Aidan Mackinnon is a Melbourne maker who discovered knife making around four years ago. Initially drawn to the craft through his interest in cooking, there was something about it that instantly clicked. ‘I looked at Melbourne, where there is this amazing confluence of incredible food and a thriving undercurrent of great handmade artisans, and just felt I could make a meaningful contribution to it’ says Aidan. After years of tinkering, he launched his business, Cut Throat Knives, in 2014.
Aidan is drawn to the basic functionality of the knife. ‘There’s an elegance that lies in that simplicity’ he says. He likes the idea that the tools he creates are inherently useful, and are going to be around for a long time. ‘When you make a knife it is a purpose built tool’ Aidan says. ‘Knives are often the primary interaction between ourselves and our food. My goal is to make a kitchen tool that enhances that interaction.’
From the design point of view, making a good kitchen knife can be surprisingly difficult. ‘There are only a few lines on a kitchen knife, and if you don’t get them right it just feels wrong’ says Aidan. Accordingly to Aidan, getting the balance just right, getting each knife to roll on a cutting board in the right way, and making the blade super thin takes time and a deep understanding of cooking.
It takes Aidan between three to five days to finish a blade. This involves heat treating the knife blank, grinding then hand sanding the blade and finally putting together the handle. As much as possible, he likes to work with Australian materials, so the handles are all carved from solid Australian hardwood.
‘The difference between my knives, that have spent fifteen or more hours in my hands being shaped and worked, and something coming out of a factory that has had a bunch of different robots working on it, is the attention to detail. There needs to be a human element in the making of these things.’ – Aidan Mackinnon
Cut Throat Knives can be purchased online here. Aidan can also often be found at Melbourne’s various design markets.