The article was prepared based on a personal interview with the master. Copying and posting are allowed only with the permission of the copyright holder.
Jean-Pierre Martin was born in 1949 in Arles, in Provence in southern France. The author came to knife making about 20 years ago, having many years of experience working with metal, from welding and bending to artistic forging and grinding.
Jean-Pierre began to create hunting knives with fixed blades and cutlery. The knives were field-tested directly in the hands of the author: the master is an avid hunter and fisherman. Monsieur Jean-Pierre is not bragging but likes to mention his trophies: “We don't have enough fish now, but my biggest catch of the old times was a 300-kilogram fox shark and 200-kilogram tuna. I love to hunt with a bow, I go to the States for that. There, like a real Indian, I got a few deer. And in France, the biggest trophy is the wild boar".
After several years of experience in knife making, Monsieur Martin decided to start making folding knives. He made the first folder under the impression of Des Horn's knife, which he saw on the cover of the magazine. Horn planned to present his work with the author's modification of the "ball release" liner-lock at the exhibition in Thiers in 2002. Jean-Pierre tried to figure out its cunning design, and as a result, the French and South African craftsmen brought two very similar knives with completely different mechanics to the salon in Thiers. They had something to discuss. Since then, the knife makers have been close friends. About his inspiration, Jean-Pierre answers without hesitation: "Des Horn!"
Today, the works of Monsieur Martin are modern works of art, the beauty, and sophistication of which impress even people who are extremely far from the knife theme. For knife lovers his knives are real unicorns: many have heard about them, only a select few have been able to see them live. It is not surprising. Jean-Pierre produces no more than 25 knives a year.
The master manually, without high-precision laser equipment, creates masterpieces with stunning mechanics. For folding knives with a steel frame, the craftsman does not use bearings or washers. The axis of the blade is in direct contact with the metal frame, the smooth deployment of the blade is ensured by high-precision geometry and tolerances of 5-10 microns. In folders with a carbon fiber handle, Martin uses Teflon washers.
The knifemaker has developed and patented several types of locks:
Modified push-button liner lock, City folding knife with this lock won the Best Folding Knife nomination at the Thiers Show in 2009
The original hidden lock with a button. A knife with this mechanism won a prize at the 2003 Paris Knife Show
Sidelock amélioré is a variation of the liner lock hidden in the knife handle. Best Of Show at Solingen 2011 in Germany.
Hidden lock with a "secret". The blade is supported by a hidden pin in the axle. The lock is released by pressing the decorative insert in the handle of the product. A knife with such a lock consists of 31 parts.
In addition to gentlemanly folding knives, Jean-Pierre makes cutlery, including historic replicas.
The master's works are distinguished by rich and refined decoration. Jean-Pierre uses traditional and colored Damascus, timascus, ivory, tortoiseshell, marine fish scales, reclaimed wood, mother of pearl, acetate, carbon fiber, and precious metals.
Jean-Pierre annually attends exhibitions in France and Italy, from large knife shows in Thiers, Paris, and Milan, to local ones, as well as Solingen in Germany. He is a member of the Italian and German Knifemaker Guilds.
The range of products manufactured by the master includes up to a dozen models. Most of them have variations of Classic and Light and can vary in size and type of locks.
The classic segment usually has a steel frame with a rich finish and one of the variants of the author's push-button lock.
The middle class can afford Light versions of his products. Usually, these knives have a carbon fiber handle and are equipped with the author's Sidelock amélioré.
Jean-Pierre has shared his plans for the near future with us: a new Furtive knife, named after an experimental carbon fiber aircraft, will soon join his range of products. Jean-Pierre used a bearing system for the first time in the axle design of the new model. Those bearings are separate from each other and are each in a separate recess.
Currently, two prototypes of the Furtive model have been made, one of them is in the private collection of Maria Stalina.
On the website of luxury gifts mariastalina.com you will find a wide range of Jean-Pierre Martin Knives costume folders and other products from the world's tops of folding knives.