NJ man sharpens bladesmithing skills for charity

BELLMAWR, New Jersey (WPVI) -- "Most guys either have a press or power hammer. I don't have either," said Anthony Pepe. "What I do have is a 25-pound dumbbell and an arm strong enough to swing it."

Pepe is somewhat of a Swiss Army Knife of skills. His interests range from powerlifting and martial arts to writing and painting.

"I like to do everything myself. Eventually, I'm going to do everything myself," he said.

Today, each of those talents contributes to his career as a bladesmith.

"Whether it be a knife, a painting, a book, a poem, it's all having an image or a thought or a word in my head and giving it to the world," said Pepe.

With just two years of experience under his apron, Pepe decided to enter the Last Blade Standing competition. It started in May 2021 and commits to auctioning off each entry to raise funds for charity. One of the beneficiaries is Mission 22, which supports veterans dealing with post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injuries.

"This is 32 of the best smiths in the country," said Pepe. "It's like we're in a competition together, but we're more supporting each other and we're each other's biggest fans."

Pepe has advanced to round two and will compete next Saturday, March 26, in Jacksonville, Florida.

Apart from sharpening his knife-making skills, Pepe plans to publish a comic book this year in-keeping with his focus on fighting domestic and child abuse. He tackles the same themes with his cutting-edge poetry.

"Women started latching onto my words for healing," he said. "I could tell you a hundred stories about that path alone."

In this case, perhaps the pen is, in fact, mightier than the blade.

To learn more about Anthony Pepe's bladesmithing, visit his website or TikTok page.

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