Brand Spotlight: Jake Hoback Knives

Brand Spotlight: Jake Hoback Knives

Posted by Clayton on Mar 6th 2018

Jake Hoback Knives are renowned for their commitment to functional craftsmanship, seamlessly combining creativity and utility to produce knives that accurately represent Hoback’s personal philosophies: “Tools, not just trophies” and “Made for hard work.”

Jake Hoback prides himself on creating quality tools that will withstand the tests of time and use. The self-described ‘80s kid who is always searching for information is dedicated to the art and science of creating quality knives. Two of his most popular designs, the Kwaiback and the OSF, can be found through several online outlets. He also enjoys collaborating with other artists and companies.


Although Hoback made his professional debut in 2003, he started forging knives over a decade earlier in his backyard. Using tools and materials found at home, Jake would pound out knives by hand. His first knife, a backswept Persian-style blade, was shaped with a framing hammer and rocks. From there he worked summers in the blacksmith shop owned by a friend’s dad where he developed a passion for the craft and honed his skills. After that, he never looked back.

The driving philosophy behind his work is his overwhelming value of hard work. Hoback is more than just a designer or a name; he's involved in all aspects of creating his products. He describes himself as a toolmaker and a machinist. He helps create the solid models, installs machines, does quality control, runs machines and even helps with building maintenance.

Jake Hoback never settles for a mediocre product and continually looks for ways to improve his knives.

The Kwaiback

The Jake Hoback Kwaiback is a modern version of the Japanese kaiken, later updated to kwaiken. The kwaiken was a blade traditionally carried by women and men of the Samurai class. It was easy to conceal, so women usually kept one in the sleeve or pocket of their kimono, and it was good for self-defense in tight indoor spaces. The name Kwaiback is a sort of play on words combining kwaiken with Hoback.

The Kwaiback is a folding knife that consists of a steel tanto-shaped blade that flows into its frameset. The blade and frame are available in several colors and finishes. They all include pivot thrust bearings, standard screw sizes, cold-formed bearing races and engineered internal lightening pockets. You can also customize your piece with optional inlays, pocket clips and backspacers.

Its handle is mostly rectangular except for an angle at the butt. Two deep grooves are routed down the length of the frame. The Kwaiback is available with several different frame materials including titanium and aluminum.


The OSF is another folding knife, but this one has a modified sheep's foot-shaped blade. OSF stands for “open source folder.” Hoback started designing it in 2010 with a goal of creating a product that only needed simple tooling, no CNC required. It has a single-point rear standoff, giving it a larger handle-to-blade ratio than other similar knives.

The blade of the OSF is constructed of stainless steel while the frame is titanium. The OSF is available in a variety of frame and blade colors, including a limited-edition Hero Series styled to pay tribute to the American armed forces and law enforcement officers. All products, though, are equipped with a replaceable lock bar insert, standardized hardware for easy repair, machined pockets on the frame's interior that reduce weight and pivot thrust bearings.


Jake Hoback enjoys collaborating with other artists, builders and designers. He's remarked that joint projects give people an opportunity they might not otherwise have, like a designer without the means to produce; it also gives him an opportunity to see new ideas he may not have considered.

His most recent collaboration was with Agency Arms, an American company specializing in firearm modification and aftermarket accessories. Their limited-edition joint product is called the Agent Knife, which combines the aesthetic of Agency Arms with the reliability of Hoback Knives.

Just 50 of the Agent Knife were produced, each imprinted with the distinct markings found on the Agency Arms Glock slide and the Agency Arms logo. Inside, you’ll find the Kwaiback design with a stainless steel tanto blade. The Agent Knife is equipped with standard-size screws for easy repairs, hardened stainless steel bearing races, pivot thrust bearings and machining on the frame's interior that reduces weight.

Jake Hoback's attention to detail, hard work and quality products ensure that he'll be part of the knife community for many years to come. His innate drive to keep learning and researching new designs will prove extremely useful as metallurgy and technology advance to inspire new and more innovative knives. Future collaborations are sure to increase his visibility to bring Jake Hoback Knives to an even larger audience.