Jack Leitner has a passion for working with his hands and creating things from scratch. Growing up around metal work, with his father being a Ferrier and blacksmith, Jack was inspired to follow in his father’s footsteps. During winter nights, he would spend his time tinkering in his shop, making intricate horseshoe nail crosses.
However, Jack wanted to explore something different and decided to try his hand at making knives. He started studying handmade knives and thought to himself, “I can do that.” Thankfully, his friend and mentor Billy Helton from Claremore helped Jack refine his bladesmithing techniques.
For Jack, the process of transforming a piece of wood and metal into a functional and beautiful knife is a truly rewarding experience. Each knife he creates is unique, and its design and the metal used determine its final form. Jack loves making knives both for sale and as custom one-of-a-kind pieces. He uses a variety of materials, such as old hoof files, 52100 steel, and 440 stainless, depending on the desired outcome.
The forging process involves heating the steel to a temperature of 1500 degrees and undergoing three cycles of heat-treating to harden the blade. At the end of this process, Jack adds his signature touch – his “Makers Mark,” which serves as a special logo. He considers this mark a way to sign his work, similar to how a painter signs their artwork.
Jack can usually be found in his shop on winter nights, as the summer heat makes it difficult to work with the forge. Fortunately, his wife Heather is supportive of his knife-making hobby and often spends time in the shop, learning about the craft and providing valuable critique. Most of Jack’s knife-making occurs during the winter months, where he creates an impressive 15 to 20 knives each month. Jack finds joy in shaping metal into unique items. Alongside his knife-making hobby, he has been working as a salesman at P&K Equipment in Kingfisher for 34 years.
If you’re interested in seeing Jack’s impressive work, be sure to visit him at the “Winterfest” Craft Show on December 2nd in Kingfisher, where he will have a booth showcasing his handcrafted knives.