We’re honored to have Böker for our “Know your knife maker” interview series.
1. How did Böker start, and why did you get involved in the knife making business?
A huge chestnut-tree towering above the small Böker hardware-factory in the 17th century is the oldest traceable fact about the Böker family. Due to rising demand in a politically restless era Hermann and Robert Böker decided to start with the production of sabres in 1829. Inventories of september 1830 already prove a weekly production of 2000 pieces, made by 64 smiths, 47 grinders and a large number of labourers. With an ever growing variety of tools and cutlery combined with the possibilities of international marketing the family realised that responsibility assignment was crucial to keep their chances. So Hermann Böker emigrated to found Boker & Co. in New York, whereas the younger Robert established his company in Canada and 1865 a branch of it in Mexico, market leaders under the name of Casa Boker to this very day. Heinrich only crossed the river Wupper to go to Solingen
, where the German cutlery industry was booming, to found Heinr. Böker & Co. with the well-known cutlery-expert Hermann Heuser in 1869.
2. What does a pocket knife represent to you?
The pocket knives are the bread and butter products for our manufactory. We are known worldwide for their quality, craftsmanship and its legendary customer service. But in the meantime, we managed to establish a fine assortment of kitchen cutlery, collector’s knives, sporting knives and straight razors as well. But the pocket knives helped our reputation to grow.
3. What distinguishes you from other businesses in your category?
We are a young team of people, not only working with knives, we live the knives. We are very close to the market, we listen to our customers and willing to change materials or do some test drives on new projects. We can react quickly to a changing demand of our customers by having everything under one roof.
4. Currently, what’s your business biggest challenge?
There is no “biggest” challenge, we try never start becoming static. We are always moving, keeping things rolling and always try to be better than the day before. We keep on developing, improving or re-designing to offer the best available product to our valued customers.
5. What’s the most popular knife that you sell?
Our most popular knife, that we sell is our famous Böker Camp Knife. Its versatility is already legendary. This handy pocket tool offers a variety of different tools, that help you every day
. It is the knife with the biggest number of sales, because since our foundation, we still produce this knife in a slightly different version today.
Böker Camp Knife
6. Are you still improving your products? If yes, how?
As we stated above, we always try to improve. We listen to our customers and test the knives ourselves. We have many different experts in house, everyone in a different section, to ensure, to have a tool, that won’t fail. And if we think they are perfect, we present them to the market.
7. What is your favorite steel to work with? Why?
There is no “favorite” steel. We do pick a certain steel for a certain knife. The purpose of the knife tells us, which sort of steel to use. A hunting knife for example should have a premium steel, because the tasks, to be done are very demanding for a knife. Cutting through bone, fur, meat or fat is a job for a premium steel.
8. How can people keep Böker knives sharp? Would you give them some tips and recommendations?
Our suggestion is, to keep you knife always sharp, try not to dull it completely. If you touch the blade up, strop it with leather. Then you keep the abrasion of the edge to a minimum. This helps to keep the original blade shape.