Forged in Fire (TV show)
I'm watching an American 'Reality TV' show called 'Forged in Fire', on the Canadian History channel. The premise is that 4 Blade Smiths are under pressure to create various weapons in a very short period of time. There are various tests and then the judges (two Blade Smiths and a martial arts guy) decide who takes home 10K. There's also the requisite announcer-host who talks like that guy on the bachelor. Otherwise I think it's far better than that silly 'Giant Swords' show. The guys seem pretty serious. But I don't know enough about making blades to really judge.

Any thoughts?
Forged in Fire
I've watched several different shows of this series, with different smiths. Fairly entertaining. Not sure how valid the time pressure is. I mean, it doesn't matter to the customer how long it took to make the blade, as long as the finished product is a fine one. I also can't help feeling badly for the smith if time pressure keeps him from making a fine blade, when his knowledge and skill exclusive of time constraints, would have him produce a thing of admiration and beauty otherwise. I guess my takeaway from all this is how involved and complex the making of an excellent blade really is and how many things can go wrong in the forge.
The show is pretty good as far as these things go. My expectations were low going in, so Iíve been pleasantly surprised. The time constraint is pretty severe (4 hours is not much time for forging and grinding a ball bearing into a finished blade). Some of the tests are not the most practical such as the katana splitting the bullet, but they are at least entertaining. The judges favor function over frills, so thatís a great improvement over the 50 lbs SLO art show. Some of the smiths have been interesting characters to say the least, such as the guy from the Philippines who decided to make a larger forge out of a satellite disc (heís probably even more colorful after inhaling whatever that was coated with). Itís been a good demonstration of all the things that can go wrong in bladesmithing and hopefully it will nonetheless get a few people interested in trying it.
I really liked the show, and was disappointed when the season finished out. I feel that, for the most part, the show did not bother to "dumb things down" for the viewers when it came to process, which was very refreshing. This is not to say that they did not "dumb things down", though...

They really fell short when it came to historical aspects of weaponry. I thought it was fairly cringe-worthy when they described the rapier, and the early European arming sword as the "Crusader sword." I do understand that the producers were trying to better level with a broad audience, but my logic is this: people level to level presented to them. It is possible to be concise and accurate when it comes to history, and you don't have to be condescending when explaining it (at least when it comes to generalities). They could have done this with their historical descriptions, but they just didn't. It's really too bad.

The best (and most obvious) draw to the show was blacksmithing - for someone who is interested in blacksmithing personally, I really enjoyed seeing the process and the tools at work. Most of the people featured on the show were pretty entertaining to watch as well. The weapons tests were also quite enjoyable - as some have mentioned, some bordered on the rediculous, and some looked like they stole props from those silly Cold Steel commercials. But, needless to say, the weapons that survived all of those challenges were irrefutably well-built, despite any other design shortcomings.

All in all, I hope there will be another season. It's been quite some time since I even wanted to watch scheduled television.
I was most pleasantly surprised to find friends and family that were not blade collectors being excited about it. For the format and production restraints, they did well for forty minutes of air time. I was happy to see Matthew and Peter winning their episodes and disappointed when Gabriel Bell didn't make it. There were a good number of other smiths that got good recognition for having participated in the show.

Here is a list of the smiths by episode


I've been watching this show a lot lately as new episodes become available in Canada.

Best part as that one can see how many things can go wrong in making a blade. It makes one appreciate the people we know who make bladed weapons that are historically accurate and have great fit, finish, balance, and harmonics.

It almost makes me feel bad for being so fussy as a consumer. Almost..but then $1000+ for a luxury item is still a lot of money for most people.
I've been watching from the very beginning. Most of those guys are extremely talented. I'd love to see what they could produce without such time limits, but....that's the whole premise of the show. I think one of the best was the gent who made the rams-head war hammer. Too bad the langets fell off in the final tests. That thing was awesome!.......McM

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