Hoback Custom Knives

So... where to even begin with this. I guess at the beginning. so lets start with a history lesson on Jake Hoback/Hoback Custom Knives

So there I was sitting cross legged in the scorching Nevada dirt in front of an abandoned mining crane counter weight, the year...1992. I was 10 and needed a weapon to fight off the savage beasts of the great basin Nevada desert. Having done a midnight raid under the cover of darkness into enemy territory to procure a much needed weapons cache...(raided my uncles shed) I found a piece of 1/4 thick mystery steel.

I began to pound that piece of mystery steel with a framing hammer like a screen door in a hurricane. Having absolutely no clue as to what I was doing or sometimes where I was, mainly due to heat exhaustion and the tinnitus in my ears, I somehow managed to make something akin to a Persian short blade.

So this was my first foray into making blades and tools. many a rattle snake and jack rabbit where killed and skinned with that blade. Soon I found that I needed something better for my long distance hikes over the great Sierra Nevada mountains. Soon my blade was retired and replaced with cheap Chinese Rambo knife I got in trade at the end of the trail saloon in Dayton. Now I could get lost in the mountains with a crappy compass and a poor excuse for a blade.

Enter a new adventure, introduction into blacksmithing. A good friends family had a blacksmith shop in Virginia City and coupled with working for a fierier that doubled breaking/training wild horses, I had a chance to learn from them and make some much better blades and tools.

After graduating High school in 2000 I took a job working in a turbine engine factory and had a great opportunity to learn about machining and even take classes. I was evolved in a project that was one of the first 3d laser sintering robots. We built a 6 axis robotic arm that would use a 3000W fiber laser to weld inconel onto turbine blades, thus being the first ISO9002 certified company to be able to repair turbine blades instead of replacing them.

Laser welding

After a few years, I moved up to Washington and started doing a lot of hunting and fishing. I started a job working for Washington Fish and Wildlife and spent a lot more time outdoors in the water. I was part of a invasive species group that snorkeled and dove in all navigable waterways in Washington state. Its sufficient to say that I learned how to live in the woods with minimal equipment and a long way from help.

At the same time I was building my entrepreneurial/fabrication skills welding and fabricating rock crawling/racing rigs that were capable of climbing over and around obstacles that you could never take any stock vehicle through. this provided me ample opportunity to learn about structural design and how metal works and doesn't work.

2003 was also the same time that I took on my first real commissioned custom knife project. I had been making knives off and on since childhood, but while working at fish and wildlife I needed a sturdy fixed blade chopper for killing and cutting up fish that would double for camping duty. I was commissioned to make a similar knife for a customer and it was a success...eeer well currently I would call it a dumpsterfire of a knife, but the customer was happy and I made a whopping $250 on a 10" blade chopper made from O1.

working in a Costco tent, with a 4x36 harbor freight grinder and a drill press I was able to create something that someone actually wanted to buy.

Enter the Choppa man. After the first sale of a knife I was hooked, I spent every waking moment working on knives and selling them. I was dubbed the Choppa man by a few guys and I had so many orders I didnt know what to do. Shortly into this insanity I decided to take up folder making. I started with some crazy ideas but no real clue what I was doing, so I took to the interwebs for help. Researching on every forum and youtube I found all the big names and started looking at how they made things, added my own thoughts and went nuts.

2003 was the year of many new inventions. I produced the A10/Kwaiback/and the HRD (Hoback Rolling Detent)

The next many years were fraught with building knives in my off time, getting married, moving to Texas with my young wife and starting knife making full time in 2009.

What an adventure life was!

2012 I started the largest project I had ever taken on, the 1st Kwaiback production run. Working with several machine shops across the US, I spent every penny I had, having parts made for 1000 Kwaiback folders. this was insane!!! Fast forward abut 8 months, things were not going well. The project was behind schedule and I was struggling with the how and why of what was going on.

So I decided to take matters into my own hands, I took out a loan and bought my first CNC mill. I canceled my outstanding VERY late orders and had all the partially finished parts sent to me after squaring up with the company's that I hired to do the work.

I set to work not only learning how to run the new CNC mill but also how to finish the parts I had on hand for outstanding orders. Somehow I finished all of those orders within 2 months of receiving the parts, including hand grinding all the blades! I believe the only reason I got that done was the grace of God and not sleeping.

2014 We moved the business up to Idaho, and very quickly started finding other machine shops to help kick production off correctly. Alas this didn't work either and I ended up doing a majority of the work my self again. This is the plight of the entrepreneur, finding help when you need it. Perseverance is key!!!

In 2015-16 I brought on some more help with the business and we started outsourcing more parts to various machine shops. things were finally starting to work out.

2016-forward equaled many more skills learned, lots of OEM work for other companies including my own, and then outsourcing production for Jake Hoback Knives. this gave me a much needed break and the ability to take on more custom jobs, which I sorely missed.


to be continued...