What makes the perfect knife? For Stephen Hill, the mastermind behind Purdey's new bespoke knives, it’s all about balance. ‘All too often, when you hold a knife in your hand, it will feel blade-heavy or handle-heavy,’ he explains. ‘Achieving the right balance is essential for blade dexterity and ease of use.’
A team of craftspeople perform this magic in Purdey’s workshop in London, with a master knife maker adding the final finishing flourish. The bespoke service means that you can now customise every element of your knife – from the blade and handle to the bolster, liner, rivets and sheath – ensuring your knife will be a unique object to treasure and pass down the family, much like a Purdey gun.
‘Our vision is that people will commission a bespoke Purdey knife at the same time as their gun, perhaps using the same wood for the handle and engraving the metalwork the same way,’ Hill adds. But the options are wide: customers can choose walnut, desert ironwood or bone for the handle, as well as two different types of acclaimed Sheffield stainless steel, and 500 Layer Damascus steel for the blade. The latter is known for its strength and beautiful marbled pattern, created by forging two types of stainless powder together. To ensure the Damascus steel performs to the highest possible standard, it is hardened, tempered and cryogenically treated in liquid nitrogen, to 59.5 HRC (Rockwell scale of hardness).
No detail is too small
The bespoke Purdey knife range includes a drop point knife, a slender hunter, a gralloching knife and a stalker’s knife. You can choose the blade geometry, length and finish (satin or mirror), along with the bolster and rivet material (brass, stainless steel, nickel silver or mosaic pin). And no detail is too small to be customised – even the colour of the liner between the blade and wood can vary.
Engraving is a hallmark of all Purdey guns and now extends to its knives, offering a chance to add an even more personal touch. Why not mark your gun with your surname or family crest, or engrave it with a personal message, if gifting a knife to someone else?
Your knife will be encased in a soft leather sheath, moulded to its form for a secure fit. This, of course, can be customised too, including its style, type of leather, and stain.
It looks as good as it feels
William Morris, the 19th-century bastion of British craftsmanship, once said: “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” Purdey believes the same mantra applies to your kit bag. By ordering a bespoke knife, one of the most useful pieces in your kit will also be one of the most elegant.