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GrayBear Knives

From his workshop in the hills above Tweed Heads, Graham Berry (aka GrayBear) whittles, files and polishes Scandinavian reindeer antler and dyes thick leather in vinegaroon to the dulcet sounds of Bon Iver.

“There's definitely something about the antler that is hard to describe until you hold it,” says Graham.

I've only held one piece of naturally shed, polished, Scandinavian antler in my life and I'm pretty sure it gave my hand an orgasm. The man has a point.

Graham has been making his custom designed knives since his wife bought him a blade from an artisan maker in Sweden in 2007. Since then, he's made them for some of the finest adventurers in the world – Whole Larder Love's Rohan Anderson among them.

“You don't get to be good at something by just wanting to be good at it. I think I just got in and had a go,” says Graham. (Extremely modestly.)

These knives are no walk in the park. Each section of the knife draws on a range of materials, skills and takes a hell of a lot of patience.

Larger sections need to be drilled out and smaller bits carefully hand filled with needle files to fit exactly over the blade. Every knife gets at least an hour of pure hand sanding and polishing - some even more. But one wrong move and the whole thing is compromised.

“Antler is so unforgiving. Every scratch and line is visible, so it's a long and drawn out process to bring a chunk of antler to a mirror finish.”

But when you've got that mirror finish, it doesn't really matter if you're gutting a fish, opening a bag of nappies or dicing some tofu. The smooth weight of the knife makes every task feel wonderfully important.

“The feel of the knife is pretty much as important as the shape and design,” agrees Graham. “It needs to feel right in the hand or it's not a tool to find pleasure in.”