Canarian knife

The Canarian Knife

The Canarian knife, valuable piece of craftsmanship while a useful tool, totally handmade, is characterized by a handle or end, beautiful and striking which makes it also very popular among collectors. This handle is worked in materials such as gold, silver, alpaca (copper, zinc and nickel), ivory, the ram’s horn (black and white blond) and ebony. Its blades, forged by a blacksmith are made of gold, silver, alpaca, Damascene steel, stainless steel and carbon steel (alloy of iron and carbon).


El Cuchillo Canario
On the origin and history of the Canary Islands knife several theories exist. Located chronologically by some in the thirteenth century, others say their presence in the Canary Islands does not go back beyond the mid-nineteenth century, associated with the early banana cultivation. Which is also known as “Naife”, from the English word “knife” would lead us to the theory that it was the British who brought it to the islands and yet the peculiar characteristics of the handle suggest a North African origin. Finally, after many studies, Don Alejandro Moreno and C. Marrero point out that – “the origin of the Canary Knife is in those peninsular territories where Arabs remained after the Reconquest finished. For further signs, I would say are focused or located in the regions of Toledo and Albacete, cities where, as was written by Martinez del Peral, making knives comes from the Moors, skilled artisans in cutting and treating metals “-.

Colección de cuchillos canarios en la Casa de Los Balcones, La Orotava
And in the Canary Islands, the knife took roots as an essential tool for the caltle breeder  and the farmer and between the first written references, we draw attention to the words of the English Olivia Stone, in 1885: “Islanders have at least a good habit. Wearly all men and boys carry knives, but as soon as the fight begins, throw them far away. If this practice was not well established, the passionate blood would lead to many terrible tragedies. ”

Campesino con Cuchillo Canario
Being motive of study for many, the Canarian knife can be classified by reference to the handle, in: Wooden handle knife, after Summit handle knife, knife after Coast handle knife and out of Flower handle Knife. Also, according to the length of the knife blade we find the Pastor, of 18 cm; Farm Knife or Platanero of 21 cm and Pitero knife, more than 23 cm. Finally, considering the materials used in their preparation they are divided into work knives and Jewel-Knives.

It has been deserving even of a monument to the Canarian knife, located at the end of Lomo Guillen (Guía of Gran Canaria), this city has been considered since time immemorial the quintessential land of knife.

According Bel says, if you give a Canarian knife to someone, it is desirable that in exchange you receive a coin from the recipient, which is the only way to assure of peace between the two people.


  • Consideraciones Generales sobre el origen y procedencia del Cuchillo Canario, por Alejandro C. Moreno y Marrero.
  • “La huella de tus manos”, de Stavros Meletlidis.
  • Fotografás de Stavros Meletlidis.