When you first put one of Hal’s oyster knives in your hand, you know you’re holding something special and immediately begin to wonder, “Is this something I can use, or is it a work of art?”
For Hal, it’s both.
As a young boy, Hal, a native of New Orleans, grew up hanging out in his grandfather’s fishing camp on the shores of Lake Ponchartrain. He watched him shuck oysters for the Gonzales clan family reunions. Fascinated with the idea of blending steel, wood, and other natural materials together into something useful, Hal slowly began to develop his own style of knife-making adding his own special style that his grandfather would be proud of.
An avid outdoorsman, Hal loves to hunt and fish. And, as you might expect, he often carried his knives with him into the field. When his friends would see the knives, they would beg him to make one for them. Those were the first to hit the town.
Hal soon began to make knives for his friends in the small shop behind his house. It’s here that Hal honed his craft, making one knife at a time, working with different steels and experimenting with new styles and woods. Because of his friends, complete strangers began to call Hals and ask him to make knives for them – custom orders with special wood or engraving on the blade.
When Hal walked out to his shop one day and saw multiple knives in various stages of completion, he realized that the stress of his fast-paced job with the military world would leave his shoulders, to be replaced by joy and passion. That’s when the idea of turning his love into a career first began.
And in 2014, he did. The New Orleans native traded in his successful, 40-year career with the military for a small shop in Sumter, SC, a grinding wheel and a fresh, new outlook on life. And so the dream began.
Hal’s first big break came when he decided to design an oyster knife – one specifically made to tackle the small, tightly clumped-together oysters found along the coast of the Carolina Lowcountry. Named the Edisto, the knife’s tip is more pointed than a standard oyster knife, perfect for prying the clumps apart and digging into the small hinges. The blade is stout and flares out at the middle, which makes it easier to spread the oyster wide as you open it. The Edisto is both ingenious and beautiful at the same time.
While the Edisto is still clearly the most requested knife, Hal offers many styles to choose from, including hunting, skinning, and filet knives. Every knife that leaves the shop receives the attention commanded to meet the standard of excellence that Hal demands. This dedication to quality and beauty lives on with a lifetime guarantee for all of his knives. Most recently,
Today, Hal has a new perspective on the meaning of the “daily grind.” Instead, as he opens the door to his shop every morning, he can picture his grandfather there, saying “If you do what you love, you’ll never work another day in your life.”
HAROLD T. GONZALES, JR., ED.D. Dr. Hal Gonzales is an aviator and educator with over 40 years of experience. He is a retired United States Air Force (USAF) Lieutenant Colonel who was an instructor pilot in three aircraft: the T-37 basic jet trainer, O-2 Forward Air Control Aircraft, and the F-16 multi-role fighter. He has taught college at both the graduate and undergraduate level since 1987. He began teaching distance education classes in 1994 and saw firsthand the transition from video tape to online courses. Dr. Gonzales earned his B.S. in Psychology from Tulane University in 1972. He completed his M.S. in Counseling and Guidance from Troy University in 1975. In 1986, he completed his M.A.S. with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and has served as an Adjunct professor with that university since that time. He has over 16 years of experience with virtual/distance education as an online professor. Dr. Gonzales has also taught for Webster and Troy Universities, and Central Carolina Technical College. He has a graduate certificate in Drug and Alcohol Studies from the University of South Carolina. In 1995, he completed his Ed.D. in Counseling Psychology from Argosy University in Sarasota, Florida. Most of the work in this program was completed in both an online and traditional classroom format. As an online student and professor, Dr. Gonzales has gained a unique perspective on how to succeed in the Virtual Classroom. His book, “How to Impress Your Instructor Online: Quick Tips to Success for the Virtual Student”, is dedicated to those future online students who wonder if they have the “Right Stuff” to enter or re-enter academia. It is hoped that the adage, “Forewarned is forearmed,” will apply to the readers of this book.