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August 19, 2019 3 min read

Nesmuk has its headquarters in Solingen, Germany. Where else, after all, the city in the Bergisches Land region of Germany stands for first-class, sharp craftsmanship worldwide. At Nesmuk, 18 employees have been working on cutting tools since 2006, drawing on a 3,500-year tradition of knife manufacture and continually reinterpreting this tradition. To rethink something seemingly simple like a knife seems almost banal at first. The knife is one of the oldest tools in human history. An everyday object, but also a symbol of constancy, strength, sublimity and social status. Until today it has hardly changed in its basic form and, as an indispensable working tool, it is one of the few objects used worldwide in all human cultures. If one wants to change this cultural symbol, the challenge lies in limiting the field of work. At the numerous forks in the path between ergonomics, technology and tradition, there are design and function-related pitfalls that must be avoided.

One possible way is to combine craftsmanship with state-of-the-art technologies. Nesmuk is looking for this path in Solingen. Nesmuk develops and manufactures knives with the sharpest possible edge, using steel grades and precious materials never before used in the cutlery industry. Some designs, coatings and materials have been specially developed by and for the Solingen factory. The elaborate craftsmanship and use of exquisite, unusual raw materials is not an end in itself; Nesmuk leaves the beautiful appearance without substance to others. The long-term development of its own products is the consequence of the uncompromising demand for quality, attention to detail and functionality. The result is knives as flawless hand tools that have nothing in common with conventional kitchen knives. High-performance steel, diamond-like carbon coating - the best is standard here.

In the process, myths go overboard. "A knife must be heavy!" Nesmuk takes a different view of this and counters cool with the remark that a light knife is gentle on the user's shoulders. The decisive factor is not the weight, but the sharpness, which allows easy working. Nesmuk likes to quote the British product designer Jasper Morrison, who coined the term "super-normal", referring to the conscious and purposeful refinement of products that have long been established. Sensibly optimising, professionally developing - just beyond the norm.

The result is not only perfect in terms of the user, it also looks good. Meanwhile, customers and users have their say when it comes to no knife with the Nesmuk trademark. They are involved in the process and provide feedback and suggestions. That can take time. Years of development cycles are therefore not unusual at Nesmuk.

With the selection of blade steel and handle materials, perfect workmanship and the requirement for intuitive handling, Nesmuk knives attempt to achieve a classic symbiosis of form and function. Each knife, for example, is completely sharpened individually and lies comfortably and securely in the hand without edges. The unique selling point is their sharpness. In fact, a single pull-through of the blade is often sufficient to cut the cut material smoothly. The prerequisite for this functionality is an extremely sharp blade. To achieve this, Nesmuk uses a new type of stainless steel for the steak knives in the Soul and Janus series, which is refined with a small amount of nitrogen. This makes it extremely resistant to corrosion and allows it to harden much harder without becoming brittle.

In addition to the classic collections, Nesmuk also repeatedly produces strictly limited editions with special blades and unique handle materials which are very precious, rare and complex to process. How this looks is illustrated by the special edition from 2017, the Exclusive Folder 66 layers of damask, limited to 25 pieces. The grip scales, made of up to 5000 year old bog oak, have been enamelled in the Nesmuk goldsmiths' workshop. The pure white colour was applied several times by hand and the handle was repeatedly ground and polished. The result is not a knife but a functional work on the border between craftsmanship and art. Of course, this has its price - but once you have taken up the Nesmuk philosophy, even such extraordinary experiments with form and material no longer seem esoteric. Why? Because it is backed up by the little word that is so important at Nesmuk: respect!