St. Matthews bladesmith wins grand prize on History Channel's 'Forged in Fire'

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A local man's hobby turned part-time profession has caught fire, landing him on national television, and as a result, a gained following.

Behind a garage in his St. Matthews backyard, Collin Sage heats, hits and hones his craft. "This is where the magic happens. As you can see, it's just a backyard and there's a bowl in it and I light fire in there," Sage said.

That's all he needs. "I have charcoal as my fuel. The shop vac pumps in oxygen, which make a very hot fire in this old beat up fire pit. I can melt steel. I can get it up to probably 2,500 degrees," Sage said.

The University of Louisville Theatre Arts grad took more of an interest behind the stage, building materials. "One day in welding class, I'm like I'm bored. Oh look at all this steel, look at these big torches. I need to make a sword or something and I did and it was terrible and ugly, but from there it just became an obsession." 

A carpenter by day, bladesmith by night. "Taking something that's essentially trash, especially things that I use is basically recycled steel from old cars and things and turning it into something beautiful that is not just art, but functions and has a purpose and will last hundreds of years hopefully."

He's only been doing this for five years. He's been a fan of The History Channel's "Forged in Fire" since day one. "I love the show and people kept saying, 'oh Collin, you do stuff like this, you should be on the show, you should be on the show' and I'm like, 'I'm really bad. I shouldn't be on the show' and they just kept bugging me and bugging me and finally I gave in."

Sage applied and was selected. "I was pumped to go on, but I didn't think I would even make it out of the first round."

He not only made it past the first round, he made it to the final. Following five days of taping in New York last September, he returned to Louisville to create a masterpiece on home turf. "I was like, not only is it a giant sword and going to be a huge project, I don't have anything ready. I didn't plan on getting this far."

Sage flew back to New York for the finale. He emerged as the "Forged in Fire" champion, collected a $10,000 cash prize and gained national notoriety. "I've been getting a lot of love online from local people. It's been great all the people from Louisville or southern Indiana saying, 'oh it's awesome that we finally have somebody local that was on the show and won' and so that's been great, I've been so happy to represent the hometown."

Sage said he's striking while the iron is hot, starting an online business called Hippo Head Forge. He named it after a hippo he shaped on the show. 

Sage appears in episode five of season five. It's aired several times in April and is available online through a cable provider. 

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