This maker profile is part of our Maker Spotlight series.
Tell us a bit about you: what do you offer or make?
My name is Ross Vosloo, I’m a Zimbabwean bladesmith and knife maker working under the name Mhara Knives (formerly known for a while as Bloodberry Blades).
My forge is at my home in Harare, but I also now have a small studio workshop where I focus on small slipjoint folding knives.
For me, I’ve always said if it’s made of steel and needs to be sharp, I will have a go at making it. I do specialize in slipjoints and hunting knives, as well as the occasional carving set or chef’s knife. But I’m always willing to try something new for a custom order or just for the fun of it.
How’d you get into knife making?
When I was about 6 or 7, my father gave me my first pocket knife, blunt as anything. Taught me to use it correctly and to sharpen it.
That just naturally progressed to me occasionally trying to make a knife, until a couple of years ago when I needed a hobby and had some spare cash to get the basics. Then it just snow balled from there.
What steps do you do yourself?
From beating out the steel (when it’s forged of damascus blade) to hand stitching the leather sheath, I’m proud to say I do it all myself.
I’m also proud to say that my slip joints are all self designed, too. Well, the internals are. It’s great to be able to take a concept on the paper and turn it into what you envisioned.
Forging my own damascus was a huge milestone for me, and even though I don’t get to forge damascus as often as I would like to: when I do it’s huge fun!
And I even harvest most of my woods myself from base logs. I’m fortunate in that all the hard woods I use grow naturally here in my home country of Zimbabwe.
What’s your favorite and least favorite part of making knives (and why)?
Best part is when you have that finished knife in your hands, just the way you wanted it. Least, hand sanding, of course.
Your favorite knife and why?
Any knife maker you admire or who inspired you?
Willem O’Kelly from K’roo Blades has been my mentor and inspiration when it comes to slip joints.
There are also so many awesome makers making truly inspirational stuff, guys like:
Want to give someone a shoutout?
Chad Kimmell of Summit and Sea Smithies. Great guy, awesome work.
Where can we learn more about you?
Unfortunately for now, our new website is under construction. But hopefully soon it will all be back up.