You know what! This show shouldn’t be as good as it is… I don’t really know exactly why it works as well as it does but it has inspired countless people to take up forging, taught millions about words and processes we will never need to know and somehow in the process kept us entertained.
The premise of this show is that 4 blacksmiths come in to a forge and have to forge a knife in a 3 hour round. There are some slight variations where they might need to use a certain type of steel, forging technique, type of forge or specific type of knife. Out of those 4 the best 3 go forward to the second round, with that decision being made by a group of 3 judges.
In the second round they usually have to attach a handle to their knife, sharpen it, and sometimes do other different types of embellishments and what-nots. After this they then get put through (usually) 3 tests where the judges might try to cut certain things, smash other things, bend the swords to right angles, throw them at stuff… you get the idea!
Which ever knife fares the worst (and sometimes they completely break in spectacular fashion) goes out, and the 2 remaining smiths then go home to their own forge where they have a week (5 days, although I think that might have now decreased to 4 days) to forge what could be a knife, sword, dagger, pike or anything else which has a blade and is of historical importance. Although some times they do also get them to make weapons from films or mythology, which is usually pretty cool.
Again, they get tested in the same way and the best weapon wins the title of Forged in Fire champion as well as 10 grand!
Does it sound like a fun way to spend an hour… watching 4 sweaty people hammering steel? No of course it doesn’t sound good… But then why the hell is it?
I have zero interest in blacksmithing or knives, absolutely none! But i love this show. The judges are great characters and so is the host. The challenges are usually quite cool and as I said I’ve learned all sorts of new words like clip-point, damascus (including all sorts of different types like ladder, raindrop, canoe and can), flux, tang, quench, forge scale, billet and many many more! You do sort of leave the tv feeling like you could possibly forge a knife if given the right materials and equipment… fully knowing that it must be much harder than it looks!