Art in the Display Case: Artist Kurt Jacobs, Shark Reef Knives: Hand-crafted from Wood, Steel, and Leather, Aug 14th through Sept 25th

An artist's work

An artist’s work

Join us for an artist reception and talk Friday, August 14th, 2:00-4:00 PM in the library’s Community Room


I retired in 2012 after teaching for four decades, mostly in a small, rural high school on Lopez Island in Northwestern Washington. Conventional wisdom states that death will follow in three years unless one has something meaningful to occupy mind and body. According to my wife, I have always been obsessed with knives. I’ve always carried a pocket knife, have a couple of samurai swords, and a variety of hunting knives. Whenever I visited the relatives for any length of time, I’d pull out my stone and sharpen their kitchen knives.

So making knives seemed the perfect way to spend my time. I’ve always been a woodworker so I knew I’d make my knives with wooden handles. For the blades, I started out with old saw blades and files like many do. I used my pottery kiln to temper some carbon steel blades. Re-drilling a hole in a file-made knife required a trip to the doctor’s and seven stitches. Reworking a ninja throwing star after two glasses of wine required a Super Glue treatment to the small gash. The whole thing has been a learning experience, but I rarely repeat the same mistake. Unlike the classroom, life’s lessons are frequently learned after the test and I rarely cut myself any more.

Kurt Jacobs in his studio

The artist in his studio

I make a large selection of hunting knives and three different kitchen knives. I only make wooden handles, which I cut from pieces of a variety of different hardwoods. All the hunting knives come with simple leather sheaths I make for them, however I have also been experimenting with Kydex for sheath material. Making knives keeps me busy, alert, and out of trouble. Who knows, the avocation might even pay for itself some day.                                                                              – Kurt Jacobs