The Nontron knife shares the name of the French village of its birth located in the Dordogne department. This knife's history is filled with 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 (∴) representing 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 in France.
❖ ABOUT THIS KNIFE ❖
The Catalan's blade is similar to the one of the "Navaja knife," which is the oldest folding knife pattern still in production today. The "Navaja" first originated in southern Spain and was gradually exported and eventually made it to France and Corsica. Today, each Nontron knife is an original work of art made by one of only 10 artisan knife makers.
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: Medieval Clog handle. Highly ergonomic, this ancestral design prevents hand slippage and provides a safe resting area for the blade's tip.
Safety ring: This knife features a simple brass locking ring to keep the knife's blade locked while open. Safety evolution: Early Nontron knives did not have a locking mechanism; the blade was simply held open by the wood's pressure. The first locking device was composed of a simple hole and a nail. Today's brass locking ring was introduced during the 19th century.
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.)