Hello, I am Uta Alexander, knife maker, designer, engineer, CNC technician, and general work horse at Zander Blades. I began making knives in 2009 while I was working as a combat engineer for the New Zealand army and haven’t been able to stop myself since then. I began making tactical knives for using on training exercises, trying to come up with a multi-functional tool that would do the best job as well as look and feel fantastic. The search for the perfect knife eventually led me out of the army and to create Zander Blades Limited in 2016, with my partner Grace Marcroft, and I haven’t stopped since.
For me, knife making is more than a hobby, or a job, it’s more like an obsession. It’s a highly involved craft that requires knowledge of design, geometry, metallurgy, engineering, physics, smithing and woodworking techniques, just to name a few. I have also started looking into CNC for our future projects and have been retrofitting an old mill for CNC operations. This has been yet another huge learning curve I am trying to ascend.
Retrofitting, upgrading and DIY is part of my work philosophy. I believe that if you truly want to understand something you should do it, or make it, yourself. The DIY approach also allows us to be in complete control over the quality of our knives and for that reason we do as much as possible in house. We even made our own electric heat-treating kiln that we use for each and every knife. We stabilize our own handle materials as well and if there is anything we currently cannot do in our workshop we likely have plans that will allow us to do so in the future.
Hi, Grace here. I’m the non-knife maker half of the Zander Blades operation but don’t think that keeps me out of the workshop. I don’t have a specific job title, I’m more of a ‘whatever needs doing’ at the time person. Sometimes that’s polishing, or sharpening, sheath making, photographing, invoicing, ordering, researching, sandwich making or cheer leading. You get the picture. For me, knife making didn’t enter my stratosphere until after I met Uta. I recognized his passion to the craft and quickly convinced him that it was worth pursuing seriously. We have worked really hard to build a business that upholds our philosophy of ‘Elegance, Perfection and Performance’ and we hope this shows in our knives.
I’m a bit of a jack of all trades, master of none kind of person. I love art, music, dancing, hunting, tramping, farming, horse riding, and, most of all, science. I recently completed a Bachelor of Science in Earth Science and Geology and have taken post- graduate papers in geochemistry and volcanology. Since then I have taken a break from academic life to pursue our vision for Zander Blades. However, I’m not putting away my lab coat just yet. I’m hoping to use my scientific background to aid our journey and our products. I have become increasingly interested in metallurgy and product testing methods. My aim is to put our knives under the microscope, both metaphorically and literally, to really determine what makes a fantastic blade and so that we can ensure the quality of our product. I’m so excited to see where this journey takes us and what the future of Zander Blades will be.