Nontron is the name ofa villagein the Dordogne department of France where it is believed knife making started at the beginning of the 13th Century. Today, the cutlery that bears its name (Coutellerie Nontronnaise) since 1928 produces handmade knives using traditional methods and modern tools. Fact: The Nontron shop is the oldest continuously operating cutlery in France.
Hand-shaped from 40 to 50-year-old Boxwood harvested from locally grown trees and air-dried for 5 years. Using old boxwood assures an unprecedented degree of hardness and prevents splits commonly found in such hardwoods. Boxwood is best suited for turning and is commonly used to create small wood objects such as chess pieces, musical instruments, and knife handles. Fact: Old-growth boxwood is extremely dense, hard, and tends to be very expensive.
The wood burned patterns, whose origin and meanings are still not fully understood, are made from “flies,” a kind of reversed V surrounded by 3 points and rows of small dots. Religious symbols? Perhaps a reference to the Freemasons' compass or the Compagnons du Devoir? No one really knows.
Of course, many are convinced that they know the meaning of this mystical symbol. We, at Laguiole Imports, are no different; we are certain that the symbol is one of a compass (V) and the three dots (∴) representing the first three craft degrees of initiation in the Masonic Honor Points. These fascinating symbols first appeared with the clog handle design. Today, they decorate all boxwood models of pockets and table knives. Fact: The Nontron shop is the oldest continuously operating cutlery in France.
The legendary Nontron symbol being apply to a boxwood handle