How Raffir came to life
Starting as knife makers
We – Jacob Schou Madsen and Michael Sort Mouritsen – started out as knife makers at the age of 13 in 1998. Soon after, we grew more and more passionate about knife making materials as well as about knife making itself. We found a whole new world of discovering, sourcing and later creating our own materials. The following years most of our spare time was used for knife making and material sourcing. We also started selling handle materials to other knife makers and turned our hobby into our spare time business.
Our first company
In 2003 we were finally old enough to register our own company, and started Sort & Schou knife supply. At the same time we collected all our private savings along with our children’s savings. We then went to Russia, and used all of it to buy fossil mammoth tusks. At the time, this kind of business required 100% upfront payment. Were our parents nervous about their kids traveling to a country far away with a load of money? Little bit… But about a month after we got back our mammoth tusks arrived. The next year or so we were cutting up and selling mammoth tusks to knife makers in most of Scandinavia. We used some of the earnings from this adventure to go to Russia again for more mammoth tusks. The rest of it was used for a different type of investment: developing our own wood stabilizing process.
Creating our own unique materials
Ever since we started making knives we also dreamed about creating and stabilizing our own unique handle materials. We started experimenting with ways to stabilize wood even before we started Sort & Schou. But after our first mammoth expedition we had finally earned enough money to really get started. We then invested in heavier equipment for the vacuum and high-pressure treatments that are key for a successful wood stabilization.
We launched our first stabilized woods at the end of 2003. The “factory” was located at Jacob’s parents garage. But the equipment was there, and so was the ideas. However, when it comes to stabilizing wood, and you think you’ve got it all figured out, you’ve really only just begun. It takes an enormous amount of effort to do it well. There is always something you can improve. Whether it is the input material, the pretreatment, the resin formula, the stabilizing process itself or the hardening procedure.
Today, after thousands and thousands of adjustments and improvements, we are very proud of the results we have reached. But even now, more than 15 years after we started stabilizing wood, we still improve the process and the products with every chance we get. We are determined to create and supply the best quality of stabilized materials in the world. We can only do that by continually pushing our abilities forward.
From Sort & Schou to Raffir
As we created and improved our own unique materials we started labeling them “Raffir”. We did that to separate them from the standard untreated woods and fossils we sold at the time.
/ r œ f ɪəʳ /
Raffir – an abbreviation of the Danish word “raffinere” (refine)
The word “Raffir” is an abbreviation of the Danish word for “refine”. We chose this brand name to support the basic philosophy of our materials. The starting point of our product development is to find something unique but fragile in nature. We then combine it with advanced resins and processing technologies to get the best from both worlds. The unique beauty of nature meets the strength and durability of modern technology.
Over the years this approach led us to our three main product categories: Raffir Fossils, Raffir Wood and Raffir Blades. Raffir Wood and Raffir Fossils product both have the unique aesthetics of their natural raw material. They are both treated with resins that improves the mechanical properties and reduces degradation. The result is an overall more homogeneous material suited for many applications, in which aesthetic, durability and machinability are important factors. Overall, the Raffir materials are used for a variety of products such as: knife handles, gun grips, jewelry, musical instruments, eyewear, accessories and a lot more. The final category is our own Scandinavian style design series of chef knife blades, hunting knife blades and folder kits. We have used our background as Scandinavian knife makers to create what we see as the ideal blade from the knife maker’s point of view. In the design process we work closely with other experienced knife makers, hunters and professional chefs to offer the most functional and elegant blades for our customers.
New partner in Denmark
Over the first 15 years Raffir went from a garage-model spare time company to a very specialized custom material production. And in 2019, our latest partner – Henning Rohde – joined the company and invested in a new and better facility. Henning is a very enthusiastic knife maker and hunter. He has been making knives and customizing guns for more than 20 years. Via these interests he already has many years of experience and passion working with Raffir materials. Furthermore, his family business is a large auto paint shop. This gives him life long experience with lacquers and various surface treatments, which strengthens the future product developments in Raffir.
We hope you will find the time to browse through our many different materials. Maybe you will find just the inspiration you need for your next project! The standard dimensions and color options for the materials are written for each product category. However, we also customize orders, which give the possibility of making the materials in custom dimensions to fit your needs.
You are very welcome to contact us if you have comments, need information or price quotes.
The Raffir Crew
Jacob Schou Madsen, Founding Partner, Raffir ApS
Michael Sort Mouritsen, Founding Partner, Raffir ApS
Henning Rohde, Partner, Raffir ApS
Miles Wirtel, Partner, Raffir USA