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We Make Kitchen Knives.

Our Story

. . .

Primeaux was founded by artist and craftsman John Phillips in Knoxville, Tennessee.

John's background was in sculpture, blacksmithing and fabrication from working in local shops in the Knoxville area and studying art at University. Previously, he'd been a luthier and a cabinet-maker and was familiar with carpentry tools and machinery but had never made knives. 

His first experiments came out of a love of cooking and materials and a passion for working with his hands. He found the tools in his kitchen limiting; they fell short of how he liked to cook. He wanted knives suited for different tasks and with more character, and in 2015, he set out to make his own, establishing Phillips Forged.  

In the beginning, money for materials was tight. People would give John old files and sawblades as a source of carbon steel. He'd hike the rivers and forests of East Tennessee searching for spalted lumber and gathering inspiration. Once he’d worked through the materials in his garage, he went to local junkyards and sought out old machinery parts. The same was true for acquiring much of his early shop equipment. His first forge was fashioned out of a plaster reinforced coffee can. His first grinder was an adapted belt sander with custom built platens that he welded together out of old parts in the shop.

But with time came experience and refinement of his craft. John’s vision was clear:  build beautiful tools that functioned well for home chefs and professionals. Fast-forward 8 years, and he’s won the Damasteel Chef’s Invitational, “Best in Show” two years running, a win on Forged in Fire, and his knives are sought out internationally by collectors, chefs and home cooks. And still, he continues to pioneer new ways to make and refine his approach to metalsmithing.

watch: A More Intentional World.

John appreciates the history and culture surrounding blacksmithing and the unique opportunities to experiment and infuse these practices with bleeding-edge technology and material science. But he makes these tools to serve people first. His knives and his practice celebrate living, through shared experience and social connection. They are created with life in mind: for developing lasting memories of cooked meals with friends, barbeques, holiday meals, and the daily practices of working professional chefs. 

First, it was Phillips Forged; now Primeaux cuts the path in John’s journey of bringing home cooks and professional chefs into the fold. Primeaux represents the expansion of John’s collection using modern technology to reimagine the classics of chef cutlery. 

We’re excited to share these tools with you and to be a part of your experiences.