American Artisans: Bloodroot Blades




This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

American Artisans: Bloodroot Blades knife

Bloodroot Blades is the eighteenth in my Sunday series featuring American Artisans. There are so many exceptionally talented craftspeople, designers, and small companies across this country and this is my chance to introduce them to you. These artisans are creating beautiful, useful and delicious products that elevate the experience of everyday cooking, dining, and entertaining. They’re using skills, techniques, and materials that might otherwise be lost in our era of mass production. Their work makes me happy, and I hope it does the same for you.

American Artisans: Bloodroot Blades knife

photo credit: Bloodroot Blades

Luke Snyder and David Van Wyk are the talented craftsmen behind Bloodroot Blades a company specializing in exquisite, one-of-a-kind artisan kitchen knives based in Athens, Georgia.  If you have a favorite knife you know how central it is to everything you do in the kitchen, and a good one is worth its weight in gold.  What makes this company so unique is that every piece Bloodroot Blades makes is hand forged from recycled and repurposed materials — they create their line of luxury Western and Japanese style knives from scrap metal scrounged from junk yards, auto parts, and machine shops.

We believe in recycling and repurposing materials and you will notice that instead of incorporating the rare in our knives, we specialize in identifying interest in the everyday or ignored. At our volume, using recycled steel is not cheaper than buying new steel; however, these materials allow us to impart interest and story into each blade. Recycled steel also increases the uniqueness of each piece and forces us to be innovative and flexible with our limited supply of each material.

Bloodroot Blades’ website is fascinating and visually stunning — even if you’re not a ‘knife nerd’ you’ll get sucked in, I promise!  Be forewarned, the prices are high, ($300-$1200+) and in fact these bespoke knives are as much heirlooms as they are kitchen tools, but they are so popular there is actually a waiting list to order them, the current lead time for custom orders is 41 months!

Bloodroot Blades process

Photo Credit: Paige French

Both men grew up among craftspeople, Luke’s father was the blacksmith and woodworker in residence at an historical farm and so even as a young boy he had access to a coal forge and blacksmith’s tools, and David came from a family of  woodworkers.  But it wasn’t until David asked Luke to design a chef’s knife for him as groomsman’s gifts that the spark was ignited that eventually led to the two friends dropping their day jobs and forming Bloodroot Blades in 2013.

American Artisans: Bloodroot Blades

photo credit: Paige French

Every part of every one of these knoves has a story to tell, from the ‘unknown’ steels that they reforge for the blades, to the gorgeous handles.  The handles are crafted from intricately patterned spalted and burled wood, reclaimed antlers, and touches of metals like copper and brass.  Some of the recycled steel blades are treated with a protective and decorative patina using natural acids such as vinegar or mustard.  The acid creates organic patterns in the steel that helps protect the blade from deterioration.  The beautiful example at the top of the post is an all purpose Santoku chef’s knife with a spalted maple burl and cooper handle and a mustard patina.

Bloodroot Blades Process 6

Photo Credit: Paige French

Their series of Legacy Knives are custom pieces that incorporate materials supplied by the customer, objects of special personal importance, into the blades or handles. Everything from antique aprons and rolling pins, to bullets, military badges, even lucky pennies, can be incorporated to make a completely unique and special keepsake. The knife shown below includes a piece of antique lace laminated into the handle–how cool is that?

Bloodroot Blades Lace Knife

Photo Credit: Paige French

Another thing I love about Bloodroot’s site is how much information they provide about the process–it’s fascinating to read through and VERY in-depth!  The site supports budding knife-makers by providing a rare and detailed look into the tools of the trade and Bloodroot’s unusual methods.  They even provide a knife making’s lexicon, check it out, you’ll learn something!

Bloodroot Blades process 4

Photo Credit: Paige French

Bloodroot Blades process

Photo Credit: Paige French

Bloodroot Blades process

Photo Credit: Paige French

Even if an heirloom quality knife isn’t likely to fit into your budget anytime soon, Bloodroot Blades offers some great tips about knife care and maintenance that are useful for all of us, here are just a few ~

  • Wash your knife and then wipe it dry immediately–leaving it wet for a long period of time will allow it to get rusty more quickly.
  • If your knives do rust, use either a scotchbrite pad, Flitz polish, a rust eraser, or steel wool, and simply lightly polish the blade.
  • Keeping knifes on a magnetic rack is not only safer than reaching in a drawer for your blades, but also allows them to dry better than being kept in a closed drawer.
  • Wood or plastic cutting boards are best –other materials like glass, ceramic, or granite can dull a knife.
  • For regular sharpening touch ups Bloodroot Blades suggests a superfine ceramic steel (1500 grit or finer) which are relatively inexpensive.
Bloodroot Blades process

Photo Credit: Paige French

For a very special occasion, or as an impressive and thoughtful group gift, I think beautiful, heirloom-quality knives like this are a great choice.  All the knives are warranted for life, and come with free maintenance.

American Artisans: Bloodroot Blades knives

Bloodroot takes custom orders, and sells current stock through a lottery system:

On the first Monday of each month at noon EST, we have a sale of 20-25 knives using a lottery system. At noon EST, we will send out a link to the sale to our newsletter subscribers. The sale will be open from 12:00pm – 6:00pm EST, during which time you can submit your email address for as many knives as you would like. We will then randomly select a customer who will receive first right of purchase for each knife (one knife per customer), and we will contact the winners the following day.

You can join the newsletter mailing list here. If you would like to begin the custom process of ordering a knife, please get in touch with us here.  We’ll look forward to hearing from you!

