There are thousands of people and corporations who make knives in the U.S, but there are only 120 blade-masters. Bob Kramer is one of them. To earn this title from the American Bladesmith Society, Bob had to undergo years of study and then pass a Master’s Test.
“The test required building a 10″ Bowie knife made of 300+ layers of steel. This one knife had to cut through a 1″ free hanging rope in one swing, chop through a two-by-four twice, shave a swatch of arm hair (after the two-by-four), and finally, bend the blade at a 90 degree angle without the blade breaking. If you succeed, then you submit five flawless knives (including a 15th century Quillion dagger, a very difficult knife to make) to a panel of judges.”
And out of all the blade-masters in U.S., Bob is the only one specialized in kitchen and meteorite knives. So if you want to have one of the best kitchen knives, he is one of the very few people in U.S. who can forge it for you.
The Pattern of his Meteorite Knives
The “pattern welded steel”, is the result of combining at least two different types of steel that harden and temper in the same range. The pattern (also called Damascus) has a complex creation process and requires lots of time and concentration. (see picture bellow)
Both “pattern steel” and straight carbon steel sharpens exactly the same way, get equally sharp and they cut the same. The difference though is in how they wear. Since the Damascus blades consist of different types of steel, each layer of steel will wear at a different rate, causing a very fine micro-serration, which can help to keep the edge sharp for a longer period of time.
According to Bob:
“Since each knife takes a long time to make, our production is very low while the demand is overwhelming. During the past year, we’ve transformed our ordering method in effort to make a fair process that both honors customers who have been waiting for a long time, while giving newer customers a shot.” (Source)
There are three ways to get a knife from Bob:
- If you want a custom Kramer knife that YOU design from tip to heel, the only way to order it is to enter Kramer’s lottery: an e-mail list from which people get selected from time to time. (the lottery is only for custom knives)
- By auction – From time to time there are auctions which start from $100. The system is similar to the one on eBay. But the Damascus (pattern) meteorite knives are not usually available for this kind of purchase.
- Buying a ready-made knife. For this you’ll also need to be selected from the list, but be aware that if you don’t buy the knife, you’ll need to pay a cancellation fee of $100 and you’ll also be kicked out from the list. (wow)
I totally understand people who are passionate about knives and spend fortunes on buying them. I also understand people who use them a lot like chefs and cooks. And I really understand people who have a lot of money and want to have the best things.
But me? I’m very confused. On one hand I’m thinking how much I would love to have one knife like that. But am I a snob here? … because on the other hand I’m thinking that my kitchen knives are doing their jobs just as fine, but for only $10.
What about you? What do you think?
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