The handmade knives workshop in Ioannina that is almost 100 years old

Telis Cutting Tools, Telis Giannena Ioannina

Handmade knives are produced in a family workshop in the centre of Ioannina's old town using traditional know-how handed down by previous generations.

The handmade knife manufacturing workshop Telis Giannena, owned by Rania Pitenis and her husband Vangelis Gogou in Ioannina, is a success story in itself.

The workshop is almost a century old. It began in 1933 when grandfather Aristotelis Pitenis opened his blacksmith shop. He made tools by hand and gained a reputation for butcher knives.

His first-born son, Adamantios, followed in his footsteps and experienced the entire transition that the knifemaking field was going through - imported manufactured goods replacing small family crafts.

When Adamantios died in 2016, Rania and Vangelis, the third generation, took over the reins and re-energised the business by linking it to the rise of Greek gastronomy.

Metal with personality

Telis Cutting Tools, Telis Giannena

When entering the store, you might think you're visiting an exhibition space with designer objects.

A little further inside the workshop are work tools - this is also the "kingdom" of Vangelis.

"Metal has a specific sequence of cutting, heating and annealing until it is shaped. From there, the uniqueness lies in the customer's taste - from what material they want, the handle and what kind of wood. For example, we use elm, oak or olive wood.

"The fact that we make custom-made knives, that we talk with the customer about the materials, the weight or the design, about what suits each person's style, gives exactly that personal element as something new to the whole creative affair," he said.

Knives of all kinds

Telis Cutting Tools, Telis Giannena

Here, you can find everything for general purposes, including cutting meat and cheese, and small and large cleavers.

"We don't only deal with professionals," Rania said. "The fact that we work with well-known restaurants is a reward for our capabilities. However, the trust shown to us by ordinary consumers is just as important."

"We address everyone with the same passion and professionalism," she added.

The power of fire

According to Vangelis, the most difficult part of the job is contact with the high temperatures to which the metal is exposed.

On the other hand, this is also the most attractive part of their work: the magical processing of an amorphous mass into the finished product, the knife.

info: Zappa 1 45444, Ioannina, tel. 26510 29166,

Editor: Vangelis Marinakis – Photos: Menelaos Sykovelis

READ MORE: The forgotten tradition of basket weaving in Florina.

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