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All I Want for Christmas is a Hand-Forged Kramer Chef's Knife

Filed under: Pick of the Issue   Tagged: , , ,

Benjamin Chambers writes:

I don’t tend to like theme issues; I find the uniformity of subject matter makes me less interested in reading. But in the The New Yorker’s November 24, 2008 “food” issue, one piece jumped out at me: Todd Oppenheimer’s profile of Bob Kramer (Digital Edition link here), who is one of the only 122 people in the world certified as a Master Bladesmith.

To be certified, Kramer had to hand-forge six knives.

One of those was a roughly finished, fifteen-inch bowie knife, which Kramer had to use to accomplish four tasks, in this order: cut through an inch-thick piece of Manila rope in a single swipe; chop through a two-by-four, twice; place the blade on his forearm and, with the belly of the blade that had done all the chopping, shave a swath of arm hair; and, finally, lock the knife in a vise and permanently bend it ninety degrees.

If I used that bent knife to carve the Thanksgiving Day turkey, it would be far more effective than the bludgeons we keep in our kitchen for cutting up food.

Perhaps, in this post-consumer economy we’ve now entered, I might be excused an anachronistic desire to possess a well-made tool?


Sounds like another satisfied Ginsu customer!

An aficionado of both food and classic hardware, I too loved “Sharper” better than any of the more edible articles.
But I wonder if anyone else detected a certain laziness about looking for the science under this subject? The writer seemed to have simply accepted the bladesmiths’ assertions of an unknowable metallurgy. And in what sense does a Japanese knife edge have “teeth?”

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