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Bob Kramer by Zwilling

A master craftsman's line of carbon steel knives for at-home chefs

by Greg Stefano in Food + Drink on 27 May 2011

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The term "Master Bladesmith" may stir images of medieval men hammering steel on anvils, preparing for battle. Yet visit the workshop of Bob Kramer, one of only a hundred certified such experts in the world, and you'll find a modern craftsman at work, renowned for his custom-made carbon steel blades—which regularly sell for up to $26,000 per knife. For those without Batali-deep pockets to afford the $400 per inch his one-offs typically run, Kramer will release a new knife in collaboration next month with Zwilling J.A. Henckels to arm today's cooking aficionados for skirmishes on cutting boards.

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The partnership was born from a recognition that many Americans are returning to the kitchen with a desire for high-quality ingredients and and the tools to match. Not for the amateur culinary enthusiast, Kramer's blades require a much higher level of care then their more widespread cousin stainless. But if you are serious about cooking and can commit to the maintenance, the rewards are plenty—carbon steel can hold a keener edge, will retain that sharpness much longer and will develop a patina over time giving each blade a totally unique look.

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Kramer designed the series of blades from tip to handle and, by taking advantage of Zwilling's scale and technological capabilities, was able to create a product that meets his standards but at a more realistic price point for the average domestic chef. Lightweight, precise and with grenadille wood handles, the hand-finished knives feel amazing in the palm, and make an impressive addition to any kitchen.

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The series ranges from a 3.5" paring knife to the classic 10" chef's knife. They will be available in June, exclusively from Sur La Table and ranging from $140-350.

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