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dp
02-19-2016, 12:49 AM
We're waaaayyyy out in the dingles, here, but we have some serious talent. Salem Straub is a knife maker, blacksmith, and a drummer for an awesome band (Happy Dawg). He was recently featured on a history channel tv show.

http://www.omakchronicle.com/news/2016/feb/18/tonasket-man-featured-history-channel/

He's the drummer in these videos I did last year.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YpD-_WPQ1fE

Gary Eagle and Evan Scott are also blacksmiths. Gary is playing harmonica and that's his shop.

This next vid is the reason I was there filming - It's an art film featuring a power hammer metronome.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OmhChMApx-g

Charlie Peck on bass, and Miguel on djembe drum.

darryl
02-19-2016, 01:26 AM
That was pretty cool-

danlb
02-19-2016, 01:45 AM
We just watched last week's episode. We enjoy the show. Even so, I'm often amazed at how little the bladesmiths know about the scientific aspects of their craft.

In the episode we watched today, the smiths had to make a knife from metal chosen from a scrap bin. All of them fussed about the fact that the metal was of unknown alloy and therefore the heat treat was a crap shoot. As a matter of fact, one of them chose a low carbon steel that did not harden. That untempered blade got him thrown out.

Even though the choice of metal was critical, not one of them brought the scrap to the grinder to do a spark test. No one used a file to check if the scrap was already hardened. Several of them even professed a lack of knowledge of metals. I found myself thinking that they should at least know the basics.

The show is really fun. I learn a lot about the craft with every show. The people are usually entertaining without being over the top. And, of course, there is the catch phrase as they test the knives: "It will kill!"


Dan

Rosco-P
02-19-2016, 06:48 AM
We just watched last week's episode. We enjoy the show. Even so, I'm often amazed at how little the bladesmiths know about the scientific aspects of their craft.

In the episode we watched today, the smiths had to make a knife from metal chosen from a scrap bin. All of them fussed about the fact that the metal was of unknown alloy and therefore the heat treat was a crap shoot. As a matter of fact, one of them chose a low carbon steel that did not harden. That untempered blade got him thrown out.

Even though the choice of metal was critical, not one of them brought the scrap to the grinder to do a spark test. No one used a file to check if the scrap was already hardened. Several of them even professed a lack of knowledge of metals. I found myself thinking that they should at least know the basics.

The show is really fun. I learn a lot about the craft with every show. The people are usually entertaining without being over the top. And, of course, there is the catch phrase as they test the knives: "It will kill!"


Dan

Forged in Fire, I know the guy that lights the show. It's mostly shot in a make believe workshop in Brooklyn. Lots of knife-maker challenges are shot but the footage never airs because everyone's blade fails.

If you were a very successful knife-maker, would you shut down your business and travel to NYC for many many weeks to participate and maybe win? Like any reality show the contestants consist of some very good, some good, some barely mediocre and those chosen to fail early on.

danlb
02-19-2016, 11:30 AM
I like hands on "reality shows" that teach you something. It sounds like they have an opportunity to use a few of those failed challenges to teach us what should have been done. It need not be overtly pedantic. They could wait till the first round (making a basic knife blank) is over to spend 5 minutes going over what was done wrong. Maybe even explain a little about the heat treat that went wrong, or the corrective measures that should have been taken. Then repeat on the next section, where they add handles and fine tune the weapons. Talk about what SHOULD have been done by the ones that fail.

I really like to see others build things. I'd prefer to see more "how it's made" and less "who's the idiot". :)

Dan

danlb
02-19-2016, 12:11 PM
If you were a very successful knife-maker, would you shut down your business and travel to NYC for many many weeks to participate and maybe win?

I know a few people who would gladly take a week off work for a chance to be on national TV for an hour. For some people, that's a dream come true.

Dan

Rosco-P
02-19-2016, 12:21 PM
I know a few people who would gladly take a week off work for a chance to be on national TV for an hour. For some people, that's a dream come true.

Dan

A week? just the field trials episode is a 2 to three day shoot. If your business is doing so well that you can step away from it for several weeks, then you probably don't need the additional notoriety.

dp
02-19-2016, 03:20 PM
A week off for $1000,000 in international publicity is a good trade-off. The average wage in this burg is $30,000, so it's not a big outlay. It's not like everyone has to shut down production lines and idle a workforce to participate. It can be far more rewarding than showing up at a local farmer's market/trade show/art fair which is pretty much the only other option.

Mike Amick
02-19-2016, 03:44 PM
Wow dp .. I hope you are the one making the check out ... very generous.

