About Maka

Jock Zonfrillo, Matt Stone and Manu Feildel  all store their knives in a Maka.

Mick "Maka" Kerkham didn't learn to sew until he was 39. Now, at 51, the self-taught designer can't get enough of it: he spends his days in his back-garden shed in Sorell, 30 kilometres north-east of Hobart, sewing classic leather knife rolls and sheaths as well as toolbelts for some of the country's best chefs and makers.

What do people want in a knife roll, Mick?

Sometimes they want something to match their knives (black and silver, say) and sometimes it's to match their personality. A lot of the chefs are going for that retro or vintage look at the moment. I don't skimp on expense; I use quality brass buckles, which age softly with the leather. I have a laser engraver, too, so can put people's names on the rolls. I've had parents buying them for their kids when they've finished their apprenticeships. People are really embracing that aspect.

What do you look for when sourcing your leathers?

We're losing a lot of our tanneries in Australia. It's a hard industry, but if we don't use it, we'll loose it. I always source Australian leathers , I use full-grain cow and upper leathers and also an oxblood leather from Tasmania. These are the best cuts. I love leaving branding marks and interesting imperfections (as long as it doesn't make weakness) and always try to incorporate them into my work.


This article was featured in Gourmet Traveller Magazine May 2016.


Leather is an organic material, which means most leather
comes with wrinkles, scars, bug bits, barb wire scars, brands and stretch marks.The beauty of leather is that it is truly unique and one of a kind, leathertells the life story of the cow. Every hide is unique, it will accept the dye
and colours differently, it will stretch or soften, many age with a fine colour patina.

We consider most of the marks on our leather to add more to the piece, than those without.

Once hides arrive in the workshop, we go through each one by hand and quality check all hides before we proceed to make anything with them. Whileyou Maka gear my arrive with some bug bites, we will never use anything we are
100% happy with.