TEXARKANA, TX (KTBS) — For thousand of years, knives have been crafted using the art of bladesmithing. Thanks to Texarkana College, that ancient skill is being kept alive.
Expert instructors are teaching students from around the world how to make quality, hand-forged blades. There’s five bladesmithing schools in the U.S. endorsed by the American Bladesmith Society.
There’s also a school in France and Belgium, but Texarkana College is home to the world’s first school of bladesmithing.
The art form has been practiced for centuries, but TC Instructor Steve Dunn said the ancient skill is still alive and well.
“The interest in bladesmithing in the last few years has really grown. It’s partly due to this class,” said Dunn.
The Bill Moran School of Bladesmithing, which originated at Texarkana College in 1988, offers courses that help students get started making hand-forged blades, as well as, advance their craft with classes in handles and guards, or damascus steel patterns.
The school trains students from around the world.
While some students make a hobby out of bladesmithing, Dunn says many of them have also turned it into a full-time job.
“You can turn it into a business, make a very good profit, and earn a good living doing it, explained Dunn.
Bladesmiths work by heating pieces of steel until the metal becomes soft enough to shape.
Tony Immordino is an ABS bladesmith apprentice. His first exposure to the art form came from watching the History Channel’s “Forged in Fire” series.
“I remember the first, second or third episode I saw, I said that would be pretty cool to be able to sit there and make a knife, explained Immordino.
Immordino is from Las Vegas, Nev. He traveled to Texarkana to receive world-class instruction from master smiths at Texarkana College.
He gave us a demonstration on how to twist a metal bar.
“At the school we are really taught how to take steel and convert it in a correct manner,” said Immordino.
Immordino describes the ancient art of bladesmithing as creative and satisfying work. He said the most appealing aspect of the craft is the process.
“Being able to take something that is just a basic form and to manipulate it into really what you’re dream or inspiration is,” said Immordino.
Dunn says students who take bladesmithing courses at Texarkana College will leave with a new skill and have a finished knife.
“Come and take a class, when you want to learn something you go to the best place to learn and it’s right here at the American Bladesmith Society,” said Dunn.
Dunn is also the chairman of the American Bladesmith Society which now boasts of nearly 2,400 members. Enrollment is now open at Texarkana College for all bladesmithing courses.
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