The cheese grater - a Norwegian adventure
It is almost 100 years since cabinetmaker Thor Bjørklund from Lillehammer took out a patent for the cheese grater. The name "Spar" signaled a clear purpose: Cut the cheese neatly. Behind each planer are around 15 operations, and craft production continues in full swing to this day.
The story goes as follows..
In the 1920s, the brown cheese weighed around four kilos and was far from easy to cut. Thor Bjørklund was more than tired of seeing how the cheese was inevitably spoiled. The master carpenter therefore decided to develop a handy knife that made the cutting process easier for both young and old.
A separate tool that would be kinder both to the cheese and not least to the wallet.
A shrewd businessman
The result was a straight-handled and hand-held planer that received patent number 43377 and the descriptive name SPAR. Already two years later, Thor Bjørklund furnished a suitable premises for cheese grater production in Lillehammer.
Soon he also had his invention patented in Denmark, Sweden and Finland, as well as in Germany, Belgium, Czechoslovakia and Switzerland.
Tove Østerhaug has the title category and order manager and proudly displays the production that is now taking place at Ringebu.
- The Bjørklund company closed in 2009, she says. - After a year it was bought by Gudbrandsdal Industrier AS in Ringebu. But there was no speed in matters again until the subsidiary Giax Produksjon AS took over ownership and took over production again in 2017.
Bjørklund1925 is today the brand name. We produce around 200,000 cheese graters a year. About half of these go to export, she explains.
Proud local business
- Many people think that we get the planers produced in China, but everything takes place here, she emphasizes. - Six year works are associated with the production of Bjørklund1925. We have some other metal production and have a total of 19 employees. That makes us a significant workplace in Ringebu.
When I started in the job, I didn't understand the need for more than one cheese grater for each household. Now I myself have an arsenal at home, she says, laughing. - We produce a range of cheese graters with different cutting properties such as soft cheese graters, cheese graters, universal graters and combi graters with different shafts. Depending on what the customer wants, we stamp logos, shafts, glue or melt different types and colors for shafts.
We buy steel in coils (large rolls). The first step is to punch out the blade, then it is welded to a so-called "tong" that sits between the shaft and the planer blade. The blade is then blown or polished, before being embossed to get the right shape. If the customer wishes, we stamp the logo and make our own gift boxes in wooden boxes.
Another popular product is Klinge from Bjørklund 1925, which means a cheese grater without a handle, - produced with the same technique and quality standard as our other models.
The customers range from ordinary shops to large wholesalers. We now export to most of the world.
It's extra fun that our cheese graters have become a trending product in South Korea, she says happily. - We are constantly working on developing new products. The aim is to have developed the ultimate cheese grater by the 100th anniversary in 2025. Then it will be celebrated!
On the eve, Tove chimes in that it's worth taking the trip to Ringebu because we've now opened a separate shop for Bjørklund1925. There you can see and buy all our great products.
The company that owns and produces Bjørklund1925 is today called Giax Produksjon AS and is located in Ringebu and has 19 employees.
Read more at: bjorklund1925.no
Byline: Trude Henrichsen