About Kevin

I am a full-time stay-at-home-dad and part-time bladesmith living in Midtown Memphis, Tennessee with my wife, Rachael and my kids – Olivia, 10 and William 8. We have 2 dogs, 2 guinea pigs, a bearded dragon, a kitten and a historic house that falls apart daily.

From an early age, the idea of the Renaissance Man has rattled around in my mind –  a cultured man of the world who was knowledgeable, educated, or proficient in a wide range of fields. I have been a graphic designer, a published poet, an EMT, I have performed with a choir in Carnegie Hall, I taught myself to play the ukulele, created and ran Memphis Dodgeball (and competed in the World Dodgeball Championships in Las Vegas), and have become a World Champion Barbecue Cook (with two top 10s in consecutive Memphis in May Barbecue Contests in Ribs). 

Since my days as a Boy Scout, I have always understood the purpose of a good blade; however, I was mostly content with a few Leatherman Skeletools and not much else. In the kitchen, I kept chasing the perfect chef’s knife and was happy with my Misen but I knew there could be better. 

Enter Forged in Fire… I studied the show, working through the challenges in my mind with no idea of if or how I could do it. I took a single 3 hour class at the Memphis Metal Museum to see if I had a knack for moving metal. We made forged hooks and I was sold. My wife and kids gifted me with my first anvil, hammer, tongs and forge. Fast forward to today and my 55lb Harbor Freight anvil has been replaced by a 110lb Kanca Forged Steel anvil, I have added 2 more hammers and 6 more sets of tongs, added a second propane forge, and I have made my biggest investment – a 12 ton Coal Iron Forge hydraulic press. The press allows me to produce beautiful damascus without much worry of failure in a timeframe that is more manageable.

Year One saw me produce 62 knives of varying quality out of mostly monosteels (saw blades, 1095, 1084). Year Two has begun with damascus and will end with damascus – there’s no turning back.

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Kevin Olsen
901-351-5384
kevin@smolsen.com