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James Helm

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James Helm last won the day on August 13 2020

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About James Helm

  • Birthday 06/10/1982

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  • Website URL
    http://helmforge.blogspot.com

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  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    San Antonio, Texas
  • Interests
    God, blacksmithing, history, art, cars, self relience, etc.

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  1. I've had the same thing happen upon occasion, a customer that just disappears, even once with a carcass splitter. Very annoying to be sure, but I've been lucky to have other folks buy the abandoned blades in a timely fashion. Hope you don't have to wait for someone to snag yours. I like how it turned out! The scroll on the end is a nice touch.
  2. Thanks, guys! Doug - A lot of the antique carcass splitters have handles wrapped in waxed linen cord. The hemp cord on this is impregnated with West System marine epoxy, making it solid and waterproof. Nothing should be soaking in. Rob - My buddy Tobin and I actually blocked traffic for truck driver whose GPS had steered him wrong down a little dead end street next to Tobin's shop where we were filming. I had the carcass splitter over my shoulder in the street while doing so until the truck driver could get backed out and headed in the right direction. I'm sure several folks had stories to tell when they got home.
  3. Howdy, folks. Been a busy, productive year, and not as much time has been spent on forums as I used to. But I have had a couple of interesting projects I wanted to share. They are the two largest carcass splitters I've made so far, one completed in February and one in August. The first was a commission from a chef who owns multiple restaurants who wanted as large a carcass splitter as I could make as a gift for a friend of his. The second was a commission from a fellow who butchers a lot of hogs. Both started out as bars of 5/16" x 4" 80CrV2 steel, and both ended up with hemp cord over neoprene handle wraps and Boltaron sheaths. And both were hair-shaving sharp when shipped. The first one was forged as close to shape as possible with my power hammer, with only minimal cleanup grinding along the edge profile before grinding and filing the bevel to final dimensions. It ended up with a blade just under 20" long, 5 3/4" wide at the widest, 41 1/4" overall length, and a weight of 8.22 pounds, a good 3 pounds more than my previous largest carcass splitter. csp03 by James Helm, on Flickr csp04 by James Helm, on Flickr In comparison with a "small" carcass splitter that is more like a 15" blade, 15" tang, and around 4 lb weight, and with a 6' 2" Sasquatch for scale. csp01 by James Helm, on Flickr The second one was forged as close to final dimensions as I could on my power hammer, but the end was trimmed and the spine had minimal cleanup grinding. It isn't quite as wide, but is larger in all other ways at just over 20" blade length, 5 1/2" wide, and 44" overall lenth, with a weight just over 9 pounds. cs01 by James Helm, on Flickr cs02 by James Helm, on Flickr It picked up some extra texture from sitting a few days in a mixture of vinegar that had more 30% acidity in it than I realized (most of the mixture was 9% or 5%). Usually the vinegar eats the scale off without affecting the steel; this time it definitely added texture. cs03 by James Helm, on Flickr In comparison with a 15" bladed bush sword that weighed just under 1.33 lbs prior to stock removal: cs11 by James Helm, on Flickr Sasquatch for scale. cs06 by James Helm, on Flickr Gotta say, it does nothing to help you hitch hike, even if you show a little leg! I had just finished demonstrating how it could shave hair, too! cs04 by James Helm, on Flickr More details, process video and pics, and general silliness in this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SrEF1P5Qdh8
  4. Beautiful! I'll try to make it by. I'm desperately trying to get my own inventory finished up for that show.
  5. That is a beautiful and unique piece, Raymond! How's your thumb doing? I was just a guest at a wedding where the groom was completely missing an index finger due to a table saw.
  6. I like the way this is going. Lots of work involved!
  7. Thank y'all! Fox Creek - Tai is one of the biggest influences on my work. I had five hours worth of lessons with him in the summer of 2007. Alan - I didn't realize that.
  8. Thanks, guys! Gerhard - A ginunting is a Filipino design. This is my take on it, a bit shorter than I usually do. Alan - I think you were a bit more advanced than I was at that point, and still are. Back in the early days, I would use the dialup modem on the family computer to connect long distance and race to learn as much about blacksmithing as I could in an hour so I wouldn't rack up too big a phone bill. Truly, they were primitive times.
