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History of Cutlery and Tools with Geoffrey Tweedale

  Stan Shaw, a Sheffield Pocket-knife Maker by Geoffrey Tweedale    



In early December 2016, I dropped in on an old friend – Stan Shaw – at Kelham Island Industrial Museum in Sheffield.



I’ve known him for about 30 years, which is about the span of his career as an independent pocket-knife maker. However, his working life as a cutler goes back much further than that, as a premier craftsman at some of Sheffield’s leading firms. He began in the trade 75 years ago and has been making high-quality knives ever since.

Stan had celebrated his 90th birthday a few days before we met. His career milestone passed unnoticed in the local press. Yet he has outlived his contemporaries in the trade. He stands alone at the end of a tradition, which saw Sheffield excel at the production of pocket knives for at least 250 years.

He is still making knives, using the traditional cutler’s tools (files, grindstones, and fiddle drills) and the best materials, such as hand-forged blades, pearl, and horn.

The commemorative booklet "Stan Shaw and the Art of the Pocket-Knife", available for download, describes his craft. The text is illustrated throughout with photographs of the traditional processes and close-ups of many dazzling knives – all masterpieces of the cutler’s art.

© G. Tweedale
December, 2016


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