Last year, Jake Newell received an unexpected engraving commission. “William Henry knew my work situation and contacted me about doing this,” Newell says. The commission required him to engrave two knives that would later be sold at a fundraising auction benefiting Habitat for Humanity. Jake travels for much of the year, working at various Habitat sites around the country, so the project was a perfect fit for him.
Like an architect designing a house, Jake carefully planned the knife design, doing a detailed preliminary drawing before he began to engrave. Each major element is present in both the drawing and the finished engraving. The knife features fine bulino shading as well as gold and copper wire inlay. The copper wire came directly from a Habitat work site. Blue and green enamels bring a splash of color to the Habitat for Humanity logo.
The design is tied closely to Jake’s own experiences working with Habitat for Humanity. One side features an assortment of tools, including a hammer, speed square, paint brush, tape measure, and circular saw blade. William Henry also requested that the knife feature the most powerful part of the home-building process. “Raising the walls is considered to be the coolest part of Habitat,” Jake explained. It is common for the people that will live in the home to help raise the main walls. To illustrate this important part of the process, he engraved gloved hands working together to raise the walls of the home. The other side of the knife shows a house in various stages of completion. The left side shows bare studs and adds layers, progressing right until it shows a completed home. The building depicted is actually based on a Habitat house that Jake helped build in Texas.
It’s easy to see that William Henry commissioned the right man for this job — Jake Newell had the engraving experience and the personal experience to make this knife something truly special.
Have you ever engraved a piece that you had a personal connection to? Send photos and story to firstname.lastname@example.org.