“Sharp, my bru”. A bespoke knife by Hennie van Brakel


For a recent birthday, I decided to buy myself a bespoke, hand-crafted knife.

I was in Howick, KZN, at the time and I found a local knifemaker who made this beauty

for me…

How did he do it? This is how my knife was constructed.


This is it began…making certain the blade is straight…

The metal is hardened at 1060 degrees C, followed by tempering at 180 degrees C.


This is the original steel cutout and the version that will become my knife has already been cleaned on the disk grinder.


Fitting the pins through the bolster and the blade


The finished bolster. It almost looks like a solid block of 303 stainless steel.


Handle slabs ready for glueing and the fitting of the fastening pins


Waiting for the epoxy to set. Not a process that can be rushed


Profiling the handle. Once this step is done, the handle is then hand sanded using 600,800,1200 and 2000 grit sandpaper. There is also a LOT of elbow grease that gets used.


Nipping the holes for the stitching. Another painstaking task to make certain that it is perfectly done.



The finished article, together with a leather sheath.

For those who are keen on stats. This is known as a Utility Club knife, Model BL145. The blade is constructed out of N690 stainless steel. The bolster is made of 303 stainless steel and the handle is Tamboti wood.


Hennie has been a member of the KGSA since 2005.

He works in 12c27, N690, Damascus as well as Damasteel.

He forges his own Damascus and does his own heat treatment.

Although he uses old-school methods,

he has embraced modern technology in the form of Laser cutting

and computer-aided design.

Hennie’s specialities include art and folding knives.

To find out more about Hennie and his art, visit: