Edge. My aim was to design something truly effective at creating a very sharp, long-lasting edge. I also wanted the machine’s results to be repeatable.
Wicked Edge sharpening systems are considered premium products, what specific measures do you take to ensure the craftsmanship and durability of your products?
Our main motivation is our commitment to the best quality and sustainability, while listening to our community about what is important to them and their knives. We want to create sharpening systems that last longer than their original owners. In order to achieve this, we use state-of-the-art techniques and we're very meticulous about the materials we select for our products. Our state-of-the-art CNC machining and CMM (coordinate measuring machine) analysis ensure unprecedented accuracy of finished parts.
Moreover, we have a diligent quality assurance and quality control process during which every product is inspected twice by people who know these machines inside and out before we ship the products to the customer.
Since Wicked Edge sharpening systems are considered premium products with a correspondingly high price tag, what benefits can customers expect as added value for their investment?
Customers benefit greatly from Wicked Edge, regardless of their sharpening expertise. Our Wicked Edge systems ensure precise, repeatable results, allowing for fast touch-ups that are gentle on the knife, removing only the absolutely necessary amount of metal to restore the edge. Our patented dual-sided sharpening is at least four times faster than other guided systems and does not harden or stress the cutting edge, meaning the working lifetime of the blade is extended. Furthermore, we offer a lifetime warranty, exceptional customer service and an active community of fellow sharpeners. You're not just paying for the most premium sharpener on the market. You're also paying for the support, knowledge and a warranty for as long as you own the product.
Wicked Edge recently introduced the Obsidian. Could you elaborate on the unique features and innovations of the new Wicked Edge Obsidian?
Absolutely. The Wicked Edge Obsidian features a new DualCam® vise, offering incredible clamping ability with minimal effort, making it suitable for a wide variety of blade grinds. The Micro Angle Drive angle setting ensures absolute precision, and its micro-adjustment is built into the primary angle setting mechanism, which means making extremely fine adjustments is both quick and easy. Plus, it has a compact, portable and easy-to-use form factor, which just looks really cool.
What else can we expect from Wicked Edge in the future? Are there any challenges or trends you find fascinating?
We have several exciting new products launching in 2024, so stay tuned for those! These products will expand on the wide range of sharpening needs we are already meeting. Our goal is to make the process even easier, safer and more accessible for everyone. One trend we've really been appreciating is the growing awareness among knife users about what constitutes a great edge. More and more people now understand the intricacies of knife sharpening and recognize that factory edges are merely the minimum threshold for sharpness. And the maximum? That’s what you achieve with Wicked Edge.
Curious about the products? Check out all Wicked Edge sharpening systems here