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About

The Maker

My name is Will and I am the sole craftsman of Newham Knives. I create high performance handmade kitchen and utility knives with quality materials and close attention to detail. Each blade is carefully and precisely constructed and finished to create not only a durable and functional knife but a beautiful one as well.  

I grew up around a workshop and have always had a love of woodwork and making things with my hands. After graduating with a Masters of Architecture and spending a few years working and travelling across Europe and north Africa, i returned home and after years of dreaming of being able to make knives, in 2017, I finally began to teach myself. With a passion for design and functionality, combined with years of hospitality experience (uni life hey!) this has helped as a foundation for the skills and knowledge needed to make these products. 

I know make knives part-time from home in Howden, Tasmania with the support of my partner Nelle.

The Making

I begun by forging 1075 carbon steel and practicing the basics of profiling, grinding, and ergonomics. this knowledge allowed me to begin focusing on stainless steels and was invaluable experience to begin the journey of understanding different grind styles and the correlation with performance. 

Each knife is designed with functionality as the number one priority; this is not only considered in design but also material choice and construction. I have made knives out of a number of steels each suited to different purposes, however, through testing and customer feedback I have focused on a select few steels that I make all my knives from at this stage. These are AEB-L and its almost identical twin Nitro-V, this is a high-quality stainless steel able to achieve a high hardness with good edge retention in both kitchen and outdoor environments. I have recently begun exploring Damasteel RWL-34 stainless powder steel as a premium steel option on custom knives.

AEB-L/Nitro-V is a difficult steel to forge so each blade is made via stock removal.

Each blade is designed then profiled from the steel. I then heat treat the blank. This involves heating the blade to over 1000C and then rapidly cooling or quenching between two thick aluminium plates, this rearranges the grain structure of the steel allowing it to become much harder than in its annealed or softened state. Once the blank is at room temperature (less than 2 minutes) it goes into a cryogenic bath of dry ice and acetone to cool the steel to -78c which further refines the grain structure and allows the steel to reach its full potential. AEB-L and Nitro-V are capable of 63-64hrc. After cryogenic treatment I temper the blade to reduce the brittleness to create a more durable edge. Most full-sized chef knives for example will be tempered to 62hrc, a perfect hardness for holding a razor-sharp edge whilst also being able to be ground incredibly thin and durable.

 

 

Once the heat treatment is completed on a batch of knives, I then focus on one blade at a time.

I grind the blade depending on its function, with flat ground bevels on most utility blades and a convex grind for most kitchen cutlery to aid in food release.

I finish each blade by hand leaving a satin finish with polished spine and choil to round over any sharp edges other than the cutting edge. I then handle each knife with depending on the construction type, whether it is a full-tang, hidden tang or partial tang knife. Material selection for the handle also takes in to consideration the weight of the blade and intended balance, as well as the longevity and hardness depending on the function. For example, brass and synthetic make great bolsters as they are usually harder and have better wear resistance than natural timbers.

 

Each handle is shaped and finished to 2000 grit and oiled and buffed to ensure a comfortable and ergonomic experience when using the knife.

I like to showcase local Tasmanian timbers in my work and have salvaged a number of species including Myrtle, Huon Pine, Blackheart Sassafras, Blackwood, lace She oak to name a few. Whilst I prefer natural reclaimed materials, I do use a number of stabilised wood species as well as synthetic materials and metallics to create my handles.

Once completed I sharpen and rigorously test each knife to ensure it functions as it should before it leaves the workshop.