Robert Bauchop has developed into one of the most amazing Swordsmiths and taught his wife Karen the intricate art of knifemaking. They live in the inspirational setting of a small coastal town called Palm beach (nr Margate) on the Kwazulu-Natal South Coast with their son Blade and daughter Sabre. Peter, Roberts' father also adds to the talented family workshop whose knives take pride of place in many collectors' cabinets. Robert achieved a name for himself as a highly skilled and immensely talented artist in his field. His fascination with things magical and medieval, as well as his concern with the environment, have led to a collection of customized fantasy knives, daggers and swords which have received local and international acclaim for their superb finish, artistic merit and exquisite beauty. Robert looks for designs which will encourage knife enthusiasts to appreciate the artistic worth of the individual design as well as the utility aspect of the knife. An excellent example of his strong African influence is his well-known "Scorpion Knife", inspired by the Parabuthas- Villosus, a large, highly poisonous scorpion found in Southern Africa. The handle is fashioned out of one of his favourite mediums, African Blackwood and finely carved individual sections make up the intricate curvature of the tail segmented by plates of Nickel-silver.
Another of Rob and Karens' strong African influences is the collection of "The Big 5",which is seen on the left, comprising of the Elephant, Buffalo, Lion, Rhino and Leopard. These fine hunting and skinning pieces are made with indigenous hardwoods such as Tamboti, Wild olive, Rooiboswilg, Sneezewood and Red ivory.
Karen is one of the few female knifemakers in the world, her lean working hands somewhat complement her natural femininity. She is enthusiastic about her craft, and acknowledges that she has had the privilege of learning from the best chraftsmen. She seems undaunted by the dangers which accompany knifemaking. Karen has learnt quickly and become and expert in her own right. Utility knives and miniatures have become her main points of interest.
Both Robert and Karen confess to a fair amount of experimentation in the making of their knives and swords. Enjoing the challenge of trying something new, Rob points to an array of staghorn, giraffe bone and other large horn and teeth. He is quick to point out that they don't believe in destroying any animal for the material, but only use those that the animal has lost through fighting, old age or natural death.
A few years ago, Robert set himself the awesome task of designing and making a sword. In what has now become a speciality, He continues to produce and create the most magnificent swords to date.