Daniel Friel

The past few weeks the knife community has suffered the loss of two influential men in the world of knives: Ted Dowell and Daniel D. Friel. So we’re going to take some time to honor some of their achievements and innovations.

Daniel Friel, who died on Sept. 21 at the age of 92, didn’t become an influencer in the knife community until he was 65. Prior to then, he worked on the Manhattan Project, which produced the first atomic bomb, and then went to work for the DuPont company.

His most notable knife-related achievements came when he founded the company EdgeCraft. His decision to found the company was actually sparked by his inability to find a knife with a proper edge to cut his Thanksgiving turkey.

Here’s more from the Philadelphia Inquirer:

He attempted to sharpen them with what tools he had, and he found they didn’t work. He basically made a mess of the turkey,” Mr. Friel’s son, Daniel Jr., said.

That experience led Mr. Friel Sr. to his life’s Act II: founding EdgeCraft Corporation in Avondale, Pa., and developing the popular Chef’sChoice® line of culinary tools, including knife sharpeners, food slicers, and waffle makers.

Thanks to the hard work of Friel, Chef’s Choice has become the go-to company for quality knife sharpeners.

Then, Ted Dowell, one of the founding members and past presidents of the Knifemaker’s Guild, passed away on Oct. 5. He set out with the other founding members to establish an ethical community of custom knifemakers and help promote the knives.

This is a great tidbit from Blade Mag:

Also known for his “Funny Folder” design, among many others, Dowell was the only Guild member to exhibit at every Guild Show—40 in all—until the streak came to an end in 2010, Betty always by his side, smiling and flying the “Dowell banner.”

The Funny Folder, which is a design now found on A.G. Russell knives, is a unique design that enables knives to be opened in a way completely different from traditional folders.

Dowell will undoubtedly be missed by the knife community.


Timothy Martinez Jr. is the community director for Knife Depot and the editor of The Cutting Edge. If you have any questions or ideas for The Cutting Edge, you can contact him at Tim@knife-depot.com.
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