Patricia Boutoule is a wood turner at La Coutellerie Nontronnaise, she is talking about her job, her beginnings, her favourite knives and of course… La Coutellerie Nontronnaise.
Patricia, you are a wood turner, what does your job involve?
I shape the wooden handles of knives. The specific element of the job of a wood turner is that the shape that must be given is round and that we use a specific machine called a lathe. The machine must be operated very carefully. For finishings, details, and patterns, we make our tools, gouge, rebate, on the spot. This is also why each handle of knife by La Coutellerie Nontronnaise is recognizable.
How long have you been working at La Coutellerie Nontronnaise?
I joined La Coutellerie Nontronnaise six years ago.
How did you become a wood turner?
I was trained on-site, by experienced colleagues of La Coutellerie Nontronnaise. I answered an advertisement. At first, I did several things in the workshop. Then my manager asked me what I liked best. I answered that I wanted to work on the top, making the sleeves, turning them. I learnt; I was passed down the skill, the know-how.
What is your first outstanding memory?
When I managed to make my first clog handle. I looked at the result, I was proud and happy; there was a bit of me in this knife.
What has been your biggest challenge?
There have been many and there always are, you never stop learning in this business. But if I should mention two challenges, I would say my beginnings. Going through all the steps, knowing how to adapt your strength to the wood, you don’t work with a hard wood like boxwood in the same way as with walnut, when you start, it’s not easy. My other great challenge was to manage the making of marquetery handles I would be satisfied with. Perfect gluing, impeccable notches, all this requires a lot of attention and skill. We work on expensive woods, such as ebony, so we must be very careful.
What is your favourite knife?
I really like the item, knife and of course all those made here at La Coutellerie Nontronnaise but I have a big crush on the N°25 ball handle with ferrule from the Heritage collection.
I also have a soft spot for the knife L’ecolo. It was a collective project, so the knife is a bit special.
What does it mean for you to work for Coutellerie Nontronnaise?
I am a Périgourdine from Charentes* (smiles) and in the area, even outside Nontron, La Coutellerie Nontronnaise is a symbol, an entity. It is a real source of pride to work there, because of its history and its know-how.
Charente is a region close to Périgord, one of its famous cities is Cognac.