PHOTO BY HUMBERTO ROJAS, HRojasFilms
BLADESMITH — DeLand blacksmith Jim Morrissey, owner of Shamrock Knives, shows off one of his custom Damascus steel blades. He named his business Shamrock Knives to honor his Irish heritage. Morrissey first started making knives in 2017 and makes his television debut on the History Channel Dec. 29.

DeLand bladesmith Jim Morrissey, owner of Shamrock Knives, will appear on the TV show Forged in Fire Dec. 29 to see if his smithing skills make the cut.

Morrissey’s a DeLand resident, a dad, a recently hired employee at Cookies LLC and a bladesmith. It’s because he’s a bladesmith that he was selected to compete on Forged in Fire, a History Channel show in which a group of bladesmiths compete to make the finest blade. The winner receives $10,000.

Morrissey was selected to be on the show in 2019 just before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. As cases rose and much of the world went on pause, Morrissey didn’t hear back for nearly two years. Then, all of a sudden, Morrissey got a call earlier this year to come up to Connecticut for filming. 

 The experience of competing on the show was “pretty cool,” Morrissey said. He even still keeps in touch with some of his Forged in Fire competitors. His son, James, was the most excited, though. “He was very excited,” Morrissey said. “He told all of his friends I was going to be on TV.”

The Beacon spoke with Morrissey before the show’s airing, and he was not allowed to share whether home the grand prize.

When he’s not competing as a television big shot, Morrissey’s working at his forge in DeLand at 1584 Old Daytona Circle. Twenty-first-century bladesmithing isn’t all that different from the hammer-pounding you see in movies, Morrissey explained. 

The big difference is in the tools, like Morrissey’s “power hammer” that, in his bladesmithing partner Chad Bowlin’s words, “is like 50 bladesmiths.” 

After working his day job,  Morrissey makes his way to his forge, where he sets to forging made-to-order knives.

He started making knives in 2017, inspired by his friend — and now forge neighbor — Chad Bowlin of Black Hog Knives.

Morrissey’s a bladesmith, but he’s also an artist. The knives he makes are beautiful as well as usable. Some of his creations were recently showcased at a guest art exhibit at Trilogy Coffee Roasting Co. in Downtown DeLand. 

By allowing customers to select the material for their handles as well as the type of steel they want their blade to be made of, he focuses on making a unique product for each individual. 

“I like functional knives people are going to use,” Morrissey said. “The options are pretty limitless.”

Some customers want simple kitchen knives, he said, while some want elaborate knives forged with Damascus steel, a mix of high-nickel and high-carbon steels that allows the smith to make designs on the blade.

Forging a knife can take Morrissey anywhere from 40 hours for a simple blade, to far longer for something like a Damascus steel blade.

Morrissey goes smaller sometimes, too, hosting bottle-opener classes so people can get their first taste of bladesmithing with something a little simpler than a blade. Anybody can make a knife, he said, but you have to start somewhere.

He does most of his business through social media. TikTok is where Morrissey has the largest following (33,000 followers), he said.

After his big TV debut, Morrissey’s back to focusing on his business — he’s booked on special orders all the way through 2022. Changes on the horizon include making more knives to have on hand and taking his knives to a bladesmithing expo in Texas next year.

For more information about Shamrock Knives and to see Morrissey’s social media, click HERE. Morrissey will be on Forged in Fire at 9 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 29, on the History Channel, and he is hosting a live watch party at The Blind Pig, 148 W. New York Ave. in DeLand.

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