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Conner Michaux

What do you think?

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There had been a  question on my mind recently. It’s more a topic of discussion and opinions rather than a one answer question. 

 

There has been a big interest in bladesmithing over the last 2-3 years due to a very popular tv show, Do you think it is a good or bad thing that there are so many people coming into this trade? I’m not sure if this has been discussed before, but I am very curious on what you guys think.  

 

I personally think it is a good thing that people are taking more of an interest in these trades, but there are so many people all over the Internet making Knives that it is becoming less “unique”   So is it a good or bad thing? Very hard to say.  

Onto the next,   I’m sure you all have experience with this one,  People asking if you have been on Or are you going to be on FIF. It’s like this whole thing surrounding bladesmithing. It’s like if you make knives you have to be on FIF. (And im not saying FIF is a bad thing, it’s a very cool and difficult challenge and I watch the show every week) 

 

Is it just me ranting or have other people thought about these things? 

 

Of so what are your thoughts? 

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Don't get me wrong here, I enjoy watching FIF as much as the next guy but I think it had a couple effects...

First off, the general conception of bladesmithing to the general public became a 4 hour process, which I think devalues end result of any bladesmith quite a bit (That and everyone suddenly thinks a knife requires damascus steel). Also, I know that FIF definitely made tools harder to come by. All of a sudden that "yard art" anvil became really expensive...

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Yes this is the kind of answer I was looking for.  When me making knives comes up in a conversation,  and 8-9 times out of 10 the immediate response is “like Damascus knives?!?” And they lose interest when I tell them that I don’t make Damascus, and I don’t make (and I quote) “Giant Japanese knives and swords”  

 

Yeah tools becoming way more expensive is not at all helpful. 

 

I actually did not get into bladesmithing because of FIF, but FIF was the reason I was able to find the person who would eventually lead us to finding the blacksmithing guild of the Potomac.  

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Im a beginner myself(for like 10 years). I pretty religiously watch FIF but i certainly didnt get into it for that. It certainly did revive my ancient interest but originally i got into it because of...

well.....Anime:mellow:. Ya know alot of different blades on BLEACH so i wanted to make my own zanpakuto, which i did, and stupidly gave it to an ex. I do feel like FIF has caused alot of influence

be it good or bad it shouldnt matter. If theres good then maybe therell be a new gen of great makers and if bad then the ones that are bad or cant handle the sheer amount of work involved

will quit and well it just doesnt matter. @Conner Michauxi know the feeling of getting silly requests because of FIF. I want damascus, i want a katana, i want a set of throwing knives, i want this from a show i just watched, i want, i want, i want. yea well i want a million dollars to make it so how bad you really want it??? lol. Im not a master so i stay in my lane. If you can make it then of course do it. if you think maybe i can, then certainly try. if youre sure you cant then you better master it!! Overall though there is some merit to the show. My local HF now sells 20lb, 50lb and 75lb anvils now. ran out of 75s though <_<.

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They biggest think I don’t like about FIF is the massive amount of good meat they waste, all the whole pigs they use in the testing.. that’s a lot of good meat I could be eating.. :lol: but honestly, it’s a real waste. 

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I think it's a fun show and I watch it myself.  They edit out most of the forging, so for me it's all about the cutting and destruction which is just about the best thing to do all the time, but that's just me.    Definitely created a lot of interest in knife making,  and I'm sure a few new guys are making a buck selling knives they learned how to make after watching FiF,  good for them, we should all be so smart.    But I think like all things,   it will pass.  They gotta be running out of historical blades to make, lest they just start picking Captain So And So from 1709 who outsmarted so and so's sword/knife/spear/axe/etc.   Now that it seems they get 2 episodes a week,  I think they are Riding the High right now.   Always a hard crash after that peak though.    Wouldn't surprise me if it's replaced by Drone Combat wars by highly sponsored teams or individuals, kinda like robot wars, but with deadly drones.    MY IDEA HISTORY CHANNEL!.  You want it, remember what Paulie says in GoodFella's,   **** *** Pay Me!.  :).  Well technically Henry says it. No offense intended board members.

