Whether it’s work, personal or just the general state of things in the world, I find many people – including myself – battling high levels of stress.
And so, when vacation time comes for many of us, it’s about relaxation. Maybe it’s a spa day, maybe a quiet afternoon by a mountain stream, or even a day of shopping and fun with the family.
There is another stress-relieving vacation alternative in the Pigeon Forge area, however.
You can pay a man to hold a molten-hot hunk of raw steel or metal while you use various heavy hammers to pound it into a souvenir knife.
The truth is, there are many things in this world I could never have predicted would succeed. These include the “Transformer” movies, for example, or the Snuggie or the Selfie Toaster.
Add to that list: destination do-it-yourself knife-making.
Some genius somewhere was wandering through a mall and saw Build-A-Bear.
Inspiration struck. If you can build a bear, you can build a knife. And honestly, it’s a great experience.
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Where in Pigeon Forge can you make a knife?
There are a handful of locations to choose to make a knife.
Wherever you decide to go, if possible, make your reservations far in advance and don’t wait too late to check on availability.
Knife making is very popular in the Smokies and many venues are sometimes booked up weeks in advance.
Without further ado, here are our top picks for making your own knife:
4. Dollywood (Pigeon Forge, TN)
The popular theme park is fairly new to the game but has jumped in with both feet at the Blacksmith & Foundry in Craftsman’s Valley.
Dollywood offers three tiers, all of which take 60 minutes or less to complete.
- Railroad spike knife, $99.99 (60 minutes)
- Horseshoe knife, $59.99 (45 minutes)
- Bolt knife, $29.99 (30 minutes)
Knife-making reservations at Dollywood are not available online or in advance.
If you want to build a knife at Dollywood, it’s recommended you go first thing in the morning to reserve your spot, and then return at least 10 minutes prior to the selected time.
Also, if you’re planning on taking a break from your vacation to work as a blacksmith, make sure you’re not wearing open-toed shoes.
When the time arrives, you’ll come to the blacksmith shop, select your type of knife and the metal will be heated until it’s glowing red and white hot.
A professional will be in charge for the entirety of your journey.
When making a knife, it’s important to listen to every instruction and not go rogue. It’s not good time to use your famous improvisation techniques while swinging metal hammers at molten metal.
The blacksmith will instruct you where and how hard to hit the metal to form your knife. Each stroke will be different, so make sure you’re attentive and not just swinging away.
If you listen well, not only will you have the opportunity to work out some aggression, you can build yourself a unique souvenir as well.
3. Iron Mountain Metal Craft (Pigeon Forge, TN)
Dollywood isn’t the only foundry game in town. Iron Mountain Metal Craft, located at 172 Old Mill Ave., is dedicated to keeping the old ways alive.
Founded by a disciple of blacksmithing, Robby Bowman, Iron Mountain is located near the original forge from which the town draws its name.
A variety of knife-building lessons are available including:
- Railroad spike knife, $85
- Nail knife, $20 (available to those ages 5-12)
- Horseshoe knife, $50
- Pony shoe knife, $35
To learn more, visit them online.
2. Circle Bar T Forge (Pigeon Forge TN)
Located on the Corner of Old Mill Avenue and Teaster Lane, the Circle Bar T also offers a variety of knife-making and blacksmithing experiences.
Circle Bar T bills itself as great for birthdays, parties or team building experiences.
Knife making experiences include:
- Nail knife, $20 (available for ages 5-11)
- Pony shoe knife, $35
- Horseshoe knife, $55
- Railroad spike, $85 (available for those ages 13 and up)
- Rebar knife, $60
The Dream Knife experience, listed as $650 and up, allows you to take charge of the entire knife-making process.
“You take over the Forge to bring to life a blade of your design: forging, grinding, and profiling, heat treating, and handle fabricating. We will guide you through this experience to bring your dream knife into reality,” reads the website.
This advanced class experience is only available by special appointment.
To learn more about Circle Bar T Forge, visit them online.
1. Gatlinburg Forge and Blade (Gatlinburg, TN)
While not located in Pigeon Forge, Forge and Blade is conveniently located along the Parkway downtown in Gatlinburg.
To make an appointment to build a knife, give them a call at (865) 416-5617.
The last time I visited, they offered a Tanto, Rebar, Horseshoe and Ponyshoe knife.
How long does it take to make a knife?
The time it takes will depend on your selected experience but plan to spend at least 30 minutes to an hour building your knife.
Prices vary by selection and are subject to change.
Did you notice any places missing from the list? Unfortunately, Uncle Hank’s Knives in Sevierville is now closed.
In a social media post, the company says, “We are relocating to Florida. Keep up with us on Facebook for updates and exciting new adventures.”
Have you made your own knife in the Great Smoky Mountains? Let us know in the comments.