About Us


Mackrill Custom Knives was established in 1991 by Stephen (Snr) and Michele Mackrill. Knives with a touch of beauty are fast becoming collector’s items and craftsmen are becoming part of the dinosaur age as computer-controlled machines churn out every type of item imaginable; each product being a perfect clone. Stephen Mackrill and his son, Stephen Jnr are custom knife makers, artists and perfectionists.

Mackrill Custom Knives is a small family business with a large airy workshop in downtown Johannesburg. Should you care to visit their workshop, you would then understand why their knives are called “Gentlemen’s Jewelery”.

Steve Snr served in the Royal Navy and then in the Special Air Services (SAS), where he served in Malaya. Later he immigrated to South Africa, becoming a game ranger for the Uganda Game Dept.
While working at a pharmaceutical company, his hobby was making steam engines, ships and knives. Steve (Snr) passed away on January 1st 2012 leaving behind a legacy, and a position that can never be filled.


Michele takes care of administration and marketing.

Stephen Jnr studied law for three years and made knives part-time; deciding that working with his hands making beautiful articles was more to his liking, he decided to join forces with his Dad in 1991.

Today, he has been recognized in his own right. His hobbies are Metallic Silhouette Shooting for which he received his Provincial (State) Colours and Association National Colours. He has shot three world championships, and has obtained three bronze class medals in those championships. He also enjoys scuba diving. He is a keen rugby player, who still plays regularly, and is an accredited coach.  He is a Featured Member, and Member of the Year with Madison Who's Who. He has been a knife maker and designer for over 20 years and strives for perfection.

Mackrill Custom Knives export 95% of their knives to the USA and Europe. The blades are made from 12c27 Sandvik semi-stainless, Bohler N690 semi-stainless or Damascus steel. For the investor there are collectibles, historic pieces (which are thoroughly researched before crafting) and trophy sets. The clients who design their own knives get something they may have dreamed about for a long time. All these knives are hand-cut on a metal-cutting band saw.

All work is hand-crafted. The blades are profiled and ground using the stock-removal method. All knives are vacuum heat-treated in-house, therefore ensuring a standard Rockwell hardness of 58-60. The beauty of the knives not only lies in the blade, but in the artistic finish of the handles. The handles are made from indigenous materials of Southern Africa, such as giraffe bone, hippo tooth ivory, cape buffalo horn, warthog tusk ivory and many various buck horns. Beautiful woods, such as wild olive, red ivory, jarra, leadwood and ebony are used to give the knives an exotic African essence. Other handle materials used are: mother of pearl, mammoth, abalone, stabilized wood and stone.
The fittings are in brass, nickel silver and, if requested, gold, damascus, macume or other precious metals.

Specialties of Mackrill Custom Knives are scrimshaw, engraving, silver and gold inlay (not found elsewhere in all of South Africa), as well as silver sheaths.

For the hunter, camper, hiker and outdoorsman, Mackrill Custom Knives crafts working knives specifically made for these activities. Hunter’s Trophy sets, (many of which are made from the horns of the animal that the customer has shot themselves) are custom made to order.

Personal and corporate gifts may be collectibles in either fixed blade or folders. They can be scrimshawed, (much like a tattoo on hippo tooth), engraved, or with silver/gold inlay on the handle.

Many of these knives have plaques, which are personalized, or company logos etched onto the blade.

A limited lifetime guarantee is given on this outstanding workmanship.

No endangered species like rhino or elephant products are used, as Mackrill Custom Knives are ardent supporters of nature conservation in every possible way.

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