Meet Britain’s Top Bladesmiths in Forged in Britain
Forged in Britain is a brand new and exclusive series of shorts. In each episode, HISTORY meets five of Britain's leading forgers each who have their own unique approach to this ancient craft. Each week, the forgers demonstrate how they create new blades and share their knowledge on the item they have made. Watch the whole series below.
Alec Steele, is a professional blacksmith considered the ‘whizkid’ of the community. Describing himself as a blacksmith, teacher and YouTuber, Alec forges his weapons with a big hammer and really ‘moves his metal’ around as he is doing it. The 19-year-old lives in Norwich and has his own YouTube channel uploading a blacksmith blog nearly every day to more than 30,000 subscribers.
Ever since he can remember Owen Bush has played with forging tools. Once he reached his early twenties, and with the support of his parents, Owen decided to get professional training in the ancient craft of bladesmithing. The decision paid off.
Now, based in Kent, the 45-year-old specialises in making Saxon pattern welded swords, beautiful Viking axes and ornate kitchen knives. He even showed us how he smelts his own iron from a Roman-age siderite layer near his home.
Owen, who acts as an unofficial spokesperson for the blacksmithing in the UK community, is widely regarded as one of the top blacksmiths in the country and has even acted as tutor for many of the Forged in Britain forgers.
Josh Graham, 26, shares a forge with his father Graham, a blacksmith who has passed down the tricks of the trade, this is a family affair. Graham, 64, has been working in the trade since 1983 and has taught Josh everything he needs to know. Based in Loughborough, Josh and Graham work alongside each other creating beautiful pieces of metal work. Together they run Exile Ironworks a workshop that specialises in woodworking axes and other traditional British edged tools.
Grace Horne, who has been making blades for 23 years, makes “useful objects” such as folding and pocket knives. She is a master at making practical tools and performing old techniques such as stoning used for flattening and levelling surfaces.
Horne has created an almost pre-industrial environment in her workshop. Free from modern engineering and technology she strives to create everything by hand.
Despite coming to the profession late, Rob Hughes has earned a reputation as a master craftsman of historical reproductions. His work, such as the Pirate Cutlass, is showcased in a selection of museums throughout the country.