Introducing the Desk Knife

Whether it’s in the comfort of your own home, working on the Great American Novel — or adrift in a sea of cubicles, reporting to middle management — a person’s desk is a highly personal and often sacred space. It’s where many of us are planted for hours every day, attending to our work.

The only near-given in the contemporary deskscape is the computer, the defining tool of our age. But there are a few other items we’ve found object-conscious people often carefully consider in crafting their work environment. For us, it’s the pen, the notebook, the calculator, and the cutting tool. These are the four physical objects we reach for again and again in the course of a day. We’re big believers in making lists and sketching ideas, so the pen and paper follow. And we also have to crunch numbers quite frequently, anything from dollars and cents to dimensional analysis.

And finally, we receive a relatively endless deluge of mail and packages: bills, checks, raw materials, packing supplies. On a daily basis each of us reach for a cutting tool multiple times, but the right one was rarely close enough. Scissors are awkward for opening boxes, letter openers are dull, and pocket knives belong in your pocket. The tool we desired was something we had to make for ourselves.

Drawing inspiration from the Japanese kiridashi knife, we set out to make something elemental and functional, but with a form factor more closely related to a writing tool. We also drew on our experience designing and manufacturing the Ripple Opener, starting with ⅝” round stainless bar stock and working with a subtractive process to cut material away. We first notched the material  at ½” intervals to provide grip — and allow the knife to double as a quick visual ruler — then made two compound cuts to create the cutting edge. The flat ground edge is easy to maintain, meaning it’s simple to hone if you ever need it razor sharp.


The result is the Desk Knife, a multipurpose cutting tool that rests elegantly on a tabletop, as though its emerging from the surface, inviting you to pick it up. It’s become our go-to blade for all simple cutting tasks, and it gets the job done. Grab one here.