Gidgee Knives owner Scottie Simmonds has been forging handcrafted knives from his shed in Moore Park Beach for the last five years.
Knife making is a passion that was set in Scottie as a young adult when he worked on stations in outback Australia, and it was reignited after he decided to leave the local media industry in 2014.
The artistry he showed as a photographer is now mirrored in the magnificent craftsmanship on display as a blacksmith.
Scottie said there was certainly something about standing in front of a hot forge, shaping metal with a tool in his hand, knowing each individual piece of uniquely formed metal was shaped with a particular purpose in mind.
He has now mastered the ancient craft and he will be joined by Wayne Schmidt, from Cracked Anvil Forge, to share their passion and knowledge for forging steel and crafting unique masterpieces in the Blacksmithing Cutlery Workshops.
Scottie said toolmaking is one of the world’s oldest professions, and for 2.6 million years humans have made instruments to use as a knife implement.
It’s more than a love of knife making for Scottie – it’s a lifestyle that has the father-of-three behind the tools, and in front of the forge each day at his acreage along the Kolan River at Moore Park Beach.
Scottie first started blacksmithing almost 30 years ago, at just 16 years of age, when he worked on a cattle station shoeing horses.
He remembers the moment when he woke up early one morning on the land as a teenager needing a knife, so he decided to make one.
Knife making hobby turns into career
And after the initial knife was a success, Scottie’s knife making flourished into a hobby before taking off as a career more than 20 years later.
“I simply love the art,” says Scottie,
“To be able to bend steel, forge unique pieces and create a tool that you can use each day is really satisfying.
“We often get requests at Gidgee Knives to hold classes, so we’re excited to have renowned blacksmith Wayne Schmidt join us in November.”
Gidgee Knives is named after the Gidgee Tree, known for its heavy timber, and classified as the third hardest wood in the world according to The Wood Data Base.
Gidgee wood is endemic to Australia and has a reputation of blunting tools with ease.
Scottie said there was a particular zeal that came from making a unique knife for a family that could be passed down from one generation to the next.
“Knives have been made for millions of years, and in the last couple of years I’ve witnessed a real resurgence in the craft,” Scottie said.
“There’s a science behind crafting a knife, from the unique design to forging the raw metal at a certain temperature and using specific tools and steel types to create a piece that will last centuries to come.”
The 44-year-old is inviting eager community members to pick up the hammer and turn their hand to the artistry and forge hot steel to create and take home their very own knife.
The Blacksmithing Cutlery Workshops is great for those wanting to create a unique metal piece and learn from two of Queensland’s best.
Bookings are being taken now for two one-day Blacksmithing Cutlery Workshops being held in Moore Park Beach, on 21-22 November. For more information or to book click here or phone Wayne Schmidt on 0412 518 963.
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