An Arkansas blacksmith is introducing America to the craft of knife-making and gunsmithing in the History Channel's new series Iron & Fire, which premiered Monday with back-to back episodes.
Daniel Casey, who began practicing his trade when he was 12 years old, is one of the country's few full-time blacksmiths who specializes in building rifles and knives through traditional methods.
"Two thousand years ago there might have been a man doing exactly what I'm doing today, and I'm keeping his story alive," Casey said in the first episode.
His creations, which can take up to 500 hours to build, are highly coveted by collectors and gun enthusiasts from across the United States and overseas.
Casey was profiled in a 2014 story in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's Three Rivers Edition. Casey talked then about learning the trade as a teen and becoming increasingly devoted to the craft.
“It’s definitely my passion and what I want to do for the rest of my life,” he said.
The TV series kicked off with the episodes "The Rifle That Made America" and "The Bowie Knife," in which Casey is tasked with creating a 17th-century Poor Boy rifle, repairing a Civil War-era rifle and replicating the first Bowie knife, which was forged in Arkansas in the 19th century.
The cast of characters includes members of Casey's family, who live in the Ozark community of Romance, located roughly 30 minutes west of Searcy.
Between working in the forge and shooting targets in the Arkansas backwoods, the series chronicles Casey's family adventures, which include ridding a colony of honeybees from his father's house and family dinners around the patriarch's table.
"I've been called crazy multiple times, but it's necessary to keep this alive," Casey said on the show. "If the world loses the knowledge and the ability to work with your hands and use raw materials, the world is losing a very precious thing."
Iron & Fire continues at 9 p.m. Monday on the History Channel.