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Free shipping for orders over 49€

Shipping guaranteed for orders placed by 28/07!

Summer closing from 05/08 to 25/08

The man with the broken nail

Pasquale Costa, like many other Scarperia cutlery makers, abandoned his father Brunetto’s workshop and the artisan profession of cutlery making in the early 1960s and went to work in the city, in Florence, in a company in another sector that offered better economic conditions. In those years no one believed in the future of Scarperia cutlery anymore, and the salaries guaranteed by the large companies that were then emerging easily attracted artisans who were tired of a life of mere survival.

It was easy for an artisan cutler to find work in metal companies: because he certainly had valuable skills for industry, which were hard to find among people who were abandoning other traditional activities such as farming at the same time. After a lifetime spent working in industry and having now reached retirement age, Pasquale’s desire to fill his days by expressing what he had learned as a boy in his father’s workshop resurfaced: so he opened a small store in Scarperia in which he sharpened and repaired knives. Coincidentally, the estate where he opened his store is the very same one that had housed my great-grandfather David Berti’s first workshop. After a few years, the estate asked him to vacate the store, which was put to another use, perhaps as a garage. Pasquale, almost desperate, certainly sorry, could not find a solution. It was then that I proposed to him to use, free of charge, our workshop and equipment, to continue his business.

From then on for many years, from time to time, we would see him arrive at the workshop with a bundle of knives, a casserole with a broken handle or a knife without a handle, which, within a few hours, he would repair and restore for use. Pasquale had a station in our workshop with a favorite vise of his and a drawer reserved for him, a container that he filled over time with everything he needed to do his simple and modest business. Pasquale is unfortunately no longer with us, but we always keep his drawer as he left it the last time he visited us.

Including an old photo of him as a young man together with his knife-making friends of that time and the picture of his hand, his fingernail broken from his craftsmanship, expertly sharpening one of the many blades of his intermittent, long-suffering, but also happy, career as a cutler.

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