Albert Lea native appears on ‘Forged in Fire’ television show

Published 11:59 pm Thursday, November 9, 2017

A full-time bladesmith from Albert Lea was one of four contestants on an episode of The History Channel’s “Forged in Fire” that aired last week.

Joel Davis, 37, said he has been making knives since he was 14 and Damascus since 1998 — working in the trade professionally since 2000. He said the show’s producers had seen his work in knife publications.

“It was an absolute honor that they asked me to come out there,” Davis said. “I had the time of my life.”

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“Forged in Fire” is a competition series hosted by weapons expert and U.S. Army and Air Force veteran Wil Willis, that features world-class bladesmiths competing to create history’s most iconic edged weapons, according to the show’s website.

In the episode Davis was featured in, contestants were asked to create a Vikings seax, which is a fighting knife that most warriors would have carried in northern Europe. Contestants had four hours to complete the task without power tools and using a coal forge.

Davis said it was a challenge as he hadn’t used coal in a dozen years and had been more conditioned to rely on power hammers and other machinery.

Though he was eliminated after the first round, he said he enjoyed being part of the show.

Born in Fergus Falls in 1979, Davis moved to Albert Lea when he was 6. He said he is proud to be a bladesmith and part of a hobby that has seen a recent resurgence in interest.

He said he has received many phone calls from people in their teens who want to learn how to make swords.

“This craft saved me,” he said. “It gave me focus.”

Davis is building a new shop near his home in rural Albert Lea to continue his work.