The Nontron knife shares the name of the French village of its birth located in the Dordogne department. This knife's history is based on so many legends that it is difficult to date its exact origin; however, most experts agree that the Nontron knife is the oldest French folding knife dating back to the 13th century. Today, the cutlery that bears its name since 1928 produces handmade knives using ancestral methods. The procedures used to conceive todays' Nontron pocket knives are nearly the same since the fifteenth century.
The Legend: The wood burned patterns, whose origin and meanings are still not fully understood, are made from “flies,” a kind of reversed "V" surrounded by 3 points and rows of small dots. Religious symbols? Perhaps a reference to the Freemasons' compass or the Compagnons du Devoir? No one really knows.
Of course, many are convinced that they know the meaning of this mystical symbol. We, at Laguiole Imports, are no different. We are certain that the symbol is one of a compass (V) and the three dots (∴) represent the first three craft degrees of initiation in the Masonic Honor Points. These fascinating symbols first appeared with the clog handle design. Today, they decorate all boxwood models of pockets and table knives. Fact: The Nontron shop is the oldest continuously operating cutlery manufacture in France.
❖ ABOUT THIS KNIFE ❖
Handle material: Hand-shaped from 40 to 50-year-old Boxwood harvested from locally grown trees and air-dried for 5 years. Using old boxwood assures an unprecedented degree of hardness and prevents splits commonly found in such hardwoods. Boxwood is best suited for turning and is commonly used to create small wood objects such as chess pieces, musical instruments, and knife handles. Fact: Old-growth boxwood is extremely dense, hard, and tends to be very expensive.
Handle type: Early 20th-century antique reproduction of the 1914-1918 model.
Locking system: Yes. Ring pull / External spring knife. This archaic 19th-century locking system was usually found on Navaja and Laguiole folding knives. Why did Nontron adopt this system during the first world war? Perhaps the lack of ring supplies forced Nontron to adopt an old proven locking device temporarily? It is also worth noting that the handle's shape resembles both Navaja and Laguiole styles knives.
With the knife open, pull the ring and push on the blade. The blade doesn't snap back and is held by a cranking mechanism. Push the blade back in the handle. It is important to note that although this locking system is easy to use, it does take a little practice to get comfortable.
Take a look at video #1, especially starting @ 0.42 seconds. This is our basic way to release the lock; use the way that works for you or use ours. Take a look at video #2 to learn how to close this knife with one hand and, at the same time, impress your friends ;-)
Safety evolution: Early Nontron knives did not have a locking mechanism; the blade was held open by the wood's pressure. The first locking device was composed of a simple hole and a nail.
Open size: 21.5 cm (8.45") Blade Size: 9.2 cm (3.62") Blade Type: Drop-point Bade: Forged T12 alloy Handle Size: 12.2 cm (4.80") Weight: ~ 39 grams (1.4 oz.)