Guests fire up forging knives at Falls City AirBnB | News
Few entrepreneurs see their business grow thanks to the anonymous visit of a celebrity. This was the case for Gordon and Dusty Rose Hanson.
At the end of a lane of country dirt, in the hills above Falls City, they had first built a small house for his mother which later became a rental in November 2020. Then they packed it up in January 2021 with the small workshop Gordon uses to forge knives, to create an AirBnB experience where guests can walk away with their own handcrafted knives, which they made themselves from start to finish.
Then, an anonymous stranger changed everything over a three-day Thanksgiving weekend.
“We did pretty well. Then we had a guest who didn’t know the forge was there. And we didn’t know who he was,” Gordon recalls. from a guy named Kenji López-Alt, a celebrity chef and New York Times contributor.
“Kenji asked if he could make a knife. Until then, he was just a guy who stayed with us. The next day after we forged a knife, he asked if it was okay if he published some of that stuff,” Gordon said.
He said of course, not realizing that López-Alt had over a million YouTube subscribers and over 350,000 Instagram followers.
“A lot of people came because of his influence and it helped the business a lot,” Gordon added.
Take for example, last weekend, Kristin Schlaback and Dan Kronish. They flew in from Denver, Colorado to attend Gordon’s knife-making course.
“We saw Kenji on Instagram, he’s perfect. So we decided to go out and make it a weekend,” Schlaback said.
“We’re dating, and it’s my birthday present,” Kronish added. “I thought that sounded fun, I said fuck it, let’s go.”
Neither had forged anything before, but felt safe in Gordon’s hands. A former high school teacher, Gordon had been forging knives for fun since 2013. Until he met Murry Carter of Carter Cutlery and read about Ruana Knives from Montana and visited their shop. He then took cutlery seriously, but still a pedagogue, he still likes to pass on his knowledge to others, only now at the forge.
“He also gives us such good instructions,” Kronish said. “Let’s do our own thing, step in if he needs to, otherwise it’s all of us doing it.”
Gordon gives his one-day apprentices the choice of making three knives during the nine-hour class. The first two are a small five inch utility kitchen knife or a small RV style knife to carry around for everyday use, both made from 1095 steel.
“The third option is to make a custom knife and use the custom steel we provide,” he explained. “A supposedly big upgrade in terms of cost, but you get a lifetime legacy.”
Knife making has also gained popularity on other shows like the History Channel’s “Forged in Fire.” Gordon said people watch this show and are interested in the process.
“We get people saying they’ve watched every episode. We also had two champions here,” he said, including Josh Navarrete of West Salem and another who has since become one of the world’s top knife makers, Murry Carter.
So what explains the growing popularity of making your own weapons or cooking utensils?
“Forging is something the normal, ordinary person doesn’t do, and can see through ‘Forged in Fire’ or any other historical string, or maybe they’re interested in knives,” Gordon said. . “When they see this, it’s an opportunity to come and do it without having to have all the tools themselves or know anything about it. We give them all the instructions they need to finish a knife. From steel to the bonding of a handle.
He added that while there are similar forging experiences in the United States, he has brought people all the way to Florida, and even overseas, to take his course.
“I know there are similar offerings all over the country, but I don’t know many others doing this in Oregon,” he said.
Todd King, also after seeing López-Alt online, booked a trip from Olympia. A woodworker, King sharpened blades but never made them. He was thrilled to make one with someone who knew what he was doing.
“I expected my arm to be tired, but he warned us that we weren’t going so fast. But it was, it looked like we were making a lot of progress in the hammering. You can see it bend the metal,” King described. “He starts you off with a piece of steel, hammer it, fix it. It’s surprising, steel twice as thick as now, just hammer it. It’s fun to see it on YouTube, I love watching the makers. But making it is a whole other thing. Very cool.”
The course is open to ages 10 and up and the only requirement is the ability to swing a hammer.
“The younger ones can do it, but most of the time they get bored,” Gordon said. “Other than that, just come have fun, do what we ask you to do, and you go home with a piece that should last your kids’ lifetimes if you take care of it.”
And if you need a place to stay after the nine hours in the forge, book the full package. Dusty Rose said the Tiny House is booked out about 55% of the time, which is fine with them.
“We didn’t want anyone to be here all the time,” said the mother of two – Lila, 2½, and Kiger, 6. “There are other AirBnBs in the area, but it’s not really a destination since we’re at the end of the road here. But people want to get out and go to the end of the road. That’s why it succeeded , looking for a quieter place, somewhere off the beaten track where they can’t get caught up in their daily lives.