Adam Parker makes knives – serious knives for hunters, collectors and even world-renowned chefs like Attica’s, Ben Shewry.
You can order one of these custom bad boys for yourself. Or better yet, join one of Adam’s weekend workshops where you’ll forge, grind, treat and finish your very own.
Adam grew up on a farm on the outskirts of Ballarat. Like most boys living on the land at that time, Adam was a keen hunter, “shooting rabbits at the age of six, making the tools of the trade,” he said. “It didn’t take me long to realise that the knives I was producing were superior to what I could buy,” he added.
From a very young age, Adam believed in the value of making items of quality, from whatever materials he could get his hands on. Products that have a story. Something that objects that come out of large factories can never compete with.
“Sure, we can go to Ikea and we can get chipboard that’s been pressed and put together, and we can assemble it ourselves, but it’ll never last. It’s consumable. We throw it away. It means nothing to us. But handcrafted goods have a meaning to the person who’s purchased it,” Adam said.
Which is what makes Adam’s 100 per cent handmade knives so special. It’s why he proudly calls people like Ben Shewry from Attica (Australia’s best restaurant and number 32 in the world) customers and supporters of his trade.
“Most of the things within their restaurant are handmade, from the plates to the furniture and everything. They asked not only myself but a couple of knife makers to produce cutlery for their restaurant, which we did. I produced 16 knives for them, which the customers at Attica get to use to eat with. I’ve also made a couple of chef knives that he (Ben Shewry) has purchased for apprentices and for himself,” Adam explained.
Adam doesn’t just make chef knives. He can and will make just about anything. But everything is designed with a knife’s purpose in mind. Its purpose dictates Adam’s decisions during the entire design and production process. This is something Adam is passionate about, working closely with each of his clients to ensure the finished product meets and exceeds expectations.
Not content with just creating knives for others, Adam’s also a passionate teacher and keen to pass on his trade to as many people as will listen. So much so that he found his weekends being filled up running free informal classes for anyone that was interested. He quickly realised there was an opportunity to teach more people if he took a more organised approach to the workshops. Today he offers three different types of classes catering to people of all skill levels, from beginner to expert, and all ages too. Adam explains.
“It’s a one-off, handmade piece that takes time to produce. It’s not instant gratification. You don’t look me up on the web, press buy now and go to your cart, pay for it via PayPal and get it in your possession within three days. It’s not that process. It’s more of a journey than anything” – Adam Parker, Parker Knives
“I have a basic course, which is where a student will come along, and we make a knife by the stock removal method. We cut it out and we grind it to shape. That’s run over two days of a weekend, 9am to 5pm both days. At the end of it, the student gets to keep the knife. We do either a small hunting knife or a medium-sized kitchen knife.
“The second course I offer is again over two days, 9am to 5pm. It’s a forging class where we heat the steel up and we hammer it into shape. From there, we grind the profile, grind it to shape, heat-treat it, and then construct the knife.
“Then the third course is a Damascus steel course, which is how to make forge-welded steel, which is the folding process of steel using two types of steel combined. We then forge the blade out and go through the same process as the forging class. But that Damascus course is run over three days. Again, 9am to 5pm.”
Currently, Adam offers the workshops out of his double car garage at his suburban home – an intimate and authentic workspace with a story to tell. But it won’t be long until Adam and his family return to farm life on a property they’ve built nearby with a big old wool shed large enough to run “not just a workshop, but a school for teaching knife making”, he said.
“It’s a one-off, handmade piece that takes time to produce. It’s not instant gratification. You don’t look me up on the web, press buy now and go to your cart, pay for it via PayPal and get it in your possession within three days. It’s not that process. It’s more of a journey than anything.” Adam said.