A chance to learn new skills

We had the opportunity to try something new whilst on the west coast of the south island; Knife making. This is something that Jenny and I have been interested in for a while. A good quality bushcraft knife can cost £100’s. There are lots of different styles of knife and we weren’t sure exactly what we were in for with the course, but it came highly rated. So we booked in a few months before we left. Incidentally this was our first ‘hard’ date. Up until this point we’d given ourselves plenty of flexibility to allow for buying a van.

Location, location, location

Barrytown is a very small town on the northern west coast of the south island. Blink and you miss it, in fact we drove through the place twice trying to find the course location. It turns out we just weren’t paying attention, as they have a great big sign out on the highway. For anyone who does go on a course there, it’s a kilometre south of the ‘town’.

You drive up the gravel driveway to a small car park. If you’re like us, you will be happily welcomed by the dog!

Steven and Robyn, who have run the courses since 2005, operate from their home. They have modified this with lean-to shelters to house the work benches, belt grinders and a small forge.

Lot’s to get done

Once everyone had arrived (10 knife makers and a number of supporters) we got started. The plan for the day was to start with a piece on ordinary mild steel, a few bits of brass and some recycled Rimu (native wood) and turn it into a top quality knife, a lot to get done in a single day.

We had to forge a blade, make a handle, shape the blade and handle and then tidy it all up.

At Steven’s request I won’t detail all the steps here, if you want to know how to do it you’ll just have to come for a course! What I will show you are highlight photos from the day along with a short film we made.









It’s not all hard work

On top of keeping us entertained with Steven’s wit, they also had a number of relaxing activities to help pass the time whilst waiting for tools, lunch or Steven’s time. These included axe and star throwing and a giant swing set up between what looks like two telegraph poles.



Also we can’t forget that the day was made fun by all the other knife makers and supporters, along with great tuition and a fantastic lunch.

The final outcome

Here are our knives that we created:

A short film

To see more action from the day check out the short film that we have put together.