Forged in Fire is a hit TV game show that has attracted many to the craft of blade smithing. While i find the show wildly entertaining. However, because it is a timed competition with tasks often expected to produce fine art knives, I do not feel it is a measure of either production smiths or those who smith as an art form.
This is my left foot as of February 13, 2020. I lost most of the right one the year earlier. Does loosing my feet or ongoing challenges decrease my value as a smith? To watch timed competitions like those on Forged in Fire, you might think yes. While I admit the wheel chair and crutches slow me down, those challenges only effect my rate of production. They do not impact the quality of my work.
One might argue a blade smith must produce rapidly to earn enough to keep up his or her work. True, but I argue the simple principle of supply and demand. As shameless promotion, I like to say I drink, I smoke, and I do not always wear a seat belt. My knives are bound to increase in value sharply soon enough. In truth, when they took my left foot I was recovering from septic shock which led to multiple heart attacks. They gave me a fifty percent survival rate over the following three years.
I also feel the TV show Forged in Fire and the surge of interest in knife making has obfuscated the Bad Attitude associated with the rebirth of knife making and the man who started it all, William Scagel.
William Scagel is considered the father of custom knife making. By all accounts, he possessed very few modern tools. Instead he relief on his cankerous personality.