As I acquired more tooling, and more advanced knowledge of the trade, it soon became a foregone conclusion that I would need to begin forging my blades, and discontinue the stock removal technique permanently.
So I bought an old Hay Budden anvil. Then a forge. Then a post vise. Then some hammers. Then a 2x72 grinder, and my transition to entirely forged blades was complete. The minute my hammer touched that hot steel, I knew it was what I was going to do for the rest of my life. I enjoyed making knives up to that point, but forging them ignited something in me that can never be extinguished. I joined my local ABANA group, and started to learn the blacksmith trade. I took formal classes at local smithys, and practiced every day, for hours making leafs, hooks, pulls, and decorative accents. I was finally, firmly, and genuinely an apprentice bladesmith.
I joined the American Bladesmith Society in 2017, and not long after that, I was invited to compete on the History channel television show Forged in Fire. My episode is The Lochaber Axe, season 6, episode 22. It was great fun, challenging, and winning the title of Champion was a huge honor. I competed against talented smiths, who I still revere, and chat with to this day.
Becoming a bladesmith has given me the missing pieces I have been searching for throughout my life. It provides a completeness that no other thing can. Today, I work out of my home forge, and teach intro bladesmithing and blacksmithing courses. I am also a guest instructor at the Rochester Arc and Flame Center. I continue to learn everything I can, so that I improve my technique, and refine my knowledge. I plan on testing for my journeyman smith rating in 2021.
Thanks very much for being a part of the journey, and taking the time to learn a bit about me.