FIF like or not thread

KenH

Well-Known Member
I remember Mark's episode - Mark does GREAT work for sure, even with the FiF constraints.

You need to keep in mind what the objectives of the show are to make good TV, that's it. Not to see who's the best knife maker, not to teach knife making, not see what the best knives can be made of and not to further the careers of any knife makers. It's just to make good TV, and they are apparently doing that given it's huge popularity.

Mark, I think you summed it up nicely. When I read somebody post the negatives of the show, it rings bells from things I think, but I still like the show. Then, somebody like you and other folks who have been on show post the good things, and I think "Yea, that's why I like it".

Yes Paul, I think they do keep everything that's made on the show. Some of the stuff that's made seems like it could be sold for a good price.

Ken H>
 

Gliden07

Well-Known Member
John Wilson's post made me think of a story I got told from the early 80's(before the dot com bust...don't know of the truth of this...but a good story).

Every stock broker thought they were a genius...most young and never experienced a bear market....

Some journalist gets the idea to pit 3 chimpanzees against 3 stockbrokers on stock picks for 6 mos...then publish the results.

Chimps win. Point is...the brokers took a suckers bet...If they had won, no big deal...how is should be experts vs chimps. Chimps win...prolly lookin' for new job...and maybe a name change...lol. A no win situation...lol.

Sometimes FIF seems like that....
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
A young guy wants to build knives in town...can he come over and learn? Sure.

Then finds out I don't forge....no interest what-so-ever. Plenty to learn here...was working in dad's shop at 12, trade school at 15-18, tool and gage making apprenticeship at 19....CNC foreman for 12 yrs...etc. I know a couple things....

He moves away...making sandwiches professionally (no shame there but he wanted to make knives to put himself through college)

two years later(2018) His little brother approaches me...wants to learn knife making...."DO YOU FORGE KNIVES...??!!" nope.

"Well, if you want to learn you could watch FIF...they make amazing stuff!!" his disappointment obvious...I tell him, "Hey you should look up Bob Loveless...he made some amazing stuff...."

Once again...no interest...has seen my shop...1800sq ft PACKED WITH EQUIPMENT.....I don't get it...there is a lot to knife making besides hammering hot metal...even if you don't get to learn forging...

FIF....snerk...is it really helping?

I'd be at your shop everyday to learn the CNC end of it!!
 

Chris Railey

Well-Known Member
Then finds out I don't forge....no interest what-so-ever. Plenty to learn here...was working in dad's shop at 12, trade school at 15-18, tool and gage making apprenticeship at 19....CNC foreman for 12 yrs...etc. I know a couple things....
Too bad you live in Montanna...I would come learn...
 

Kevin Zito

KNIFE MAKER
Kevin I understand the fact that it has ignited a passion for many people to start making knives. You are one of the lucky few that found a place to learn and grow. Generally you won't get misinformed on this forum, and if you are it is corrected by experienced makers. Most don't get that luxury, they join a Facebook group where 70 % of the information is incorrect. Because the masses on those sites want to believe they know everything when you try to give a good real world honest answer, experienced makers are called out, and sometimes belittled. I enjoy FIF they should show some of the smiths work when they are not under a time constraint. That would be realistic and might steer some in the right direction.
You are very right, and I’m very grateful for all of you.
 

Justin Presson

Well-Known Member
I made a few knives in my life prior to Forged in Fire, starting after I read an Field and Stream article on how to make a knife from a file when I was 14. Over the last decade I'd been waffling between investing money into a shop set up for gunsmithing or knife making. Because I've worked in well equipped machine shops nearly my entire life, I can't stand doing something at home "half way" like making knives with hand files, I simply don't have the patience. In 2015 when I saw Forged in Fire, I decided "I can do this" and built a grinder. Then a forge and I found an anvil. Then a better grinder. Then a better shop, a better forge, a forging press, a mill...and then in September 2017 I went to Brooklyn and filmed the FIF episode I was on, which aired in June 2018.

I really don't ever hear much about "like they do on Forged in Fire..." from customers or people who want to learn from me. Only on the internet. What I do hear personally is pretty easy to correct and understandable given the individuals perspective.

