Lucas Burnley Caters to Home Chefs with the Nita

Lucas Burnley is trying his hand in a new field with the Nita kitchen knife. This classic chef’s knife takes inspiration from iconic industrial design of the 20th century and aims at users within and without the knife community.

The Nita project was born when Burnley saw an old, well-used kitchen knife passed down through his wife’s family. He sought to emulate the functionality of the mid-size kitchen knife that was a given in American home kitchens throughout the 20th century. “Many of the old kitchen knives are so simple and so commonplace, that they became iconic designs without even trying,” Burnley says. Known for his clean, modern style that often blends Eastern and Western influences, Burnley chose to rethink his approach for the Nita. “I went through quite a few renditions and concept pieces, but in the end I realized that if I wanted to keep the Nita true to intent I would have to work with a more limited palette.”

The Nita has a 7-inch cutting edge, a gentle sweeping curve terminating in a fine point. Its handle scales are secured by three brass pins, hearkening to the pin pattern on old American kitchen cutlery. The look is traditional, but Burnley found room to play in materials and build quality. He chose N690 for the blade steel, Micarta for the scale material, and Fox Knives as the manufacturer. “I come from the custom knife world, so I did want high-end materials and fit and finish,” he tells us. “This is basically built like a custom knife.”

Burnley produced a few custom kitchen pieces in his career, but the Nita is breaking new ground in his BRNLY line of production pieces. He acknowledges that not all knife enthusiasts are interested in kitchen cutlery in the same way as they are in folders and fixed blades, but sees potential for that to change. No knife sees as much use a kitchen knife, especially as services like HelloFresh and Blue Apron continue to grow, encouraging people to cook at home. “Kitchen knives are so cool because food prep is a basic human necessity,” says Burnley. “The way we saw tactical knives take off with collectors, I think kitchen knives have that same potential.”

The Nita will join the BRNLY label as a continually-offered product after its successful Kickstarter ends. Burnley tentatively plans to add additional kitchen knives to BRNLY at some point. “I would like to grow the Nita line. It’s such a simple platform that it lends itself to expansion.” This project has been two years in the making. He hopes the particular utilization of Kickstarter will bring in additional people outside of the knife world into the BRNLY ecosystem. “Our hope with this Kickstarter project is that people inside and outside of the knife industry will be able to connect with the product and the story behind it.”

Knife featured in image: BRNLY Nita

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