This is Antonio Diaz Bermudez of Taramundi a traditional knifemaking town in Asturias. He is heating a bar of high carbon stainless steel in the forge ready to forge a blade.
Now a small piece of boxwood is rough shaped for the handle using this glorious little stock knife.
And a slot cut for the blade to fit into.
Next a metal collar is formed for the handle, this is a tight push fit over the handle which was turned to a conical shape.
The handle is scorched to add a little character.
And sanded smooth.
Now handle and blade are fitted together, just like the Sheffield knives the pivot point is a metal pin though unlike Sheffield knives they do not have a spring, to keep them in open or closed position, they are what are called friction folders.
A quick coat of varnish finishes the wood nicely.
Nice and sharp.
The finished knives.
Well first and most obviously here we have a living craft tradition that has been passed down the generations. One of the reasons that make it viable is that their workshop is very much on the tourist trail. Taramundi is well known as a traditional centre of knifemaking (well maybe not as well known as Sheffield) and the council promote it. This is only one of a range of workshops and working museums which form part of a story showing the history and culture of the area. This small workshop has on average 300 visitors a day during the summer. I imagine a proportion of them buy a knife or two as I did so where Trevor sells his knives all at trade price the Antonios sell them mostly retail.
I suspect it is about more than money though, most craftspeople have a great pride in the skills that have taken many years of practice to develop. The commonly recognised figure is that it takes 10,000 hours practice to master a skill, whether it be becoming an excellent footballer, mastering a musical instrument, or making a folding knife. For a young person to put that degree of effort into something they really need to know that there will be a market at the end of the day but it is also important that there is some recognition of the level of excellence that has been achieved. I think this is perhaps one thing which has been lacking in the traditional crafts in the UK. They have been perceived perhaps as a little amateur, maybe regarded simply as manual labour, something that low achievers and opt out folk do. This could hardly be further from the truth. There are many incredibly highly skilled, highly educated, totally dedicated folk working in the traditional crafts in the UK and I believe that the years that they have put into perfecting those skills will soon be recognised.
I have to say that to leave Sheffield and visit this little town in rural Spain and see the pride and professional marketing of its craftspeople made me feel rather sad that cutlery, knives and steel are not even recognised as being part of Sheffield's cultural heritage let alone supported and promoted. Why is it that it is not possible for a visitor to Sheffield to see a workshop like this?