Ostap Hel Talks About His Second Design for We Knife Co.

Ostap Hel second collaboration for We Knife Co., the Peer, is arriving at last. The knife was first shown off a year ago and, now that its release is nearly upon us, we reached out to Hel to discuss the knife’s origins.

Hel likes to draw on varied sources for his knife designs; the name “Peer” points us in the direction of this one’s inspiration. In England, a “peer” is any person with a rank in the nobility: duke, viscount, earl, baron, or marquess. While these titles maintain in some form today, for many people they mainly conjure images of medieval life – one facet of which was swordplay. The classic English straight sword was a standby for hundreds of years, in dozens of roles – and Hel says its clean look originated the Peer’s design.

Even though Hel’s personal style melds innately with the linear look of the straight sword, adapting a weapon-sized blade into a compact, folding package was not easy. “The biggest challenge was obviously the size – to be precise, blade to handle length ratio,” Hel elaborates. “In swords and other fixed blades it’s not a problem, however in folding knives it’s one of the biggest challenges for a designer.”

Hel tells us that he always strives to get that ratio as close to 1:1 as possible. “Usually pure ‘numbers’ are not enough – the handle just has to be longer to cover the folded blade,” he explains. “That’s where the real designing process starts.” By leveraging different visual elements, you can make a blade seem shorter, longer, or thicker than it actually is. “In the Peer this role is played by the narrowness placed at the Golden Ratio point, right behind the main pivot screw,” Hel concludes.

This minute attention to detail gives the Peer has a blade of 3.46 inches, with an overall length of 7.94 inches and a weight of just 2.55 oz. And by partnering with We Knife Co. on this one, and situating it within their premium line, Hel was able to implement the sort of finishing touches that bring the design together. He brings special attention to the lock, an inset frame lock situated beneath a scale, like a liner lock would be. “This solution combines advantages of both locks – the visual symmetry of a liner lock and hardened steel insert with thicker lock bar of a frame lock.”

Hel isn’t afraid to shift between the budget and premium production realms. He tells us that both categories have their advantages. “Some of my complex ideas (like the Peer) require the best possible manufacturing solutions to achieve preferred results. However it’s also fun to create something simpler and more affordable from time to time.”

The Peer is expected to arrive later this month, alongside some other new We Knife releases. Stay tuned for more coverage of these models.

Knife in Featured Image: We Knife Co. Peer

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