Knife Makers

Hennie Prinsloo

Hennie Is over 60 and has been a farmer for all his life.

He started making knives 5 years ago and has a well equipped workshop where he makes the knives from scratch.

He can fix anything that moves and has at least 3 trades.

He likes working with natural handle material especially ivory and African Blackwood, loves doing woodwork.

Michael du Plessis at MDK Knives

I completed a fixed blade knife course with André Thorburn in 2004 but did not have the money and time to set up a workshop at that stage.

In 2015 I started making fixed blade knives under the guidance and in the workshop of Francois Masyn. In August 2015 I entered the South African Guilds none guild members competition and came 2nd out of 83 participants.

I slowly but surely made my own machines casting, my own aluminum disc for the disc grinder and made my own grinding wheels for my belt grinders. In 2018 I did a slipjoint course with Willem O’Kelly from K’roo blades.

Since then I have only been making traditional style slip joints and love doing it.


Willem O'Kelly at K'roo

K’roo Custom Knives is a father and son team situated in the Great Karoo region of the Eastern
Cape province of South Africa. The brand name “K’roo” is in reference to the area – the locals
pronounce Karoo with the “a” silent, much like “crew” in English
We just love knives and we literally build what we love, as simple as that. A knife is one of the
first, and greatest tools that man has ever invented. There is archaeological evidence that man
used knives before he knew how to make fire. Almost as old as mankind itself, and still as
relevant as ever, it has become part of man’s psyche – as a species we have an almost
instinctive love and appreciation for a well-made knife.
As far back as I can remember, I have loved, and carried, knives. I grew up during a time in our
country’s history when it was not only acceptable for a boy to carry a pocketknife, even to
school, it was almost expected, and a good knife was a boy’s most cherished possession.
I am also grateful to say that I have the opportunity to share all that I have learned over the
years in the courses I teach on making slipjoint knives. Although I don’t get the time to teach as
often as I would like, I find it extremely satisfying when I see some of my students making a
name for themselves in the international market with really top-notch work.
And lastly, best of all, my son Liam has become involved in K’roo full time. He not only is already
a world class knife maker in his own right at the age of 20, he has the interest and dedication to
take K’roo forward into the future, when the time comes for me to step back

Riaan Ras

My journey started in the 90’s with basic equipment.

My first knife was a Fairbairn and Sykes fighting knife. In June 2014 I built a belt grinder from information from the internet and taught myself knife making from the internet and Youtube.

I started striving to make the perfect slip joint. My favourite slip joint to make is a Barlow. In 2019 I joined the Cape Knifemakers Guild in South Africa. The ideal behind a custom slip joint is the creation of something superior in it’s design, choice of materials, and the execution of its construction.

A knifemaker carries the responsibility to extract the very best from the materials made available to the customer and to bring them together in a knife which is both an investment and a practical tool. Each component is machined, finished and fitted by hand in a spirit of craftsmanship and aesthetics rarely seen in a mass-production world. Knife making is a challenging and I enjoy it very much.

Cesar Maidel

Cesar Maidel lives in the city of Irati-Pr-Brazil.

Last 7 years has worked partially with  cutlery and the last 2 and  half years making pocket knives.

About a year ago switched exclusively to traditional pocket knives which have been standing out in the national and international market.

Luzimar Dias Timóteo

Luzimar Dias Timóteo, was born in Brazil and lives in the city of Itajubá MG. Since I was a child I have had a passion for handmade knives and 6 years ago I started to dedicate myself to custom cutlery.

Initially as a simple hobby and making only fixed blades. in the year 2018, it awakened in me the desire to make traditional pocket knives.

It was in that same year that I met my mentor Ricardo Romano  who gave me a lot of impetus to develop my work in this area.
Today I dedicate myself entirely to the manufacture of slip joints and some fixed blades.

Vincenzo Balistreri

Vincenzo Balistreri. I was born on June 26th 1958 in Lampedusa, a small island near Sicily, Italy. I started as a custom knifemaker gradually. Before starting with knives.

I have had experienced  other art forms, like sculpting and painting, taking part in shows and exhibitions of the Alitalia’s art group.

In year 2003, I received a copy of the Italian magazine ‘Coltelli’ (Knives) and my interest in this form of art rose.

I asked myself the question, possibly a rhetoric one: ‘if all those people can, using their skills and some imagination, create these wonderful knives, could I do that as well?’. The answer to this question came later.

I took part to my first exhibition in year 2004, where I displayed my first creation, a new take on the Anconetano knife. Later, in year 2006, I achieved the status of Maestro coltellinai (Master Knifemaker) from the CIC (Italian Knife Makers Corporation). The thing I appreciate the most in my work is the constant research and development of new mechanisms, to ensure that my products are not only aesthetically pleasant but also well-working.

Francois Massyn

Francois Massyn stated making knives in 1989 and learnt the trade from Fanie La Grange, I joined the Knifemaker
guild in 1990 made my first slippy in 1989 for my father, life took its course and I moved to Richards
bay in 1994.

I stopped making knives to raise my two boys. In 2009 the kids had grown and I got
bored with life all my tools and materials were stored in the garage I started unpacking made a few
fixed blades.

I then completed a knife course with Andre Thorburn and got caught up with liner locks and flippers.

In 2023 the slippy bug bit and that is where I am now, met up with Michael du Plessis who put me on
the road, my real interest is multi blade traditionals and I quickly found out that you must crawl
before you can walk, I spent a week with Willem O Kelly for some finer tricks