 

29 Comments

  • Reply
    Susan
    April 20, 2016 at 2:28 pm

    They are beautiful knives! Where would we be in the kitchen without a good stash of knives and these are beauties!

  • Reply
    Robyn @ Simply Fresh Dinners
    April 19, 2016 at 12:46 pm

    I’m totally in love with these guys and I haven’t even seen the site yet. What a great post, Sue! I love good knives and have had a few but family members always seem to get their hands on them. I do have one though, that my grandfather made, that everyone knows better than to touch, lol.
    I’m going to get on that waiting list. Thanks so much for introducing this talented company!

  • Reply
    Edie
    April 18, 2016 at 3:13 pm

    Using beautiful tools in the kitchen makes me enjoy preparing and making meals for my family. These knives are exquisite. Who’d have thought knives could look like these do?

  • Reply
    Paula
    April 18, 2016 at 9:32 am

    I love knives both for their culinary use and as decorative items. These as works of art encompass both! Thanks for sharing, was fascinating and informative.

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 18, 2016 at 9:53 am

      You’re so welcome Paula, it’s nice to know that you guys are liking this series :)

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 18, 2016 at 11:54 am

      You’re welcome!

  • Reply
    Jennifer @ Seasons and Suppers
    April 18, 2016 at 8:16 am

    What a fabulous knife! Loved reading their story :)

  • Reply
    Renee
    April 18, 2016 at 7:18 am

    Never thought of artisan knives, but you changed that, these look beautiful!

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 18, 2016 at 11:57 am

      I agree, and I feel that way about a lot of the beautiful products in this series.

  • Reply
    Jane
    April 17, 2016 at 8:00 pm

    Gorgeous knives, but no-one seems to have picked up on the superstition that it is unlucky to give knives as a gift!

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 17, 2016 at 9:49 pm

      I’ve never heard of that Jane— I’d chance it any day!

  • Reply
    Chris Scheuer
    April 17, 2016 at 2:20 pm

    Who would have thought that a knife could be a work of art, but these truly are! Great post Sue with so much helpful information!!

  • Reply
    Emma
    April 17, 2016 at 1:20 pm

    Wow. Fantastic article. Thishas really opened my eyes up to the craftmanship behind a good set of knives. I’m intending to replace my set with in the summer. Can only hope to find something as wonderful over here in the UK.

    • Reply
      Katy
      April 18, 2016 at 11:45 am

      Emma, hello! My name is Katy, and I work with Bloodroot Blades. We ship to the UK, but if you are looking for a maker in the UK, we really admire the work of Blenheim Forge – http://www.blenheimforge.co.uk/ – best of luck to you!

  • Reply
    Alexandra
    April 17, 2016 at 1:13 pm

    Very interesting article, Sue. I also never had good knives. Maybe because what I had to cut could be done with an ordinary knife. Now that I spend more time cooking and do the deboning part, a good knife does make a huge difference. I read the other day that the reason most chefs are men, is due to their ease with knives. Could it be true?

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 17, 2016 at 1:30 pm

      That’s really interesting because I think I’m definitely a little intimidated…I think it’s time to up my knife game, it does make such a difference. And it’s not only for ease of prep, as a blogger I need my food to look pretty, and a raggedy piece of sliced steak or tomato just isn’t ;)

  • Reply
    Peter
    April 17, 2016 at 1:01 pm

    Great pics showing the development process for these knives. Quite impressive. Thx for sharing.

  • Reply
    Shadi
    April 17, 2016 at 12:57 pm

    Such an interesting post and gorgeous photos! A good knife makes a very difference in cooking!

  • Reply
    Debi at Life Currents
    April 17, 2016 at 12:41 pm

    We watched a show about some guys who did this (probably the same guys!). This is amazing, such talent and such a cool piece of art!

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 18, 2016 at 7:50 am

      I think there was a movie or video made about them, so it probably was!

  • Reply
    Cathy
    April 17, 2016 at 11:34 am

    love the article and the site- their products and photography are both very beautiful.

  • Reply
    April
    April 17, 2016 at 10:13 am

    This is very interesting, due to the fact that I’ve never really knew what it took to make knives. I’m going to have to save to be able to afford one of those beauties!

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 17, 2016 at 10:26 am

      I know what you mean April, I never gave it a thought either, and I think that’s one of the reasons I love doing these artisan posts, there is so much to re-learn about where our food, and the ‘stuff’ we live with every day, comes from!

  • Reply
    Beth
    April 17, 2016 at 9:59 am

    Very interesting post! These knives are gorgeous! A good knife makes all the difference!

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 18, 2016 at 7:53 am

      Thanks for stopping by and helping to support this effort Beth :)

  • Reply
    monique
    April 17, 2016 at 9:32 am

    My son-in-law would immediately fall in love..they have his name on them.

    PS made your lego frozen yogurts yesterday:) Cute cute cute..thanks again.

  • Reply
    Sara
    April 17, 2016 at 7:44 am

    This is super interesting, a good knife makes such a big difference when it comes to cooking. And I didn’t know that about a magnetic rack, I’ll have to look into one!

  • Reply
    Tricia @ Saving room for dessert
    April 17, 2016 at 7:12 am

    Absolutely gorgeous knives! They are true artists with an amazing talent. Thanks for sharing the great tips for knife care.

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 17, 2016 at 7:31 am

      I have a confession to make…I’ve NEVER had good knives…it always scared me to have anything sharp around when my girls were growing up, and then I just never adjusted once they were older. I need to save my pennies for one of these :)

Leave a Reply