Risktaker of the Month: Jacobus Meiring
An engineer and a dad, a retrenchment and a new beginning – our Risktaker of the Month Jacobus Meiring’s story is the epitome of our #DoMore motto.
When the pandemic forced his company to make retrenchments, Jacobus was forced to do more in order to provide for his two daughters. And so he honed his hobby into something more, swapped his title from ‘engineer’ to ‘bladesmith’ and began turning raw steel into one-of-a-kind blades by the order.
In no time, the number of orders grew and so did his new business.
We sat down with Jacobus at his home forge, formerly known as his garage, to find out more about his journey.
You grew up on a farm and used to sharpen things to create knives as a child. Did anyone teach you or guide you, or are you self-taught?
I’m basically self-taught. But although I grew up on a farm and used to sharpen things to make knives, I’ve realised now that I wasn’t making knives – I was just making sharp things! But what I know now is taken from a lot of research, from YouTube, and even the TV series ‘Forged in Fire’.
How would you compare your first creations to your latest ones?
I won’t! But if I really have to look at it, my latest ones are a lot better made. I’ve obtained better equipment since my first creations so it allows me to make the knife a lot better – better looking and better functioning.
It’s also lost that natural or raw look of something that somebody who doesn’t actually know what he’s doing has made. They have evolved.
What is one of the biggest lessons you’ve learnt as you moved from your old job as an engineer to your self-employed new job as a bladesmith?
What I’ve learnt is that if you don’t have the commitment in what you are trying to achieve, then you won’t achieve it. So that commitment and dedication and hard work is definitely something I learnt in my previous field which is helping me a lot now as a bladesmith.
Are your daughters excited about having you working from home and seeing what you’re making?
Yes, they’re definitely very excited! I always show them as soon as I finish a new knife or I show them knives that I’m busy with, and they like to comment on it – if they like it and what they like about it – which inspires me as well.
It’s obviously great having me closer to home. In my previous field I was working away a lot, which is obviously never too nice.
What do you look for in each item before declaring them complete and ready for the client to take delivery?
Above it looking very nice, above it being appealing, to me what is very important – my top priority – is functionality. It must do what it was designed to do, what it’s intended to do, what my client is going to use it for. It must be able to do that and it must be sharp. If it’s not sharp, it’s not a knife.
So those are my priorities in my blades: functionality, strength and sharpness, even above aesthetics.
Do you use your own knives in your kitchen as well? How do they fair, and have you gotten any reviews from customers having used your kitchen knives?
Yes, I definitely use my own knives in my kitchen. I’ve replaced all my old knives with my own knives, and I think that should speak as to how they fair. They are beyond sharp, and they can do anything that I need to do with them in the kitchen.
I’ve also had reviews from guys who have been nothing but impressed by the sharpness and the way the knife can be manoeuvred to do whatever cutting is required.
And now that you’ve turned your hobby into a profession, do you have a new hobby for your free time when you need some time off?
Yes, well, in my free and off time, I make knives (laughing).
I’m a bladesmith – that’s what I love doing. Even if I’m not doing it for a living, it’s still a passion which I’m doing for a hobby.
Jacobus wears the Cat Footwear Mobilize Alloy Toe in black. The alloy safety toe in this exceptional work boot protects against impact and compression, offering the strength of a steel toe in a lightweight and more compact format – perfect for someone working with sharp objects every day.
The leather uppers also ensure a casual and comfortable boot with all of the toughness and durability he needs.
Take inspiration from the values that Jacobus upholds, as strong as his blades and as enduring as his heart, and #DoMore in your life with Cat Footwear.
Shop online for your perfect shoe today.