My name is Michele Massaro, I’m from Maniago. In 2015 I reopened the only forge in the Municipality of Maniago which has remained in operation thanks to the Lenarduzzi family.

The love for manual work, for traditions, as well as the respect for a concrete generation capable of fighting and working are the factors that led me to turn what originally was just a hobby into a real job and make it a daily stimulus for what I create every day.

The goal, beyond the practical sense, is to recall and hand down a lost art, made of gestures, work phases, tools, terminology and skills in shaping a piece of steel, giving the latter special characteristics that make it a perfect cutting tool. The linear blows of the mallet have always represented my town of origin: the blacksmiths and our traditions. That’s why I tried to enhance the features of the forge rather than eliminating them, I wanted to make them a real brand, not only mine, but of Maniago and its people, of the dust and slag on the forge floors that tell our story.

Not the usual brute de forge with mere aesthetic purposes, but a true story of life.

 

THE KNIFE

“For a chef, the knife is a fundamental tool; the handle is the extension of our hand, while the blade turns into the thought that arises in our head. It must be comfortable, balanced, sharp and above all personal. It’s our knife. We know it, we know how to use it and it knows us. With Michele we’ve chosen the blades, thickness, weight, handles, colours. Everything. When we hold these knives, we know that behind them there is someone who forged them with passion, effort and commitment, in order to give us perfect tools in precision, weight and balance. “

This is how my work was recounted by the Costardi Brothers, just two among the several chefs with whom I have had the pleasure to collaborate.

Kitchen knives represent the maximum expression of my work, I love studying and perfecting them.

The ones that I forge often have characteristics similar to Japanese knives, however the forge is the traditional one of my country, with the signs of brut de forge, the parallel lines of our heavy and hard hammer. Then one single steel, which must make my knife sharp and easy to sharpen; that’s why I have chosen carbon steel, which makes my knives alive and intolerant to neglect.

I only forge stainless steel when, in a given tool, cutting becomes a secondary purpose, as in the Gourmet line, designed for its elegance to be combined with mise-en-place in haute cuisine restaurants.

I am not willing to make any imaginative knives, nor sumptuous and therefore questionable; I do respect the origins of Damascus steel though I do not follow trends, nor distort it or use it improperly for the realization of blades.

In some knives, in the wake of Japanese masters, I use two steels without highlighting them as Europeans usually do with acid baths.

Rationality, cleanliness, simplicity are my goal; the result, harmony.

 

 

 

Mauro Colagreco

“Michele’s knives are real works of art. He uses ancient techniques belonging to his history, culture and background, but with a totally contemporary approach.
From a technical point of view, he is among the best cutlers we can find today,  offering a real reflection on the use of each knife, thus making them unique pieces ”

Enrico Crippa

“His sensitivity shines through what he does, he also has the ability to listen, the humility to try and change. He is a stubborn Friulian man with a great strength of mind who strongly believes in his principles and in the endowment of perseverance. But he’s also very nice, he’s just like us “

Paolo Vizzari

talks about Mauro Colagreco: “In the work of the one you can glimpse the other, the same satisfaction that raises from exertion and the same magical touch able to transform a detail of nature into something better.”

Antonia Klugman

“I discovered Michele’s knives from Pier Giorgio Parini, a friend of mine. I immediately noticed how different they were from what I had been used to. At first I was even afraid of damaging them. “

Enzo Vizzari

“A detail, but a true finesse that Michele Massaro has reproduced with the deer horn, maintaining the special elegance that makes his work unique”

Christian Costardi

“When we grasp it, we know that behind it there is a person who works with love and above all creates unique pieces of craftsmanship. “

Georges Desrues (Die Welt)

“This is going to be The Knife,” says Massaro, while he’s using long pliers to pull a glowing steel cube out of the forge and put it under the hydraulic hammer that he operates with his foot. Sparks are burning. With every single stroke, the shape of the steel is stretching and shrinking”

Yoji Tokuyoshi

“One thing I do like is the hollow of the knife, which does not exist in Japanese tradition but is very useful to facilitate cutting.”

Andrea Hunka (Mensh)

“By interacting with Michele you can see that behind the professional, there is the tenacious, reluctant man who collects with his own hands, in a more than figurative sense, the legitimate legacy of those who preceded him. Thus, he highlights the importance of a traditional craft, but he also knows how to dose it with modernity and improvement, without forgetting the past years and his ancestors.”

Matteo Baronetto

“They are precious objects because they are subject to extremely meticulous care: they are practical, light, versatile, comfortable: a perfect tool for our job”

Giulia Gavagnin

“Many chefs, one blacksmith: Michele Massaro, handlebar mustache as if he were an Austro-Hungarian version of the Roman god Vulcan “

Valentina Calzavara (interview)

“When we were children we used to steal with our eyes, then we tried to do something with our hands. Nowadays, kids ride bikes wearing helmets and they don’t even know that hot iron cannot be touched. “

Sarah Scaparone (la Stampa)

“Sought after and loved primarily by him, but recognized and appreciated also by the greatest local and international chefs, for whom he makes unique tools.”

Alessandra Meldolesi (reporter gourmet)

“in Italy we boast an excellence in the field: blacksmith Michele Massaro … he is the only one who performs manually with that tour de main  and skill that have been lost in the ditch, along with the hammers and  all stages of production”

Claudia Orlandi (identità golose)

“…follows the thin and sharp tip of a blade, defines every minimum groove, feels the robustness of the handle several times and recalls a tradition that has its roots in the distant 1453”

Giampaolo Giacobbo

” A direct and essential knife with no blunt points, just a little bit more than unrefined, a rough knife.” “Vittorio Capovilla wanted the right knife to engrave and open his bottles, he had been searching for it for years and, as soon as he met Michele Massaro, he understood that he was the one who would provide it to him.”

Michael smidth (makers bibble)

“When all you could hear was the running water behind the stone walls and the repetitive monotonous clacking of the leather belts that transmit the water’s force onto the anvil.”

Annalisa Zordan (il gambero rosso)

“Only those who know the technique can depart from tradition. Says Michele (interpreting a thought by Fulvio Pierangelini) “

Cronache di gusto

“For the grafts, which began in August, the winemaker from Oslavia (Josko Gravner) is using a special knife.”

Stefano Caffari

“The profile of the blades captures metal in light and defined shapes, dazzling with elegance and full of harmony, designed exactly on the measure of the gesture.”

Tiziana Fiorentino (top taste of passion)

“Michele Massaro, a world apart.”

Monica Pascolo (il messaggero)

“for those who want a knife, the waiting time is more or less three years”

Angela Malara (interview for pagine di Gusto)

“the fact that they are called works of art flatters me; for me a work of art is not an artisan excellence but a sculpture, a painting or any other object that communicates and tells a story or an emotion. “