It seems that now more than ever, those who focused their careers on digital products have been coming out of the woodwork in favor of creating real-world objects with their hands. Whether or not these designers pick up the skills as hobbies or as full-fledged new careers, the return to that old-world tradition and desire of making something with your hands is something that anybody who has stepped into a workshop can relate with.
Among others, Blok Knives‘ Ben Edmonds of Derbyshire, UK left a decade-long career in graphic design in favor of creating handmade knives in a 17th-Century building. Long gone are the sleek minimal iMacs and glossy white surfaces seen in most graphic design offices – Edmonds now works amongst heavy machinery and makes his tea over a traditional wood stove in his ‘new’ office.
The raw and primal nature of making knives by hand is without a doubt more meditative than bouncing through menu items in Adobe Illustrator – Edmonds has traded in the Pen Tool to focus his craft on three specific sizes of carbon steel knives for his ‘Blok Knives’ collection: an 8″ chef, a 4″ paring and a special 10″ “Woollen Edition”.
Every aspect of the knives are made by hand – starting with the carbon steel. The fine grain structure of the material allows for a “very keen edge” and over time, a patina develops on the surface to reveal what Edmonds calls the “knife’s journey”. Aside from the special edition Woollen Composite knife (which is made from bio-resins and UK-sourced wool), Edmonds uses a variety of woods ranging from “Burrs to Burls”. The knife assemblies are held together with handmade mosaic pins made from steel, copper and brass.
For those who want to make the most out of their prized kitchen tool, Edmonds also offers courses at his workshop to help teach the basics of knives including maintenance and sharpening, technique and handling, as well as chopping and butchering techniques.
The handmade knives start at £140 ($216) over at Blok.