I don't regret going on the show, I had the time of my life. The crew was fantastic. The judges were wonderful to meet. I met 3 guys who I got along with instantly and keep in touch with over a year later. I would absolutely go back if asked.

I also understand why a full time maker with good business would choose not to. He doesn't have PTO. He loses 2 weeks of work he can't get back, for the chance to win what, maybe $6,000 after taxes and nothing for 2nd place. He risks doing something or saying something stupid to a very broad audience that negatively impacts his brand image, even through no fault of his own. For me, there was no risk. Only positives. I got a 2 week destination vacation, my name in front of hundreds of thousands of people and the chance to win some cash on the top. For someone making their living making knives, there's much more risk.

My opinion is the only thing FIF has really done is raised awareness and interest in this little niche commodity we all like to produce. Have prices of materials gone up? Sure, but so in turn has the selection and availability of those materials. You can pick up your phone and have aerospace carbon fiber or titanium fasteners or boutique blade steels or abrasives not even available 10 years ago delivered to your door in days. I'm sure with more makers, the market for custom knives and prices has also softened, even considering the increased customer interest, but that's every manufacturing market ever, adapt, overcome, carve a niche, or wither on the vine. Competition makes us all better.

FIF is a game show. It's a game show about following rules and taking calculated risks with the knowledge and ability you bring to the table. It's also a winning formula, season 1 was only 8 episodes, but season 5 is 40.

I think it's done "us" more good than harm. I certainly don't think "can I make knives from this junk steel I found on the side of the road" is the shows fault. Search any forum and you'll find that going back to before the internet.

Is that you John?
I agree with you totally. It has to have done more good then harm. I know some will disagree with me but that's fine. I think some traditional and experienced makers feel that it has taken away some of the mystique and rarity out of knifemaking. It's kind of like bike builders or guys building ar-15s. There was a few shows about it and It got popular real fast and flooded the market. In the end to good ones stick around. I also agree Kuraki that you had way more to gain then lose, like with me going on Knife or Death I had nothing to loose. I to still talk with the people I went on the show with.
One thing I would like to also add if someone is worried about going on the show or taking a chance why not, what's holding you back. Even if you fail we as a society and people in general have a short memory. I could not tell you who won FIF Season 3 episode 5...no clue! I dont remeber who won 2 weeks ago!
 

Smallshop

KNIFE MAKER
I watch Forged in Fire. It's television. My favorite part is seeing the shops of the different makers.

Jacob
best comment ever....lol. Yes...seeing shops.

if someone started a show called "Shops of the American Knifemaker" I'd be glued to it! The artifical drama of "reality" shows is a turn off for me personally.

i watch you tube videos about stuff I already know just to check out shops.....
 

John Wilson

Well-Known Member
The other thing about seeing shops is watching makers who have practically nothing, but manage to do incredible work.

I wish I could remember his name. The final two had to go home and make a damascus katana.

One maker had a dream shop. He was about my age, an established maker and a very obviously highly expert maker. He did amazing work and made it look fairly easy.

The other maker wasn’t much more than a kid. His shop was an old shed and he was working with bare bones. Like most guys his age, money wasn’t growing on trees. He basically had an anvil, a homemade forge, and some hammers. He made his 1000 layer damascus billet by hand. Then made a sword and broke it, if I recall. He did it all over again, quenching it in what looked like a kid’s plastic snow toboggan.

When I see a guy with a dream shop doing great work, I admire what he has achieved and accomplished. But I expect great work from him. When I see a 130lb kid banging out damascus and making katanas in a lean-to shed between an old lawnmower and a pile of rakes and shovels I actually get teary-eyed.
 
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Daniel Macina

Well-Known Member
I saw that. I thought it was amazing that he was able to make that high layer Damascus in that short of time by hand. I didn't even know if it would be possible to be honest.
 

Mark Knapp

Dealer - Purveyor
Mark I just went back and looked at that episode. I applaud your patience and demeanor! The knife you turned out in the three hour limit was unbelievable and of course the winning weapon was awesome as well! Well done sir!

I have to ask - do they get to keep everything that is made for the show?

Thank you for the kind words. Just to be clear, the knife was made in six hours total. Three hours for the blade and three for the handle.