Duffy
02-19-2016, 05:15 PM
I wonder where someone got the name "blade smith," It is my understanding that the term "blacksmith" was the overarching name given to all those people who worked hot iron and its alloys. These people were very skilled, as the apprenticeship was very long, and, I believe that it was followed by a period of several years of travel, working for/with different experienced smiths, before one could call himself a real blacksmith. It was during that interval that some smiths specialized. Most, I understand, hung their "shingle" in one town or other, either as the first blacksmith in the area, or replacing/augmenting an existing smith. Those that specialized, worked with knife makers, scissor makers, armorers, or other specialized iron working industries, usually in large towns and cities. Those blacksmiths who made edged tools of whatever type, were called "cutlers" not "blade smiths;" that is really a modern invention I think.
Every small town in North America had a blacksmith who could turn his hand to fixing just about anything; additionally, he usually shod horses,mules and oxen. When the draft animal population warranted it, someone appeared and hung out a shingle that said "farrier." He too was a blacksmith, not a "shoe smith!":)

Rosco-P
02-21-2016, 11:59 AM
A week off for $1000,000 in international publicity is a good trade-off. The average wage in this burg is $30,000, so it's not a big outlay. It's not like everyone has to shut down production lines and idle a workforce to participate. It can be far more rewarding than showing up at a local farmer's market/trade show/art fair which is pretty much the only other option.

The prize is $10,000USD and for the winner and runner up, it consumes much much more than a week of the contestants time. The first smith eliminated may only have lost a week of productive time at his own forge. I can find out more of the facts this week if there is any interest.

dp
02-21-2016, 12:13 PM
Wow dp .. I hope you are the one making the check out ... very generous.

Ooops - that should have been $100,000 :)

dp
02-24-2016, 02:07 AM
I've very happy to report my friend Salem Straub won the bladesmith competition with awesome and artful blades. Makes ya proud to be Okanogan!

danlb
02-24-2016, 02:28 AM
I'm looking forward to seeing the episode. :)

Dan

danlb
02-25-2016, 01:02 PM
We watched that episode last night. The winner really earned the prize.

One of the things I really like about the show is that it's not about idiots and people with bad tempers. There is a good deal of respect shown throughout the show. For those who were not tempted to watch it, I'll give a quick synopsis. I will not give details that might spoil the show for you.

First, the 4 experienced knife makers were given 3 hours to transform a chunk of steel cable into a viable large knife blade. The blades were then evaluated by experts who critique the design, execution and flaws. One person is sent home at this point.

Each contestant had the same tools and materials available. They are told in advance about the techniques that will be used to evaluate the best blade. In this case, the knife was first used to split a log, and then used to slice a dangling pork shoulder.

The second part has the remaining 3 knife makers finishing their knife by adding a handle, fine tuning the blade profile and addressing any problems from part 1. Again, they have 3 hours to get it right. Then the blades are tested.

The top two (based on the splitting and slicing) are then given a totally different task. It's usually a knife, sword or ax from ancient times. It's almost always a killing weapon. In this case it was a sword with a complex shape called a Khopesh. The contestants make the knife in their own shop using their own tools and materials. They are given many days to complete the project.

Once the project is complete, they go back to the studio where the judges evaluate the designs and test them. The test often involves the phrase "This will kill" and a gleeful smile.

All the episodes are available online. I highly recommend it.

Dan

dp
02-25-2016, 07:28 PM
I had recently given Salem a plasma cutter - I wonder if he used it to cut the Khopesh sword. He did a hell of a nice job on that in just 5 days. Video can be seen here: http://www.history.com/shows/forged-in-fire

danlb
02-25-2016, 07:40 PM
I had recently given Salem a plasma cutter - I wonder if he used it to cut the Khopesh sword. He did a hell of a nice job on that in just 5 days. Video can be seen here: http://www.history.com/shows/forged-in-fire

Please pass on congratulations and admiration from my wife and I. The only part that bothered me was that unbound pony tail while he was using the belt grinder. < shiver > We noted that in his own shop, he had the hair nicely restrained, so I suspect that was "for TV".


Dan

Jimmer12
02-26-2016, 12:48 AM
Tell your friend congratulations! I just discovered this show by watching a few episodes from season 1 online, and have been recording the season 2 epsiodes. I watched his episode last night and I felt he absolutely earned his victory.

As someone else had mentioned, I like how the contestants and judges all seemed to show a genuine respect for everyone else. You don't see that on TV much these days.

dave_r
02-26-2016, 12:52 AM
It really depends on who is producing the show. If they don't think the subject matter is compelling enough for a 'reality' show, they will effectively order/select participants who will show this lack of respect. And then also edit the show to make it even more rude than it was while filming it.