Battle of the blacksmiths
For centuries, people across the globe have created and explored activities which they indulge in as hobbies. Yoga, tennis, painting, woodworking, even the latest craze, pickleball, are all popular choices. But University of Dayton sophomore Lucas Terry's hobby is a little more … medieval.
Terry is a blacksmith.
Guided by his passion to create things with his own two hands, Terry, a mechanical engineering major, found a love for blacksmithing as a young child. After seeing a blacksmithing show in his hometown of Steubenville, Ohio, he felt inspired. Eventually, he sought out a local blacksmith and asked how to forge — and how to do it well.
“All you need is your steel, something to heat your steel and something to hit your steel,” the blacksmith told him.
Holding his own feet — and steel — to the fire, Terry spent years perfecting his craft and successfully started his own business, Cave Troll Forge Co., in the midst of the pandemic back in 2020. On his online retail store, Terry sells chains, knives, door handles, axes, bottle openers and even offers custom orders.
But by the summer of 2021, Terry was looking for a new challenge. During his senior year of high school, he decided to apply to appear on the TV show “Forged in Fire” on the History Channel to showcase his blacksmithing talents to a large TV audience. He would later receive confirmation that he would be a competitor on the show during his freshman year at UD.
Upon arriving on set, he met the other two contestants and found that they were twice his age with years of experience under their belts. Terry admitted he was a bit nervous and intimidated by this at first.
“They thought I was a lot older than I actually was,” Terry said. “But when I told them I was 18, Paul (one of the contestants) said I was young enough to be his grandson.”
“Forged in Fire” consists of two rounds of competition. In Terry’s competition, contestants were tasked with creating real-life replicas of weapons used by fictional Marvel villains. As a fan of the “Iron Man” trilogy, Terry was confident he could create a replica with ease.
In the first round, the contestants were given five hours to create a blade inspired by the Marvel video game “Midnight Suns.” Terry realized quickly that five hours was not a lot of time to complete a project, even for experienced blacksmiths.
The blade needed to meet specific requirements: the weapon had to have two identical blades on each end and a detailed handle in the middle. Each of the contestants' weapons were tested for strength, sharpness and maintenance.
With the time constraint and pressure of making a weapon that has never been made before, Terry said that the contestants were under a lot of stress, including himself.
The winner of the hour-long show would walk away with $10,000 in cash. With that money, Terry planned on investing in his business and saving a large sum of it for his future endeavors.
He did not make it through the first round of elimination.
Terry said his nerves began to kick in upon starting to make his weapon and said that he made a few mistakes, including not using the correct temperature to wield his blades. Ultimately, he simply felt too rushed.
“If I were to do it all over again, I would just take my time,” he said.
The show aired on the History Channel Oct. 26.
Although he was disappointed with being eliminated, he said he was still pleased with his work and experience on the show.
“I’m just glad to have been able to do something like this,” he said. “Being able to get exposure for my business and gain new knowledge on this form of art was truly incredible.”