Whether you make things with your hands, eat lunch in an office, travel, or open boxes a nice pocketknife is one of the handier things you can have in your pocket.
We are stocking two very English patterns, both handmade by Taylor Eyewitness, one of the last old line knife making concerms in Sheffield. While most of their current production are modern knives for all sorts of purposes these knives come from their "Premier Collection" of high end folding knives where they still practice the old skills. While these knives are technically production knives, they are made by hand, by a single craftsman basically to order.
The first pattern is the "Barlow", which is the big fat knife. It is a very old Sheffield pattern, introduced by Obadiah Barlow in the late 17th century. It was designed to be a big, easy to hold, chunky, tough working knife. The earliest models were roughly made to cut cost so working craftsman and stockmen could afford them. Over the years fancier versions were made and copied all over the world. These Barlow knives, made in Sheffield, have lots of fancy detailing but still keep their ruggedness without having that "commando" look of so many modern patterns. Closed, the knife is 3 1/2" long and has two blades.
The penknife was and still is a small gentleman’s and gentlewoman’s pocket accessory. Originating from days when literate people needed to routinely trim and shape the tips of their quill pens, I find myself using it constantly for everything from opening the mail at the office to slicing fruit for my son on a trip. This knife is also two bladed and closed it’s a hair over 3" long.
All of the knives have traditional decorative filed springs called a "work back." This is an old style method of decoration and for me makes all these knives special. The Barlow has three brass liners separating the blades but the penknife, to reduce its width, only has two. However the edges of the brass liners on the penknives have milled edges which is another traditional decorative technique that has largely disappeared.
We stock the knives in several "scale" or handle materials. Buffalo horn, which is black and shiny and unlike plastic has a real depth and subtle coloring to it. Rams horn, is also natural and more of a yellow with variations. We have a couple of knives in Ironwood, a hard figured wood that grows in the American South West. In a nod to modernity we decided to also stock limited quantities of knives with carbon fiber scales. The carbon fiber, is lightweight, very strong and polishes up to a great sheen. Because of the way the carbon fibers are laid up there is a patterned embedded in the handle.
The knives make great presents - I should know I bought a few for myself, but they are also a distinctive gift for anyone who values craft history and likes the idea of having something both useful, elegant, and traditional in their pocket.
Made in England.