Robert Losson
  Alta France
  The XYZ
  On the whim

   Robert Losson was born on August 8th, 1946. At the age of 7 he amused himself by playing with the secret mechanism of the metal pocketknife that his mother carried in her purse. Later, at 12yo, Robert received his first knife, a Boy Scout knife, given to him by his uncle on the occasion of his first communion. This knife was a Sabatier Jeune with a deer antler handle. A pupil in military school, Robert passed his free time there remaking the wooden handle of his first Opinel's. In 1963, during his apprenticeship at a gun factory in Chatellerault, he dreamt in front of the shop window of a famous cutlery from the city. There was a knife in the window with 100 blades, and a handle made of mother of pearl. It turned on a pedestal with glass facets, surrounded by some other popular knives.

   In 1978 his interest for knives and knife mechanisms was always present but lost from view due to the hazards of professional life. It was during that time that Robert received a gift, "The Book of Knives", by Yvan de Riaz, that triggered his interest and revived the flame of passion. In this book he discovered custom knives, for the first time, in an iconographic way. "This was a shock due to the general high quality of the book and the knives that were presented. I have, by the way, retained since that time, my curiosity for documentation." On this occasion he dared to redesign his first knife while squinting at Tommy Lee's boot knife. Ten years later he would rediscover the document and put into form his very first knife design. I did not know at the time that I would meet the famous maker of double-edged knives more than 12 years later (See photos). This would happen at the show set up by the Youth Chamber of Commerce in Thiers.

   Robert perfected his English by asking his professor to translate for him "The Annual Knives by K. Warner", which sometimes still sits on his bedside table. That same year Robert organized a trip to the U. S. The framework for the sojourn was a series of visits to knife makers along the way. I had the pleasure of meeting Dan Denehy, the famous co-founder of the U. S. Knife Guild and knife maker for Gary Cooper and John Wayne (among others)!

   "In this way I visited my first knife maker's workshop where I handled an authentic prototype by Barry Wood. Dan and I shared some coffee and discussed points of common interest in his mobile home. The road lead me next to the home of Frank Lampton, a man who, with one good arm, was able to make magnificent, fully functional knives, with a precision assembly that left me stunned. Me, the little metal worker from Chatellrault's factory! I also visited Gerry Jeans, a precision metal worker who gave me some issues of Blade Magazine which are still worth consulting today. I returned from the U. S. with a multi-blade CASE and "The Pocket Knife Guide". I was still at this time only a fascinated amateur unable to afford those knives that I fancied, which probably caused me to consider making my own.

   In 1988, Robert completely questioned his professional work. Around the same time his friend, André Racinoux, sent to him for some advice and commentary on HIS first hand made knife. "This gave me a real jolt! I suddenly had the utopia that I could be a knife maker."

   On the way back from Lyon with the firm intention of throwing himself into the profession, Robert decided to pursue documentation that he considered indispensable to the realization of his project. His research brought him to the Librarie Etrangère de Toulouse where he met Mr. F. Anglade, a well-informed knife collector. Francis Anglade, an honorary member of the U. S. Knife Guild, as soon as he saw Robert's knives, encouraged him to exhibit his work at the first SICAC in Paris. Robert participated in the show, sharing a table with André Racinoux as invited hobbyists. Together they exhibited their first works, straight models.

   "The immersion into the world of European and American knife makers made me realize the gap I must cross over. The challenge was clear, no right for appeal!"

   In Toulouse again, it was Mrs. Hélène Bouffil who encouraged him in his work by the regular purchase of models from his workshop in Auvillar (Alta Villa in Old French).

Here, in a few reference points, are the reasons why Robert Losson makes knives. As writing for writers is a way of communicating, so for Robert Losson, knife making is also a way of telling a story.

Certainly the unconscious part of this adventure is vast, but that is quite another tale!

Son premier jeu

Son premier couteau

Robert Losson au pantographe

Tommy Lee à Thiers

Les couteaux de Barry Wood

Robert Losson polissant une lame sur un feutre

L'atelier de Robert Losson


Robert Losson
Castérus Ouest
82340 Auvillar- France
Tel. +33(0)679145922

© 2002-2004 - Robert Losson - Do not duplicate