  9. It's been a busy year, and difficult to keep up with everything. Here's some of what I've been building. It's all 80CrV2 steel with various cord wraps impregnated with marine epoxy and sheathed in Boltaron. I like to focus on getting geometry, balance, and ergonomics right without playing around too much with materials. :D Apologies beforehand for the massive wall of pictures. Mini-parang. miniparang01 by James Helm, on Flickr Barong. barong01 by James Helm, on Flickr barong02 by James Helm, on Flickr Ko-katana. kokatana01 by James Helm, on Flickr kokatana03 by James Helm, on Flickr kokatana04 by James Helm, on Flickr Wakizashi. waki03 by James Helm, on Flickr waki04 by James Helm, on Flickr Sasquatch for scale. pose03 by James Helm, on Flickr Carcass splitters, two big, two small. carcasssplitter01 by James Helm, on Flickr carcasssplitter05 by James Helm, on Flickr carcasssplitter06 by James Helm, on Flickr Sasquatch for scale. carcasssplitter03 by James Helm, on Flickr Another barong. barong by James Helm, on Flickr An elvish forester's blade. forester by James Helm, on Flickr Snake chopper. snakechopper by James Helm, on Flickr Orange and black bush sword and companion small recurve. orangeset01 by James Helm, on Flickr A tenegre bush sword. tenegre01 by James Helm, on Flickr tenegre02 by James Helm, on Flickr A prototype for an upcoming project. Obviously not a cord-wrapped handle on this one, but TeroTuf slab handles with stainless steel flared tube rivets. ed01 by James Helm, on Flickr ed02 by James Helm, on Flickr ed03 by James Helm, on Flickr Taco Ninja for scale. ed04 by James Helm, on Flickr Another carcass splitter. carcasssplitter01 by James Helm, on Flickr A tiny tanto. tanto01 by James Helm, on Flickr Sasquatch for scale. carcasssplitter04 by James Helm, on Flickr A lamb splitter with TeroTuf scales. lambsplitter01 by James Helm, on Flickr lambsplitter02 by James Helm, on Flickr lambsplitter03 by James Helm, on Flickr Sasquatch for scale. lambsplitter04 by James Helm, on Flickr A small-ish camp chopper. campchopper01 by James Helm, on Flickr campchopper02 by James Helm, on Flickr A small-ish ginunting. ginunting01 by James Helm, on Flickr ginunting02 by James Helm, on Flickr Another small-ish camp chopper. campchopper03 by James Helm, on Flickr campchopper04 by James Helm, on Flickr And finally, a decent-sized bush sword that went to a good repeat customer. I could picture Professor Smolder Bravestone picking this up in the bazaar while outfitting for an expedition in Jumanji. :mrgreen: bushsword01 by James Helm, on Flickr bushsword02 by James Helm, on Flickr And now I feel tired. :D :D :D This is a good bit (not all) of half a year's forged blades (not mid-tech). And, of course, I have any number of projects currently underway.
  10. "Make something beautiful with it." Mission accomplished!
  11. Thanks, Mike! As for the wraps and knots, I have no natural skill in that direction. Fortunately, my best quality is sheer stubbornness!
  12. Been busy banging out bodadacious blades. Here are some recents. 80CrV2 steel, cord wraps, and Boltaron sheaths all around. A biohazard outbreak reaction bush sword and smaller utility knife that went to a repeat customer in Canada. The bush sword has scorched hemp for the main wrap and black paracord Turk's head knots. The smaller knife has tan paracord over hemp, with a black paracord Turk's head. kq01 by James Helm, on Flickr A similarly-sized (6"~ blade) knife as the above utility, with hemp. db01 by James Helm, on Flickr Variations on Benghazi Warfighters, two with sharpened upper edges. knife01 by James Helm, on Flickr knife03 by James Helm, on Flickr knife04 by James Helm, on Flickr knife02 by James Helm, on Flickr knife05 by James Helm, on Flickr A Benghazi Warfighter with black oxide finish, headed to an Army Ranger. He had commissioned a bigger chopper/fighter from me a few years ago, a variation of my Aggression design (I need to make some more of those). We decided this was a "micro-Aggression" and the sheath is a "safe space" from it. He can't tell me yet where he's deploying, but this is going with him. bw01 by James Helm, on Flickr bw02 by James Helm, on Flickr A couple of donation blades, the first for Knife Rights in their continued fight to remove restrictions on the ability of law-abiding citizens to carry arms in the United States. This year, a falcata-ish bush sword with retina-searing neon orange underlay. donation02 by James Helm, on Flickr I don't realize how big my hands look until I take a picture of me holding a blade. donation05 by James Helm, on Flickr And a much smaller donation knife for my old high school, raising funds for teacher projects that run outside the school budget. donation04 by James Helm, on Flickr One of the most useful comments I've had on my work came years ago when a knife dealer told me my blades were good but my sheaths sucked. I have worked to make that better, and think I have achieved a decent level of workmanlike sheaths. donation01 by James Helm, on Flickr donation03 by James Helm, on Flickr And finally, the first oxtail dao I've done in a long time. The customer had as reference a picture of one I built many years ago. dao by James Helm, on Flickr Here's what I came up with for him. He was quite taken with the results. oxtail01 by James Helm, on Flickr I'd say I've improved through the years. The top edge is fully sharpened on the new one. oxtail03 by James Helm, on Flickr The design called for an open-backed sheath. oxtail02 by James Helm, on Flickr Ok, headed to the shop to work on some carcass splitters.
  13. That is a tiny ax! Beautiful work, as usual.
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