SAN ANTONIO – A San Antonio man is using blacksmithing and bladesmithing to do more than just bend iron, and he took his hobby to the big stage, winning a competition on a national TV show about weapon-making skills.
Making knives and decorative metal objects is something 29-year-old Alex Ruiz never dreamed of mastering. In fact, it took him falling out of love with someone to fall in love with the art.
“I just came out of a breakup, so I had time to just do what I wanted to do, and so I picked up blacksmithing and haven't turned away from it since,” he said. "It started off with me making them for myself, and then someone would say, 'Hey, I like that.’ And I would say, ‘Why?’”
Ruiz practiced in his forge shop until he got better.
“They say, ‘Don't do it until it is done; do it until it is right.’ I was like, ‘OK, that is the advice to take in everything,’” Ruiz said.
Ruiz’s hard work paid off. He started selling his creations, was featured in Blade magazine and even won in a season of the History Channel’s “Forged in Fire” series.
“I am never going to stop learning and improving, so that is the goal,” Ruiz said.
Ruiz said blacksmithing and bladesmithing have taught him an important lesson.
“Some of these things can be easy. Some of these things can be extremely difficult. If anything, it taught me a lot more patience and taught me to slow down,” he said. “Maybe in the future, I can be like my friends and make $10,000 knives that can sell.”
Ruiz said he wants others to have the same passion in things that are special to them.
“It is going to take you places. It might not take you to the most extravagant places. And if you can teach that happiness, you are making others happy. You are getting someone animated about something you are animated about,” he said.
In addition to selling his decorative metal items and knives, Ruiz teaches classes on the weekend to people who are interested in the art of blacksmithing and bladesmithing. He said his ultimate goal is to become one of the very few American Bladesmith master smiths.