About us


Discover Excellence in Knifemaking with Jean Wilke and Fire Goby Forge.


In the world of knifemaking, there's a forge that blazes with the passion and precision of a true artisan — Fire Goby Forge, helmed by the talented bladesmith, Jean Wilke.


Jean's odyssey into the art of crafting blades commenced with a pivotal encounter with the renowned television series, Forged in Fire. The vivid colors of steel, the rhythmic symphony of the hammer meeting the anvil, and the sheer skill displayed by bladesmiths on the screen mesmerized him. For Jean, this wasn't a fleeting interest of adolescence; it was an enduring passion that ignited and intensified with time.


A pivotal moment in Jean's journey unfolded on his 14th birthday when his parents bestowed upon him a unique gift — a one-day smithing course with the esteemed Dennis Kriel. That day marked a turning point as Jean found himself captivated by the artistry and craftsmanship of bladesmithing, setting the stage for his future endeavors.


The echoes of Jean's talent reverberated in knifemaking circles, catching the attention of luminaries like Neels van den Berg and Etienne Vorster. At the age of 15, Jean embarked on a transformative two-week "Introduction to Bladesmithing" course at Heavin Forge. Mastersmiths Kevin and Heather Harvey, impressed by Jean's dedication, became his lifelong mentors, guiding him on the path to excellence.


A remarkable milestone in Jean's journey occurred in June 2020 when he successfully passed the test to join the esteemed Knifemakers Guild of Southern Africa (KGSA). At just 18 years old, Jean became the youngest person ever to be welcomed into this prestigious guild, a testament to his unparalleled skill and commitment to the craft.


As of spring 2022, Jean Wilke divides his time between imparting his knowledge at Heavin Forge during two-week teaching stints and creating masterpieces at his own forge, Fire Goby Forge, located in Pretoria. Each blade forged at Fire Goby Forge is a testament to Jean's dedication, skill, and the enduring flame of passion that fuels his craft.


At Fire Goby Forge we are dedicated to empowering you on your quality forged products journey. 


At Fire Goby Forge, we're not just crafting blades; we're forging unique stories. If you're seeking exceptional craftsmanship or have a custom bladesmithing project in mind, let's bring your vision to life. Call Jean Wilke today, and let the artistry begin!

Goby fish

About our name:

* What is a Fire Goby?


A Fire Goby (Nemateleotris magnifica), also known as Firefish Goby or Dartfish is a small fish found in most of the tropical oceans of the world.

It was one of the first fish I saw while scuba diving off the South African coast as a bright-eyed
15-year old.
The Fire Goby’s bold movements and vivid colours stuck in my mind.


When it was time to choose a name for my little knife-making business while still at school, the fire goby came to mind.
The bright colours from white, through bright yellow and warm orange, to dull red, are all colours associated with the forging or steel-making process that I love so much.

The diminutive size but “no nonsense” attitude of the little fish, resonated in myself as a youngster in an adult world. And though I was scared stiff, I was not about to stand back, but boldly raise my hand to any challenge, large or small.
Like doing the 2-week Introduction to Blade Smithing course at Heavin Forge with Kevin & Heather Harvey at the age of 15. Talk about intimidating .


Now, years later I am keeping the name and hope to build “Fire Goby Forge” into a world-wide enterprise, as widespread as the Fire Goby.


* More about a fire Goby (Nemateleotris magnifica),


Members of this species usually have a bright yellow head, merging into a white body, gradually shading into a red-orange tail.

Their dorsal fins are very long, and the fish flicks it back and forth.

This is used as a signal to conspecifics.

As a fully grown adult, it reaches a maximum length of 9 centimetres (3.5 in).

They are very popular aquarium fish because of their bright colours and bold attitude.

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Jean Wilke

Member: Knifemakers' Guild of Southern Africa

Member: Cape Knifemakers Guild