Jan Wahl – The making of a knife maker

My real introduction to knife making was while I was working at a taxidermy. There, one of my colleagues made a quick knife out of an old band saw blade. Looking at him as he made the knife, I thought by myself… how nice would it be if one of my grandchildren could one day say: “My grandfather made this knife!”

It was at that moment that my fascination with the knife making process started.

 I made my first knife out of a mild steel flat bar, not knowing anything about knife steel. My Father found a knife maker and blacksmith that lived near our town and I started working at his place and learnt the basics of knife making from him. I also bought one of his belt sanders.


After six months I started working on my own from home. During my years at Varsity, I could only work on my knives during weekends and holidays, and as the responsibilities of life started getting more demanding, the time available for knife making got even less.

 After losing my job, my father-in-law convinced me to pursue my passion, knife making, full time. Before that conversation I was too scared to take that step, but knowing that someone supported me, gave me courage.

I started my full-time knife making career in 2009 and I’m loving it every day!

In 2012 I became a proud member of the Knife makers guild of South Africa!