Jason Knight is an American bladesmith and TV personality, born on 25 September 1966, in Charleston, South Carolina USA. He’s widely recognized for his award-winning work as a knife-maker, and for appearing in the third season of “Forged In Fire” as a judge.
Early Life and Education
Jason’s interest on blades started in his early years, when his father used to read him books by Edgar Rice Boroughs, while his mother sewed him costumes to play fantasy games with his cousins. Jason soon found himself drawing and creating toy blades and knives for the rest of his childhood, as his fascination for medieval settings, stories and attires never wore off.
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Jason started seriously creating his own knives while studying at St. George High School, showing his creations to other knife makers and collectors when he attended Southeastern Wildlife Exposition every year. Interested in American Native culture as well, Jason often attended various Pow-wows, where he met and started a long-lasting friendship with other young blade creators Daniel Winkler and Karen Shook.
In 1992 Winkler’s creations were featured in the movie “The Last of the Mohicans”, which inspired Knight to take his passion for knife-making to the next level.
Although there’s no information about Jason’s parents and family, their support for his hobby was evident, as he was gifted a grinder during his teens, and in 2001 his grandma supported him to participate in a two week long course at Bill Moran School of American Bladesmith Society (ABS) in Arkansas: “she paid for my class. It was awesome!”. This course wasn’t wasted though, as he not only enjoyed it a lot, but also pushed his career forward, leading him to win his first award the same year in California, as Best New Maker.
Debut and Awards
After that, Knight promptly gained he recognition of other people in the knife-making business for his style: ‘I never stopped.
I dedicated as many hours to it as I could just to learn. That’s all I did. I didn’t do anything else. Pretty instantly I developed a style that is very recognizable, because I like the flow of curves and lines.’ He said in a YouTube video on his channel: ‘My knives would work but they were very different looking than everyone else’s. That was sexy, and it made me popular in the knife making world instantly, because I was doing something a little different.’
For the following years Jason’s blacksmithing was awarded a variety of times, including recognition as Knife of the Year by the South Carolina Association of Knifemakers in 2002, and Best Non-Damascus Hand-Forged prize at the Blade Show and International Cutlery Fair in 2004.
The same year he was honored by Blade Magazine with a Handmade Award for Best Non-Damascus Hand-Forged Knife. In 2006 he was awarded Best Fighter at Arkansas Knife Makers Association Show.
Despite his success as a knife custom-maker, Jason’s pursuit for further knowledge of the blacksmithing art led him to complete a Journeyman Rating in 2003, subsequently obtaining a Mastersmith rating in 2007 granted by ABS. The same year he was given a B.R. Hughes Award for creating the best knife as a Mastersmith candidate. In 2008 he received a Bill Moran Award by ABS, and a Handmade Award for Best Bowie by Blade Magazine.
In 2010 Jason was Champion on the Battle of the Bladesmith at the ABS Great Smokey Mountain Symposium.
As of today, Jason Knight is a specialist in curved bladed knives and kukris.
His work is known not only for his mastery at blacksmithing, but also for bringing innovation in every blade he creates.
Forged in Fire
In 2016 Jason Knight joined the third season of “Forged in Fire”, replacing fellow Master Blacksmith and judge of the show J. Nelson, who temporarily left the series to recover from hand surgery. Knight’s presence as one of the four show’s judges continued until Nelson’s return in its fourth season.
Airing on History Channel since its premiere in 2015, “Forged in Fire” is a show in which participants compete to win a $10,000 prize through forging of a variety of weapons in three elimination rounds.
Although contestants are often blacksmith enthusiasts, they are usually well-known in the profession, ensuring they are capable of working with set metalworking equipment.
Medical personnel are present during every episode, guaranteeing the safety of contestants and staff.
Despite being a show focused on the use and creation of weapons, “Forged in Fire” has received good reviews from audience and experts.
Blacksmith Online Courses
Jason’s 30,000 hours of experience in blacksmithing, has allowed him to offer online courses on knife custom making on his official web page Knight Forge Studio. With the motto “Become the Renaissance”, in his courses Knight addresses the creation process of every piece he makes, from conception to design and delivery.
In “Forged: Jason Knight Maker Series”, he shares his personal experiences, and his students get to know his private studio and preferred tools.
YouTube and Podcast
Jason Knight’s is very active on his YouTube channel, sharing a variety of videos in TV show-format. In his channel, he advocates for craftsmanship: ‘Being a maker means making a difference with yourself and spreading what you know. Not to see what you can get or to see what you can take away. Making a difference is going out there and just very simply changing your own attitude, starting with one person. It starts with you and you sharing information.’
Jason encourages people to pursue creative careers: ‘I don’t care if you’re making jewelry or you’re making glass, or pottery or you make a painting and you do blacksmithing, you’re something different, doing something with your hands, and with your mind’.
He continues, talking about the importance of sharing knowledge to other people: ‘I love to do it because I want to keep it alive, and every one out of 20 or 30 people you show this to, they’re gonna be the next generation who is gonna go ‘I’m carrying this on. I’m part of this renaissance forever. I’m gonna share this like it was shared to me’.’
Jason has a podcast show entitled ‘Beyond the Edge of Knight’.
Jason is married to Shelly – although there’s no further information about the couple, it’s known that they have been together since early ‘90s. Shelly has been supportive of his career for years, and currently manages his private studio.
The couple has two children who have inherited their father’s talent. Older son Tristen is a graphic designer, illustrator and bladesmith, while daughter Tigerlily is an avid knife-maker. The family used to live in Harleyville, South Carolina, then in 2018 they moved to Tri-Cities in Washington State.
As of mid-2020, Jason Knight has an estimated net worth of over $3 million, which is a result of his awarded work as a custom knife-maker and blacksmith, and earnings from appearing in “Forged in Fire”.
Jason Knight is a man of white ethnicity, who has dark brown hair and eyes. His long bushy beard and preference for black clothes give him a tough-looking appearance. His weight and height are unknown.
He was taught the art of blacksmith by Jay Hendrickson.
In an interview with Golf Kitchen, Middleton Made Knives’ owner and creator Quintin Middleton revealed Jason Knight was his instructor: ‘I began working in a local mall selling knives, cigars, and memorabilia swords. One day, Jason Knight came in to buy a sword, and he told me that he made knives for a living. I asked him, ‘Can you teach me how to make knives?’ After this, he became my mentor.’
In “Forged in Fire”, Jason shared screen time as judge with martial artist and weapon specialist Doug Marcaida and weapon’s history expert David Baker.
Jason collaborated with Shop Wilson Combat to create “Dark Knight Gunmetal Damascus Bowie”. Each of these special patterned blades made of Damascus were worth over $1.000, and were sold-out in record time.