If you’ve never heard of Ball and Buck, then perhaps the company’s phone number will help serve as a shortcut to understanding what the brand is all about. The number is:
That 617 area code tells you they’re based in Boston, and that’s not an irrelevant detail here, what with all the history and patriotism and whatnot. The 262 part? That’s just three numbers that happen to be together. The 1776? Well, that’s pure America, baby. And in some ways, many ways, even, so too is this brand. It says it right there on the site: EVERYTHING MADE IN USA
Ball and Buck is a purveyor of fine clothes, accessories, and sundry goods intended for use by the rugged but refined gentleman. If you know how to make a perfect Old Fashioned and also once built a fire using some goddamned flint and steel, chances are you’re going to like that they have to offer.
And if you know that part of enjoying a great steak is slicing into that ribeye/fillet/flat iron with a great steak knife, then you’re probably going to want to go ahead and order this $198 Premium Steak Knife Set that comes from a collaboration between Ball and Buck, R. Murphy Knives, and Boston HandyWorks. (Yes, that’s 198 bucks for a set containing four knives, AKA $49.50 per knife. But not exactly that math, because the box is so lovely… but yeah, expensive. And yeah, worth it. Read on.)
First let’s talk about the knives
There are four of ’em. Each knife in the set has a 5-inch, full tang blade made out of 420HC high carbon stainless steel. The blades are mounted into their elegant walnut handles with solid brass rivets. They balance beautifully in your hand, and Jesus H. are they sharp. Like surgical instrument sharp. Like Connery’s Bond in a tux sharp. Like… they have a very fine edge, is the point I want to make clear. The blades are fashioned by R. Murphy Knives, a company based in Avery, MA, and dedicated to crafting peerless cutting implements. (When the company was founded back in 1850, they made dental and surgical tools, so go figure.)
Now let’s talk about the box
Sure, you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but let’s be honest: presentation matters. You got dressed before leaving the house today, right? (Or… maybe you’re not leaving the house today?) You put a sprig of parsley atop your entree, yes? Well the box in which these steak knives are stored is every bit as elegant as the knives themselves. It’s hand-crafted out of polished American maple wood and features four magnetic closure points that ensure it stays sealed unless you wish otherwise. It looks great, and it does its job.
But that’s not what’s important here: the reason this elegantly simple knife box is notable is that the brand behind it, Boston HandyWorks, is dedicated to helping people out of homelessness. And not through handouts, but through the teaching of a trade that leads to meaningful employment. They “provide on-the-job training and transitional employment opportunities to individuals who have experienced homelessness and have been estranged from the workforce.” So that lovely box containing your lovely steak knives? That box was made by someone on their way to making something of themselves, one piece of woodwork at a time.