Update: The showing of ‘Forged in Fire’ on the History Channel will take place this evening, Tuesday Feb. 23 at 7 p.m., 8 p.m. and 11 p.m.; not at 10 p.m. as previously announced. The show features Tonasket knife-maker Salem Straub. Folks are meeting at the Kuhler, 302 N. Whitcomb Ave in Tonasket, at 6:30 p.m. this evening to watch the show together.
TONASKET – Salem Straub of Tonasket has been making knives for about twelve years, and will be featured on the History Channel’s ‘Forged in Fire’ Tuesday, Feb. 23.
In it’s second season, each episode of ‘Forged in Fire’ is a competition among four people to see who can make it to the end.
“I’m not crazy about TV; especially reality TV, but I heard about this show in the knife-maker community,” said Straub. “I think a lot of us waited until we saw the first season to say, ‘Okay, I think I could see myself as a part of this.’”
Straub contacted the entertainment company just as they were starting to look for people for the second season. He sent some photos of his work and included a video and soon found himself interviewing over Skype with the staff in New York, who flew him out for filming last fall.
Straub already knows the outcome of the episode, but you won’t unless you tune in to the History Channel this Tuesday, Feb. 23.. Straub and his wife, Heather, are inviting anyone who wants to join them for viewing the episode to meet up at the Kuhler around 9:30 p.m. The show will air at 10 p.m.
“Everything has to stay very hush hush until it airs,” said Straub. “They were very strict about that.The winner walks with $10,000 prize money…so we will see on the 23rd whether or not that was me.”
Another thing kept hush hush was what kind of challenge the bladesmiths would face.
“A common theme is for it to be unpredictable to the contestants what the challenge will be,” said Straub. “It may be a type of material that has inherent difficulties, and a given guy may or may not have experience with it. They always try to keep you guessing.”
Straub, who was born in Oroville, works as a fabricator for Hydemade. He and his wife ran a cafe for a while out of the Community Cultural Center in Tonasket called ‘Cafe Lune.’
Straub said he’s involved in a wider range of metal working than just bladesmithing.
He said the craft has changed very slightly over the last 2,000 years.
“The tools that we use in the competition in many cases are the modern version of these tools, but most of us would be able to make do with a hammer, an anvil and a fire hot enough to forge,” said Straub, who started making knives when he was living off the grid in the mountains, without electric.
He said he prefers working with layered steel these days. “It’s more interesting to work with, and you end up with some really pretty effects,” said Straub. For handles, he said it really depends on what the knife will be used for, but prefers a nice stabilized wood such as burl wood.
For more information, check out Straub’s company, Promethean Knives at www.prometheanknives.com.
Season One episodes of ‘Forged in Fire’ can be viewed online, but for the real deal show up at the Kuhler.
“The Kuhler will be staying open late for us and keeping the fryers hot in case people get hungry,” said Heather Straub. “So take a nap before you come, drink a cup of coffee and meet us there for a very exciting experience!”