Spent Ammunition Used To Make Knives By Newton Stewart Metalsmith

Tim Westley’s hand-forged knives – created from highly unusual, recycled materials – are highly prized by foodies cooking in restaurants or their own homes.

That’s partly because, as a former professional chef himself, he understands exactly what they want from what is arguably their most important, and most personal, item of equipment.

It’s also because there is a major drive towards zero (or minimal) waste kitchens.
Visitors to this year’s Spring Fling Open Studios Weekend (25-27 May), involving 104 studios across Dumfries and Galloway, can go to Tim’s forge in Newton Stewart and see how he is contributing to this movement.

They can also chat to him about how he creates his knives by beach combing and foraging.
The blades use steel from the tiny NOx (laughing gas) canisters used by substance abusers that he collects from places they have been dumped in Glasgow and London.

The highly colourful handles are made by melting and reshaping plastics from spent shotgun cartridges, provided by estates and shooting ranges, and from items like fish trawler boxes that wash up on local beaches.

Tim says: “A really good knife is so important to people who love cooking – for professional chefs it’s something they can be using just about all day every day.
“I’ve worked in some fantastic British restaurants myself, and travelled round Australia working in restaurants, so it’s something I really appreciate.
“And there’s a drive towards sustainability – which involves everything from not wasting ingredients to having responsibly sourced equipment.
“The knives I make are from materials that I have 95% recycled myself. Each one is made individually using blades I forge here in my workshop.”

The idea came to him when he was living on a narrowboat in London and had a workshop on an island in the Thames. He used to go out in a canoe collecting litter that was polluting the river and was trying to think of ways it could be positively repurposed.

Later, while travelling the UK in a campervan, he found and fell in love with Dumfries and Galloway.

Timothy said: “The sense of space and the quality of life here really appealed to me. It seemed perfect for me, my partner and the dogs. We just love it here.”

The business he now runs, Clement Knives, attempts to go even further than being zero-waste and actually uses far more waste than it generates – something underlined by the single black bin of rubbish which is all he has generated this year.

Joanna Jones, Upland Assistant Director, said: “Many of the artists and makers involved in Spring Fling have a strong commitment to the environment. In many cases they use waste, recycled, found or repurposed materials and make sure their own practices are sustainable.
“Tim’s work shows just how much a can be achieved, making incredibly high-quality chef knives from things that have been used or dumped – which gets litter off the streets and beaches and stops useful materials ending up in landfill.”