I was born in West Yorkshire 1966, where I remained until I moved to Auckland New Zealand in 2012. The move was for 2 main reasons; to build a better work/life balance and access to the great outdoors.
I have loved being in the outdoors most of my life and throughout this time my interest in knives has always been a very pragmatic one based on the tools ability to perform its required tasks in whatever field of interested it was to serve. My interest in knife making came from my dissatisfaction in the performance of the available knives resulting in me doing what my friends called ‘simonising` untold numbers of blades which lead to my early attempts at hand made knives to produce knives better suited to my needs. One of the main things I learned was that a well designed but poorer quality knife would outperform a better made knife of poor design, so I set out to combine the three areas I noted leading to my mantra of the 3 F`s;
Form- the knife design must be correct for its intended purpose Function- the knife must perform as expected/ required. The heat treatment received is far more important in this respect than the steel type used! Finish- whilst I feel this is the least practical of the three areas, it is never the less important as I believe it shows more than the previous areas the makers intent to produce a high quality product
In the early days very little information was available to those not in `the trade` with most information being seen as closely guarded secrets. This inevitably led to a very long learning curve with most information gleaned from many sources such as; woodworking from my dad, a joiner, some metalwork from my Uncle an engineer and leather work by trial and error, three decades of long slow improvement as a hobby, with each lesson hard learned.
Then in early 2016 my son introduced me to the previously unknown world of you tube. This opened a world of previously unavailable information and knowledge leading me down the rabbit hole of the knife maker and leather worker and fueled a passion to build the best knives I was capable of producing. In 2017 I began reducing my hours in my career as a nurse of over 34 years, there were many reasons for this not the least of which was to give more freedom to pursue my goal of making the best working knives out there, a passion which continues unabated to this day albeit was rather curtailed during the world wide Covid epidemic, however I am currently trying to get back on track, never an easy task with small a business.
I work predominantly in carbon steel, wood and leather as I love the way traditional materials age and grow with me, repaying a little love and attention by becoming lifelong friends then heirlooms and shying away from the disposable age. This may be seen as a little old fashioned these days but that`s me and as a good friend, Graeme, told me ‘buy right cry once, buy crap cry twice’, boy is he right! I also love the idea that 1 day, hopefully a long time from now, the things I make will return to the earth from whence they originally came. this cannot be said of stainless steels and plastic.
My love of all things outdoors continues unabated, though life demands don’t always leave me with as much free time to indulge this passion as I would like. However my interests and that of friends gives me the avenue to continually test the real world performance of my blades and designs, whilst examining and testing accepted `popular styles' of knives to meet my 3 F`s, with plans in place to get back to teaching others the great life skills of knife and tool care and how to safely explore and maximize their time outdoors. Cheers Simon