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Recycled knives a labour of love

A selection of Sam Ca$h Creations knives. PHOTOS/SUPPLIED

ARTHUR HAWKES
[email protected]

Sam Eades at work.

Sam Eades, also known as Sam Ca$h, is a Masterton man making artisan hunting and kitchen knives, entirely out of recycled materials.

Eades, 39, was motivated to start knife-making about six years ago after he noticed the declining quality of mass-market hunting knives.

He stalked deer and found a lot of the knives in the mass-market were imports, not made to a good standard, and dulled quickly due to the low quality of the steel.

Another factor was his job working with metal, first as a saw doctor, sharpening saw blades at a mill, then as a fabricator.

He’d regularly have to throw out old saw blades, which were made of good steel.

He began bringing these home, and fashioning high-quality knives from the scrap.

Eades said he didn’t outsource a single piece of the process – so from the cutting of the initial blade, to the delicate finishing work, it was all done by hand, in his workshop.

“When I was a saw doctor, I noticed we were throwing away the old blades, which were made of good steel.

“I was also getting quite frustrated with the cheap Chinese knives we have in New Zealand: they don’t last, they don’t stay sharp, and they’re quite disposable.

“So, I thought I could combine those two things and have a go at making my own ones.”

Eades had a good amount of prior metalworking experience but said his entry to the knife-making world was initially a period of trial and error – which then improved over the years to a high standard.

“As I went along, I wanted to make them quite distinct, and a lot of the people making knives in New Zealand have their own kind of character, so I wanted to make mine really stand out – so you know that it’s a Sam Ca$h knife when you see it.”

Eades said he was also an environmentally-conscious person, and wanted to fashion the blades and handles from recycled materials.

This was when he started using old milk bottles, melting them down to make marbled composite handles.

“We’ve got to be very conscious of the planet, so anything that can be recycled and reused is fantastic.”

At the moment, Eades said he had no plans to leave his day job and go into knife-making full-time.

This was partly because of the competition that cheap knives represented, and the time and effort required to create a hand-made knife from scratch.

“I probably only make about $10 per hour of work on the knife, because of the amount of hand-work that’s in them, so I can’t really sustain myself doing that.

“That milk bottle handle, for example, that was 10 hours of work before I’d even started on the blade.”

As it stands, none of the production is outsourced, which Eades said would keep the man hours long and the prices above average – but he said this wasn’t a problem, because he loved what he did.

“The end goal is that one day it could sustain me, and I’d have to upgrade all my gear, but it might detract from the artisan style of the knife.

“I could send a saw blade away to a metal cutting business, and have all the blades cut out with a laser-jet or something, but I think I prefer to do it all by hand.”

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