UAHT helps terminally ill man learn more about his passion for knives | Colleges and Universities

The James Black School of Historical Hope-Texarkana Blacksmithing and Crafts at the University of Arkansas was recently contacted by Rose Hodges of Canadian, OK, to allow her husband, Steve Hodges, to visit the school of forge.

Steve Hodges made blade forging a hobby about two years ago after purchasing a knife-making kit from a Colorado store while on vacation. Steve said he damaged the handle that came with the knife kit, but had wood in his house that he used to make his own handle. “After that I was hooked on knife making and have made around 300 pocket knives since then,” he said.

Steve Hodges, 71, recently beat colon cancer. However, he was also recently diagnosed with terminal liver cancer.

“Since Steve discovered knife making so late in his life and with the news of the diagnosis of liver cancer, I just wanted him to have the chance to see a real blade forging school,” Rose said. . “I found this school while searching online for knife making supplies for Steve. After contacting Ms. Teresa, she was more than willing to help me make this dream come true for him. When we got to school we got more than we imagined. Not only did we get to tour the school, but they invited three of the blade forging instructors to show us the knives they had made and show us how to make a knife from start to finish.

James Black School blade forging instructors Jerry Fisk, JR Cook and Ricardo Vilar were all impressed with Steve’s enthusiasm to continue learning. They said it was a blessing to show him new knife-making techniques. “We all sincerely hope that he will have the opportunity to use these techniques and continue to make knives,” they said.

The couple said the efforts of everyone at the school to organize the visit were overwhelming.

“I am amazed at the skill of these blacksmiths and grateful for what they did to make this tour so good for me,” Steve said. “I never imagined they would take the time to show me so much of their craft in one day. My wife and I enjoyed the wonderful conversations we had with each of them and the extraordinary kindness they showed us all. It meant the world to me. “

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