‘Forged in Fire’: Idaho resident tests his mettle on History Channel TV show

·3 min read

What began as a cheaper way to make woodworking tools has turned into a passion, a small business and the reason Emilio Carbajal will be on television this week.

Weiser resident Carbajal will compete in an episode of the History Channel’s bladesmithing competition show “Forged in Fire” on Wednesday at 7 p.m. Mountain time.

The 39-year-old said he started working with metal about five years ago after watching tutorials on YouTube. The first tool he made was a woodworking gouge.

“I needed a tool, and I couldn’t afford it,” Carbajal said. “So I started watching videos, and it just grew from there.”

After that, he said he was hooked.

“Each project you have to think three or four steps ahead,” Carbajal said. “So even though they’re knives, and they’re pretty similar, you still kind of got to think it out, so that’s what I loved about it.”

Emilio Carbajal forges steel to create a new knife blade.
Emilio Carbajal forges steel to create a new knife blade.

Carb’s Customs

Over the past five years, Carbajal has made hundreds of blades, hooks and other steel tools. Some of these knives he sells through his business, Carb’s Customs.

Right now, he sells his knives only through Instagram and Facebook, but he said he wants to create a website soon.

He also said he no longer does custom commissions. Instead, he typically will make a knife, post a picture and let the customers come to him. He said that since he started selling his knives about five years ago, he has sold between 100 and 150.

“It’s been a hobby, somewhat of a business,” said Carbajal, whose day job is as a corrections officer at the Snake River Correctional Institution in Ontario, Oregon.

Carbajal said his most popular items are hunting knives.

Emilio Carbajal started metalworking about five years ago. Since then, he has started a small business selling his knives online.
Emilio Carbajal started metalworking about five years ago. Since then, he has started a small business selling his knives online.

Journey to ‘Forged in Fire’

Carbajal said going on “Forged in Fire” was last-minute and unexpected. He said a friend sent him a link and told him he should apply.

“I was just thinking to myself, ‘Well, I might as well try it. The worst they can say is no,’” Carbajal said.

But the TV show didn’t say no, and within a few weeks, producers were at his house interviewing him and filming him in his forge.

“They contacted me and said, ‘We’re coming to your house in seven days,’” Carbajal said. “I was like, ‘I’m not ready for that.’ I mean, I didn’t even have time off of work yet.”

Carbajal works out of a converted garage behind his home in Weiser. The shop is split with his woodworking gear on the left and his metalworking projects on the right.

In the middle of the floor is a pile of scrap wood, and tools and equipment for both woodworking and metalworking line the walls. But what sets this space apart from a typical backyard workshop is the forge, which Carbajal said burns at about 2,000 degrees.

“It’s not much,” he said. “But it’s been a blessing. I love it here.”

While Carbajal kept his upcoming appearance on the show quiet for a while, he said most people in town know about it now. He said his children like to brag about how their dad is going to be on television.

Carbajal said he likes to keep to himself, but he can’t help but smile when he talks about how his family wants to invite everyone they know to the watch party.

“It’s pretty awesome,” he said. “They’ve gone overboard, in my opinion.”

Carbajal and his wife have a total of nine children between the ages of 6 and 21 in their blended family. Although the hot steel he works with often prevents his kids from helping out in the forge, he still sees his metalworking as an opportunity to connect with them.

“I think the most exciting part is just having something to hand down to my kids,” he said.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting