Together with the crowd we’re hacking the cookware industry. Like kitchen pirates we’re evading the big brands by creating chef-grade cookware for a fair price with top manufacturers who normally only produce for elite brands. Without paying for the big brand frills like marketing, middlemen and sky-high margins.
Crowd Cookware’s adventure started last year: with two campaigns and over 5.000 backers we kickstarted our Blackbeard pans. After we delivered our pans according to schedule, we’re launching our next, most ambitious hack: the Wigbold chef’s knife. Designed on our crowd’s request.
All hands on deck, pirates! Meet the Wigbold: our bold and lifelong-sharp chef’s knife. Made of strong German stainless steel. Named after the German pirate Wigbold, often described as the brains behind the pirate band. The most important feature of a chef’s knife is that it needs to be razor- sharp. However, 'just' sharp is not what we aim for: Wigbold needs to be your sharp matey over a lifetime. To realize this, we took bold design decisions and pushed the boundaries of manufacturing possibilities beyond premium standards.
Like the Japanese, we’d like to believe your soul goes into the knife once you start using it. When the knife is chosen, the bond is eternal. With Crowd Cookware’s Wigbold chef’s knife, we wanted to create the boldest knife, designed to last a lifetime and beyond
We found the ultimate ratio between sharpness and strength: not too thick for optimal slice performance, not too thin, so the cutting edge won't lose strength. Wigbold’s blade is made of tough German stainless steel, with a Rockwell Hardness scale of 55-57.
The heel of the blade is 23% wider than overpriced premium chef’s knives for intensive use. We also made sure the blade is 18% bigger than elite standards, resulting in a longer cutting edge for optimal slicing. Because the blade is bigger, you can sharpen over a lifetime.
The Wigbold is razor-sharp: with extreme accuracy, Wigbold’s cutting edge is sharpened on both sides with respectively 12-14 degrees to make sure the cutting edge is perfectly balanced.
Similar to the design of our Blackbeard pans, Wigbold’s blade is mirror-polished which reduces food sticking to the blade and makes the design look sleek and minimalistic.
The blade flows seamlessly into the handle, which is carefully finished with Crowd Cookware’s well-known honeycomb pattern from our pans to ensure grip. The curves of the knife fit the contour of your hand perfectly, no matter how big or small your hand is. With a small touch, we’ve designed the angles of Wigbold’s heel in the shape of hexagon.
Each Wigbold will be send to our backers with a sharpening stone with code 1000/6000, to maintain your cutting edge.
Although Wigbold's stainless steel is dishwasher safe, we strongly recommend cleaning your knife by hand wash. The banging around that happens in the dishwasher can damage the cutting edge of your knife.
We created a bigger blade to sharpen your knife more easily, and you'll receive a sharpening stone with your knife so you can re-sharp your knife at home. Our video shows you how to sharpen your knife. Lifetime sharpness is Wigbold's treasure. So are you unable to re-sharp your knife? Then our pirate code gets you off the hook: send your Wigbold chef’s knife to our Crowd Cookware’s crow’s nest and we’ll return it razor-sharp for free. Sharp for decades, without losing the stature of a pirate cutlass.
Within a year, Crowd Cookware evolved into a worldwide community of kitchen pirates creating their own chef-grade cookware for a fair price. How? By using a smuggling route to top manufacturers who normally only produce for elite brands.
All funds we raised, and those raised in the future, will be spend on creating high-quality pirate cookware. We don’t believe in the big brand frills, including fake stories with hired actors, big film crews and polished voice-overs. We’re real pirates and we love real stories and actions, just like our founder Tacco’s striking Dunglish. Let’s cut off the overpriced price tags of chef’s knives, which force you to pay for the brand’s name inscription, marketing and extensive distribution networks.
Our first treasure was the non-stick, non-scratch Blackbeard frying pan: Kickstarter’s biggest food success last summer. During this campaign, our crowd asked us if we could make a set of pans and matching lids. So we did with a second campaign: we launched the complete Blackbeard Armada cookware set. Both campaigns mobilized over 5.000 kitchen pirates to our cause, from which 60% are using the Blackbeard frying pan 3-5 a week, and another 30% 1-2 days a week, according to our recent study.
