His debut in the world of blades occurred, in fact, thanks to a bet with a friend, who led him to realize with great success a knife ,made entirely with a rasp, that has a full convex geometry and briar handle.
For one year from that date, after dedicating much time to the study of the construction techniques of knives, Riccardo Mainolfi started to create blades with continuity, turning his interest mainly to hunting or outdoor fixed blade knives, but also to folder knives with liner-lock system.
Inspired by the geometry of the Master Bob Loveless and by the correspondence friendship with SR Jhonson, Mainolfi had the opportunity to meet and get advice that helped him significantly to improve and grow as knifemaker.
The knifemaker from Positano (Italy) carefully selects materials for the handles, all completely natural and of great value, such as Desert Ironwood, Snakewood, Australian wood and others, as well as ivory and deer or buffalo antlers, that were ambered if necessary in order to make them even more pleasing.
The knifemaker's ability can be found primarily in the capability of bringing out designs, lovely veins and essences that nature has hidden in the material itself.
The steels used for the blades are generally CPM154, RWL, ATS34, often the CPM S30V for all the applications that require a longer edge life.
It should also be noted that Mainolfi personally follows his knife creation through all stages, making even the heat treatment of blades in his own lab, thanks to a decade of experience in tempering techniques. He was the first Italian knifemaker to employ the "switching off" technique using aluminum plates - a method that in addition to facilitating the knifemaker work, protects the blade from possible distortions - and personally carries out the sub-cooling treatment in order to eliminate all the retained austenite.
In addition, the knifemaker personally realizes the sheaths, which are mostly designed for the real usability of the knife. The sheaths are precise, well finished and made of heavy leather. It will be up to the future owner as to the choice of decorating the sheath with pyrographs or prints as he likes.
The time for the production of a knife, of course, varies depending on the type of blade; Mainolfi generally takes about a week working for a drop point blade with full tapered tang construction to up to 20 days for a double edge blade. However the time taken for completion is defined by the final finish that you want to achieve. The final stages of making a high quality product is very time consuming, especially achieving maximum detailed accuracy, and it is this that defines a well-made knife.
Because of this attention to detail and deep knowledge of constructive geometry of the blades, the knifemaker sometimes has to sift through the requests for the production of knives with a customer's drawings, and have to turn down requests that would lead to the creation of impractical knives.
Since "the passions are virtues or defects only if taken to extremes " as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wrote, the Italian knifemaker has become a "Voting Member" of the largest, oldest and most famous knife association in the world: the Knifemakers Guild USA.
Riccardo achieved this goal in 2010 after a "trial" period lasting two years, and he has had the pleasure and the honor of being presented to the Guild by the great SR Jhonson as well as Santino Ballestra and the Director of the Guild, Gene Baskett.
This honour, despite the awards at Italian exhibitions such as Scarperia, Culter Expo di Novegro and Roccagiovine, remains the most important and challenging goal for Mainolfi's career as knifemaker.