Laguiole Fontenille Pataud

Le Thiers knife warthog

The Le Thiers knife takes its name from the town of the same name located in Auvergne, in the Puy-de-Dôme. Le Thiers is a design registered with the INPI (Institut National de la Propriété Industrielle) by the Confrérie du Couteau de Tié in July 1994. This association gathers professional or amateur knife enthusiasts, and works to maintain a high level of quality in the manufacture of knives, as evidenced by the “Jurande” signed by all its members.
The Le Thiers knife must be manufactured according to very strict quality rules. To guarantee the authenticity and territoriality of the Le Thiers model, all spare parts and all manufacturing steps must be entirely carried out in the Thiers basin.

Thiers nature knife warthog

The Thiers Nature of the Maison Fontenille Pataud is more slender and light than its big brother the Thiers Gentleman. It is one of the few Thiers models with easy opening and blade locking. At the end of the handle of this Thiers is a rear pump system to close your knife in perfect safety. This part can also be used as a gutter on which you can hang a chain. In order to obtain a good balance between the handle and the blade, a groove has been cut at the back of the spring allowing the blade to be folded in.
Le Thiers will be discreet in your pocket with a featherweight of 100 g for 11.5 cm closed, and elegant up to the restaurant with its open size of 20 cm which makes it a real table knife. Its spring is hand chiselled and has a solid blade stop that will allow you to snap your knife without it hitting the bottom of the knife when closed.
Thiers Nature in warthog is made from a tooth because with this one can only make one knife. The warthog is a mammal that occurs mainly in South or East Africa. Its two tusks pointing upwards can reach 60 cm in older individuals. They are used in particular to dig up roots or bulbs, but also to defend themselves when they load their predators. The warthog’s tooth brings a certain rusticity to your Thiers, due to its white, rosé and brown colour. Its roughness can make you think of defects that are not, it’s just the material that is like that.
For hunting enthusiasts or collectors, owning a Thiers Nature warthog is quite common these days.

Posted in Couteaux Fontenille-Pataud

Le Thiers® family in video

Our friend Stefan Schmalhaus credit us of an exceptional video about Le Thiers® knives family with lock-back system, to watch now. Please note that the Thiers® Pocket will be available on our website in January:

Merci Stefan 😉

Posted in Couteaux Fontenille-Pataud

The Laguiole XS made of ironwood

Each region of France has a singular history, a cultural heritage and traditions. We can notice that the knife is usually part of this ensemble. At the beginning it was a working tool which was the extension of the hand. The knife has integrated and spread the local habits and life of the inhabitants of a region.
The legend of the Laguiole knife is a nice example of this transmission because this knife was created in the Massif Central region and more particularly in the Aubrac region. It enabled the region to be worldwide well known and is still contributing to this recognition.

Laguiole XS with lock-back system

laguiole XS knife handmade in France
The small Laguiole knives have always been neglected by the manufacturers. They point them out as “ladies or children knives”. The quality is usually mediocre.
The Laguiole XS knife made of iron wood by Fontenille Pataud is the smallest knife we offer. The Laguiole XS knife 9 cm will be discreet in your suit’s pocket or in your handbag.
In a few years, the Laguiole XS became the celebrity of the small Laguiole knives segment thanks to its precision that allows an easy opening and closing. The Laguiole XS knife 9cm made of ironwood offers a safe use because the blade is locked when open. This knife is perfect for those who want a discreet but efficient knife.
To manufacture the handle of our Laguiole knives, we select our raw material carefully. All materials used in the fabrication of our Laguiole XS knife are first choice in order to satisfy our customers while using their Laguiole XS knife made of ironwood
The Laguiole XS knife has an ironwood handle. The ironwood is a very strong wood, very pretty when polished, that can go from beige to dark brown. It has some tiger-striped marbling and golden reflections. It is one of the heaviest and densest wood: it doesn’t float even when dry. It is generally centenary: this wood is very rare and precious that can be sculpted when it had a natural death and has dried on site for 3 years. It comes from the USA.

The Laguiole XS made of ironwood : a little treat in the pocket!

