When the “Forged in Fire” blade forging competition television show returns on Wednesday, it will feature New London resident Brandon Hyner as one of four contestants.
In “Forged in Fire,” which airs Wednesdays at 10 am on the History Channel, blacksmiths are offered the opportunity to recreate historic bladed weapons. The winner receives $ 10,000.
Hyner, 23, has been making knives and blacksmithing as a hobby for half a dozen years. He has his forge at the Noank foundry.
As for his job, Hyner works as an engineer at Electric Boat, in a department that deals with the movement of underwater structures between Groton, Virginia, and Quonset Point, RI.
He said that filming ‘Forged in Fire’ was “very scary at first, as it was for a lot of people. Anyone who’s ever been on the show will absolutely say so, that’s for sure. The first round of the show, I was running like a chicken with my head cut off. I knew what I needed to do, but I’m one of those people who needs to look at a list of things and sort of cross out – I have to do it, then I have to do it. We were not entitled to any paper or list.
“You have to make changes on the fly, overcome and adapt,” he said.
Like all contestants of these types of TV shows, Hyner couldn’t say what the challenges of “Forged in Fire” were or how far he had come in the competition. But he said he really enjoyed filming it and would do it again “without hesitation”.
“My competitors were absolutely amazing competitors. They were all great guys,” he said. “… I definitely learned a lot about myself. I also learned that I can make a knife in five hours, which is a very difficult thing to do, I might add.”
Hyner started applying for “Forged in Fire” two or three years ago when he was a student at SUNY Maritime College in New York. He graduated in January 2020 and started working at EB.
Hyner eventually went through the interview process for the show, which included a cast reviewing his candidacy, then conducting phone and Skype interviews with him. The casting manager made a casting video which she passed on to the producers, who decided to have Hyner on the show.
The problem was while Hyner was still in school and about to graduate; he had no available dates to commit to. So the folks at “Forged in Fire” kept him on a waiting list in case someone, say, got sick or tested positive for COVID-19 and had to give up at the last minute.
And here’s how it happened: Hyner got the call from “Forged in Fire” six months ago at 10 a.m. on a Tuesday. He was to be in Stamford, Connecticut, where the show is being filmed, at 6 a.m. the next morning. This Tuesday was incredibly eventful, he recalls; he was called in during labor and had to travel to New York to take a coronavirus test and return to prepare for production.
A cold forge in the yard
Hyner grew up in West Babylon, Long Island, and said he “has always been interested in artistic stuff. When I was in high school I was in AP studio art classes. I always have loved doing art related things, whatever they were.I’ve always been in art, I’ve always loved playing music – I play guitar.
But he said he couldn’t find something specific that he liked to do that was good and that he could finish. In high school, he struggled to complete projects in his drawing and painting classes because he was so detail-oriented. His teachers were frustrated and told him that the job he was doing was really good but he had never finished it.
He had started watching “Forged in Fire” about five years ago when he was finishing high school.
Back then, a friend’s neighbor had built himself a cold forge – “your most basic, primitive type of forge,” Hyner said. The neighbor invited the two teenagers to try the forge.
“I enjoyed doing it so much. Back then I made this piece of shit that looks like shit, ama-what is it, ”Hyner said with a laugh. “But I was so proud of it and I was so excited. I was like, ‘Oh, I have to keep doing this.’ “
He asked his father to help him build a cold forge in their own backyard, and he got tools from his friends and family.
“Now, five or six years later, I have my own sales area, I have a lot of tools. It was a very cool trip, ”he said.
Hyner said it was amazing to see what his hands can create.
“My favorite part of the job is seeing that I’ve been able to find that artistic side of myself and that I can do something that A, I can finish and B, that I’m very proud of at the end of the day. “Besides being something beautiful, it’s functional and it’s something that can be used and also something that can be passed down from generation to generation.”