TACS’ teacher wins History Channel competition

Published 1:22 pm Friday, February 28, 2020

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Billy Salyers, a blacksmith instructor at Tryon Arts and Crafts School, emerged victorious on a recent episode of Forged in Fire, a competition between four bladesmiths that airs on the History Channel. 

The owner of Yellow Rose Forge in Rutherfordton, Billy started smithing a couple of years ago as a project with his children and, he says, “like many of my students at TACS, fell in love with the craft.” He credits his time working in the TACS forge under the instruction of expert knife-maker Gerry Drew as helping him develop the speed and skill required to win that grueling competition.

 The specific Forged in Fire episode Salyers won honored veterans on Veteran’s Day. In the three rounds of competition each smith crafted knifes and historic weapons in an effort to win the title of Champion as well as a check for $10,000.

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“Round One,” Salyers said, “was amazing.” They were tasked with making a 3-layer blade (San Mai) using mild and high carbon steels scavenged from a Panzer Tank. His blade took him to the second round, where their knives were further refined and tested. In the final round, the smiths were challenged to make a Basket Hilted Scottish Backsword in just four days. Salyers fashioned his from 46-layer Damascus steel and an African Blackwood handle that included a twisted wire cross and emblem of a Purple Heart to honor veterans. When tested for strength and lethality against a ballistics gel dummy and ice block chop, his sword performed flawlessly.

Salyers donated his winnings to various missions and hopes this victory will help him reach his goal of becoming a fulltime smith. As a regular teacher at TACS, he will continue to share his knowledge and passion for smithing with his students.

For more information call 828-859-8323 or visit www.TryonArtsandCrafts.org. 


Submitted by Will Barclift