On the cutting edge

Mathieu Dechamps with three knives made by him. From left, Stainless Steel, Damascus steel and High Carbon. 189262_01

Mathieu Dechamps knifemaker’s shop, tucked away in Mount Dandenong, appears fairly non-descript from the outside.

However, taking a step inside and you’ll find its one part cluttered workshop, one part studio. Workbenches, stacks of wood, a forge and various tools and trinkets crowd the shed, and on many of the benches you’ll find Mr Dechamps trademark art on display: handmade knives.

From basic kitchen knives to intricately decorated Damascus knives, there are various unique and beautiful designs to be seen.

As part of the Dandenong Ranges Open Studio Mr Dechamps is opening his studio and workshop up to the public.

Speaking to the Mail Mr Dechamps said that great kitchenware can make cooking a joy, and when a great knife is used the difference is noticeable.

“Everything is custom made,” he said.

“In these knives I create something that lasts for a long time … a lot of people are used to bad knives from supermarkets, but once you have used a good knife you notice the difference straight away.

“For me it’s about making a great tool for people to work with and create something with.”

Most chefs will agree that knives are the most important tool when cooking, and Mr Dechamps shares that view.

He individually forges every steel blade and crafts every handle from beautiful and distinctive timbers.

Having discovered knife-making whilst in Scotland he has since established his knife-making workshop in Mount Dandenong and works form a shed, surrounded by lush ferns.“I was Hiking all in Scotland for quite a while and was just walking and heard someone hammering on an anvil and got curious,” he said.

“I dropped my head through the shed and he took me in for a little while … he made lots of chisels, axes and specialised tools.

“I’ve always worked with tools since I was eleven and always loved really good tools, but he taught me what to expect from a good tool.”

Over two days in March Mr Dechamps will open his workshop as part of the Dandenong Ranges Open studio.

Not only will you be able to tour his unique workshop and see his various knives on display, but within each knife you can see the passion Mr Dechamps has for creating irreplaceable knives.

“I can spend easily 100 or 200 hours on one single knife,” he said.

“When people come to my house and work with some of the good knives they usually order one … once you work with good knives it can be quite frustrating going back.”