Who is Neil Kamimura from Forged in Fire?

Caption : Neil Kamimura

Neil Kamimura is a blacksmith from Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, who became widely renowned after appearing on the History Channel’s hit reality show, Forged in Fire. He first appeared on the reality show in early 2017 and then in the fall of the year. Besides forging blades, Neil is also famous for his metalworks on vintage cars. Read on to know more about this legendary forger.

Neil Kamimura made his way to Forged in Fire in just eight months from hammering his first knife

Born and raised in Hawaii, Neil worked as an electrician in the past. He ventured on a brand new journey as a blacksmith in 2016. He made his first knife out of an old leaf spring from his 1949 Cadillac and he still has it in his shop.

After making his first blade, he became obsessed with the art. He says, “It was exciting, it was challenging, it was difficult, but every day that you conquer it, it’s a win. I was going through a lot of things at that time, and it helped me to have a high level of focus.”

Neil is a huge fan of the show, Forged in Fire. When the show premiered in 2015, he had never tried forging a blade but he and his son enjoyed watching and critiquing contestants on the show. He made his first blade during the Season 3 of Forged in Fire and was so proud of the results. His then-girlfriend contacted the show’s producers and got him a chance to compete on the show’s fourth Season.

Blacksmith Neil Kamimura

Neil flew to Brooklyn, New York, to compete against three experienced knife-makers. He appeared on the episode The Cinquedea which aired on May 23, 2017. He competed against three amazing bladesmiths Dan Hurtado, Storm Richardson, and Demetrios Papatriantafyllou. Beating the odds, he ended up becoming the winner of that episode.

Recalling his time on the show, Neil said, “The first time I was on the show, I had never even met another bladesmith because I was so new at it and there’s no one really around here who does it.” “I felt a lot of pressure not to screw up, also, because I was representing Hawai‘i. Everybody’s rooting for you, and I didn’t want to be a letdown,” he added.

On October 17, 2017, Neil reappeared on Forged in Fire for a special episode called Ultimate Champions Edition - The Tai Chi Sword. On this episode winners from various episodes from season 3 and 4 competed for the title of ultimate champion. He ended up placing second on this episode. 

Neil Kamimura has bladesmithing in his blood

While it takes years and years of practice and hard work to become a fine artisan, Neil learned the art of bladesmithing in surprisingly far less time. It’s probably because bladesmithing runs in his family bloodline.

Neil’s great-grandfather, Teiji Kamimura, was a Japanese immigrant. Teiji began crafting knives in 1930 and for sixty years he made tools for plantation workers and customers in his shop in Hilo.

Neil Kamimura's great-grandfather

Neil’s grandfather and father were blacksmiths. His grandfather was a barber while his father was a contractor. He has never worked with his great-grandfather nor has he inherited any of Teiji’s blacksmithing tools. The only he has got from his great-grandfather is his name. Neil’s middle name is Teiji.

When Neil lost his mother in 2016, forging knives helped him grieve the loss. Neil said, “My friend bought me a forge that same week, and I just started making lots of knives.” He channeled his pain through his hammer. 

Neil Kamimura's son

His son, Maddix, encouraged him to pursue his passion. “I wouldn’t be as focused or driven without him. I wanted to be a ‘do-something’ dad. I have a seventh-grade education. I don’t know a lot of things, but I do know how to make things with my hands,” Neil said. “Maddix will never forget that I took a chance. It made both of us proud. I went out there and showed the world what we’re capable of.”

Neil Kamimura is engaged to a chef named Flora Cadore

Neil is quite candid about his personal life details. He has shared on his Instagram that he is currently in a relationship with Flora Cadore. She is a chef.

Neil Kamimura's fiancée

Seemingly, they began dating in December of 2017. They got engaged on July 23, 2018. Flora shared the news via her Instagram account writing, “Let me tell you about happiness and love. Im getting married to my love [Neil]. My heart is so full of love and joy that I can barely breathe. I love you more then life itself, you give me more then I could ever ever ever asked for. My fofo. Forever.

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