Newspaper Article Archive of
The Kalona News
Kalona, Iowa

Newspaper Article Archive of
The Kalona News

October 19, 2017 Riverside resident forges new hobby
Article Pages -- as published on the The Kalona News website.

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During the Kalona Fall Festival Sept. 29 and 30, Riverside resident Mike Meinders had his best weekend selling his homemade knives and axes. The event is a rare public appearance for him and his business, Rocken Mike’s Knives.

Since he began forging back in April 2016, Meinders has generally just used word of mouth and a Facebook group to “advertise” his work, but said weekend was the best period he’s had so far, though he did turn the festival down on one aspect.

“(Nancy Roth) asked me if I wanted to bring my forge down there …I explained to her, ‘Nancy it’s 85 degrees, that thing puts out 2,000 degrees of heat. So no, I don’t really want to do that,’” he said, noting it’s probably also why there’s no blacksmith at the annual event.

In March of 2016, Meinders became interested in smithing because of the television show “Forged in Fire” on History. After his interest was sparked, Meinders went where most people go these days when they’re trying to learn something new.

“YouTube is a great learning institution,” he said. “I swear by that. If you want to learn how to do something and want to have the capability to just learn something by watching, then by all means go to YouTube.”

“They’ll teach anything.”

Meinders said it only took him about a week to learn and give it a shot. He’s obviously refined his technique, including what he uses in his forge, but still keeps his shop littered with first-aid kits, just in case.

Meinders started out using coal, which he had to bring in from Missouri and Pennsylvania to ensure better quality. The cost was too much and Meinders has found that by using gas, he can run his forge cheaper while also creating a more even heat in his forge.

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