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James Oatley

James Oatley

Please enjoy some words from James himself about how his career in knife making began.


I hold a knife and have the instinctive urge to create, wether its carving my mark in a tree or cutting the perfect mirror portion of fish.

Growing up i had a respective introduction to knives, my Pop on my mothers side was a butcher, so playing in his shed as a child I would watch in awe as he sharpened the tools of his trade on a Sunday, and on every visit I would not leave without pestering him to show me a glimpse of  the Japanese officers katana that he had claimed from WW2.

From my grandfather on my fathers side I received a small pocket knife at a young age that I would use to cut bailing twine as we would feed his horses, it was then that I would make my first knife.

I was in the tractor shed with no one around and i found an old slasher blade. I walked over to the bench grinder ‘that I knew I was not allowed to use’ I proceeded to grind, it was crude in every way with a wavy edge and a handle wrapped in green bailing twine, but at the time in my eyes it was an exact replica of the Rambo 3 knife.

On my 30th birthday my wife gifted me a Saji Damascus Gyuto, I was blown away with the craftsmanship of this knife, so intrigued on how it was made, This led me to attend the Sydney knife show in 2014. It was then that i saw what other makes were producing in Australia. That was it for me and i have been hard at it ever since. With the help and inspiration from many of this country’s great smiths.

I now have the pleasure of working with a tool that I have made with my hands and imagination from raw materials, a work of art that has sole.

This takes my cooking/carving/hunting to another level of pleasure and satisfaction amongst my creative process.

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