Maker Profile: Crafting Steel with Nate Bonner of NHB KnifeWorks
Knife-maker Nate Bonner is combatting dull knives in the kitchen in more ways than one with his beautiful and functional products at NHB KnifeWorks. Specializing in hand-crafted steel knives and hand-cast knife handles, Bonner combines traditional Japanese and Western knife-making with his experience as a personal chef to create quality culinary knives.
A quick chat with Bonner reveals his influences and details of an upcoming collaboration with Qui Tran of Mai Lee.
What do you make?
Quality culinary knives made in the USA.
Where did you learn your craft?
From various professional knife-makers. My favorite works at Silver Dollar City!
What is your design process?
I base my designs on my knowledge and experience as a professional chef.
Can you describe your creation process?
I start old-school, with pencil and paper. When I’m satisfied with the basic design, I start looking at angles and degrees.
What materials do you use?
Stainless, carbon and Damascus steel for the blades. Primarily wood or wood and resin for the handles, although I’ve used various materials in the past.
Where do you do your work?
In our factory/shop at 4155 Beck Avenue, St. Louis, Missouri 63116.
What are your influences?
Traditional Japanese and Western knife-making. My style is a combination of what I consider to be the best of both. I design knives that I know will work well for my customers, chefs and other people who are passionate about culinary arts.
Where does your creative inspiration come from?
Nature. I’m an outdoor person and I love fishing and hiking. I want my knives to be relaxing to use.
What led you to start NHB Knifeworks?
My step-mom, Melody Noel, and I both wanted to start new careers and wanted to do something as a joint venture. I was always passionate about knife-making and she was game, so NHB KnifeWorks was born!
What are a few of your best sellers?
Our Thai Basil line has been very popular, in part, because Tom Colicchio, of Top Chef, chose the line to be part of his curated collection. Our Burnt Orange line is also popular. We also have a new line coming out soon that’s going to be awesome!
Do you have any upcoming collaborations?
Yes, we are collaborating with Qui Tran from Mai Lee on two new knife shapes, a Chef and a Santoku. The line is call Qui by NHB.
You can find NHB KnifeWorks products online or locally at Bertarelli Cutlery, 1927 Marconi Ave, The Hill, 314.664.4005 and Cassandra Erin, 112 S Main St., St. Charles, 636.573.0133.
As Masaharu Morimoto said, “A kitchen without a knife is not a kitchen.”