Artisan · Local loves

Mr M sharpens his skills

To prove that Mrs M Loves is not just about pretty things, I’m handing the reins over to Mr M this week.

Well, sort of. I’m still writing this but it’s all about how Mr M sharpened his skills in the Barossa Valley recently.

I’m always on the lookout for a unique Christmas present for Mr M, so when I heard about artisan knife maker Barry Gardner I knew I was onto a winner. Barry has been crafting knives for more than 20 years – you can find him these days in his Gardner Knives studio at JamFactory on the grounds of Seppeltsfield Winery.

When he isn’t hand-forging blades or hosting royalty (who could forget that classic moment when Camilla turned the knife on Prince Charles last year), Barry runs one and two day knife making workshops, sharing his skills in creating carbon steel and Damascus knives.

The workshops are usually for two people, but Mr M was lucky enough to have a one-on-one session with Barry.

Over eight hours, under Barry’s guidance, he selected a design, forged the steel, shaped the blade, shaped and polished the handle out of gidgee timber and brass, and finally ended up with a truly unique carving knife.

The biggest surprise was that Barry works with recycled steel. This really appealed to Mr M, who loved the concept of turning an old item with its own story (in his case, a rusty spring from an old Holden FJ) into something new.

It was hard to believe this…

Knive (9)

…would eventually become this:

Knife (5)

Here is how it all went down:

Knive (1)

Knive (13)
Barry heats the steel spring so it can be flattened to form the blade.

Knive (18)

Mr M and Barry discuss the handle design, eventually settling on a piece of gidgee timber.

Knive (22)
Two perfectionists hard at work.


Knive (24)
Barry weaves his magic on the grinder to give the blade the perfect edge.


Knive (29)
Artisan knife maker Barry Gardner with Mr M and the finished product.


Mr M’s knife featured a steel blade, gidgee timber handle, and brass decorative bands.

For more information, contact Barry’s partner Amanda – she’s great to deal with and can answer all your questions and organise a gift voucher: 0415 89 33 77 or

Love, Mrs M


Knive (27)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s