In the most northern part of the Dordogne, in the Périgord Vert, the town of Nontron is the birthplace of France’s oldest folding knife. For many, to own a Nontron knife is something to be proud of.

Although it is difficult to put an exact date on when the first knife was made, there is a reference to the Nontron knife as far back as the thirteenth century. Today, the Nontron knife has an international reputation for being a top quality, stylish and handmade product of distinction.

The Coutellerie Nontronnaise produces a wide range of both folding and table knives. Every knife is unique and made by hand using skills passed down through the generations.

The blade of the folding knife is made of either steel or carbon steel that is forged before being subjected to a heat treatment that results in an exceptional quality of steel. The blade of the table knife is made of stainless steel.

Carp tail, hoof, ball or cap?

For the handles, all materials are sourced as close as possible and carefully selected. Boxwood grows everywhere in this part of the Dordogne and has been used in the making of the handles since the fifteenth century. After a minimum of four years in the open dryer at the factory, the wood is then turned to give the shape of the desired handle before being finished by hand. Other precious woods and more contemporary materials are also used. The shape of the handle is either a carp tail, hoof, ball or cap.

Dots and flies

After being assembled, the boxwood knives are decorated with the signature burn marks which, for a traditional Nontron knife, is generally four rows of dots and five flies.

The knives are then finished by hand: sanded, polished, cleaned and subject to rigorous quality control.

Although the design of the traditional Nontron knife always remains, the style is forever being reinterpreted by renowned designers to create new versions of the historic model.

To discover the different stages in the making of these famous knives, the workshop at the factory is open to visitors from 9am – midday and 1.30pm – 5.30pm every day except weekends and bank holidays.

Coutellerie Nontronnaise

Place Paul Bert

24300 Nontron

Tel : 05 53 56 01 55


All photos supplied by Coutellerie Nontronnaise and subject to copyright rules.