Jin He Li Knife is not only an artillery shell knife, but also the symbol of tradition knife makers which is the motivation for them to pass the skills generation by generation.
Speaking of the souvenirs in Kinmen, beef jerky and peanut crisp are well-known snacks among visitors. However, Kinmen knife has become popular gradually. In the past, Kinmen knife was made out of artillery shells. Following by the decline of the knife making industry, all the knife shops were closed one by one, and Ji He Li Knife(Maestro Wu) is the most well-known knife making factory in Kinmen nowadays. Through many reports from the massive media, Artillery shell Knife from Jin He Li Knife (Maestro Wu) beccame a famous tourist spot in Kinmen.
Since the war (1958 Taiwan Strait Crisis, which is also called Second Taiwan Strait Crisis) in Kinmen was long time ago, all the artillery shells should have gone now,I have been wondering where the materials are from to produce the knives nowadays. Would it be possible that they were just using other materials instead without telling people the truth and trying to sell it to tourists for making money only? To answer the question, please keep reading the articles and you will find out more about it.
There are currently four branches of Jin He Li (The name of the knife store) in Kinmen. I visited one of the branches which was a flagship store,and the most visitors would stop by here in Kinmen.
In the middle of the signboard, as you can see a relief painting of a person who is making a knife.
The flagship is not only a souvenir store,
but also a small museum that keeps many history of Jin He Lin Knife(Maestro Wu).
The founder of Jin He Li knife(Maestro Wu) was Mr. Zhong-Shan Wu, who was also the first person to start it from a blacksmith in Kinmen.
Later his son, Mr. Zhao-Xi Wu, who inherited the business, and then he named it as Ji He Li Knife(Maestro Wu) in 1937. After a couple of years, Mr. Zhao-Xi, Wu faced a problem that was the shortage of steels to make knives during the World War II. Therefore, he came up with the idea by using artillery shells which were left from the U.S army when they attacked Kinmen during the war.
In 1958, the Second Taiwan Strait Crisis happened, it lasted forty-four days with nonstop throwing bombs to Kinmen from China, the bombs were just like raining constantly. However, to Mr. Zhao-Xi, Wu, it was such a fantastic news that they got free materials to manufacture more cutlery. Then, artillery shells became the most common materials for making knives in Kinmen.
After lifting a ban from the war in Kinmen, artillery shell knives had much better quality than the normal ones. It was because the bombs China army had been used were purchased from the Ural Mountains, Russia, which is famous for its steel quality. The current owner Mr. Zheng-Dong, Wu, who put a lot of efforts on promoting the brand to the whole world. He has been on the TV news or newspaper from time to time in Taiwan nowadays.
In the flagship store, you can see the process of manufacturing knives, and also they show you how to sharpen knives.
I just met a group of tourists from Malaysia during my visit there.
Oh my god, I could not believe that the guide on that day was Mr. Zeng-Dong Wu himself, who is the current owner. I thought he only showed up on TV, I was so lucky enough to see him in person; he was such a nice and patient person who tried to explain every detail of the entire Ji He Li history.
He explained that one warhead of bomb could make forty knives, which was a lot.
I specifically asked the owner a question about how they managed to get materials since they ran out of it from the war. In fact, they either purchased it from the army in Taiwan, or the residents in Kinmen sometimes would find some bombs underground and sell it to them, so they still use bomb shells to make knives now.
The most interesting thing I found here is that they provide a service of customizing knives for guests. Normally it takes 20 minutes to make one.
I actually also got myself a customized knife, the process is cutting the bombshell, heating it up, then sharpening it, and polishing it, and putting some oil on it. Then, it’s done.
It is a hundred percent made out of pure artillery shells, and the knife handle comes with the knife itself. It is also the oldest way for producing knives so it cannot be antirust unless they send it to a factory to do it, therefore, the common way to maintain it is to put some oil on it.
After the whole tour, a lot of people bought knives in the store.
Each Ji He Li knife (Maestro Wu) has lifetime warranty, don’t you worry about the quality.
The products can be replaced for free within 14 days, but once it is broken in a way you can always send it back and get it fixed perfectly as a new one by just paying postage. (Knife handle is not included.)
The owner mentioned that he once received a knife with a 30-year history last year, he recognized it immediately when he saw a certain mark which only existed on the first batch of knives, he got it fixed and polished like a new one for free. I searched the pictures of it from their facebook fanpage, I was so amazed.
As you can see from the pictures, the owner made it carefully without wiping out the carvings on the knife and also replaced the knife handle. He hopes that this customer would pass it as a family heirloom generation by generation.
Please stop by here not just to buy a knife quickly and then leave, I highly recommend you to spend more time on the tour in Ji He Li Knife(Maestro Wu) shop, you are going to be amazed.
Ji He Li Knife (Maestro Wu) is a knife with its own history, culture and meaning. The owner tries to pass skills to the next generation and also bring the brand to the world.
Moreover, they also customize sickles and broadsword for temples in Kinmen.
In order to promote the brand internationally, they try to develop other knives selection for knife collectors.
Ji He Li Knife is also called MAESTROWU, Maestro means master and Wu is the family name of the owner. Their knives won a national cutlery award in 2014.
Since I visited here, I also bought some souvenirs for myself.
I like the design of the bag.
The variety of Maestro Wu are way too many, I picked the latest version of it, which emphasizes how light it can be. Of course, the price is a bit higher than others, but also comes with lifetime warranty.
You can see the Maestro Wu mark on the knife handle.
This is a gift for my mother-in-law.
Information of【MAESTRO WU】
砲彈鋼刀Bomshell cutlery-金合利鋼刀MAESTRO WU(金寧旗艦店)
No.236, Sec. 1, Boyu Rd., Jinning Township, Kinmen County 893, Taiwan (R.O.C.)
開放時間Opening hours：周一~周日08:00-18:00(Monday to Sunday)
Sponsored by Fun Taiwan Creative Life
Fun Taiwan Creative Life Website：http://www.twcreativelife.com/index.php