Sharp talent

Junior Jayce Hackebeil turns hobby of making knives into a business

Sydnie Harrell, Staff Writer

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In May of 2016, when he was in eighth grade, junior Jayce Hackebeil didn’t know his hobby of grinding and assembling knives would become a job that would catch the interest of many people.

“I started making knives at the end of my eighth-grade year as a hobby for myself,” Hackebeil said.

Later that summer, Hackebeil donated a knife to the DJ Carlson Bust-and-Burn Skeet Shoot. That’s when people started to take notice of his craftsmanship.

“Donating the knife is when the business part kind of took off,” Hackebeil said. “I was a bit surprised when I found out how many people liked them. My knives started to become popular around Devine.”

People began to ask where and when they could buy the knives. Hackebeil started taking custom orders and got to work.

“My husband collects knives, and I thought it would be great to have one my student created,” Mrs. Christie Kendrick-Ferguson said. “We have bought several. I personally thought they were beautiful, and my husband was very impressed with the craftsmanship, the balanced weight and that the blade keeps its sharpness.”

The process of making knives is a bit complex. The blade of the knife is traced, cut and ground down from a bar stock of 1095, or other similar high carbon steel. After that, Hackebeil grinds the bevel, the sloped part of the knife blade, and heat treats the blade.

“Once the knives are tempered and hardened, I polish, buff and assemble a set of handles on them,” Hackebeil said. “After, I make a sheath, a leather case, for that certain knife.”

With almost three years of experience, Hackebeil found the process that works best for him and helps him finish the knives for his customers quickly.

“With my set up right now, I can get a knife out in three or four days,” Hackebeil said.

As for the price of the knives, it varies depending on what the customer orders. Hackebeil sells a variety of knives so the price differs for everyone.

“I usually charge $175-$250 for my knives, but the prices usually vary based on the type of handle or style of the knife,” Hackebeil said.

Hackebeil also entered his knives as an Ag Mechanics project for the Medina County Junior Livestock Show last year. He earned the title of Grand Champion. This year, he placed second place at the San Angelo show.

“I entered to show my talent and see what other people would think of my knives,” Hackebeil said. “I received and continue to receive a lot of support for my business from my family, close friends and people who frequently buy them.”