We never stop listening to our community and firmly believe that we can improve our cookware together: we use surveys, visit our backers and organize feedback nights. When a significant part of the crowd - more than 40% - indicated that it was time to hack a chef’s knife together - we accepted the challenge. The journey took us almost a year, but now we’ve dug up another treasure.
When creating a knife, the Rockwell Heat Treatment machine is the holy grail for accurate determination of the Rockwell scale: the hardness of the steel of a chef’s knife.
All hands hoay pirates: the scales premium brands share are often measured by steel manufacturers instead of knife manufacturers, who treat their steel in various ways when creating a knife. To produce at an industrial scale, top brands work with different steel and knife manufacturers who don’t measure heat treatment at all. With different scales as a result.
For our Wigbold chef’s knife, we wanted to be 100% sure about the Rockwell hardness of our knives. That meant no compromising on the production process. We partnered up with an elite knife manufacturer that only works for the elite brands and measures heat treatment after the production process, with extreme accuracy. With a guaranteed Rockwell Hardness scale of 55-57, as a result.
We, as Crowd Cookware, chose German steel over Japanese steel, because it’s stronger, more resistant to high temperatures and more wear-resistant. Japanese steel might be stronger due to a higher volume of carbon, but the knife itself is more fragile and more susceptible to rust.
We’ve made a name for ourselves in the cookware industry. Many manufacturers who only produced for renowned brands want to join our journey and sail to fair prices together. After establishing a relation with a rebellious pan-whisperer, we’re expanding our pirate crew with a top-notch manufacturer who is just as sharp as their knives.
Right from the beginning, it was our goal to extend the maximum lifespan of a chef's knife. Similar to our non-stick, non-scratch frying pans: we extended the lifespan of regular non-stick layers to at least 5 years instead of 1 or 2 years.
We did some research on how to extend the lifecycle of a knife. It turned out a knife has to be sharp for lifelong use. To keep a knife sharp, you have to sharpen it. Since the blade gets a fraction smaller after every sharpening process, we decided to make Wigbold's blade bigger.
We definitely wanted to add our Blackbeard signature to the knife: our honeycomb framework serves as an anti-slip grip of the knife.
Together with our pirate crowd, we have created these final prototypes, but when going into production there are always details that can be adapted, for example: the exact placing and pattern of the honeycombs on the grip. By now, we take pride in not only going great lengths to attend to the tiniest details, but also inviting our crowd to stay informed through our updates and provide us with feedback and suggestions through the comments and our surveys.
We can’t wrap our tricornes around the fact that other designers, brands and manufacturers aren’t using the wisdom of the crowd. We’ll go on and on, and strongly believe that we can create anything for a fair price as long as we have you, our crowd, by our side. Thanks a million, pirates!
This project is promoted by Jellop, the ad tech power behind the best Kickstarters with 650+ successful Kickstarter projects with over $300MM raised between them.
Risks and challenges
With the Wigbold chef’s knife, we’re launching our third campaign on Kickstarter within 12 months. So far, we’ve managed to design, produce and deliver chef-grade frying pans to our backers. All according to schedule. We learned a lot and we’re taking this into consideration during our next adventure!
Similar to the two campaigns before we’ve run a pilot production round with a manufacturer that produces chef’s knives on scale for premium brands. Now we’re ready to go!
Logistics is our core business. Over the past six years, we have bought more than one million remnants kitchen tools of premium brands premium brands. We sent these to (e-)retailers around the world to make sure these kitchen tools would still be used. This experience is what enables us to hack the cookware industry. We will ship all Wigbold chef’s knives directly from the factory to your home.
We will keep you posted
Although we’re doing everything we can to make sure our campaign runs smooth, there are things that can go wrong that are beyond our control. Setbacks, such as delays at the port due to an overcrowded port, can always occur. However, our motto is: ‘for every problem there is a solution’. We’re ready to hack the industry together with you!
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