Bob Kramer is one of a hundred and twenty-two people in the world, and the only former chef, to have been certified in the U.S. as a Master Bladesmith. To earn that title, which is conferred by the American Bladesmith Society (A.B.S.), Kramer underwent five years of study, culminating in the manufacture, through hand-forging, of six knives, including a fifteen-inch bowie knife. Like a mad alchemist, Kramer, aged fifty, cannot stop tinkering with steel recipes.
The story goes on to mention a two-year backlog created by the quality of his culinary fighting tools, a backlog that continues to this day, though his most recent newsletter mentioned that the end was likely near. Still, every now and then, Kramer lists a knife for sale on eBay, and the response (and cost) is nothing short of astonishing.
The current knife for sale is described as, "a special 8" Chef Knife, of the European style, constructed of Chevron Damascus, with a handle of double-dyed and stabilized Big Leaf Maple." All good, right? Bid price as of this writing: $4,287. The last knife Kramer auctioned in January sold for more than $9,000.
I've never been in the same room as a Kramer knife, let alone ever used one, but Cooks Illustrated said, "The Kramer knife outperformed every knife we've ever rated" and gourmet cooking store Sur La Table liked the shine of Kramer's star enough to ask him to design a full set of knives (costing only $1,500).