My knife: ‘Le Cellois’ by French knife makers Nathalie and Stéphane Robin

My knife: ‘Le Cellois’ by French knife makers Nathalie and Stéphane Robin

Where do knife makers get their ideas? What inspires their designs? Our series on custom knives tries to shine light on one specific knife. In this issue: ‘Le Cellois’ by French knife makers Nathalie and Stéphane Robin.

Text and pictures: Bas Martens
 
 
The inhabitants of Celles-sur-Durolles, a small commune near Thiers, in central France, are known as ‘Cellois’. Nathalie and Stéphane Robin, wife and husband and both knife makers, live and work on a farm in Celles-sur-Durolles. That is why the knife pictured here is called ‘Le Cellois’. It is a tribute to the inhabitants and the geography of the region.
 
The Le Cellois has a distinctive shape, which makes the knife easily recognisable. Pictured here is the
Titan friction folder.
 
Nathalie established herself as an independent knife maker eight years ago, after working as an accountant. Stéphane was born and raised in the cutlery business, being a third generation knife maker. He worked with some of the Thiers companies and taught his wife, until they officially decided to join forces in December 2018. They established Coutellerie Le Cellois, also known as Atelier Robin. The latter name is to emphasize the artisanal side of the company.
Le Cellois is a knife model which Nathalie and Stéphane designed (and patented) several years ago, including the remarkable Templar’s Cross handle screws. It is the backbone of their collection, made in two sizes: large and small or, in French, ‘Titan’ and ‘Cellois de Poche’ (pocket Cellois). Both are made as a friction folder or with a back lock, and with a broad variety of steels, handle materials and decorations, from simple to luxurious.
 
The signature of Atelier Robin and the designation of the knife on the left side of the blade.
 
The model of the knife handle reminds of a woman’s bootees. It is shaped in such a way that when the opened knife is placed on a table, cutting edge facing downwards, the blade does not touch the surface. This makes Le Cellois a practical table knife.
The spine of the blade has a slight recurve. The Titan has a 4 mm blade, with a matching robust handle, bolsters and spacer. These provide ample space for engravings, file work and decorations. Although the knife should remain fully functional, Coutellerie Le Cellois likes to make little gems.
Although Nathalie and Stéphane work together, there is some division in labour. Stéphane normally takes care of the Damask steel, decorations and file work. If you would like to see more, you can have a look at www.coutellerie-le-cellois.com.
 

The Titan has a 4 mm wide blade, and accordingly a broad handle and back spacer. This gives room for
engravings, file work and other decorations, which are one of Stéphane’s passions.
 
Both the liners and the back spacer have file work on this example of the Titan.