Blok Knives: worth it?
Blok's hand-crafted 8" Chef's Knife - was it worth £362?
At culinary school, one of my teachers kept telling me off. While chopping, I would periodically stick out my left ring finger rather than tucking it in with the knuckle against the blade.
“Carry on like that,” he would say, “and you’ll lose a finger.”
And he was right. One night, while trying out a brand new knife, I went straight through my stuck-out fingernail and took the top off the finger. I missed the bone, thankfully, and it healed well. But I got called 'condom finger' for a month.
Condom finger: Bond's thickest and safest enemy.
I quickly corrected my finger positioning, of course, but the memory of that night has always had me a bit paranoid about knives so sharp that you see your injury before feeling it.
It's a paranoia I've recently become accustom to again since buying my latest addition: an 8" Chef's knife from Blok Knives, with a blade so sharp it could've made Liberace look dull.
Blok's knives are all lovingly hand crafted, meaning they demand a high price tag. Mine cost me £362, a sum which was only attainable due to a coincidental conflagration of a Blok fire sale, a clean credit card statement and enough spare cash handy to pay off half of the bill straight away. Plus I'd wanted one for ages.
Regardless, it was a lot of money, so a couple of months on I thought I'd reflect on my purchase.
Cartoonishly grained wenge and marbled sycamore are fastened using mosaic pins.
Obviously, it's beautiful. Each knife is handmade somewhere in Derbyshire and features a carbon steel blade, its own unique wooden handle and mosaic fastening pins. Nobody as yet has looked at this knife in person without exhaling a sigh of infatuation.
In usage, the blade is surprisingly thin and light, keeping the knife relatively versatile given it’s broadness (although that profile and its shallow curvature do cause issues cutting taller objects with a rocking motion). Blok have also managed to balance the whole thing perfectly around the top of the handle - impressive considering different wood is used for each knife.
The knife does require careful maintenance, however, especially compared to the average machined chef's knife. It needs to be hand dried thoroughly after washing to prevent excessive rusting and handle rot, and dishwashing would undoubtedly exacerbate both of those things, too. It does age naturally with usage, with dark spots and small bits of rust appearing slowly, but these can be gently scoured off if desired.
In the same way that expensive cars lead to further indirect costs like higher fuel and upkeep bills, expensive knives lead to high sponge expenditure. Blok's knife is so sharp that it just destroys the poor things. I've even had it slice through a tea towel while drying.
Overall, when compared to an £80 Wüsthof Nakiri, my daily go-to, there's nothing that Blok's knife does £282 better - in fact it's often a fair bit clumsier. But, if you’ve got some spare cash, are a bit of a show-off and/or have wanted one for a while, I’d say go for it. It’s a real piece of craftsmanship, a beautiful and personal thing to show off to any fellow food enthusiasts and a great way of supporting a small British business. Just keep your fingers tucked in.