The Taramundi artisan folding knives are the last jewel of a long metallurgical evolution that since the 18th century has been specializing in pieces of authentic cutlery, with small and narrow iron leaves, of appreciated cut, handle of boxwood or heather, patiently manufactured thanks to the wisdom of very clever hands that go from phase to phase in the work, and that finish it based on drawings colored geometric, typical of tradition.
Photo report of: Alex Badía
An artisan work that produces custom made knives, very appreciated for its functionality and beauty, and which is ultimately associated with the scarce. The production is submitted to the orders, the serial work is not known, only certain planning when the orders are numerous (which happens almost all the year).
This unparalleled craftsmanship prevails in this place in the west of the region for several reasons. The main ones are: the abundance of mineral, the water, with enough fall to give power to the blowing machines, the wood that is needed for the fire in the forges or ironworks, and above all an oral tradition that has spared no explanations or feelings related to iron. The fire is also revived by habit. The artisan feeling towards metal, which was developed throughout Asturias in the nineteenth century for the development of household utensils and work tools, has found in Taramundi a continuity adapted to the times and the new demands of the market.
The mime with which some villagers are now engaged in this activity of the knives comes, then, from afar: forges, fullers, mechanisms and gadgets of all conditions associated with rainwater and rural areas. The forged was always a derivation of the water currents, and as the water of a river flows today in a constant way in 14 craft workshops and in a small industry in the same capital of the council. Towards 1960 there were some 80 workshops in Taramundi. Today the visitor can see the work of the ferreiros or manufacturers of knives and knives in Abraído, Aguillón, Bres, Cabaniñas, Esquíos, Llan, Loutima, Mousende, Nogueira, Rio del Louro, Vega de Llan and Vilanova. In the House of Culture of Taramundi you can also contemplate a permanent exhibition of knives.
Counterfeiting and fraud of this artisan product is common. It is easy to acquire an alleged Taramundi knife, but it is less easy for it to be truly artisan. So the best thing is to get closer to this city and visit some of its workshops on the spot. Thus we will know a way of life and passing the signs of authenticity of the product. Then we can buy with enough tracks.
In the workshop of Vega de LlanFor example, we find the Antonio Díaz, father and son, who are concerned about inscribing in their products the appropriate signs of the original, including the acronym A of their name. They will show us the whole manufacturing process. A careful and deliberate work, masterly, in search of a perfect razor, unique and different from the rest. Both have been in this small iron industry since 1974 and say that it takes no less than five years for an apprenticeship as God intended. Actually the skill and mettle required by this craft can not be less time, we are aware of this when contemplating their work. The craftsman's hands are made of equal patience and agility, adapt their movements to the precise requirements of each stage.
Work in a workshop like this results in One 12 knives a day. The traditional manufacturing process requires knowledge of several trades: blacksmith, carver and carpenter. The phases are multidisciplinary, and the knife or knife is the fruit of a guild experienced in various tasks. It is necessary to a stove to heat the iron. There the metal is put on a slow fire, the red forging begins. With hammer and mallet the profile of the blade is looked for. The subsequent technique of hand sharpening the pieces is unique in Spain. With a smooth temper and a mallet it sharpens without problem in expert hands. Both the stainless steel, special for cutting, and the wood for the handle were already waiting in the workshop. A complete knife carries 3 hours. Precisely the size of the handle, based on geometric drawings of color and the subsequent varnishing of the handle with resin, is what takes more time; The final finish of the knife includes polishing the blade, cleaning the interior and fixing the identity marks of the house among other issues. Small indicative notches in handle and ring reveal the artisan work. And it is that the craft production also involves a certain specialization: handles, leaves and rings are arranged separately before the final assembly with subtle signals that differentiate the pairs.
In the workshops, knife specialization is observed in various types of knives and knives: pruning knife (sickle-shaped), grafting knife (the best for making grafts in agricultural work), mountain knives, ham knife, table knife. In the workshop of the Diaz they also invent. From 1991 come working on a product that has a lot of acceptance in the continent: the knife to cut mushrooms, with specific form for this work and a brush attached to the handle to clean what is collected. They are also famous pulpeiras scissors, with great acceptance in Galicia, they are most appropriate to cut octopus and fish.
The craftsmen carry out custom-made knives inlaid with silver, gold or ivory. A true treasure that gains added value when the raw material is polished in good hands.Text: © Ramón Molleda for desdeasturias.com
Information of interest
Navallas of Taramundi
Lg. Pardiñas, s / n
Customer service: 985 646 810