Longview man crafts knives from unusual items

LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) - A Longview man has earned a reputation as a craftsman by making one-of-a-kind blades for his customers.

Every month at Longview Trade Days, one table has an impressive display of knives. The work of craftsman Thomas Hearrell, the owner of 'Penny Knives.'

"I decided to start making my own handles and start putting them on them blades and from there it progressed to making my own fixed blades," he says.

The retired marine makes gun holsters, knife sheaths, and his own designed and honed blades. His blades are often made out of unusual materials.

"I use old sawmill saw blades. Files is one of my favorites. Ferrier's rasp," Hearrell says.

He says even lawn-mower blades make excellent knives.

"I remove material off it until I get down to the edge I'm wanting to the shape I'm wanting," Hearrell says.

And customers come away with a blade that is a one of a kind creation.

"People say, 'Hey. I got an antler. Can you make me a knife with it?' OK. There's always something a little bit different with each knife. As they handle it, the oil from their body goes into the wood, and it becomes part of them," he says.

His trademark is a blade that holds an edge like nothing else, and he's always coming up with a new line, like the corncob handle.

"It's my hillbilly collection. It's a corncob handle. Believe it or not a month and a half ago I ate the corn off of it," Hearrell says.

You can find Hearrell's booth, Penny Knives, at Longview Trade Days at the Longview Expo building every second full weekend of every month.

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