A Melbourne Bladesmith’s one-of-a-kind love at first Slice.

Melbourne bladesmith, Aidan Mackinnon loves nothing more than dedicating 15 hours or more to transforming a raw hunk of steel and a block of wood into a one-of-a-kind, high performance, heirloom knife.

And creating a one-of-a-kind, high performance knife is what fuels his dedication and uncompromising creativity for his craft.

Cut Throat Knives was founded in 2014, after Aidan fascinated with the ancient craft tried his hand at making a knife. It was love at first slice.Resin Knives

   When I started, I immediately knew this is what I wanted to do. It just made sense to me, it combined my interest of food with design, with working with my hands and then elements of art as well.

   I was hooked from day 1.

Each of Aidan’s hand sculpted knives are bought to life in his fingers and it is this collaboration between the raw materials – Aidan likes to work with Australian materials – and his own humanity that Aidan believes makes each piece flesh alive in quality and function.

In our long-distance interview, I caught up with Aidan as he was training with some Master bladesmiths in the United States whilst I was here in Melbourne.

I admit as an interviewee he couldn’t have been more generous with his time and personable with intimate details of Cut Throat Knives and a craft that he loves.

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1.Hi Aidan, you are currently in training with some bladesmiths in the United States, what so far has been the best learning you have received there?

Hi Simmon, the best thing that I’ve learnt is that I’ve demystified some of the aura around the celebrity knife makers. It can be easy when you work in a certain field to put people on pedestals and the knife making community is no different.

 It has been fantastic learning from some of the thought leaders in my field but also realizing that they are just makers like the rest of us.

2.Where did your fascination with knife making first begin?

 I’ve always been into food and through that you gain an appreciation for well-made tools. When I first moved out of home I bought a Global Knife and then slowly just kept on upgrading through the various factory made options.

Then about 5 years ago I came across the work of Cut Brooklyn and Blok Knives and just found the concept fascinating, that there were these guys making beautiful tools by hand.

After a little bit, I decided to learn how to make a knife and did a course in Australia and I really fell for the craft. Within 7 months I had launched Cut Throat Knives.

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3. At the beginning, tell me about the first knife you ever made?

The first Chef Knife I ever made was with Tharwa Valley Forge in Canberra, they are a blacksmithing and bladesmithing school.

 I hammered out a piece of steel under the tutelage and glued on a handle and shaped it. By anybody’s standards it was rough, even my own but I saw it as a stepping point. I still have it in my workshop acting as a reminder of how far I’ve come.

4. You believe the human element of crafting a handmade knife is of the utmost importance in creating the fine detail of a bespoke blade, how so?

Every element of a handmade knife is about attention to detail.

The lines of the blade are a little more refined, the blades are ground very thin, and often have complex compound grinds. The heat treatment is done to the highest standard possible (something that is difficult when factories are bulk heat treating blades).

 Finally, the choice of the materials in the handle and the contouring of the handle.
These improvements however slight stack up and produce a better end result.

As a knife maker, we have to be about pushing the envelope, getting the most out of the materials so that it is a lifetime purchase.

craftsman5. Will you share your design philosophy behind the crafting of your beautiful knives?

First and foremost, they are about function, if they don’t excel where they need to everything else is moot. Beyond that my goal is to create a kitchen heirloom, in that sense I’m trying to create an object that has an emotional connection to it.


For example I did a collaboration with a florist, where we lasered peonies onto the blade and had a handle that was resin cast that contained a single flower. Not only will it perform well, but for a florist this is a tool that takes their work passion and embodies it in a kitchen object.

6. What plans do you have for the future of Cut Throat Knives?

We are about to launch our own range of Damascus and San Mai blades. These will be complete bespoke custom work where we work with the customer to create a truly individual piece.

Leather and Knife

We are also revamping our leather range to include a greater selection of options.

We have some other projects in the works but for now they will remain a secret

7. And for all the budding bladesmiths, home chefs and others you have knife making classes starting soon. Very exciting, please tell me about them.

Knife making classes will be starting shortly.

They will be run as a two-day course where we teach the basics of knife making and sharpening with a heavy focus on kitchen knives.

8. The food industry is ever evolving and ever inspiring, from whom do you draw inspiration from?

 Within my own field; Blok Knives, Cut Brooklyn, Maumasi Fire Arts, David Lisch

Outside of my craft; the Dapper Dead, Sauer and Steiner, Kylie Kwong, Grafa Garden, Brooklyn Copper, Borough Furnace, Black Tide Tattoo, North St Botanical (the list is long)

Within the culinary world (this list is very, very long); Adam Perry Lang, Kenji Lopez Alt, Josh Niland, Dan Barber to name just a few.

