Last night, my wife and I were watching an episode of "Discoveries this Week", on The Science Channel. This is a pretty good show, though I haven't warmed up yet to some of the other offerings on the channel. It may be because their website does a pretty poor job explaning what the shows are about.

Anyway, one of the segments on last night was about a plastic surgeon named Michael Bell who didn't like the design of standard surgical scalpels, and, being an avid woodworker, turned to the Lee Valley catalog to help. He chose a carver's knife:

and was very happy.

The only problem was that it was rusting when it was sterilized in the autoclave, so Bell called up Lee Valley, and ended up talking with Lee Valley founder, Leonard Lee.

After Lee got over his surprise that Bell was using the carving knife -and many other tools - as part of his practice, the two went into discussions, and Lee ended up leaving Lee Valley to found Canica Design. Their first product was the Canica Standard Scalpel:






More interestingly, they've branched out into the unglamorous but very important area of wound closure and surgical retractions and stabilitzation (note: do not click on that link if you're squeamish).

There's a good article from the National Post that describes this in a bit more detail.