New Commission
Jim Shull (SHULLHANDFORGEDKNIVES) was given the OK by Jasper County Commissioners to take a piece of bar from the old jail facility and make a presentation knife out of it. Shull, who has been making knives for about 18 years, says he enjoys creating something functional out of something that could be considered useless, such as old jail cell bars. Photos by Amber Tomlinson/Republican

Jim Shull came through with his promise to make a historical keepsake from the Old Jasper County Jail paand the end result is a work of art. On Monday, Shull, along with his wife Nancy, presented Jasper County Sheriff Orville Perry with a Bowie knife made from bar stock that was part of the old jail doors. The old jail doors were made of metal bars, as someone might see on TV or in the movies. Perry said Shull was given a door to cut up and make the keepsake. "He gave me a rough sketch when we gave him the bar stock out of the jail and I have been waiting patiently almost everyday," Perry said. "With the other jails there is nothing left but memories, there is nothing to touch. I wanted to make sure with this third jail that we had some things to leave for future generations." 

The hand-forged knife is a little more than 12 inches long from the tip of the knife to the end of the handle. The handle is made of wood and the knife is mounted to a wooden plaque with two memorial plates honoring the jail and the men and women who work there. "I kept waiting for the  bar to finish the knife and as the old jail was demolished I got it," said Shull, who has been forging metal into knives for about 18 years. "It took me only about three weeks to complete it. It's the waiting for the glue to dry and the metal to cool that takes times."

Shull first came to the Jasper County Commissioners requesting to make a keepsake for the county in July 2009.Shull, who lives north of Rensselaer on U.S. Highway 231 and has lived in Jasper County for 47 years, said he wanted to make the keepsake because he has seen many important things forgotten over the years.The old jail facility was located in downtown Rensselaer, south of the Jasper County Courthouse. It was vacated in October of 2008 when the new facility was completed on U.S. Highway 231, north of Rensselaer. The building was demolished in June.

The plaque will be placed in a safety box to keep from being stolen. Perry said he will talk with the commissioners to find out where to place the keepsake. Along with the knife, Perry said a couple jail doors and the old radio are being keep for the historical society.

To view the finished work, click on  JCSD_Commission  button above.