Profile

First Name: Bertie
Surname: RIETVELD
KGSA Number:
Member Type: VOTING MEMBERS
Craft:
Telephone: 083 232 8766
Email: bertie@rietveldknives.com
Web Site: www.rietveldknives.com
Facebook:
Instagram: @bertierietveld
Does Courses: Yes
Course Info: One on one course (3 days) & Guild preparation course.
See my website for more info. www.rietveldknives.com
Profile: I made my first knife in my final year at school, the year was 1979.
My interests were all things mechanical and to make things by hand, to this end I qualified as a Mechanical Engineer.

After my studies I started an engineering workshop where I designed and developed the Cutlermatic range of belt grinders for knifemakers, as there was nothing available at the time in South Africa, only some home built grinders, and I knew I could do much better.

In 2000, after 12 years, I grew tired of running a business and after some staff issues decided to close the business and concentrate full-time on my passion of knifemaking. It proved a good decision as that year I won my first WW Cronk award at the American Guild show
I was very focused on my knifemaking and developing new Damascus patterns, as I now had the time, as a full time maker.

Playing with various techniques, I made some Damascus using rods and from end on, the rods made a beautiful pattern, the sides were just lines and rather dull. This made me think it would be cool to make steel that has that pattern on all sides, and Dragonskin was born. Since the beginning until now there has been at least 10 significant process changes as I developed the steel and made it better and better.

It was quite by chance that I discovered how beautifully it colours, and that has a lot to do with my steel choice. I have been using Dragonskin, and later Nebula extensively in my knives, and as it is a very labour intensive steel to make, so I only made enough for my own knives and maybe a few extra billets that I would sell. After a while more and more knifemakers wanted to buy Dragonskin and Nebula, so I started producing the steel in limited quantities to make it available to others, while still keeping it very exclusive.
My knifemaking is still my main focus and designing is my passion as I spend many hours translating my ideas into metal, and one of my philosophies are simple elegance, less is more.

A turning point came early in 2018 when I acquired a Tormach CNC milling machine, which I am now learning to use, it is a steep learning curve and is probably much more difficult than simply doing things manually, but I hope to add another dimension to my knives in the near future. No I am NOT going to make mass produced flippers!