Revises with outcome on show

MIAMI — James Mays had the opportunity to show his bladesmithing skills on the Wednesday, Sept. 25 episode of “Forged In Fire” which airs on the History Channel.

Mays was eliminated in the second of four rounds of Wednesday’s episode — the 30th of the series’ sixth season — when his blade suffered “catastrophic” failure during one of the final tests.

Mays, 40, a Fairland High School graduate who has lived in Miami for 15 years, began forging in January 2015.

“I was one day watching a video on how to build a railroad spike knife and thought ‘I can do that.’ So I went out to my shop and built my first cold forge. That was the beginning of it all,” Mays said.

“Forged in Fire” tests some of the best in the field as they attempt to re-create some of history’s most iconic edged weapons.

Although swords may not be the weapons of choice for many people, that doesn’t stop some from continuing to work as bladesmiths.

Former Army Ranger Wil Willis hosts the competition series that sees four master bladesmiths challenged in each episode to forge the swords, which are then tested by a panel of judges. They have to survive the elimination rounds to win the title of “Forged in Fire” champion and $10,000.

The judges include J. Neilson, who has been making knives for more than 20 years, hand-to-hand combat specialist Doug Marcaida, and David Baker, an authority on replicating period-accurate weaponry.

“I have a strong background in metal fabrication and welding,” Mays said. “When I moved from coal forges into propane forges, I called on skills that I acquired while working at Oklahoma Natural Gas. Currently I have built three coal forges, three propane forges, and a forge press, and I am in the process of building a power hammer.

“Being on ‘Forged In Fire’ in the ‘Genghis Khan's Sword episode was an amazing experience, very challenging, and a good time. I would strongly encourage anyone who is like me to give it a try.”

Mays says he hope to be able to see his blades bought, carried, used, and handed down from father to son and mother to daughter for many years to come.

“It would be very cool to see something that you created, years down the road, and nice to leave a small mark on this busy world.”

Mays has been married to his wife, Natasha, for 18 years and has two children, Makayla and Wyatt.

He’s the second person from Ottawa County to be featured on the show.

Norman “Buddy” Thomas, was a featured competitor on the show on Dec.12, 2018.

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