Steigerwald Pushes Art Knives to Limit

In his workshop in Wendelstein, Germany, Stefan Steigerwald makes incredibly intricate knives. True pieces of art, Steigerwald’s work caters to serious aficionados with deep pockets looking for the centerpiece of their collection. He combines a singular style and meticulous craftsmanship in an utterly memorable way.

Before becoming a knife maker Steigerwald built steam engines, and he also works on watches, motorcycles, and bicycles in his spare time. This experience translates directly into the style of the Biohazard. Its inch thick handle is encrusted with gears and gadgetry. It houses a 3.9” harpoon-style blade and has a unique mechanical action. When the knife is closed, the blade and two-part handle are almost identical length. During opening, the separate halves pull together, creating the illusion of a folding knife with a blade longer than its handle.

The Biohazard’s chassis is made of titanium and a companion knife called the Steampunk comes in bronze. No one will be using their Biohazard or Steampunk to break down cardboard boxes, but Steigerwald does make his mechanical masterpieces functional tools as well. “They are art objects but still able to be used,” he says. Both variations use hardened Damascus steel (stainless Damascus on the Biohazard and carbon on the Steampunk) and feature a lever stop mechanism to keep the blade open. Steigerwald took inspiration from old sailor’s knives for the mechanism, and says it’s somewhere between a back lock and a slipjoint in terms of its functionality.

With a part count of 80 pieces, construction is complex and time-consuming. “Each part is fitted to the other and all knives are a bit different with the materials or gimmicks. So they are unique. That takes a lot of time and patience,” Steigerwald tells us. The process is so painstaking that he only has time to produce five of these knives a year.

> > Keep your folders awesome. Grab a Pack of 5 Microfiber Blade Sleeves for $8.99 < <

The Biohazard and Steampunk sell for approximately $7500. It’s a sizable investment, but Steigerwald presents each customer with additional variety at no additional charge. At any time owners can trade in their knife for a new order of the same value. “It keeps my prices constant, and when I buy back one I have something to offer. I’m booked out for about one year so it`s nice to have something here for new customers,” Steigerwald says. “My customer should trust my work and its value.”

Knife featured in image: Steigerwald Knives Biohazard
VIDEO CREDIT: Maria Stalina