Posted in Couteaux Fontenille-Pataud

The gentian

The yellow gentian grows on the Aubrac plateau between 800 and 1300 meters above the see level. It can be 2 meters high this is why its nickname is “the green skyscraper”. It takes 20 years to the plant to have its adult size. Some pretty little yellow flowers appear after 8 or 10 years of leaving and flowers every two years. However, it is the roots, called rhizome, that are used for several things: they are thick and can be 1 meter long and weight 5 kg.
In order to harvest the rhizomes, we call on a man cold “gentianaire” or “gençainaire” in the local dialect. The roots are deeply buried in the ground and it is a gargantuan task to extract them from the earth. It can only be made by hand.
They start the extraction in June until October. To collect, the farmer uses to specific tools :
– A pickaxe, called “anchor” that was used as a lever to unearth the rhizomes
– Nowadays, they use a steel garden fork that is at least 12,5 kg. They use to call it the “Evil garden fork”
This fork is narrow and the tine is made of two long teeth that are straight or slightly curved. They are usually 1 meter long. The teeth have been reinforced in order to make easier the removing and to resist the pressure due to the roots extraction. On the fork you can also find a footboard or two toe-clips on which the farmer jump in order to sink the teeth in the ground. A great “gentianaire” can remove from 200 to 300 kg of rhizome per day using only its arms strength.
The harvest of the day is placed into big jute bags that allow air to enter in order to avoid fermentation. Afterwards, they clean the roots with their Laguiole knife. They have to work very patiently and carefully to withdraw the soil and cut the buds.
The roots cargo is delivered to the cooperative where it is going to:
– Be macerated and distilled. Then the liquor and aperitifs can be produced. Gentian is also used to produce local drinks in other countries as in Switzerland, Italy, Germany, Austria…
– Be dried in glasshouses for 3 weeks et sold during winter to created pharmaceutical and herbalist products
The gentian root is used since Antiquity because of its digestives, tonic, purgative, refreshing, fortifying (etc.) virtues… It is on the medicinal plants list. It is also used to stimulate appetit.
As the « gentianaires » of Aubrac, have a look to the size of the yellow gentian, then you will know the height of the snow during the next winter.

Posted in Couteaux Fontenille-Pataud

Aubrac : a village perched on the plateau

Aubrac is a village in the municipality of Saint Chely d’Aubrac, in the Aveyron department, France. It is located on the way to Santiago de Compostela. That small village was built in the XIII century thanks to a cloistered hospital called “La domerie d’Aubrac”. The name stayed through the years. In French this name usually means “a high location”. Aubrac is 1310 meters above the see level and is the highest village of Aveyron and one of the highest villages of the Massif Central. 20 kilometres away you can also find the village called Laguiole. The Laguiole knife is called after the village since 1829.

In 1120 the monks built the monastery and the hospital in order to help the pilgrims in this wild region. In 1953 the monastery was completed with a 30 meters high tower intended to fight against the brigands. They used to come all over the region. The tower also intended to fight the exaction of the English: the tower is still today called the English Tower.

From the cloistered hospital we can nowadays see:
– The English tower
– Some buildings of the ancient hospital
– The Church Notre-Dame-des-pauvres

The bell tower of the church accommodates a “Maria” bell also called “Bell of the lost”. This area is favourable for loneliness. Moreover, the climate can be very harsh especially because of the wind from the north: they bring snow during the entire winter. The pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela could find board and lodging in the welcoming place thanks to the ring bell.

During the 1890, Dr Saunal advised patients to do some sojourn in high places in order to cure some pulmonary diseases. In 1902, Aubrac inaugurates a sanatorium where the therapy clients could enjoy an “air therapy” and a special milk called “gaspe” in Occitan. This milk is made from Laguiole cheese.

In the middle of the XXth century they stopped the cure and a big rural exodus happened. In the meantime, the traditional production decreased fast until it stopped. The commercial activity has been stopped at this period.

On their way to Santiago de Compostela the pilgrims come from Nasbinals and they walk along the pastures on the high plateau of Aubrac. They use the ancient ways called « drailles » where men and herds used to walk.

In Aubrac there is no corner shop. Tourism is the most important commercial activity nowadays. Many tourists come in the Aubrac region to visit a village called Laguiole. Laguiole is known since decades for its famous cutlery. The Laguiole knife is used by sheperds since 200 years. A big celebration happens at the beginning of May when the herds go from the village to the plateau: it’s called transhumance.

In 2000, the trade unions of the municipalities of Aubrac created « The House of the Aubrac ». The goal is to present the Plateau of Aubrac through exhibitions, scenographies, activities… Next to this place you can find a botanic garden in which there are about 650 vegetal species. They can all be found in the natural habitat of the region Aubrac.

Next to the village Aubrac, we can find a stone cross called “Cross of the 3 bishops”. It is located at the intersection of 3 departments (Aveyron, Cantal and Lozère) and 3 regions (Auvergne, Midi-Pyrénées and Languedoc Roussillon). Aubrac is located in the region of Aveyron, as is Laguiole and they are both emblematic villages of the region. However, the manufacture of the Laguiole knife is shared between Thiers in Auvergne and Laguiole.

Posted in Couteaux Fontenille-Pataud