Known for working with unconventional materials, French knife maker Roland Lannier is preparing a new line of slipjoints with handles made of Solid Comic Book, a substance composed of comic book pages soaked in resin.
The first knife to come out of Lannier’s workshop getting the Solid Comic Book treatment is the Spring Heeled Jack. This sizeable slipjoint packs a 3.5” blade made of 14C28N into a knife that weighs just 2.5 oz. The Spring Heeled Jack will also come in carbon fiber and another experimental material that Lannier is keeping secret for now.
Lannier has made knives with vinyl records, guitar fretboards, Corian, bamboo, and punk-style Scottish tartan Micarta. In a world where G-10, carbon fiber and titanium are prevalent, do these playful materials make for good tools, or just good art? “There is no actual technical advantage to these materials,” Lannier acknowledges, but he insists they are hardy enough for any sort of reasonable use of his knives.
Lannier’s work flies in the face of traditional slipjoint handle materials like bone and exotic wood. The 37-year-old suggests that these once cherished substances are meaningless to modern knife users. “When you see what a 30-year-old chef looks like nowadays, you can imagine he won’t like the typical ‘elegant-and-classy-and-art-deco-cutlery’ kind of stuff,” he says.
A search for materials that would resonate led Lannier back to the comics and punk records that he grew up with. “My generation’s culture goes from the punk movement to anime and the internet. If we use this iconic stuff to make real objects and not just cheap gadgets, people will see a bit of themselves in it.”
Lannier hasn’t completely abandoned all the knife making norms of yesteryear. Working out of Thiers, the cutlery capital France, he still maintains an extremely high level of fit and finish. “Of course the crafting and finishing shall be flawless, but the material shall rely on something other than age and rarity.”
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Lannier set up his own knife shop in 2014 after a 17-year stint at Atelier Perceval. Buoyed by sales of high-end steak knives to restaurants around the world, his young business has grown to include two young apprentices. “I want to start something but not to end it. We’re a team, and maybe when I’ll be gone the brand will still be my name, maybe not. I don’t really care.”
Knife featured in image: Roland Lannier Spring Heeled Jack