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CRUCIAL - the Chatwin heirloom chef knife collection

Created by Chatwin CRUCIAL

CRUCIAL - the Chatwin heirloom chef knife collection
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236 backers pledged C$74,048.00 on Kickstarter

Raised in Kickstarter
C$74,048.00 / 236 backers
Raised in BackerKit
C$4,050.00 / 231 backers
Estimated Shipping Date: May 2017
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CRUCIAL heirloom knife set
Did one of your friends want a CRUCIAL knife set, but missed the campaign? At Kickstarter pricing... more »
C$285.00

Learn About Our Project:

Anyone who spends time in the kitchen knows that good knives are an integral part of the cooking experience, and great knives are an investment. Chatwin knives deliver both form and function, are comfortable to use, and are made to last.

Inspired by the culinary traditions of Chateau de Wintrange in Luxembourg (est 1610), the Chatwin CRUCIAL collection blends craftsmanship with modern technology to create a set of heirloom kitchen knives of unparalleled quality, exquisite sharpness and refined beauty. Every chop, slice or dice with CRUCIAL is an effortless expression of joy, in preparing food for those you love.

The CRUCIAL collection consists of the three most essential kitchen knives:

  • A Paring Knife - for light tasks like peeling or other small intricate work
  • A Boning Knife - a versatile petty knife that excels in filleting or deboning 
  • A Chef's Knife - for the majority of your cooking tasks

We're confident that these three knives will elevate your cooking experience and mise en place.

 

Chef Review

Chef David Tombs at Terra Restaurant reviews the CRUCIAL collection in detail after using them for a couple of months in their restaurant kitchen:

 

When crafting these knives, while our foremost focus was function, it was also important to us to deliver something a little different; knives that were more than just kitchenware. We wanted to create beautiful, sculptural objects that you would be proud to display; heirlooms that age gracefully and could be handed down for generations to come.

A key element in preserving these knives is proper storage, so we developed a minimalist, yet highly functional magnetic knife holder to complement rather than hide this collection's aesthetic.

Functional prototype of our wooden magnetic knife holder
Functional prototype of our wooden magnetic knife holder

As with our knives, we’ve integrated thoughtful design components to maximize its usability. With perfectly balanced, strong earth magnets hidden under a layer of beautiful Sapele wood veneer, it holds the knives securely yet allows for easy release. The holder works as a freestanding kitchen counter knife rack, a wall-mountable magnetic knife rack and a lightweight travel case.

This knife set differentiates itself in six essential areas:

  • Minimalist: No design aspect of these knives is superfluous. Every detail you can see and feel was intentionally designed and has a purpose. 
  • Ergonomic: We designed fully ergonomic knives which extend the user’s comfort into the blade geometry. These knives feel like an extension of your hand. 
  • Versatile: These knives are designed to comfortably fit any hand and any holding position while delivering effortless cutting performance. 
  • Robust: Natural materials simply age gracefully. The finest Swedish steel blade and rosewood handle are beautiful today and will still be stunning decades later. 
  • Functional: This set is the most functional set you'll ever own, covering most daily kitchen knife tasks. 
  • Safe: The wooden knife holder with embedded earth magnets lets you store and transport your knives safely and easily. The magnetic wooden Sapele case keeps your knives and little ones safe.
The knife case keeps your knives and little ones safe
The knife case keeps your knives and little ones safe

 

 

The G21 Gyuto chef knife excels in small and large tasks
The G21 Gyuto chef knife excels in small and large tasks

 

 

The B13 knife safely carves through Wagyu beef like butter
The B13 knife safely carves through Wagyu beef like butter

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

Over the past two years spent developing the CRUCIAL collection, we have painstakingly thought through every element of its design giving each component purpose without sacrificing form, thus crafting a beautiful product that is intuitive and highly functional.

After hundreds of concept sketches and iterations, we narrowed it down to the most user-centered design concept and began building models, experimenting with them, and testing functional models in real life scenarios. Constructive user feedback from professional chefs and home cooks resulted in more prototype tweaking until our testers and the design team were absolutely satisfied with the final design. At this point, we were ready to begin the design phase for production and the search for materials that fit our vision.

