What does a knife maker do on holiday? Go and visit other knife makers of course!
Last year a friend told me about this little village in North Spain that is famous for its folding knives and this year it was top of the list to visit.
Taramundi is a beautiful old village surrounded by green mountains and crystal clear rivers. Knife making has been carried out there for centuries and it was good to see it still going strong with several factories and independent makers still in the village.
Most of the knives made are small folding knives and a trip to the museum showed that many of the designs have been the same for generations.
While the majority of the knives are now made in small factories using machines each of the handles is individually decorated and the marks are unique to the different makers and I really liked the way it gave much more character and personality to the knives than standard factory knives.
Independent maker Pedro Bermudez and some of his knives...
One of the most interesting things about Taramundi was that many of the machines used to be powered by water and one of the makers had even built a fully water powered workshop. He had saws, drills and grinders all running from a single water pipe. It was an amazing invention and one I’d love to replicate one day if I ever get a workshop with a source of water nearby!
I had to get a few knives of course and my little boy is now proudly showing off his Taramundi knife to his friends!
It’s a beautiful little village, full of history and knives of course, well worth a trip if you are in that area!
As you may know I don’t normally take on custom orders but when I got an email from Trudi about a knife for her son’s 21st birthday it was such a lovely story I couldn’t say no!
Trudi was incredibly proud of her son Russell, who had worked really hard to become a successful chef at just age 20, winning numerous awards whilst still at college and currently working at Michelin starred restaurant Moor Hall. His 21st birthday was coming up and she had an idea for a really special present.
When he was just 5 days old they planted a blue cedar tree and she wanted a knife made with a piece from the tree. Now I can’t resist a bit of wood with a story and with a year until his birthday I agreed to make it.
Blue Cedar wood turns out to be a bit tricky to use, it’s quite a soft wood so I decided to try something a bit different and set some of the pine needles in resin. I asked Trudi to post me a box of needles which she told me was the strangest package she had ever posted especially when asked about the contents and if they needed insuring.
I set them just in time as soon after they went as brown as a January Christmas tree and as crumbly as apple crumble! I then fitted slices of the cedar wood on either side and matched it with purple stabilised maple. The handle is an unusual design, it has a convex grind and I squared off the end, not something I normally do but something that fit with the style of the knife.
The knife was picked up on the day of his birthday by Russell with his family, not a bad present for a 21st and one that I think he was pretty happy with!
In his own words...