Blacksmith Weston Paas knows what it’s like to keep a juicy secret.
He’s been keeping one for the last six months that involves $10,000 and the title of champion.
The owner of Heart’s Fire Forge, a Black Forest blacksmith shop, is a featured contestant on Wednesday’s episode of “Forged in Fire” on the History channel. If that sounds familiar, it’s because two other Colorado Springs blacksmiths, Ron Hardman, owner of Kilroy’s Workshop, and his daughter, Jessica Hardman, an instructor at the shop, both recently competed on the same reality show. Ron was deemed champion on the November episode. Matt Waters, also a Kilroy’s Workshop instructor, competed on the show in June, but lost when his blade broke on a brick.
“It’s been driving me nuts for the last six months,” said Paas on keeping his lips sealed about the show’s outcome.
In each episode, four master bladesmiths from around the country are tasked with forging a blade. Two bladesmiths are eliminated, and the final two competitors are presented with a historically significant and technically difficult weapon, and sent home to re-create it at their own forges.
Judges test the final weapons, and the winner takes home the big bucks.
During Paas’ episode, the four blacksmiths are asked to forge a Japanese nata, a multipurpose woodworking tool. The final two must create a Zulu war axe.
“It was a great experience,” said Paas, an instructor at Kilroy’s Workshop. “Competition itself is a whirlwind: three hours in over 100-degree temps, four forges. They shut the air conditioning and the fans off to get sound. You’re drinking water and trying to keep cold rags on you, and working as hard and as fast as you can.”