Afonso, Rick

9 Castleman road, Fish Hoek, Cape Town, South Africa

          Tel.           021 785 1198

          Cell.         083 616 6188

          eMail.      rick@afonsoknifeworks.com

                           rick.afonso@gmail.com

I was born in 1967 and grew up in Johannesburg. As a young boy I learned how useful it was to always carry a pocketknife, especially towards the end of my primary school years when I started spending a lot of time on a friend’s family farm in the Northern Transvaal, having a knife there was a necessity, it was also there where I learned how to shoot, something I enjoy to this day. It seemed to me that guns and knives were complimentary as all of the gun owners and hunters I met also carried a knife.

My first exposure to handmade knives began on a trip to a Gun show early in my high school years. For the first time, the knives I saw were not generic factory knives but handmade, with varying designs. Material combinations, blades with patterns in the steel (Damascus), handmade leather sheathes etc. These knives were works of art, compared to the factory made knives I was used to seeing and I thought to myself “That’s something I would like to try one day”.

During my national service in the army I was reminded of the utility in carrying a knife and my swiss army knife came in handy regularly. After finishing my Electrical engineering studies and getting married a couple of years later, I got involved in the shooting sports, competing in IPSC practical pistol shooting. During this time I started to work with leather, making holsters, mag pouches, belts etc. skills that would come in handy later. In 1996 we moved to Cape Town and during a visit to a local gun shop I spotted and bought my first knifemaking book: Step by Step Knifemaking – by David Boye. I read that book cover to cover, however it would still be many years till I actually took my first step into knifemaking, mistakenly believing that to get started required lots of machinery, belt grinders, power tools etc.  In 2011 I came across a simple tutorial on the Internet “ The absolute cheapskate way to make a knife” and thought to myself it’s now or never. I ended up buying some N690 steel from Bohler, and with an old drill press, hacksaw, files and sandpaper I made my first knife, and that was it, the knifemaking bug had bitten me, hard.

Since then I have tried to balance my hobbies of knifemaking, mountain biking, shooting and photography (among others) with a full time job. I don’t have nearly as much time for knifemaking as I would like but I have managed to make around 20-25 knives, have built three grinders and other workshop equipment, and gotten thoroughly involved with the craft. I am a member of the Cape Knife makers club, and was lucky enough to win the club competition in 2013 with my first attempt at a Bowie knife.

In October 2014 I applied to and was proud to be accepted as a member of the Cape Knifemakers Guild. I look forward to sharing with and learning a lot from the experienced members of the guild and continuing to develop and improve my skills.

So far I have made only fixed blade knives of various types. I use mainly N690 and O1 tool steel with natural hardwood handles, with occasional steel / bronze bolsters / guards. I have also used 5160 carbon spring steel for a few forged blades and made my first Damascus billet last year. I have done predominately stock removal till now with a couple of experiences forging. My aim for the short to medium term is to start making folding knives and to do more bladesmithing, with my long term goal of getting into the Knifemakers guild of South Africa.

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