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Andre Thorburn

When you walk into Andre’s shop for the first time, you probably wouldn’t expect that he made some of his first knives on a grinder made out of a swimming pool motor. Andre was trained as a pastor after school, and as you might expect from a pastor, he played golf. Those golf clubs became his most valuable investment when he sold them and built his first grinder. A friend bought his first knife in 1990, he became a member of the Knifemakers Guild of Southern Africa (KGSA) in 1995, and then started making knives full-time in 1996.

Andre specializes in making liner locking tactical folding knives with the IKBS system.  He uses innovative techniques and modern machinery to create works of art that have won numerous awards all over the world and is considered by many to be one of the best knifemakers in the world. He was the chairman of the KGSA from 2007 to 2011.

On a recent trip to South Africa, we were given a tour of his shop and we found out that the thing that sets Andre apart from all of the other knifemakers in the world is not the fact that he has state-of-the-art machines and tools. It is not the fact that every knife that leaves his shop has higher tolerances than a Ferrari. It is not the attention to detail and the abnormally smooth action of every single knife that leaves his shop. It is not the fact that each knife makes a signature locking sound when you open it.

The thing we learned that separates Andre’s knives from every other knife is the fact that Andre has an unfair advantage. The next time you see him, you should ask him about his unfair advantage.