Muddy says: Never thought you’d see a bespoke knife company on Muddy? Me neither, but it turns out I was wrong. Check out the best, the smartest and the very coolest personalised knives for Father’s Day, Christmas, or just for summer BBQs
Right, you Muddy lot, it’s time to get overexcited about blacksmith’s forges, iron hammers and brooding men – or is that just me and my Poldark fetish? When we were invited down for a chat with the chaps at artisan knife company Savernake Knives, we were seriously impressed.
I never thought I’d get excited about a kitchen knife, but I’m sure the divine Savernake boys wouldn’t mind me saying they’ve turned me. Established in July 2017, Savernake is the brainchild of Laurie Timpson and Philip Shaw, who between them have been in the Scots Guards, cleared land mines in Mozambique, mined for gold in Liberia, run power stations in Nairobi, managed pubs, run safaris and learned to track wild animals with the Maasai. Phew. Now, using unique Formula 1 technology and a machine made for precision engineering, the pair design and make bespoke (and seriously stunning) kitchen knives.
Now, we’re not talking any old Zwilling or Messermeister (are you impressed yet?) here – these knives are handmade in rural idyll deep in the Wiltshire countryside, and can be personalised and customised to within an inch of their lives. Choose your design and then the handle (I’ll go for pink marbled, please, although you can also choose anything from rosewood to Mozambican hardwoods sourced from a local Wilts company who actually plant the trees in Mozambique before exporting to the UK. One of Savernake’s clients even had their walnut floorboards taken up, which the boys treated and then made into handles), colour, pins, the finish on the metal…you can even have your name engraved on the blade. There are 21 different designs in Savernake’s customised range, from specialist filleting knives to household chefs knives, Japanese to European style, plus carving sets and steak knives. Bespoke knives are designed from scratch, often in collaboration with the client, before a prototype is made, then the knife is fitted (seriously, who knew knives got their very own fitting?), before the final product is delivered – all within an 8 week period. In fact, Savernake are the only source for fully tailor-made kitchen knives in the whole of Europe, unless you want to wait months or pay a king’s ransom. And when the boys aren’t creating bespoke knives or working on their customised collection, they experiment and make even more knives, y’know, just for fun.
A big Muddy tick goes to their use of sustainable wood and local materials – the knives are presented in leather wraps from Lambourn saddler E J Wicks or gorgeous wooden boxes from Paul Swan Woodcraft in Ramsbury. It’s all pretty damn sexy.
Whether it’s a knife for a ‘proper’ cook or a carving set for a wedding present, these make seriously cool gifts. I love their new BBQ collection, designed in collaboration with chef Neil Rankin of Temper fame. Their authenticity, use of local suppliers and their combining of the very best of modern technology with age-old techniques in the quest to make the very best chef’s knife possible, make Philip and Laurie true British craftsmen.
Their workshop is worth a visit too – they seem to exist in a state of mayhem yet almost magically manage to produce chef’s knives of great deliberation and distinction. If you’d like to watch two grown men scrabble about trying to remember where they last put the kettle, go on, pop by.
When their knives are not in the uber-professional hands of celeb chefs Mark Sergeant, Emily Watkins or Paul Ainsworth (local chefs at Three Tuns, Great Bedwyn and The Harrow at Little Bedwyn have also managed to get their hands on a knife or two), they can be found prowling around prestigious Pub in the Park, Taste of London or The Big Feastival. The boys are also set for Best of Britannia in London this October.
Honestly, who knew knives could be this glamorous?