Chef knives are the one tool every chef needs. Here’s our list of the best knife manufacturers in the U.S.A.
Besides the ingredients themselves, nothing is as important to a cook than the tools that allow them to be more efficient and productive in the kitchen – and one of the more essential tools is the chef knife. Similar to the purchase of quality ingredients, a lot of thought goes into the purchase of a quality chef knife. You want to consider: style, material, price, blade, feel and so much more. On top of all the necessary factors, there are a million different manufacturers so it can be hard to narrow down on the perfect knife for you. To ease your search, we have created a list of some of the top U.S. Chef Knife manufacturers to help you find something unique, beautiful and powerful.
The “Pappy Van Winkle 23yr” of Chef Knives
The U.S. knife manufacturers listed below are the cream of the crop. These are the knives that are not only phenomenal on both a practical and aesthetic level, but they will last more than a lifetime if properly cared for.
Murray Carter’s fascination with knife-making began at a young age and followed him all the way to Japan as a young adult. After completing a six year apprenticeship with 16th Generation Yoshimoto Bladesmith Sensei Yasuyuki Sakemoto, Carter was asked to carry on the Yoshimoto tradition and become the 17th Generation Yoshimoto Bladesmith. Murray Carter moved back to the U.S. where he became a Master Smith through the American Bladesmith Society. Currently Carter resides in Oregon and runs Carter Cutlery where he continues his craft of hand-forged Japanese chef knives. Carter Cutlery makes a variety of chef knives forged from different steels. The cost depends on the line and can range from $550-$2,295.
Chelsea Miller Knives
Chelsea Miller found inspiration to create kitchen knives from her father who was a carpenter and blacksmith in rural Vermont. Her upbringing in the country taught her to be resourceful which reflects in her knives. Miller forges her chef knives from steel horseshoe rasps and chose to leave some of the original gridded texture on her blades. This gives her knives a dual purpose: to cut and to grind. “I use this material because it is very useful and enjoyable in grating cheese, nuts, garlic, ginger, nutmeg, etc” says Miller. “They’ve been thoroughly washed since the horse, of course.” Chelsea Miller’s chef knives begin at $800 and because of demand and that she forges each knife personally, it can take up to a year to receive the end product.
Bob Kramer’s influence in bladesmithing came from his personal desire to learn all there was about sharpening knives. With a background working in the kitchen, Kramer understood the frustrations of a dull knife. Traveling the country he learned all there was about a sharp knife and with his knowledge, Kramer opened a blade-sharpening business in Seattle. The desire to learn everything about knife sharpening led him to take a blacksmith class where he began the journey that led him to become acknowledged as a Master Bladesmith by the American Bladesmith Society. Kramer’s influences range from European knives to Japanese knives and are made with straight carbon or Damascus steel. In order to purchase a Kramer knife, you must purchase a membership (100% proceeds go to charity) and then they will email you when an auction or a ready-made sale opens, so prices will vary.
The “Old Rip Van Winkle 10yr” of Chef Knives.
Here is our list of U.S. knife manufacturers that offer beautifully designed and quality made knives at more affordable prices.
“Extraordinary design can (and should be) beautiful, functional and local made in the U.S.A”
NHB KnifeWorks is located in St. Louis, Missouri and was founded by Bladesmith Nate Bonner and Entrepreneur Melody Noel. Bonner began his journey making knives first through a career as a professionally trained chef. After 10 years of working in restaurants all over the U.S., Bonner followed his heart and become a bladesmith, leaving the kitchen behind to create knives with chefs in mind. NHB KnifeWorks believes that, “extraordinary design can (and should be) beautiful, functional and local made in the U.S.A.” Bonner designs each knife and forges the blade from stainless, carbon, or Damascus steel. Most of the chef knives are inspired by Japanese design and range from $200-$400.
Ben Noffsinger comes from a background of professional kitchens where he developed an interest in learning about and making high performance blades. Through recognizing a need for quality and efficient blades in the kitchen, Noffsinger began making kitchen knives in his shop in Virginia and began his line, Nafzger Forge. With the kitchen in mind, Noffsinger uses high carbon steel so that he can create a sturdy blade that is easy to sharpen. Each knife is sold with a lifetime guarantee and sharpening maintenance. The price range for Nafzger Forge chef knives ranges from $350-$550
New West KnifeWorks
New West KnifeWorks was founded by Corey Milligan and is headquartered in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. With a background in commercial kitchens, Milligan understood the need for a quality and effective knife which led to his desire to create functional yet beautiful kitchen knives. The design and production of New West KnifeWorks chef knives are a result of relentless study, real-life experience and mentorship from top bladesmiths in the U.S. and Japan. With this quest for the perfect knife, New West KnifeWorks produced one of the most durable line of knives on the market, the G-Fusion. These chef knives are made with S35VN Powder Metal Steel which they found to be a superior steel when making knives that are: lightweight, durable, stainless, and able to maintain a sharp blade. The cost of a G-Fusion chef knife is around $200-$400.
Like many things made in the U.S. most of these chef knives are artisan made, giving them a more unique and personal touch, but they can be pricey and are certainly an investment. If you are in the market for a new chef knife but need something more immediate that won’t break the bank, check out the inexpensive chef knives made by some of the bigger U.S. knife manufacturers like: R. Murphy Knives, Warther Cutlery, and Lamson Products. Many of these manufacturers have been around for generations and while they’ve long outgrown their artisan roots, their quality is still notable.