The people of Solingen, Germany, don't mess with dull knives.
This is a town that once defined itself by the sharpness of the swords it produced--so much so that there was a law banning dull blades, which would tarnish the town’s reputation.
That law is still in effect. And although the sword-making industry has died out, the town is still home to Windmuehlenmesser.
This company has been making knives since the 19th century, and it still produces its blades by a technique known as drop forging.
Most modern companies punch out blades from metal sheets; drop forging involves beating blazing-hot carbon-steel bricks with hammers until they take the shape of a thin blade. Then the knife is blue-glaze finished—another almost extinct craft technique--which enhances the knife’s durability and sharpness.
Thanks to Brooklyn purveyor Kaufmann Mercantile, the knives have arrived in the States. Start with the utilitarian chef’s knife ($245) before considering the Bird’s Beak ($22), which has a curved blade that makes quick work of peels and cores.
And remember: If these knives weren’t as sharp as we promise, they’d be illegal. How’s that for a warranty?