Arno Bernard Knives
Arno Bernard Sr. started making knives full-time in the mid-90s. His knives were sold world-wide under the well-known name of Arno Bernard Custom Knives.
His eldest son, also named Arno, completed a degree in accounting then formed his own company specializing in South African handle materials, called JAB Manufacturing. In 2005 Arno decided to shift from selling handle materials to creating his own knives, thus Arno Bernard Knives was established.
In 2007 Franco Bernard, the second son, joined the company. Franco is a graphic designer who is also incredibly talented in the process of hand grinding knife blades.
The two brothers worked together to establish their brand in the United States and elsewhere to expand their company and continued to add new models using modern designing and production techniques.
Early in 2013, when the business was firmly established, Arno Sr. began using his lifelong experience in knife making by designing new products, product testing, and production of knives. Later that same year the remaining two brothers, Juan and Ruan Bernard also joined the company as partners. Juan has completed a degree in Marketing and Ruan’s degree is in Computer Sciences.
Arno Sr. and his wife Antjie now spend much of their time traveling about to gather South African handle materials for their family’s knives.
The combined talents and passion of the four brothers and their father form the shape of Arno Bernard Knives as you see here for 2016.
About Arno Bernard Knives:
The Arno Bernard Knives workshop is situated in the outskirts of a South African town called Bethlehem. In addition to the five Bernards, there are also 15 employees who help create the knives. This includes Zine Bernard, Arno’s wife, CFO, and Alta Bernard, Franco’s wife, who is the office administrator.
Each Bernard has a specific role to play in the crafting and producing of the knives. Arno Bernard Sr. is responsible for research and product development. Arno Bernard is the CEO of the company and also works with product development. Franco supervises the grinding team, new product design, and product testing. Juan heads up the handle division and maintenance, and Ruan is the Operations Manager and project coordinator. Of course, all of the brothers have some role in the actual hand finishing of the knives and sheaths.
We design and handcraft our knives using a superior quality steel in combination with authentic South African materials to create unique handles. Our designs are simple, yet beautiful. Though these knives are suited as collector items, they are designed to maximise practicality.
About the blades:
We start with Bohler N690, a high quality stainless steel which is then heat treated and tempered, which hardens the blade to a 59-60 on the Rockwell hardness scale. Using the most modern Haas CNC machines we remove most of the excess material, then each blade is hollow ground freehand and hand-polished.
About the handle materials:
Authentic African materials are used to create the handles, the most popular of which are Warthog Ivory Tusk, Giraffe Bone and Crocodile Hide. (Please refer to the section on handle material descriptions for further information.)
About our designs:
We strive to make knives that represent the array of animals existing in our beautiful country, as well as the many different needs for cutting instruments used here in South Africa.
Our knives are designed using modern technology to achieve time proven results. We use CAD programs to capture the hollow grind that made Arno Bernard knives unique then use CNC machines to remove excess stock material. The rough blanks are then hand ground to the standards that have been part of our family heritage for many years.