Full Tang Blades: Swedish Sandvik 13c26 Steel

In our quest to determine the best steel to use for the CRUCIAL collection, we prototyped and tested many different varieties, including everything from classic kitchen knife steels and surgical steels to carbon steels and super steels.

Steels like Cowry-X, ZDP-189, Aogami Super, and White Steel, are legendary, but they require a lot of sharpening skills and maintenance experience. After numerous tests, we went with the more user-friendly Swedish Sandvik 13c26 steel (identical to AEB-L) with a hardness of HRC 59-60. This Swedish steel, traditionally used in razors and surgical blades, is impressively durable, has excellent edge performance and retention, yet is easy to sharpen. This steel is seldom encountered in kitchen knives at this price point.

 

Knife Handles: Precious Hardwood

For the handles, we chose sustainably harvested rosewood, a hardwood that is known to develop more character and beauty as it ages. It's the perfect material for pieces made to last a lifetime; heirloom pieces in particular. Adding to the minimalist aesthetic, we felt the rivets shouldn’t be visible.  We attached the handle to the full tang blade using internal rivets through a complex anchoring process made possible through CNC precision cutting. This allowed us to create an extremely strong, yet seamless bond between the steel blade and wooden handle.

After rigorous testing under the most extreme conditions (conditions that would never be encountered at home) our final prototypes remained intact and most importantly — sharp.

The harsh durability test tumbled the knives endlessly in wet sand and rocks.
The harsh durability test tumbled the knives endlessly in wet sand and rocks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Design Process is best explained in this short video. Feel free to browse the Prototype Gallery at the top of the campaign page for more images of the various design and development stages.

 

 

Plasma cutting a small batch of blanks for our working prototypes
Plasma cutting a small batch of blanks for our working prototypes

 

 

A small selection of design iterations and models
A small selection of design iterations and models

 

 

A small selection of design iterations and models
A small selection of design iterations and models

 

 

 

 

Philippe Schlesser, Designer
Philippe Schlesser, Designer

Chatwin is the product line of Chateau de Wintrange of Luxembourg (est 1610). This is one of the very first Luxembourg kitchen knife and dining accessory brands to become available to the international community.

Château de Wintrange, early 1900's
Château de Wintrange, early 1900's

As a product designer and former chef, I took inspiration from many aspects of my life experiences and heritage when building the Chatwin brand. The name, Chatwin, centers around the family estate Chateau de Wintrange. This brand was built to reflect my personal love for all things that age beautifully, and to add a level of quality to daily tasks - like elevating cooking, hosting friends, and the dining experience as a whole.

Since it was built during the Renaissance in 1610, Château de Wintrange has changed ownership many times over the years. My family got the honour of being a part of its rich history as owners in 1938. At this point, my father made it his life's work to restore the chateau to its original glory, mostly with his own hands.

Looking back on memories of life in Wintrange, it has always been a place of magnificent beauty and jubilant gatherings where friends and family along with the surrounding community shared their special moments. With our own gardens, orchards and a small former distillery, these gatherings were almost always centered around great food, which we grew or raised ourselves, and cherishing the entirety of the process from the moment a seed is planted, to harvesting it, preparing it and, enjoying the result of our hard work in the form of a delicious home cooked meal with friends and loved ones.

This focus on food preparation and my family's love and respect for things that are built to last and can be passed down through the generations, have played a major role in the story of the Chatwin philosophy. My inspiration for this project came from an heirloom knife that was passed down to me from my great-grandmother. It's been in my family since the late 19th century.

My great-grandmother's knife
My great-grandmother's knife

Make CRUCIAL a Slice of Your Family's Story

By backing us today, you'll get your very own set of CRUCIAL knives, that will not only enhance your cooking experience but become a piece of your family's history to be handed down through the years.

We'd be very thankful for your support and would feel honoured if our CRUCIAL knives find a home in your kitchen.