I am Andre Grobler, I make kitchen knives by hand since 2014, barring a brief stint around 2002? But thinking knives since I was three… and sharpening them since I was 15. I am a trained Ecologist and SACNASP registered professional natural scientist. I take a holistic view in life, food and knives. I love making all types of knives, including razors and hunters and utility knives
Knife making influences
My vision for a knife is that a good knife is a specialized tool that excels at it’s designed for tasks. This means that you can have more than one knife, and that the belief in the ONE and ONLY best knife is a fallacy… to me.
I like the Japanese take on kitchen knives, but am slowly developing my own signature, principally because a really great Japanese kitchen knife will not be suitable for the average or even above average western kitchen. It will typically not be suitable for the average Japanese kitchen either…
How I make knives
I make knives by hand from stainless and non-stainless steels through the stock removal method, and prefer to use natural handle materials, i will use synthetics on request.
What makes a good knife
The choice of steel is perhaps 2% of the performance of a knife… yet it gets fixated upon by so many people. In reality the geometry is the single most important factor to how well a knife cuts. Ergonomic considerations are possibly a short bit behind that. Quality of the heat treat and then the actual choice of steel only becomes evident when the above has been met.
The combination of excellent heat treat and steel gives the maker the freedom to optimize the edge geometry more. Metallurgy is quite a complex field, luckily the part that concerns knife edges are fairly narrow and just requires attention to detail. There are excellent resources on the web for the OCD knifemaker.
I heat treat my own knives since 2016, I feel the edge geometry needed for kitchen knives require the best heat treat I can do, no corners cut. I use heat treat schemes which are based on best practice in the industry, but specifically those practices which maximizes the strength and toughness of the steel matrix – for the type of knives I make – this has outperformed all other factors.
I often collaborate with customers who want a knife from me that fits their belief systems about knives. But need some freedom to impart my own flavour to the knife, and look carefully at functionality. That said considering your requirements is a fundamental part of my solution driven creativity.
What can you expect of my handmade knives?
I make the best knives I reasonably can in the current moment. After that brief stint in 2002 I delayed making knives for at least 13 years because i couldn’t do everything perfectly, i just stopped doing that recently. So my knives do not have perfect fit & finish, yet. My knives are functional tools, I create the best aesthetic work I can within that description…
These knives have good edge holding for their purposes.
My knives really really cut well for their specific purposes.
I make knives that feel great in the hand – this sometimes require custom handle fitting if our hands are too dissimilar.
I sharpen people’s knives and sometimes I find I have to re-profile these kitchen knives so that they may actually cut, but I ask before I do this. My passion for sharp things extend to hairdressing shears or scissors for a select few people that recognise the effort and skill required to do a good job of it.