Sheffield is a city famed for a few things, its music, the home of football and its beer but wherever you are in the world, say you’re from Sheffield and they’ll know the city because of our heritage, our steel.
There’s a reason we’re called the Steel City, our cutlery is as iconic as the Brooklyn Bridge, made from Sheffield’s steel! You might think that this is just part of our history but our heritage lives on.
We caught up with Alex from APOSL Knives Sheffield who’s been working with steel since his teens, he’s now crafting bespoke chef knives whilst bringing a breath a fresh air to a tradition that has been fading away.
I learnt the art of crafting knives in Sheffield as a teenager, for over a decade I have refined this art. I studied industrial product design at university and I am a qualified design engineer. Designing and crafting knives is escapism for me, allowing me to become completely encapsulated in the full process, from a concept to a functional beautiful kitchen tool to last a lifetime.
Why & when did you start the business?
I started the business three years ago, as I had previously been commissioned to design knives for top chefs and I wanted to blend this knowledge base, collaborating with local artists to bring new, exciting cutlery using only the highest quality Sheffield Steel and unique sustainable handle materials.
The mission is to offer professional chef’s knives that combine durability and strength with unrivalled aesthetic appeal. Each APOSL knife is made with the utmost attention to detail. These are tools to rely on and take pride in – tools that incorporate the finest materials and the highest production values which we can then work with the customer to provide something truly unique.
How long does it take to make your product?
Each knife takes north of 60 hours to complete. Going through several processes:
Why do you think Sheffield’s links with steel are still so relevant?
We are able to utilise the core knowledge and processes provided by the talented Sheffield industry. From the metallurgy expertise producing the SF100 stainless steel, to the steel hardening experts heating steel to a glowing orange, quickly quenching and tempering, to the craftsmen that get their hands dirty to shape the handles and the artists that create truly inspirational pieces.
What is your favourite thing about running your own business?
APOSL Sheffield gives me the opportunity to work with all areas of creativity. I predominantly enjoy working with the customers to create the final touches to their knife to further personalise, creating a tool they will cherish.
What do you love about Sheffield?
The people that have shaped me and given me guidance and the knowledge base to do something I love.
What independent business in Sheffield can we find you in (apart from your own)?
The Beer Engine, cracking pint.