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South Africa

About Us

Neil Schutte • Knifemaker • South AfricaAbout Neill Schutte

“A bad knife cuts one’s finger instead of the stick”

My interest in knives and other handmade tools started at a young age.  I made various crude knives, axes and spears from any available material and these early efforts inspired me to improve my work with each new attempt.

I matriculated in 2001 and attended the Lowveld Agricultural College in Nelspruit, South Africa. During my second year in college a fellow student and I made knives from a radial saw blade, sourced from a local scrap yard.  The following attempt was a skinning knife based on a Kershaw design, made from the same radial saw blade, as a 50th birthday gift for my father, Christo Schutte, who has always been a loyal supporter.

After completing my studies, I worked as a farm manager in the Hoedspruit area in Limpopo province, South Africa. At this stage, I realised that I had a passion for knife making.  In 2004, we attended the annual South African Knifemakers Guild show in Johannesburg and I was stunned by the quality of knives on show as I had never realised the extent and expertise of knife making in South Africa. At this show I bought my first contact wheels and drawings to build a belt sander.  Using scrap metal that I had collected, and after many hours of cleaning and grinding, I built my first knife making machine. From this time onwards, my goal was to continuously improve my skills and methods. I sold my first knives to close family and friends.

I moved to Bloemfontein, South Africa in 2008 to study Civil Engineering. While studying I had more time to focus on knife making and was accepted as a member of the KGSA (Knifemakers Guild of South Africa) on the 29th of October 2010.

I first exhibited my knives at the 20th annual Bloemfontein knife show on 20 November 2010 and was awarded with two certificates of excellence.

I am inspired by knife makers such as Rob Brown and the late R.W Loveless.   I strive to make working & collector’s knives to match their excellence. My steel of preference is Böhler N690, RWL34 and CPM-154.  I use natural and synthetic materials for knives of my own design, as well as replicas.  Sheath making is as important to me as making the knife.  The knife and sheath are made to complement each other.

The Schutte Knife logo was inspired by my surname. From medieval English it means archery or in German, a bowman.

In 2012 myself and Rani, were blessed with twin boys and in 2013, another boy! The boys love playing in my workshop, and perhaps will follow in my footsteps one day.

In 2013 I dedicated a year to full time knifemaking, to hone my skills and to further refine my knives.

In 2014 we moved to Bredasdorp, Western Cape, South Africa.  I have since then been the farm manager at a newly established Blue Berry and wine farm in the Napier area. Knife making is done after hours and on weekends.

 

Awards

  • Blade show 2015, Atlanta USA: “Best Fighter on Show”. R.W. Loveless design, Big Bear fighter. Blade material: N690. Handle material: Burgandy linen Micarta with stainless steel guard. Handmade leather sheath.
  • Blade show 2014, Atlanta USA: “Best Fighter on Show”. R.W. Loveless design, Big Bear fighter. Blade material: N690. Handle material: Burgandy linen Micarta with stainless steel guard. Handmade leather sheath.
  • Knifemakers Guild of South Africa, annual show 2014: “Best Hunting Knife on Show”. Blade material: N690. Handle material: Green linen Micarta with stainless steel guard. Handmade leather sheath.
  • Knifemakers Guild of South Africa, annual show 2013: “Best Boot Knife on Show”. R.W. Loveless design. Blade material: N690. Handle material: Black linen Micarta with stainless steel guard. Handmade leather sheath.
  • Bloemfontein Knifemakers Show 2013: “Best Fancy Fixed Blade” and “Best Knife on Show”. R.W. Loveless design Boot Knife. Blade material: N690. Handle material: Maroon linen Micarta with stainless steel guard. Handmade leather sheath.
  • Bloemfontein Knifemakers Show 2013: “Best Working Fixed Blade”. R.W. Loveless design Drop Point. Blade material: RWL34. Handle material: Giraffe Bone with stainless steel guard. Handmade leather sheath.