 

And Connor, I'm sure all that meat is either BBQ'ed for the staff or donated. It is filmed in NYC,  someone would complain if it wasn't.  Unless it was all bad to begin with, which would probably make it cheaper from the butcher anyway.  Though when I see them slice through them nice pieces of leather and hide,  man, I love to see it, but I get that twinge, you know.  Like, hey I could have used that.

 

I'll keep watching,   bout the only TV I watch anyway.  Figure if you can't learn anything from what you are watching, then it's probably just a waste of time anyway.

 

Edited by Bruno

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I've  thought about these questions over the last day or so and this show is the reason I am doing this. As for everyone making blades you just need to set your blades apart from the rest. Find that little detail that really makes your blades one of YOURS. 

 

I think this will pass. There is a lot of work involved in this and you really have to get used to being burned a lot. In 5 years craigslist will be flooded with anvils and grinders and that's when I will be building a dream shop!!! I've already talked to quite a few people who dipped there hands into this and decided it wasn't for them. I tried to buy one guys equipment and he said he will hang onto it for now but if he decides to sell I'm the first person he will approach. I was never really into knives...that was always my older brothers department. I was more into guns and girls. That's probably why I only have one of my own blades and I don't carry a knife. The one blade i decided to keep for myself is a skinner that i used the antler from my first buck for the handle. This is another reason I've been steering towards axe and hammer making. I have way more use for axes and hammers and not every Tom...Dick...and Harry is making them!!!

 

As for the TV show I've missed the last 2 seasons. My favorite part of the show is seeing everyone's shops and equipment. If I had the opportunity to be on the show I would take it. I seriously doubt I would win though. I just don't pay that much attention to detail which is why I'm really not a very good knife maker. I'm sure those things will come with time. And when I have more time as the kids get older and I can actually spend hours on hand sanding a 10 inch Bowie knife but right now they eat up a lot of my time and I need to take advantage of the time I have with them because time seems to be going really fast and they aren't getting any younger.  There is a lot more I could go on about but it's getting late and I need to get these kids to bed maybe I will add to it later 

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13 hours ago, Jeremy Blohm said:

If I had the opportunity to be on the show I would take it

If it's something you're really wanting to do, I'd suggest contacting them and letting them know. 

I was contacted by the casting director about a year ago asking if I wanted to be a contestant, based merely on knives she'd seen me post on other forums and from the couple of pieces I've seen, you''re at least as skilled, probably even more so, than I am.

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I got into this hobby by request of the students in my wood carving class at the local vo-tech.  My Uncle was the "go to" guy in our area for wood carving knives.  He passed away a few years back and now that his knives are no longer available and going for a premium. (if you can even find them for sale) My students figured I "inherited" the skills to make his knives.  What little do they know!!!!! :D  Any way, in my quest to learn about the process, I literally stumbled onto FIF one evening.  It's a fun show.  But I now personally know several people who have won it and they tell me about all the hours NOT shown on the one-hour program.  Of course, now that I'm making knives myself, I know a lot of the process is missing.  I've been trying to build my shop in this feeding frenzy caused by FIF and it's not been fun.  I did recently find a really nice 100# Fisher for $2/lb, but everything else is higher than a cat's back.  Yes, I think when the excitement of the program dies down, there will be a flood of forging equipment/tools on the market.  I just hope that comes soon, because I need some things. :rolleyes:  I know there are a lot of folks out there who will dive into this hobby head-first and then decide they aren't interested.  I know a guy who did that before I got into it.  He ended up selling a 200# German style anvil for $1.50 a pound just to get it out of the garage.  Sold it before I met him, unfortunately. ;)  So I have to admit the show is fun to watch, but it has affected in a negative way the hobby of blacksmithing.  Just don't know how long that effect will stay in place.......................we'll see, I guess.

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I definitely hope that flood of tools comes soon. 

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I think the 'FIF' ripple is great ! I get asked a lot about it. 

 

The problem with the show in the UK is its very bladed article violence orientated, which is not PC at all here (as we don't have ready access to firearms, folks often get a bit stabby instead)

 

I have sold a few small power hammers, pretty well off the back of the show (though most will never admit it!)

 

The way I see it, is if 100 people try bladesmithing, and 98% decide its not for them, there might be 2 new talented makers who find their vocation and produce beautiful work.