 9. Why should people buy a handmade knife as opposed to a commercially made one?

 I would encourage people to enhance their cooking experience through good produce and good tools. Maybe that means buying one of my knives or maybe it is the cheap Santoku that you bought when you lived in Japan and every time you use it, it reminds you of your time there.

I think that there is something special about holding a well-made tool and knowing that there is a person and a story behind that object. If that connects with you and enhances your cooking, then absolutely I encourage you to give me a call.

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  1. And finally, what is the best way I can take care of one of your beautifully made Cut Throat Knives?


There are a few elements to taking care of a well-made knife,

  1. Take care of the tip and the rest takes care of itself.
    When sharpening get it professionally sharpened, or use whetstones. Never use those pull through sharpeners, they are terrible.
  2. Store on a magnetic knife block or in a wooden knife block with the edge facing up (don’t rest the edge on the wood).
  3. Never just throw it in the draw.
  4. Hand wash only. It takes 5 seconds to clean the blade and dry it.

As Cut Throat Knives says on their website’https://www.cutthroatknives.com.au/

Quality has no substitute; throwaway culture deserves disposal; and time-honored skills are worthy of recognition.

Thanks Aidan!

Look forward to your return to Melbourne!

With images courtesy of Cut Throat Knives and Aidan Mackinnon.

#cutthroatknives #handcraftedknives

Yikes! I have just arrived at my first school-parent’s party. What do I do now, when I discover I’m on the menu?

 

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Somewhere in Bondi, on a street leading to the ocean, a black lacquered door throbs with music and a golden doorknob beckons.

Navy silk fringing falls from my hips, skimming my thighs and falling to my knees. A band of navy Italian lace covers my hips exposing my midriff. I suck my belly button back to my spine, check my boobies are still bound inside the navy lace bandage top, shoulder roll my men’s pinstripe blazer and reach for the curve of the golden orb.

The golden knob slips from my grasp, as the door swings wide. My eyelashes tremble under the welcoming wink of an oiled navel and golden G-string.

The greeting is unexpected and magnificent.

I offer up my invitation in the sobering event that I am definitely not expected at this party. I have been invited by parents of a five-year-old friend of my daughters, our daughters new friends at a private co-ed school in Sydney. I don’t think golden knobs and G-strings are part of the mixing and mingling at that party.

PARTY INVITATION

On a smooth high gloss 9 by 20cm photographic card dance three naked woman, texture and movement supplied by their 70’s styled pubic hair fullness.

Dress code: Sexy cool

Theme: 007 meets Barry White

Champagne pops on a tray offered by the almost naked, black doorman.

I’m in.

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As the bubbles prick my nose the unexpected magnificence just keeps giving.

My eyes widen at a Melbourne train carriage (life-size) embedded flush in the cavernous rooms right wall. The hosts parked dining room.

I pad over the candle-lit, wide beam Japanese black-oak floor, aware I really don’t want to puncture the floorboards with my heels. I am excited and nervous all at once and I shiver like Christmas Eve with silent promise for the night.

The World is Not Enough

Bond: “I was wrong about you.”
Christmas Jones: “Yeah, how so?”
Bond: “I thought Christmas only comes once a year.”

Beyond the room a sail clothed canopy hangs above an outdoor DJ, circling a tinkling bar with a throb of clustered bodies.

A dancing lunatic pulls me on to the dance floor.

I am completely ill at ease.

A handsome stranger rescues me.

I am completely at ease.

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This shot of me at a North Bondi Beach photo shoot,taken a few days before ‘this’ party.

In fact the party is full of throbs of people really at ease. As I get up for breathing space from a group of strangers who are now intimate with the size of my facial pores, under the bench of my brow I watch the room. The room is full of clusters of people, really into getting to know people they have just met.

There are no leery eyed stares, just people enjoying a luxurious party with all the trimmings, fresh delectable canapés, chilled golden flutes of erupting French champagne and two-legged predators with smiles of inarticulate longing.

I look at the wad of business cards that have been pressed into my hand by all of my new friends and contacts at this party.

For some strange reason I feel like the main course.

 

As I walk upstairs to find a bathroom, bedroom doors open to scenes from Arabian nights, without bodies yet. Candle lit water bowls with floating frangipani dot paths to the King size beds.

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A strange little man jumps from the shadows and pulls me towards a bed.

I break free and jig to the stairs – there has to be/there must be a toilet downstairs.

This party is for a select group of people who are aware the rules of the game are about swinging. Swapping loved ones and partners and sharing sexual pleasures with strangers with consent from your other half.

