R&N Blades journey started with Rob as a young boy growing up in what was then rural New South Wales.
Rob loved watching his grandfather and father maintain the tools needed to produce food from the land and took a deep interest running trap lines and snares with his brothers’ targeting rabbits for the table and foxes for their pelts.
Fishing the creeks and pools that ran through the property was a constant source of entertainment and fuelled a love of exploration in a world long before the digital age. Along with his siblings, they spent hours fashioning spears to catch Silver Eels. They also hand made other bush tools used to dislodge the huge Spiney Back Crayfish from tight rock hideouts to take home for a family feast. The one constant, the requirement for a quality knife.
Having a good knife that was sharp was more than a material possession to show your mates, a knife was an essential tool that had to maintain an edge with use, and you learnt from an early age to keep it keen.
The ability to sharpen your knife and tools was taught by his father and grandfather. Watching them “lick” an edge up on a knife was something to see and something that is now sadly looked upon as wizardry.
Years later, Rob joined Victoria Police with a strong sense of community and service. After more than a decade in various policing roles ranging from general duties, crime investigation, drug enforcement, one-man remote station placements and many supervision roles, his career took a turn for the worst with the onset of what was to become debilitating Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Constant exposure to some horrendous scenes found Rob in a world that he was steadily withdrawing from. The one constant that was ultimately his key to survival and recovery was going back to his childhood love of making and sharpening knives in his small workshop.
Rob soon found that his hand made knives and tools brought genuine happiness to the recipients and that in turn started to fill his “glass” up with positivity and hope.
After retiring from the police force, Rob took on role as the Eastern Region Compliance Manager for the Game Management Authority in Victoria. Two years into this career and Rob witnessed a terrible three-car high speed collision.
Rob’s expertise from his previous career kicked in which led to him managing the scene and tending to the needs of injured until other first responders arrived. An unfortunate biproduct was a relapse of his mental health and the breakdown that followed.
This is where the knifemaking really became a pillar of light and established itself in both Rob and Naomi’s life. Unable to continue working in the usual setting that conventional employment offers, Rob turned to knife making as therapy.
Twelve intense months followed of hospital visitations, medication and expert treatment for PTSD. Remaining positive and keeping busy was key to recovery as Rob channelled his energy into design and creation.
R&N Blades was now well and truly shaped.
The deeper into recovery Rob travelled over the next 5 years the more R&N Blades grew. The support of his wife Naomi throughout this time and the employment of carefully selected employees has been the key building blocks to success.
Management of his mental health is ongoing and the use of “art therapy” assists in rebuilding Rob’s sense of identity and allows to contribute positively to the community.
Rob and Naomi are proud of R&N Blades slogan “Made to Use”, as it is a statement of fact, testament to the pride and workmanship in every knife.
It is also a “tip of the hat” to the flexibility the businesses settings and lifestyle has afforded Rob “to use” as a tool in his recovery and foundations to be a healthier human.