Up until season four, they kept everything. I understand, starting on my season they let the runners-up have their weapons back.
 

Gliden07

Well-Known Member
Thank you for the kind words. Just to be clear, the knife was made in six hours total. Three hours for the blade and three for the handle.

Up until season four, they kept everything. I understand, starting on my season they let the runners-up have their weapons back.

I believe the reason they were keeping them is for legal reasons. They were filming in Brooklyn NY and anything over 3" blade is illegal to have! They started filming in Stamford CT so the laws are different.
 

Mark Knapp

Dealer - Purveyor
I believe the reason they were keeping them is for legal reasons. They were filming in Brooklyn NY and anything over 3" blade is illegal to have! They started filming in Stamford CT so the laws are different.

We were still in Brooklin when we filmed. My opponent got his back. I think they were just getting so much stuff they had to start letting people have some of it.
 

Doug Lester

Well-Known Member
I think that they are getting desperate to come up with new challenges. I watched last night and I though that they were starting to get into the rediculous . Not only were they having to start with thick stock and forge in bright light but they first had to cobble together a coal burning forge. Then they had one contestant break his blade and then stick weld it back together.

Doug
 

Doug Lester

Well-Known Member
It was the first time that I saw a contestant walk off the set. Of course they had him back stage having the medics check him out and get him cooled off. That part I had seen before. Once they even had to send a contestant to the ER to have his heart checked.

Doug
 

Mark Knapp

Dealer - Purveyor
It was the first time that I saw a contestant walk off the set. Of course they had him back stage having the medics check him out and get him cooled off. That part I had seen before. Once they even had to send a contestant to the ER to have his heart checked.

Doug

When I was there it was 103 degrees in the forge room, and you were standing in front of an 1800 degree forge. They do take really good care of you though. We each had a thermos of cold water at our benches and as soon as it was emptied, someone came and filled it. If you got a cut, the medic came and bandaged it up.

It ain't for wienies though. It was one of the most grueling and one of the most fun things I've ever done, especially the week at home.
 

C Craft

Well-Known Member
FIF like or not

So, I got a love / hate relationship with it. One thing you got to remember is it is TV, entertainment and if folks don't tune in well it won't stay on very long. I wish they would start doing better at making it realistic. Instead of here is a basketball and ball bearing and a BMW one of these will be used to make your knife. The time frame is a lot of the problem but, some of the stuff I have seen makes your skin crawl and is the reason for the new run of crazy knifemaking video's you see on Youtube!

The misconceptions that it creates is another pet peeve of mine! They could at least state that all HT is done of camera due to time constraint!! Of course if it got where we all want to see it, well...……….. we would be looking at it on PBS channel and asking for donations to keep it alive.

I like the show because it does bring lite to knifemaking. I hate the guy that says he uses a compass to orientate his quench tank with magnetic N so that he won't get warped blades!! :eek::rolleyes::D

What can you say, gotta love it!! It ranks right up there with "Sasquatch the Mountain Man" at least I haven't seen anyone blow there finger of on FIF!
 

J. Doyle

Dealer - Purveyor
I have a ton of respect for Mark and John, two of my friends that have posted here that have been participants. Same goes for my other friends and all the contestants that have appeared on the show.

I can see how FIF could be both a benefit on a personal level and a detriment to the general industry at the same time.

As counterpoint to the 'it brings a lot of new interest to knives' and 'sheds new light on knifemaking' views, I've yet to be convinced that FIF does anything positive at all for the industry.

As I mentioned in more detail in another thread, the 'new interest/exposure' from FIF comes in the form of misinformed buyers/collectors questioning sound methods/materials OR it generates misinformed new makers who become competition. And the two are a vicious cycle that feed off each other.

As a full time maker, I've been affected at the very least by defending my methods/pricing and lost time correcting misinformation from potential new customers reaching out to me directly wanting stuff done like they'd seen on FIF.

I 100% agree these issues didn't start with FIF........but FIF has been a readily available and easily accessible platform to exacerbate the issues.

The general masses far too readily assume EVERYTHING they see on t.v. is gospel truth. But common sense and discernment are so rare these days, they're like super powers.
 
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