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WEST VALLEY CITY — The word "art" has many different definitions. But to one Utah man, designing and creating knives is his own art form — and it's what led him to an appearance on the History Channel.
If you take a look at Nathan Anderson, sparks flying around his gloved hands in his garage, your ideas about how he spends his free time are probably wrong.
"I don't watch football and I don't drink beer," he said with a laugh.
But if you close your eyes and conjure up an image of a guy who makes knives in his garage, his face may spring to mind. And if you ask him what it is that draws him to this, he'll simply smile and say, "I like sharp things." It's not quite as simple as that.
"There's a lot of creativity inside me and it's just trying to get out," Anderson said.
To him, what he works on is art.
"I've always loved art," he said. "Anything artistic — drawing, sculpting, painting, whatever."
From sketching out his designs to waging war with a length of hot steel, every step involves bending reality to match an image forged in his mind.
"It's something you have to have a desire for because it's hard work," Anderson said. "It's not an easy profession."
And make no mistake: it is a profession. He runs his own business, called "No Limit Blades."
While Anderson still has a full-time job, the dream has always been to turn his passion into his career.
"Knifemaking doesn't really have insurance," Anderson laughed. "And I've got a wife and five kids."
But he recently took a big step toward sharpening that dream. Someone in a knifemaking group on Facebook reached out, and after months of waiting.
"My wife got the email first, and she's like, 'Are you sitting down?'" Anderson said. "And I'm like, 'OK, what happened?' And she was like, 'You made it on it!' She printed out the email and framed it, and it's on the wall and everything."
That email offered Nathan a chance to appear on a show called "Forged in Fire" on the History Channel. Competitors work on forging blades, vying for a cash prize.
Anderson got a chance to show off his skills for the experts by making a historically accurate executioner's sword.
"They gave parameters like it has to be 42-44 inches long, and it had all the specs," he said. "And they test it. They smash stuff with it, it's not like they're gentle with it."
Anderson came in second, but he didn't have even a hint of disappointment.
"In the knifemaking world, even being on the show is a huge deal. And so for me, it was like, 'I'm there, that's awesome.'"
The notoriety from his appearance has brought in new requests and more orders for his business.
"They'd message me, 'Hey, you did a great job on the show, how about making this,' so it has helped quite a bit," Anderson said.
He may not look like your traditional idea of an artist and his works may be engraved on steel instead of painted on a canvas, but if you ask Anderson, life is about taking something raw and molding it into any shape you can imagine.
"That's kind of always been a part of me, is being creative, and being artistic," he said.