A Cut Above The Rest.
In addition to being the creator of the Philly-based bespoke forgery, founded in 2012, Balkovic also serves as its CEO, creative director, marketer, chief fabricator and sales coordinator. He is the steadily growing company’s only employee – and he’s happy to report that he’s got an excellent relationship with his supervisor.
“When I come to work now, I do whatever the hell I want,” he said. “It’s very fulfilling.”
Look at the pieces Balkovic, a native of the small York County town of Dillsburg, produces with his bare hands, and it’s easy to assume he’s been at the craft for years, apprenticing under an experienced blacksmith, or maybe an elderly Japanese blade-maker.
But while the work screams veteran craftsman, Balkovic has been at this for only a few years and is entirely self-taught.
Right now, in his inventory there’s a nearly foot-long chef’s knife, made from raw, military-grade 52100 carbon steel and mounted on a gorgeous polished handle of rare Southeast Asian amboyna burl. There’s a one-of-a-kind hunter’s blade that Balkovic tricked out with a .44 Magnum casing in the base of the grip, and an elegantly curved fishing knife, complete with cocobolo handle and built-in bottle-cap remover.
The level of detail speaks to Balkovic’s acuity for this type of labor, where singular focus informs the quality of the final product. His career before this one, however, found him focusing on the tastes of others.