With a Granddad whose hobby was repairing old pocket knives and a father who collects antique swords, it seemed natural for Paul-Emmanuel to start making knives;
what started as a simple pastime soon became a passion.
Knives are one of the oldest and most essential tools known to mankind and, from the firsts ones made of obsidian, then bronze and finally steel, they have accompanied us for tens of thousands of years. We all use them every day; for food preparation, hunting, fishing, camping, whittling or simply opening cardboard boxes.
“What I really enjoys is the diversity of skills involved in hand-crafting a knife, and it is a constant learning process.”
Hand-made knives are a work of art; making the blade is complex and requires extreme precision with numerous steps and techniques, but that's just the beginning. Hardwood, burl, horn, bone or deer antlers are worked to make handles. Leather sheaths are cut, shaped, dyed, and hand stitched.
The handles can then be wrapped, carved, sculpted, inlaid, or scrimshawed depending on the desired finish, and blades can be decorated using traditional aqua forte technique, file work or be engraved.
“I generally do all of the above myself from scratch, but I sometimes collaborate with other craftsmen and artists.” Every knife is unique and is made to the requirements of the person who has commissioned it and it will be theirs for life, explains Paul.
Women generally prefer a smaller handle and a lighter blade but a recent request came from a French chef with huge hands who finds factory-made knives too small ! It takes countless hours and specialised tools and equipment to make a knife.
“I can't sell them for what they are really worth as no one would be able to afford them. It is, therefore, a labour of love !”Admits Paul