In a 2018 VICE story, Michelin-starred Chef Silva was quoted “Paulo Tuna is the best manufacturer of knives in Portugal, perhaps in the world.” Let that sink in a minute.
His work (in partnership with his friend, cutter Carlos Norte) has also graced the kitchen of Copenhagen’s famous Noma, considered one of the world’s best restaurants. In 2012 Noma sub-chef Leonardo Pereira ordered a Paulo Tuna meat knife. In turn, Noma chef and co-owner Rene Redzepi ordered 90 elegant, custom-made puukko knives to be used as part of Noma’s table cutlery.
Yet Sr. Tuna takes equal pleasure in knowing his work plays a role in creating family meals and snacks with friends. His knives are used by home cooks across the globe. From New Zealand to Italy to Africa, Spain, the US, Switzerland, Portugal, and more, this sculptor-turned-bladesmith takes great satisfaction in knowing that these objects play a part in moments of happiness.
Unique and forged by hand in his Caldas da Rainha workshop, no two knives are alike. The Bladesmith—like a mad scientist creating pieces from his passionate imagination paired with his years of experience—transforms raw materials into works of functional art. Customers choose the blade’s metal and the type of wood used for the handle (typically a Portuguese national wood). After thoughtful design and repeated heating, hammering, cooling, and sculpting, each knife’s lines come together in harmony, resulting in an ergonomic, well-balanced knife that’s comfortable to handle and a pleasure to use. Each knife includes a custom cover, takes one to two months to create and deliver, and is always guaranteed.
As for the striking hammered, unpolished metal that adorns the top of each custom blade, Sr. Tuna tells us, “that feature can be seen as the digital impression of the knife, one of the aspects that makes each one unique. It can also be seen as a landscape to remind me of my origins.”
And his origins are humble. Deep down, it’s long been Sr. Tuna’s life goal that every person should have a beautifully crafted, Portuguese-made Paulo Tuna knife. Recognizing that not everyone is in a financial position to purchase a custom creation, Sr. Tuna has developed a Faca Tradicional (traditional knife), an item that is affordable to almost anyone. The traditional model knife, artisan-designed with every attention to detail, is semi-industrially manufactured but in keeping with the beauty and practicality of his bespoke line. The comfortable handles are made from a variety of wood, including native walnut, old oak, and boxwood and he offers a choice of a natural or tanned leather blade cover.
Paulo Tuna The Bladesmiths’ knives can be purchased via his website, Facebook, Instagram, or telephone. Visit his website, https://www.thebladesmith.pt/en/, to learn more about this master metalworker.
Meet a Michelin-starred chef, listen in on a Portugal travel and expat guru, discover Portugal’s thriving craft beer scene, and more in the latest issue of Relish Portugal. This free-with-subscription English-language food and culture magazine for Portugal lovers everywhere is a gorgeous award-winning, quarterly, online publication. Next issue comes out on 19 October 2021. Sign up and relish the bounty of riches that is Portugal: relishportugal.com.