LEO, IND. (WPTA21)-They’re handmade, beautiful and dangerous and they’re made in this little garage just outside Leo.
“I like perfecting things getting it to look as perfect as I possibly can,” says knife maker Adam Heibel. “That’s what drives me.”
Perfection is the trademark of anything Adam Heibel makes and what he makes a lot of people want. Adam is founder, president and CEO of Heibel Knives, a cottage business turning out finely crafted balisong knives, or ‘butterfly’ knives..odd looking devices not really intended for cutting. They’re made to perform with. These strange looking objects are precision made. The design’s worked out on a computer then the specs fed into a CNC which cuts out the blade. The blade is tempered in a kiln, that hardens it and brings out the grain of the high end Damascus steel Adam imports from Sweden. All the knife parts are machined to the thousandths of an inch and hand assembled and the results are impressive. Heibel Knives turns out dozens of designs coveted by collectors in Europe, Scandinavia, the Middle East and all across the states. And these gems can cost up to three thousand dollars apiece. Adam has an engineering degree but he says he learned to make knives the hard way.
“Learn from the mistakes that I’ve made,” he says, “because it’s hard to learn properly without making mistakes and I’ve made a bunch myself so that’s where all my learning has come from, trial and error.
Adam says he’s loved knives since he was a kid, loved making things. So after college he launched his business. Despite the niche market for balisong knives Heibel Knives has grown since day one. And as you’d expect the company’s ambitious CEO has big plans for the future.
“Obviously I’d like to grow, get more equipment,” he says. “Bigger shop. I’d like to dominate the market for custom balisongs production balisongs. I just love making things if I can make something have it function and look as what I desire it makes me really happy.”
Eric Olson reporting out in 21 Country.