On Forged In Fire reality show blacksmiths recycle old bikes into new knives
History Channel's Forged in Fire is not a show that we pay much attention to, but on a recent episode, the metal workers were challenged to make knives from old worn out Hondas. It's both awesome and heart-breaking to watch.
It appears the bikes are a 1980s Honda CB650 and the ubiquitous CB250 Nighthawk, likely a veteran of a million MSF weekend classes (in all honestly, neither looked to be unrideable, and even the tires appeared fresh). If you have never seen the show, it is a perfect mash-up of midwestern manly craftsmanship and coastal hipster elite artisanship; these are modern blacksmiths who craft expensive handmade knives. The first five minutes show you just how crafty these guys are, and how well they know their materials and metalworking.
This entire episode was motorcycle themed, but none of the challenges was a traditional biker knife fight. Later on, after forging and sharpening their knives and crafting sadly non-motorcycle related handles, the knives were tested by trying to cut handlebars and by destroying a seat (you can see that clip here). It was actually a bit silly really.
It is interesting to see where these experts find the strongest steel from the bikes presented to them. I would have gone for a fork tube, heated up and hammered flat. One of the experts goes for straight for the chain with its high nickel content, trying to melt all the links down to one big hunk that can be reshaped. Wisely, someone goes for that early Honda CB650's 1/4" thick solid stainless steel front disc, probably the hardest, purest steel on the whole bike, and pounds it out in no time.
If you are the type of person who is interested in how stuff gets made, this is an interesting show, even if you can't stand the fake reality show manufactured drama. It is impressive that these men are so skilled (and the shop is so well outfitted) that they can go from old motorcycle to hand forged machete in less than 90 minutes of real time.