Weston Paas is $10,000 richer thanks to a Zulu war axe.
The Colorado Springs resident was deemed the grand champion on Wednesday's episode of "Forged in Fire," the History channel reality show that pits blacksmiths from around the country against each other and tasks them with re-creating some of history’s most famous edged weapons. In the finale, competitors were asked to forge a stalwart war axe.
"I'll probably take half and put it toward equipment for the shop — a hydraulic forging press," Paas said of the payout. "The other half I'll do something nice for my wife. She’s been awesome through all of this. I'll take her out for Valentine's Day dinner and do something special for her."
Paas owns the Black Forest blacksmith shop Heart's Fire Forge and also teaches at Kilroy's Workshop, a blacksmith, bladesmith and welder makerspace. The shop will host a free viewing party of the final episode Feb. 21.
Paas, who taped the episode about six months ago on the East Coast, competed against three other master bladesmiths. They first were asked to forge Japanese Natas using a traditional Japanese technique. Two competitors then were eliminated, and the final two were tasked with re-creating the war axe in their home forge before returning to the show's set, where judges tested the weapons.
"This show has all the key elements: fire, knives, stuff getting chopped up," Paas said. "There's a real positive vibe to it. The judges critique stuff, but they also give good advice. They just don’t lay into you."