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Well, I'll keep my Bible, guns and knives, thank you.  No-one I know here is "PC" enough to talk me out of them. ;)  I just hope someday to be one of those 2%'ers you were talking about.  "I shall persevere".  :lol:

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@John N Ive always knew about the knife violence and difficulty getting firearms there. Not saying us in the US are any better :unsure: but i didnt think that show would cause an uproar. Ive always viewed the UK as an older America but i didnt think it to be so much stricter.

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13 hours ago, JohnK said:

@John N Ive always knew about the knife violence and difficulty getting firearms there. Not saying us in the US are any better :unsure: but i didnt think that show would cause an uproar. Ive always viewed the UK as an older America but i didnt think it to be so much stricter.

 

Its not really an 'uproar' its just for a large percentage of 'middle England' the glorification of blades as weapons does not sit easily. (hacking up pig carcasses,  and wolloping away on a gel mannequins that leak red, before sticking your hand in announcing the it will keeeeellllllll !)  

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6 hours ago, John N said:

(hacking up pig carcasses,  and wolloping away on a gel mannequins that leak red, before sticking your hand in announcing the it will keeeeellllllll !)  

 

That doesn't go down well with a lot of us, either. :rolleyes:  It's pandering to the lowest common denominator, like all TV shows.  Gotta have something flashy, you know!  Not as if anyone would actually like to watch and learn something about knifemaking...  

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9 minutes ago, Alan Longmire said:
7 hours ago, John N said:

(hacking up pig carcasses,  and wolloping away on a gel mannequins that leak red, before sticking your hand in announcing the it will keeeeellllllll !)  

 

That doesn't go down well with a lot of us, either. :rolleyes:  

I agree. This is my least favorite part of the show. There are better ways to test the blades. I pretty much ignore this part, but I understand it with the exotic weapons they make in the final challenge considering those are indeed usually design for exactly that...

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why does Doug micarta try to break people's knives and swords? Isn't he supposed to be cutting with them? 

He spanks a pig corpse pretty hard with the flat of a claymore in one episode, I hope that's what he was trying to do. 

 

Everything else is is fine with me, just someone please teach Doug about edge alignment. 

 

Or else he will keeel all of our blades...

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valid points. id suppose every nation has that "old fashion" way of thinking about something @John N, especially here, mostly about guns though. The only issue i ever had with the show is using power hammers. thats something out of reach of most smiths let alone beginners. Well i can understand attempting to break them @steven smith. it makes sense to test if it breaks on an unprotected carcass, because then itll certainly break against even a lightly armored foe in the heat of battle, then you die. Of course it all depends of the steel and its intended function.

Edited by JohnK

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I'm doing some reading of older stuff today and fell into this post.  The conversation is brought up a lot at my local forge among the older smiths that started out long before the show. 

 

The negative effect it has, tooling.  Price's are going up as there is a demand for it right now.  In the future I fear that the scrap yards will become flooded with good quality antique anvils as people move around (or hobby jump) and just can't unload or sell them. 

 

The positive effect I think is what's happening with the younger people who are experiencing what's left of this art.  Never before have more people wanted to learn how to manipulate metal, which might spark a passion to get involved with a trade like fab&welding.  Not only that, but there is a growing sense of the hand made product being appreciated as much or even sometimes more than a mass produced item. I know of a growing number of people, who have dedicated their professional life to being a professional blacksmith.  All those people seem to be about 10 years younger than me, but seem to be coming out of a grad program (or art school) with the intent to be in industrial arts. 

 

 

The tv show, I've totally lost interest in it. I might enjoy it more if there was more mention of technique, or something more about the process. Last several shows I watched were more like high light a fireball during a quench, and what it can cut thought.  The process of making is what's exciting to me. 

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@Daniel W I think there is a big resurgence in craft of all forms at the moment. If FIF lights a kids passion to have a go at hitting some hot metal instead of playing Fortnite all is not lost IMHO. If enough sparks are thrown, a fire will start eventually.

 

I watch FIF for what it is, and enjoy it when I occasionally catch an episode, if for no other reason than I can sit on my chair and tell the chattering cyclops they are doing it wrong :) 

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