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Bismarck-based welder to showcase bladesmithing skills on ‘Forged in Fire’ competition

Published: May. 2, 2022 at 7:41 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - Making an appearance on network reality television is a rare achievement. This week, a Bismarck welder gets the chance to show the world what North Dakotans are made of when he competes on a program that showcases steel.

Welder-by-trade, Cody Adolphson prepares a piece of steel and fires up his forge.

“I’ve been around outdoors hunting and fishing all my life, and I’ve always been into knives,” said Cody.

Cody’s passion for bladesmithing was sparked two years ago when he made his first knife.

“I drove seven hours to Wisconsin and took a class with one of my now best friends. We made my first Damascus knife, and I was hooked,” said Cody.

From the flames to the anvil... steel is brought to life at Cody’s forge, Little Wolf Ironworks in Bismarck. Various techniques transform the material into unique works of art.

“Damascus is two alternating layers of steel. One has nickel in it and the other doesn’t. Depending on how you manipulate the metal is what the pattern looks like on the steel,” said Cody.

Now, Cody’s hard work has paid off. He’ll be competing against three other bladesmiths on History Channel’s “Forged in Fire.” In timed rounds, they’ll turn raw materials into knives and weapons from history before the blades are put through a series of brutal strength and sharpness tests.

“I did do a practice five-hour run here at the shop before I went to the show. It went good. I got it done. Made a 100-layer ladder pattern Damascus, 15-inch blade. Tested it myself and beat the heck out of it. I’ve tested my blades before. I have bashed them into nails and cut water bottles after I bashed them in there. I’ve hit them into wood, antler just to see if my heat treat is correct and I’ve got a good knife,” said Cody.

It takes around five hours for Cody to finish a knife and around six hours for the knife to be tempered.

While there are few North Dakota-based bladesmiths, the trade has forged many long-lasting connections.

“I love being from North Dakota. It’s crazy how tight-knit this state is and how much they support people from this state that go off and do things like this,” said Cody.

Cody’s commitment to the trade has put him on the cutting edge of bladesmithing, he’s the first person to represent North Dakota on the network show.

You can watch Cody compete on “Forged in Fire” Wednesday on the History Channel at 8 p.m. Central Time.

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