The love for weaponry is re-emerging, and with the proliferation of reality shows, documentaries, and other forms of mainstream media regarding blacksmithing and weapon forging, it is not difficult to imagine that a lot of us have turned into knife geeks overnight. Well, we have just found knife heaven, and it is not in the US. It’s actually in a small, idyllic town in France called Thiers. It was in this town that the iconic knife “Le Thiers” was created, designed way back in 1993 by the Brotherhood of the Thiers Knife. The guild’s French name even sounds cooler: “Confrerie du Couteau Le Thiers”. So what is Le Thiers? And what sets Thiers’ knives apart from others?
Le Thiers is a foldable knife with a simple yet classic design and dependable functionality—a knife truly designed to stand the test of time. It reminds us of the equally classic knife from the Philippines, the Balisong, only that it’s generally smaller in size, and is made with only one solid handle instead of two.It’s also a testament, a culmination of Thiers’ knife making tradition that heralds back to as far as the thirteenth century. In fact, culmination is a wrong term because their practice is far from over. Their industry is far from slowing down with more than 200 coutelleries (that’s what they call family-owned knife shops), in a town with a population of less than twelve thousand.Some of these workshops have been passed down to entire generations of knife makers for hundreds of years, such is their tradition of knife making. But did you know that you don’t have to be born in Thiers to be a coutelier? In fact, one of the most well-loved makers by knife connoisseurs, Roland Lannier hails from Paris. He only found his way to Thiers through his love for medieval weaponry in role-playing games.
Now, he leads his own workshop with two other knife makers: Agathe (a 23-year-old badass female knife maker with a degree on graphics decoration) and Guillame (a 27-year-old medieval fencer). If you ever do decide to visit Thiers, don’t forget to bring some tissues and be prepared to drool.
References: bbc.com, rolandlannier.com