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A knife being made in a blacksmith shop.

Bladesmith from Pigeon Forge Shop Appears on History Channel’s “Knife or Death”

One of Pigeon Forge’s most talented artisans recently appeared on the hit show Knife or Death! Dave Martin of Iron Mountain Metal Craft, a blacksmith shop located near The Old Mill, was a contestant on the History Channel’s popular metalworking and blade-wielding competition. In the October 17th episode “Enter the Yatagan,” Martin competed alongside the nation’s best bladesmiths and martial artists for the chance to advance to the series finale.

Watch the Episode

Dave Martin’s Knife or Death episode can be streamed online if you have the History Channel in your cable package. You can log in and watch the show here. Dave is the second competitor in the episode and first appears around 8 minutes and 15 seconds into the show.

If you don’t want any spoilers from the episode, be sure to watch it before reading any more of this article!

How Dave Got on the Show

Knife or Death is a high octane competition where contestants must complete a special obstacle course with a unique edged weapon that they either forged themselves or had commissioned. Competitors use their blades to cut through all sorts of unusual items, with everything from raw chicken to a block of ice in the mix. The show is hosted by former NFL player and wrestler Bill Goldberg and former Green Berets operative Tu Lam.

When Dave Martin saw Knife or Death on TV, he knew he needed to give it a try. Martin told the Knoxville News Sentinel, “I’ve seen different styles of knives on there and that sort of thing, and I wanted to challenge my knife-making ability and myself as well. I’m very competitive, so it was a great fit for me.”

As an accomplished bladesmith, Martin drew upon his years of experience to forge a knife that would help him plow through the obstacle course. Dave decided to go with a 15-inch, two-handed bowie knife made from Damascus steel. Before traveling to Atlanta to film the show, Dave practiced wielding his knife, cutting through wild boar ribs, melons, two-by-fours, and different cuts of meat.

How Dave Fared in the Competition

Unsurprisingly, the Knife or Death team was very impressed with Dave’s blade. Travis Wuertz, the show’s inspection specialist, praised Martin’s knife, saying “It cut great and has a lot of power. There’s a lot of inertia on this blade…It’s going to smash through.” Similarly, Tu Lam called Dave’s knife “a beast.”

When it came time for Dave to complete the obstacle course, his blade served him well, cutting through sugar cane and sliding targets. However, when Martin got to the Timber obstacle, where he needed to chop down a two-by-four and have it land in a particular spot, he started experiencing shortness of breath.

Sadly, this medical issue prevented Dave from finishing the course, and he was taken to the hospital as a precautionary measure. Fortunately, Martin recovered quickly and felt back to normal soon after he stopped the competition.

Dave doesn’t have any regrets about his appearance on the show, telling the News Sentinel, “It was a wonderful experience. It really was, and the people were great, treated me wonderfully. Just a good all around thing meeting everyone and getting to be a part of it.”

Visiting Iron Mountain Metal Craft

If you want to see some of Dave’s handiwork and maybe meet the man himself, be sure to visit Iron Mountain Metal Craft during your next vacation in Pigeon Forge. Located behind The Old Mill, this shop gives guests the chance to forge their own knife or ornament under the supervision of a master blacksmith. To sign up for a lesson at Iron Mountain Metal Craft, click here.

More Things to Do in Pigeon Forge

Looking for even more fun activities in the Smoky Mountains? Check out our complete listing of Pigeon Forge attractions!