Metalsmith and blade maker Craig Barr of Deer Mountain Forge in Cotopaxi demonstrates the sharpness of one of his tomahawks.

Southern Colorado metalsmith Craig Barr proved his prowess in the world of fiery forges and sharp blades when he took top honors on a recent episode of the History Channel’s “Forged In Fire”

In the first stage of  the  competition, four contestants were given three hours and a piece of coil spring to forge Asian weapons called karambits, curved-blade devices that are easily concealed for close combat. Barr had never made a karambit before, but he got it done amd moved through the show's second stage, while two competitors were eliminated.

For the last part of the competition Barr and the other semifinalist were sent back to their home forges. Each had to make a Makraka, a sickle-shaped African sword about 19 inches long that was used in the early 1800s, often to decapitate the enemy during battle. The cutting edge is on the inside of the deep curve. The two smiths only had five days to make their Makrakas, and neither had made one before.

The "Forged In Fire" judges began testing the completed weapons by using  them on a ballistic dummy -- a fake torso with organs, bones and blood. Testing ended with a mock beheading using watermelons. Barr's Makraka sliced through the melons handily, giving him the win. 

Barr works at his Deer Mountain Forge in Cotopaxi,  about 75 miles west of Pueblo. He spoke with Colorado Matters host Andrea Dukakis.

Metalsmith and blade maker Craig Barr working in his Deer Mountain Forge in Cotopaxi, about 75 miles west of Pueblo.

(Courtesy of Deer Mountain Forge/Susie Barr)

Bladesmith Craig Barr of Cotopaxi with two of the crew members from History Channel's "Forged in Fire." Barr is holding the Makraka - an African sword he forged for the show.

(Courtesy of Deer Mountain Forge/Susie Barr)