I’ve decided I am not playing and if I had a loved one, I wouldn’t be sharing. I watch the fringe of the dance floor and know I am not the only one feeling this way.

One woman I know is standing in the shadows watching her husband dirty dance with another. She does not look angry or excited, she looks sad.

007 house rules, to kiss without telling and like 007, I leave early.

Sex, is a game best played by choice.

Remember to choose what game you are playing, before the game you are playing chooses you.

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Although I don’t think love was the game being played at this Swingers Party, I cant help but agree with this quote from Johnny Depp.

‘If you love two people at the same time, choose the second.

Because if you really loved the first one, you wouldn’t have fallen for the second’.

 

The Friend. Fiction/Thriller/love story

Ta da’  said Connie as she smacked the bouquet the size of a mini haystack into Elvi’s nose. Monkish heads bound in black tissue jostled, their fragrance bruised, brutal, raw like the choice to leave a lover  too-hard-to-let-go.

 Oriental lilies, Elvi’s favourites -Elvi hated them on sight

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‘Thank you’, Elvi said ‘they’re gorgeous.’

How the hell did Connie find her.

Elvi’s lips jutted forward and kissed Connie, twice – a life skill over developed.

Twice, one kiss on each side of her face, keep your friends close and your enemy’s closer flickered beneath Elvi’s lashes.

‘ You shouldn’t have,’ said Elvi.

Connie drew a shallow breath, then another.

‘To be honest, I didn’t,’ she said.

When you opened the door  you looked like a Christmas puppy all eager and fluffy waiting to be loved. ‘They were here on your doorstep.

 I had to give them to you,’ she said.

‘They were on your doorstep’, the flowers quivered fresh.
Elvi pushed past Connie and squinted into the blazing sun,down the ocean road and back into town … ‘Fluffy and eager,’ she and Connie were never going to be friends.

The road was littered with the ant-trail pageantry of gleaming black 4WD’s. Expensive 4WD’s, driven by the dishevelled Nike branded army of kids who surfed every day and ate with double jointed credit cards.

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Who am I kidding, I’m looking for one 4WD, I’m looking for him.

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Elvi dragged her glazed eyes from the sunset – looking for him hurt.

Connie stood before her with narrowing eyes shutting the light retaining every detail of Elvi’s pain and escape.

Connie’s grin widened to the footsteps Elvi heard approaching behind her.

‘Jeff, long time no see stranger’,  said Connie. And she brushed past Elvi into Jeff’s arms.

‘I saw these flowers’ said Connie as her fingers danced across Elvi’s wrist and down towards the quivering stems. ‘I saw these flowers’ said Connie – the monk headed bouquet froze ‘well I told your wife here they were for her but you know I bought them for you.’ she said as she reached up and kissed him.

Jeff laughed, “Come in Connie, we’ve missed you.’ he said  Elvi felt the tenderness of his hand and turned from the shame of his love.

“Come ladies, let me fix us something sparkling’ he said.

Images from Pinterest and my picture gallery

Not one thing more captivating than involving your ‘whole-heart’ in the pursuit of your dreams.

There is not one thing more captivating than involving your ‘wholeheart’ in the pursuit of your dreams.

Its easier to live wholeheartedly when you have a tribe who support you.

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Find your tribe X

How do I find my tribe?  How will I know they are my tribe? What is my tribe?

The top five ways to find your tribe

  1. Be 100% yourself, know that you are more than enough just by being you!
  2. Step in the direction of your passions, your projects, your inspirations.
  3. Meditate, meditate, meditate. It works! In the stillness doors open for you. All you have to do is step through. And dont panic if you think you may have missed your door – doors keep opening!
  4. Fear might jump up and laugh at your tribe of one – when you begin, but just wave at fear, even smile. As you fall into the wholeness of yourself you will begin to shine. Those who are like you will have no choice but to flock and pursue you. I believe it’s true – like attracts like.
  5. Remember the things you want, want you too X

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I am grateful and astounded each day by the beautiful women I hold close and surround myself with. The women that open themselves beyond curiosity about me: the ones that crack open their vulnerabilities with passion and share.

The women of a tribe that share and live wholeheartedly. Authentic women – my kind of tribe X   Simmon Wagner – theloveauthentic

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As much as I believe in a tribe of authentic and powerful women at my back and in my arms, I love and am grateful for the beautiful men and children who rest in my arms too.

Each day hold close the members of your tribe – remembering not to hold too tight – leave space for growth and the unexpected X

Simmon Wagner – theloveauthentic

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All images with many thanks from Pinterest X