Donzelli Adriano

06 April 2016 Author : 

Adriano Donzelli - aka Adry Vassago Donzelli - is a young, part-time knife maker who is completely self-taught. In just a few years of activity he has changed the knife making concept on its head by making stunning knives.


Since 2012, when he commenced creating his work with the few available tools he had at his disposal, he has turned his innate passion for blades, with him since childhood, into an art form.
Working in the engineering industry (metalworking sector) for 15 years, he managed to acquire know-how and valuable manual skills for his hobby, allowing him to compensate for the absence of machinery and to create his pieces only with a belt sander and a drill press.
He works by stock removal most of his blades, for which he uses carbon steels (including prefers 1095), semi-stainless such as D2, and stainless as the N690, 440C and sintered steels (Nitro-B, RWL34, M390 ), without excluding occasional forged blades with the Italian association of bladesmith "Associazione dei Forgiatori Coltellinai Bergamaschi", which he joined in May 2014. Thanks to this association Adriano is learning the art of forging damascus, which he intends to produce in an autonomous way, as he does with every piece of his work, including screws and mosaic pins.
He uses woods and high quality materials for all the parts that make up the knife, and also for the sheaths that Adriano makes, taking care of every detail. An original distinctive note of the knife maker is to insert in each of his works a particular mark which belonged to him, or a symbol of a particular period of his life, which can even be hidden inside the handle. Regarding this peculiarity has jokingly told us: "It is true, it may seem an affectation worthy of the study of a psychologist, but I do not care".


Adriano's preferred blade types are the fighter ones - his interest for this kind of knife is also linked to the passion for martial arts, especially the Krav Maga that he has been practicing for several years - and the hunting knives. In his creations you can sometimes see oriental-inspired details, a culture that has attracted Adriano's interest, fascinated by the attention that those artisans used for the creation of their works. But actually Adry creates his knives without limitation, conceiving even modern knife using synthetics materials (such as micarta, G10, etc.), adopting field disassembly construction, to allow for maintenance even in the operating environment.
Concerning his sources of inspiration, this is what the knife maker told us:
“During my first months as a knife maker, I've discovered the works of the great American makers (Knight, Rhea, Casey, to name a few), and those of Italian artists who formed my main source of inspiration. I really admire the work of Stefano Trentini: his knives seem a kind sculpture that spontaneously come out from the materials that compose it, and I adopt without presumption his constructive approach, almost 100% made by hand.
I find it much more challenging to work the steel with the fingertips and an abrasive sheet in a whole day, instead of getting bored after half an hour with a felt wheel and abrasive paste. I am struck by the amazing works of Luca Garanti, which give me a feeling of strength and tool for hard uses, with those proportions that I can only define as excellent and with amazing knife grinding. I see also in Denis Mura a character, one who has fun with the shapes. He makes experiments and is free to do what he pleases in his laboratory. From this I have developed my decision of not to work on commission, and to devote myself without restrictions or time limits to knife making. Dozens of other makers inspired me, but the three Italian makers mentioned above have inspired my learning . "
And again, talking about his passion for art:
“I love all forms of art worthy of being called such: from writing, music, to painting.
I think knife making is one of the most comprehensive arts, since it includes many branches of human knowledge, developed over thousands of years. And what is art if not a serenade to knowledge? "
Currently, the knife maker does not make knives for sale, but only for personal collection.


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