Meet The Sitka Maker Episode One - Rob Pinkney, Blacksmith


Posted by Andrew Howson

Rob Pinkney is Sitka's blacksmith. He's based in Te Awamutu, Waikato, and has one of the most beautifully setup traditional forge's in New Zealand. 

With a passion for creating handmade working tools, Rob also has a huge knowledge of New Zealand history and a passion to bring together the history behind the tools, and the steel that makes them.

Our first tool we've made together is The New Zealand trade axe, or Patiti. The axe was an incredibly valuable trade item in the 1800’s, most notably when Samuel Marsden used 12 axe heads to purchase 80ha of land in the Bay of Islands. A fair sum of 16 acres of land per head! Around the 1860’s as the Musket and Land wars occured. Traded axe heads had become a popular war weapon for Maori with the handles fashioned out of wood or whale bone with ornate carvings decorating them.

Rob’s axes are a folded style head with a carbon steel insert in the leading edge blade which is firewelded to perfection. Each handle of the Trade Axes are hand carved from locally sourced hardwood timbers creating an absolutely unique finished product that is fit for purpose.

Rob’s forge in Te Awamutu is as traditional as they come, with everything done by hand, and a timing which only experience can create. Fire welding is the pinnacle of any blacksmith’s skill set and something which Rob has manage to perfect over the years.