Cutting edge

Clyde Follett
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Crafting quality handmade knives

Pierre Rodrigue can genuinely be described as being “on the cutting edge” not because of any breakthrough in technology but simply because of the craft he has pursued for a number of years.

Pierre Rodrigue displays some of his knives.

Pierre Rodrigue can genuinely be described as being “on the cutting edge” not because of any breakthrough in technology but simply because of the craft he has pursued for a number of years.

Mr. Rodrigue was born in Grand Falls-Windsor but raised in Springdale.

Being a member of the local Air Cadet squadron resulted in a natural move to becoming a member of the 4 Air Defence Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery at the Canadian Forces Base, Lahr, West Germany from 1988 to 1991.

Mr. Rodrigue returned to Springdale in 1991 and successfully completed a course in construction surveying. With work not being as plentiful as he would like, Mr. Rodrigue relocated to Surrey, British Columbia, in 1992 to work in his field of study - and worked for three years within the surveying field. Next stop on his career move was a two year stint with Loomis Armored Car.

Finally he found his niche and returned to surveying in the area of Lloydminster, AB, in 1997 and is still there plying his trade.

 But being an avid hunter and dealing with dull knives sparked an idea that would lead him down another career path.

“As far as the knives go, the first one I did was to see if I could make something better than what I had been using,” he said.

“I did some research, and asked a lot of questions, finally finding a person who is now a friend, and who also makes knives.

“I got a piece of steel from him, and designed, constructed my first knife blade, after the heat treating process, attached a handle, made a sheath, and put it to use that fall.”

After making his first knife, word started to spread quickly amongst his co-workers.

“I made maybe 15 in the first year. I had no idea the world of custom knives even existed,” he said.

 “As a hobby, this was OK, but I wanted more. I had a website…I did a few pieces, and started to concentrate on custom designs.”

And most of those custom designs are done in his garage.

“Any forging, I do at my friends shop. I make hunting, fillet, skinning, pocket, tactical, large folders, high end gentlemen's folders, all types of kitchen knives, western and Japanese styles,” he said. “To date, I have made over 100, and at the rate this is going, I will be doing a lot more.”

But it’s Mr. Rodrigue’s kitchen knives that are gaining momentum.

“This line has been picked up by a store in the US, where I am doing semi custom work for them. As well, there are chef knives going to customers in the continental US, Norway and South Africa at the moment.”

Because of the popularity, “right now I have orders for over 30 knives, and a wait list of (nearly) six months,” he said.

But making knives is just the beginning.

“I am attending a course…learning the skills to create authentic Japanese hammer forged blades and swords, such as the Katana, Wakazashi, and Tanto, as well as pattern welding and traditional clay tempering. I hope to bring these techniques into other blade types I will be making in the future.”

Mr. Rodrigue’s work can be viewed at www.rodrigueknives.com.

 

Organizations: Air Cadet, Royal Canadian Artillery, Canadian Forces Base

Geographic location: Springdale, Grand Falls-Windsor, West Germany Surrey British Columbia Lloydminster US Norway South Africa

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