In an age when so many objects are disposable, quality and timeless design matter more than ever. Our grandparents owned tools that were crafted with care and made to last. The Nita Chef Knife is an homage to the tried and true classic industrial kitchen knife.
Since 2003, professional knifemaker Lucas Burnley has been creating high-end folding and fixed blade knives for his signature line. An extension of that, the BRNLY Brand began as a way for him to experiment with non-knife designs. Over the years, it has become a platform to explore limited-production projects both inside and outside of the knife world.
By selectively partnering with the companies and craftsmen that he loves to work with, the BRNLY Brand strives to connect a larger audience with the high-quality knives, tools, and accessories that make the adventures of day-to-day life more enjoyable.
Lucas and his wife Maddie fell in love with knives at a young age. Lucas’ interest and ultimate career path stemmed from a childhood filled with adventure and outdoor exploration. Maddie’s came from years spent watching her late Grandmother, Anita, prepare meals for her large Irish-Italian family. Neither modern nor pristine, Anita’s simple, wooden-handled kitchen knife was always reliable, always kept sharp, and always used with love.
It’s our feeling that simple objects are made extraordinary by the stories they acquire through use. Anita’s workhorse knife and the stories behind it of love—for family and for good food—inspired Lucas to design and create a daily-use knife that his own grandkids might inherit one day.
What began as a project to build a legacy knife for our own family turned into a two-year journey to bring the Nita Chef Knife to yours.
The Nita features modern materials and construction techniques used in Lucas’ high-end fixed blades, and a design inspired by a time when knives were made of wood and steel. We wanted the Nita to feel like it would have been right at home in your grandmother’s kitchen, but that it's always belonged in yours.
Every detail of the Nita has been thoughtfully designed, considered, re-designed, prototyped, and tested by us. We’re not professional chefs and neither was Anita. We wanted a knife that would handle every job we gave it—and let us feel comfortable doing it. This isn’t a specialty knife, it’s our favorite knife.
- Overall Length: 12 in (305 mm)
- Blade Length: 7 in (178 mm)
- Blade Width: 2 ⅛ in (54 mm)
- Weight: ~ 8 oz Blade
- Steel: Bohler N690 Stainless Steel
- Blade Edge Angle: 15 degrees / 30 degrees Included Angle
- Rockwell Hardness: 58-60 HRC
- Handle Material: Black Canvas Micarta
The Nita Chef Knife was designed for those of us who are just as likely to be cutting the crust off of toast as they are to be following a Blue Apron recipe that calls for a basil chiffonade. Because not everyone has the counter space or comfort level to use a 10-inch blade, the Nita has an approachable 7-inch blade that’s versatile enough to handle all the tasks of a home cook. The Western-style blade is a happy medium of length and width and features an elegant full flat grind. The blade’s distal taper helps the knife feel lighter and more responsive.
As a knifemaker, Lucas feels that the best steel is one well suited for the application at hand. For the Nita, we chose to use BOHLER N690 Stainless Steel from Bohler Uddeholm, a small steel plant in Austria. This steel provides an excellent balance of corrosion resistance, toughness, and hardness - making it an ideal choice for a kitchen knife.
We know you’re obsessive about your favorite kitchen knife. We also know that when you’re not looking, your mother-in-law is going to run it through the dishwasher. For that reason, we’ve chosen to use black canvas micarta for the handle scales—a well-known material in the custom knife industry that’s incredibly durable, has a grain pattern and warmth akin to wood, and also provides an excellent grip when wet.
The Nita Chef Knife features a full tang, which has been relieved under the scales to reduce weight and improve balance. Its geometric teardrop-shaped handle is comfortable to hold and provides a secure grip for many hand sizes. The spine of the knife is also fully rounded for both comfort and aesthetics.
With hard use over time, kitchen knife scales—especially wooden ones—tend to expand and contract. While this is less of an issue with canvas micarta, the Nita was designed with shadowboxed scales creating a small lip between the scales and the edge of the tang to help ensure that your knife looks good 100 years from now. Finally, in keeping with the spirit of Anita’s wooden-handled knife, we have used traditional brass handle hardware for that classic look.
Designed in America, Made in Italy
Through the BRNLY Brand, we're committed to maintaining the same care and attention to detail that Lucas brings to his signature work. Because this is a legacy project at its roots, it was important for us to collaborate with a manufacturer whose values are aligned with ours.
In Fox Knives, a family owned and operated business based in Maniago, Italy, we have found a manufacturing partner who shares our love of quality and has the production capacity to allow us to do a large scale project. With your support, we can fund the first production run of the Nita Chef Knife.
Work Sharp, Stay Sharp
Even the best tools require routine maintenance. We know that knife sharpening can be an intimidating task. For this reason, we’ve partnered with Work Sharp to offer a BRNLY edition M3 Knife Sharpener, a modular Diamond Sharpening Steel and Ceramic Honing Rod, which provides a simple and effective solution for keeping your Nita sharp and ready to work.
Rewards & Add-Ons
To keep things simple, this project will offer the following reward tiers:
- BRNLY Nita 7” Chef Knife
- Nita + M3 Sharpener Set
Choose from just the Nita or as a set with the M3 Sharpener. We are offering the first 100 backers for each reward tier a special Early Bird price. After that, take advantage of a Kickstarter Special price as a thank you for the support in making this project a reality.
Production & Delivery
Once successfully funded, production on the BRNLY Nita Chef Knife will begin immediately. Here is a tentative production and delivery schedule:*
- May: Kickstarter Campaign Launches
- June: Project Ends, 2 Week Wait for Funding
- July: BackerKit Surveys Sent, Production Begins
- October: Early Bird Delivery Begins
November: Normal Delivery Begins
* Please see the “Risks and challenges” section for more detail.
Giving Back: FoodCorps
Anita was the matriarch of the family and incredibly generous with others. In her honor, and with your help, we’d like to also give back. 10% of profits from each Nita Chef Knife will be donated to FoodCorps. Together with communities, FoodCorps is working to create a future in which all our nation’s children—regardless of class, race, or geography—know what healthy food is, care where it comes from, and eat it every day.
This project wouldn’t have been possible without the hard work and generous spirit of so many people.
- Our friend and partner, Joe Wu of Scout Leather Co., talked with us for years about the project, filmed and photographed the Nita, and helped launched this campaign.
- Chef Andrej Klimovsky of Cape Cod Private Dinners shared his kitchen and whipped up some killer salmon for our team.
- Jamie Gregor edited our Kickstarter video beautifully to tell the story of the Nita.
- Wes Newman for the awesome 3D renderings and animation.
We also couldn’t have done this without the love and support of our families, especially the Kropa and Collins families. And finally, a special thank you to Anita, without whom none of this would have been possible. Love you, Grammy.
Risks and challenges
We have done our best to schedule production and delivery dates based on estimates. Unexpected occurrences may delay production or delivery. If that happens, we will update the project with a new schedule.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)