Michele Pensato: Lionsteel's professional hobbyist
Michele Pensato – aka Molletta, his nickname in Italian – is a prolific designer who designs for Lionsteel. His career as a knife maker started on an archaeological dig. And although his knives have already won several awards, for him it remains a hobby that has got out of hand. Meet this professional hobbyist: Michele Pensato.
|Knife maker since
For Michele Pensato, it all began with archaeological excavations. He has always had a passion for (pre-)Roman history and could therefore regularly be found at archaeological digs. He and his friends used knives that turned out not to be good enough for their intensive use. This is how the idea arose to make a better quality knife himself. And in 2005 the Nexus 7 was born.
Hobby that got out of hand
Since then, Michele Pensato has designed dozens of knives for Lionsteel. In his daily life, however, he is 'just' a business consultant and he makes business investment plans for banks. In this sense, designing knives is simply a hobby that got out of hand. Before the Nexus 7, he started learning metalworking and he has never stopped. He is always learning. For example, he reads studies by universities and does his own laboratory tests when working with new types of steel. He also experiments with different heat treatments to see what results this produces. 'Molletta' mainly considers practicality in his designs. His focus is on use and performance. This means that he not only comes up with a beautiful design for every project, but he also studies which materials are best for this design. The handle, the steel type and the specific heat treatment.
He has already won many awards with his knives, but he doesn't think about this at all when designing knives. He simply designs what is missing in the Lionsteel collection. That is the only knife manufacturer he works with. He is good friends with the owners of Lionsteel. He regularly visits them on the farm and has a lot of fun there.
Despite the fact that knife making is only a hobby for Michele Pensato, a large part of the Lionsteel collection stems from him. For example, he designed all the M knives. And the hugely popular T5. His SR11 won the Blade Show Knife of the Year Award in 2017. Molletta's knives stand out because of their practical simplicity and their typical Italian rounded corners. No-nonsense knives, offering something for everyone.
Pensato also continues to innovate. For instance, he designed the T.R.E. system. This stands for Three Rapid Exchange. It enables three different opening modes: you can choose whether to attach the flipper, use the thumb stud, or perhaps both. This means you can attach the flipper and thumb stud to the blade yourself, so you get to choose your own opening mechanism. And you can also modify it later. The first knife with this mechanism was the TRE, which won the award for Best Overall Knife at the 2015 Blade Show in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. There are now more knives that feature this system.