Shared from the 7/24/2017 Mon Valley Independent eEdition

West Newton smithy makes cut on TV

Andrew Takach will compete on the History Channel show “Forged in Fire.”


Submitted Hammer in hand, blacksmith and knifemaker Andrew Takach of West Newton stands behind the anvil he uses in the craft that landed him a spot on the History Channel television competition “Forged in Fire.” The episode featuring him will be broadcast 9 p.m. Tuesday.

A West Newton bladesmith with a fiery passion for knifemaking will put his skills to the test against four competitors in a heated History Channel competition.

Andrew Takach, 38, formerly of Glassport, will be one of four contestants to appear on “Forged in Fire” 9 p.m. Tuesday.

The series pits four blacksmiths against each other in a competition to create war-type weaponry.

After several rounds of elimination to prove their weapons can stand tests of strength and sharpness, one contestant who is a cut above the rest will leave with a $10,000 prize and the title of “Forged in Fire” champion.

Takach, a self-taught bladesmith, has been a fan of the show since it first aired in 2015.

Takach said he had thought about being on the show before, but never wanted to reach out to the producers. However, friend and fellow knife-maker Greg Gottschalk recommended Takach to producers after turning down an opportunity in February.

With his own shop and features in Knife World and Blade magazines, Takach is modest about his work.

“If I would run into you on the street and we struck up a conversation about my day, I would have nothing to say,” Takach said. “But in my shop, when I am pounding away at something, that is where I find myself and can be who I really am.”

Takach inherited his love of steel from his grandfather, John Vota, who always had a knife in hand.

“I was trusted as a younger kid, and he would always buy me a knife; I started collecting them when I was about 6 years old,” Takach said. “Every time he went to a show and picked up a new knife, he would always buy me one, too.”

Takach enjoys working with his hands.

As a union bricklayer, Takach faced periodic layoffs.

“One year I was going crazy looking for something to do and decided to pick up an angle grinder and an old file and make a knife,” Takach said. “I had really no idea of what I was doing. I didn’t have internet to research how to do it, so I just grabbed a chunk of metal and started doing my own thing.” Later, he met a window maker who taught him how to use a forge.

“The thing was, as talented as he was, he didn’t make knives, and that is all I wanted to do,” Takach said.

Over the last decade, he has learned from several other smiths, filling in blanks with his own style.

“I have never had any formal training,” Takach said.

“I have made a lot of friends who have showed me a lot of different things, but I eventually started doing my own thing, and it just worked for me.”

His new house sits next to a fully equipped, two-story shop where he hammers away at projects in his free time.

“It has come a long way since day one, when it was just a BBQ grill, hammer and a chunk of steel,” Takach said. “I have never gotten rich doing this, but I have been happy and made a ton of cool things.

“Any time I am outside, I am in my shop. I’m actually waiting for this interview to be over so I can get out there before I go to work. It is like a drug for me.”

Takach is looking forward to watching his episode for the first time Tuesday.

“I am excited for my family to see it ... and I am actually excited to hear the judges commentary because when I was there, it was like I was the only person in the room. I have no clue what went on other than what I did. I was in my own world.

“Win, lose or draw, I have no complaints.”

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