Jeff Peters is used to a little heat, about 2,400 degrees of heat, actually.
For three years Peters has been forging his own tools, knives, swords and other items. He works out of his home shop, but late last year he made a trip to Connecticut to be a part of a television competition show on the History Channel called “Forged in Fire,” where he won, and things came full circle.
“I was in Gatlinburg about four years ago with my sons, my granddaughter and wife,” Peters said. “We came back to the hotel, turned the TV on. ‘Forged in Fire’ was on.
“I was like, ‘man, this is pretty cool.’
“We ended up staying up…they had like a marathon,” he said. “So, we watched it for about half the night. Then, I just couldn’t get it off my brain. I was like, ‘man, I know I can do that.’”
Peters has always had to do something creative, he said.
Soon after returning from Gatlinburg, Peters built a forge in his garage. His first, he made himself, out of a house paint can. He used that until he realized it wasn’t getting hot enough to do what he wanted, he said.
Peters perfected his craft for a year before he was comfortable selling. Once he started selling, Peters reinvested that into building a better forge.
Peters started Old Wolf Forge and through the Facebook group some friends let him know of a casting call for History Channel’s “Forged in Fire.”
Peters received a call near December of last year to be a part of the show.
“You film three days,” Peters said. “You film every day, (but) the actual challenge is only six hours.”
Three hours are spent making the knife and another three to finish it. The task was to make a historical weapon.
“I had no expectation other than to just go have fun,” Peters said. “I started out being a fan of the show, that’s why I was doing it. So, I was gonna go play with some cool tools, make a knife and meet the judges.”
Peters spends hours in his shop making Damascus knives, which are knives with two different types of steel. He stacks up the steel, layering it no higher than 300 layers, and heats the forge to about 2400 degrees. Six hours is the average time spent to make a knife, he said. To make a Damascus knife that time is doubled because of patterns.
“I’ve always had to have a creative outlet. And, this is perfect for me, I mean, it’s got the artistic side of it and it’s got the hands on side of it… The main reason I do it is for that but, also for me it’s like a way to leave something behind after I’m gone.”
For more information on Jeff Peters and Old Wolf Forge visit oldwolfforge.com. Peters is featured on season 6, episode 18, “The Messer Sword” of History Channel’s “Forged In Fire.”
James Scogin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.