Carter County man featured on Wednesday episode of History Channel’s Forged in Fire

Published 3:43 pm Tuesday, April 19, 2022

A change in direction during the COVID-19 pandemic put Carter County resident Brenden Bohannon in a line of work that has earned him a spot on the History Channel’s popular blacksmithing show Forged in Fire.
Bohannon’s episode airs at 9 p.m. Wednesday on the History Channel.
“I coached mixed martial arts and trained amateur and professional athletes as well as was a bowl carver until COVID-19 hit. I was looking for something else to do and ended up seeing a video on YouTube one day. I had a conversation with a friend of mine and went out and dug a hole in my back yard and filled it with charcoal,” said Bohannon. “I beat out something that was kind of knife-shaped on a sledge hammer head just to try it out. I really never got it hot enough or didn’t really know what I was doing but I had so much fun trying it so I just kind of ran with it.”
The same friend ended up building an anvil a week later to do blacksmithing on. From there, he had one formal lesson with a friend he met at a craft fair as the two constructed a center punch chisel together.
During the Spring of 2021, Bohannon took to the social media platform TikTok, experimenting with a way to get his name out. He produced a couple of videos exploiting the use of a technique called the Leiden Frost Effect, where he dipped his hand in water to make his signature on his pieces by hitting the 2000-degree steel with his bare hand.
“At that temperature, I can feel it move under my hand and I can make an impression,” Bohannon said about the technique. “The water flash evaporates which creates a steam jacket and that jacket is like a membrane over my hand that keeps it from being burned. People thought that it was really cool and began asking me questions about it. I explained that this is a scientific principle that protects my hand but it is something that I use to mark each piece with that makes it special. Nobody else does that.”
Bohanan ended up getting picked up by LADbible, which produces compilation videos. Two months after that, he received a message on Instagram from a casting agent for Forged in Fire.
Bohannon went through the interview process and all of the background checks and the casting director thought that he would be a good fit.
“I think that people watching the show don’t take into account that this is a game show,” said Bohannon. “So we are competing and none of us knew what we were doing when we got there. They put the challenge in front of you so you have got to scramble and try to figure out exactly how you are going to accomplish that. My episode was filmed back in December. It was a blast. I had huge amounts of fun and made three really good friends.”
Those friends — Ira, Mark, and Andrew — now text with Bohannon daily exchanging photos of their work. It was extra-special to Bohannon that the three met and made an instant bond with one another through their shared experience.
“Every blacksmith that is on that show can take those challenges and finish it in a couple of days to a week,” Bohannon said. “The thing that makes it so difficult is trying to do it in that three-hour time period. That is an insane amount of time to try and make functional knives.”
To prepare for his time on the show, he said that he spent a lot of time watching different episodes of the show to see how others approached the challenges and prepared to complete their projects on the fly.
While many had shops outfitted with all the latest technology and tools, Bohannon said he only had two things to rely on.
“Everything that I have is my anvil and my arm.”

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