Kansas Custom Knifemakers Association
Many people are dedicated watchers of the "Forged In Fire" show on TV. They see the contestants make a knife with a three hour time limit using the materials and machines/equipment provided. This is giving many people the wrong message, believing one can make a knife in three hours. Remember this is TV land and there's lots of editing involved.
Things you need to know:
- You need to know that many of the contestants on this show have been making knives for multiple years, some for multiple decades. Making a knife, a good knife, takes time, more than three hours. Please don't think you can simply go pound out some knives with little to no knowledge or experience, it doesn't work that way.
- You need to know that if you're serious about getting into knifemaking you can expect to drop $3,000 plus dollars to buy GOOD equipment. Unless you're mechanically inclined and can build some knifemaking machines/equipment, this is an expensive hobby to get into. You're going to need an anvil, hammers, metal/wood bandsaw, propane or coal forge, thongs, protective PPE to wear, drill press, buffing machine and most importantly a good 2" x 72" belt grinder just to name the basics. Can it be done for less, sure it can, check out the late Wayne Goddard's book called the "$50 Knife Shop". The problem that raises it's ugly head here however is the fact it'll take you far longer to make a knife without the proper equipment than it will with the proper equipment. Thus you're far more likely to get burned out and call it quits. Where if you had the proper machines/equipment you'd enjoy it and continue to succeed.
- You need to know there are no colleges/schools in Kansas that offer forging classes to our knowledge. You can search for forging classes by going to the American Bladesmith Society's web site and look up where they offer classes. You can find it at: http://www.americanbladesmith.com/index.php?section=pages&id=225. You can also Google other sources to learn forging such as "ABANA", visit them at: https://abana.org/. ABANA stands for Artists-Blacksmith's Association of North America. They have chapters located all over the country, some here in Kansas. This is another source to learn forging techniques. Please remember though that while some blacksmiths make knives, blacksmithing and forging knives are two different arenas.
The Forged In Fire show has done lots to generate interest in the art of forging knives, and it is an art. The KCKA is grateful for that and welcomes anyone to join who has an interest in knifemaking. We hold shop tours usually twice a year and the bulk of it deals with forging knives. Due to the pandemic currently ongoing we have been forced to cancel these until times are better, you can check back on our news & events page for when we'll have our next shop tour.