Former Canby cop hits the forge
A recently retired Canby cop has some interesting irons in the fire these days.
Well, irons wouldn't be the correct word. Let's call them blades.
Tony Fetters was a police officer with the Canby Police Department for 20 years before retiring last November. He also served as a sniper for Clackamas County SWAT. But behind the badge, there was another part of his personality that expressed itself in steel and fire. And it's that other passion that will put him center stage Tuesday, March 27, as a contestant on the History Channel show "Forged in Fire."
The trek to being a blacksmith that forges blades of all kinds began after a stint in the Marine Corps.
"When I got out I was kind of tired of people telling me what to do," said Fetters. "So, I started doing the farrier thing. I also played around with making knives and things with a forge, but wasn't real serious about it."
Fetters admitted that being a farrier was hard on the body, which pushed him into law enforcement. About 10 years ago, he said he started getting more serious about making knives and other weapons and things evolved from there.
Fortunately, some of his former team members with Clackamas County SWAT knew of his skill and took matters into their own hands. Fetters wasn't thinking about "Forged in Fire," but his former teammates were.
"One of the guys on the team called me up and told me 'I kind of signed you up for something,'' said Fetters.
Turns out, the whole team was in on it. At that point, Fetters decided to go along for the ride. He went through a lengthy process that included reams of paperwork and even a Skype interview for the show. Eventually, he was selected and taped the show in New York last July.
How'd he do? Well, a non-disclosure agreement precludes him from spilling the beans, but he did say he made it to the finals. To see what happened, you'll need to tune in Tuesday for one of two showings, at 6 or 9 p.m.
"It was really a lot of fun," Fetters said.
He said that despite the bright lights, three other competitors and the gaze of the judges, he felt virtually no pressure during the competition.
"For me, there was not stress at all," he said. "It was just fun. Just an absolute blast, another day at the shop. I just stayed ahead of the game, that's what you do when you're working on a forge."
The competition runs in multiple stages. The first is forge a blade out of a material that is chosen for you in three hours. Second, competitors have three hours to finish the blade through cleaning, putting a handle on it and putting an edge on the blade. The knives are then put through some brutal tests to see whose holds up best.
The top two competitors are then sent back to their home forge to build a weapon of some kind. Fetters said you get a week to do that, then mail it back to the show in New York. About two to three weeks later, they fly the finalists back to New York for the finals shoot.
On Tuesday night, viewers will find out just how well Fetters blade held up.
"It was a blast and I made three really good friends with the guys I was competing against," said Fetters. "We still stay in contact, but I understand that's normal for this show. Once you're on the show, you're kind of in this club."
Fetters does blade forging full-time now through his company TF Blades. More information is available at www.tfblades.com.