James Freakley makes knives, and other things too, but mainly knives. He makes some really beautiful knives with stunning handles, brass inserts and custom stamping. He also makes knives re-purposed from old farriers files. It is these re-purposed knives I’m going to be talking about in this blog.
I met James when he came to The Bicycle Academy to learn how to build a bicycle frame. I thought he was a bit special at first, because he comes from Norfolk and they talk with a funny accent up there… Turns out he is just normal, and is actually a pretty sound lad. He is into his MTB and we got on pretty well while he was at TBA. I wasn’t the one teaching him however. Six months to a year later he was back, this time to learn TIG welding and build another frame using this joining method. This time it was me who was placed with the laborious task of teaching him the ropes. I jest. It was actually a pretty fun week. The first day was just like any other TIG course at TBA, and as the week progressed he started to take on the task of welding up his new frame. He did a grand job. A couple weeks later he was back in the area (Bristol) with a painted frame, we met up and got a few laps in round Leigh Woods. It was after this that he started getting serious about knife making. So now you know how I know James Freakley.
As some of you may know, I recently got married to my long suffering partner Ellie. We have been dating for well over 10 years, so it was definitely time for me to pop the question and get that knot tied. Over those 10 years we have never had a decent set of kitchen knives, and Ellie has always wanted some nice ones. Many a time I would say to her, “Well, why don’t we just buy some?”. Ellie would always so no, because that is something that people would want to buy us for a wedding present. As you can imagine she was been waiting a long time for some nice cutting tools… When it came round to the wedding we ran out of time to put together a wedding present shopping list, so instead just asked people to give us the cash. A bit boring, I know, but that’s just the way things work out sometimes.
I had been watching James on Instagram as he went about starting his company Creek Cutler. I had been very impressed with the quality of his work, but the fancy handles and brass inserts were not really up my street. Then he started making knives out of old farriers files. I loved these. Mainly because they reminded me of the tools that I use in my own workshop on a daily basis, but also they were a little less poncy. Now that’s just my opinion, don’t get offended or all but hurt about it.
I decided I was going to get my soon-to-be wife a set of these re-purposed farrier knives as a wedding gift from me to her. I knew they weren’t going to be cheap, and I could just go down the town and buy a nice set of generic knives for much, much less. But how often do you get married to the love of your life? Plus I knew these would be great quality, made from recycled material, and would last a lifetime and probably more. Also another thought that was running through my head was that If I didn’t shell out and buy these handmade knives from a friend of mine, why should anyone buy anything that I make?
It took a fair while for them to get made, obviously I was in the build queue, and handmade products don’t just appear out of thin air. I know that just as well as anyone. He was keeping any pictures of them off of social media until the Mrs received the surprise, which was hard for me because I really wanted to see them! It was worth the wait though, they are really stunning pieces of work, and they will be part of our household forever. James pulled out all the stops too and made us a magnetic knife holder to go up int he kitchen, as well as a beautiful chopping board to go with.
It really is great to have something this nice in our kitchen. It has made me really want to take care of the knives and the chopping board. I give them a clean and dry them off as soon as I’ve finished using them, which has never happened before. Plus they are super sharp, it makes the whole preparation process so much more enjoyable! Thanks mate, you did a grand job and I really appreciate it!!
Go have a look at James’ website
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