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      IMPORTANT Registration rules   02/12/2017

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James Helm

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James Helm last won the day on July 8

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About James Helm

  • Birthday 06/10/1982

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

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  1. Don - We stayed in Gatlinburg a couple of days, those pictures were taken in the national park.
  2. The Forged in Fire contestants who were at Blade Show got together for a group photo. There were a lot of us!
  3. Finally doing a Blade Show after-report. It was the best knife show I've done, and it flew! I didn't get to get around to talk with more than a small handful of the folks I wanted to, and sold all but three pieces at the show. Those three were all claimed before I made it back home. It was the biggest Blade Show yet. The first year I was there, a large margin of empty space surrounded the tables. The year after that they pushed to the outer walls. This year they had booths in the foyer out front. I haven't done a show yet where I didn't end up putting the final edges on in the hotel room. It was my buddy and fellow Forged in Fire champion Tobin Nieto's first time to have a table at Blade, and he, of course, made it entertaining. My loverly bride holds a glaive that he made, and he has my sword. You always need an eye-catcher on your table, and these are ours. Always enjoy it when Dan Keffeler comes by. Among other things, he had a Super Assassin with him. Which Tobin seemed to like. This fellow bought several blades from me, including the Ludicrously Oversized Bowie. Got to meet Ryu Lim, fellow Forged in Fire champion. Jason Knight was a contestant on the unaired pilot episode of Forged in Fire. He won with this Damascus gladius. He did all right. Mardi Meshsejian (another FiF contestant) made a katzbalger that was undoubtedly prettier than the one I built for the show. Mine was lighter, though; there's a full pound of sterling silver in the guard! Gorgeous work with a stainless san mai blade, anodized titanium handle, sterling guard, and fossilized walrus ivory pommel. He also had this gorgeous o-tanto with stainless san mai blade and fossilized walrus ivory handle. Tobin was as enthralled with RMJ Tactical's official rendition of the Frank Frazetta Deal Dealer ax as I was last year. There was a small disagreement that was amicably settled. Luke Swenson liked Tobin's glaive in spite of it not being a slipjoint. My brother-in-law talking with Tracker Dan. An interesting study in contrasts. Ed Calderon, the Taco Ninja, poses with some $5 foam nunchucks someone sold my nephew. Tobin's wife and daughter are in the background, oblivious that they are being posted across forums and social media. Don Carlos Andrade, who makes beautiful culinary cutlery, and Joe Flowers, who designs for Condor Tool and Knife. This bolo, o-tanto, and sword were the only items that didn't sell at the show. We got invited to tour RMJ Tactical's new shop in Chatanooga, TN, on the way back home. Enjoyed it a lot! Ryan made some comment about "the bellies of bladesmithing". While my wife and I spent a couple of days in the Smoky Mountains on our way home, I shot some better pics of the unsold items. All three were bought before we got back to Texas. This Sasquatch waded into the stream and grabbed the sword, but eventually wandered off. In spite of the long handle on the sword, the Sasquatch's paws filled it with a two-handed grip. I didn't get a good picture of my two tables at the show. I did have one of the four smaller tantos travel back with me so that I could ship it to the customer so he wouldn't have to mess with getting it back home.
  4. And a couple more bush swords in 80CrV2 steel, with integral socket handles, black paracord, and 16" blades. And black Kydex.
  5. I had a couple of finished up tantos go out to a good customer recently. He's been waiting for the shorter one for a while, and picked up the longer one, which I had forged as a demo of using my power hammer dies, when I posted as available on Instagram. The shorter one is forged from 80CrV2, with a 9 1/2" blade. The longer one is 5160, with a 12 1/2" blade. I did a bit of a variation on my usual wrap with these, matching a wrap I had done on a chopper for him last year. Over a foundation of neoprene is an underlay wrap of white bleached hemp cord, with tan paracord for the overlay. And, of course, tan Kydex. [/url] He sent me a video of him hacking up a large pumpkin with the longer tanto. Made short work of it. And this bush sword was one that I had forged a while back and had the customer disappear on me. It was kicking around the shop for a while until another customer bought it as his first custom blade. It's forged from 5160, with a blade length of around 15" - 16" and an integral socket handle. I had made a Kydex sheath for it, but the customer also got a leather sheath with baldric rig for it from fellow knifemaker Luke Swenson. Nice little detail on the leather, Luke!
  6. I don't have a whole lot of experience using a variety of grinders, and don't yet have much time running the AmeriBrade. That being said, it is worlds ahead of the step pulley KMG I've been running up until now. It has almost no vibration, and I would not buy a grinder that only has one tool arm slot these days. It can hog the metal! Which is what I mostly want out of my belt grinder. I do have to say that their customer service has been awesome. I had only bought a 12" contact wheel from them prior to ordering my grinder. But with my dealings with them, they have treated me like I have bought 30 machines from them. Whatever you go with, I would say to not try to cheapen out on buying a good quality grinder. It's your workhorse. Even if you're a hobbyist, it's going to be a lot less frustration working with a grinder with the power, control, and flexibility to make your skill be a bigger factor than working around tool inadequacies. And if you're selling blades, at an average of $220, it would take 8 knives to pay for the kind of setup I got from AmeriBrade.
  7. Thank you! Alan - You're more right than you may realize. This is the last of my FiF stuff. It's dominated my week, but now I need to get back to working on Blade Show inventory. A washed-out look at the push knives I did for the first challenge. They can actually be seen better in the reflections. The katzbalger in its hideous glory: My second take on the guard. Didn't like how the first one fit, so abandoned it before I finished out the quillions. And my second take on the handle since I ground through the side into the channel for the tang on the last day. So many things had to be done several times on this that I named it "der doppleschwert". The pommel was forged from a piece of pipe with the end cap oxy/acetylene welded on. The TeroTuf of the handle fits down into the pommel and the flared tube rivet goes through pommel, TeroTuf, and tang. And finally, a YouTube video featuring myself and fellow FiF champion Tobin Nieto (season 2, episode 8, Cutlass) reflecting on the show, our experiences with it, and answering common questions and criticisms. It's as long as an episode of FiF, but I think it's both entertaining and informative.
  8. Geoff - Gotcha. Part of the design parameters we were given was that the tang had to be a full tang and we had to use scale handles. Jason - Catch up on bills and shop upgrades so I can make more knives. Looking at a second, purely stock removal line for higher production while keeping the forging creative.
  9. Thanks, guys! This is seriously the best part of the episode. I laugh to the point of tears every time. I had forgotten I did this until I saw it on international television. What got left out was after I took a bite of watermelon and said this, I followed up with, "...and sharpening oil." Geoff - It may just be because it's 1:00 a.m., but I'm not following what you mean. Could you explain? Are you talking about the push knife challenge or the katzbalger?
  10. Thanks! #snackbreak Jesse is ok. It wasn't just heat exhaustion that knocked him down, it was also a heart condition he didn't know he had and a lack of sleep. It's a good thing he stopped and sat down when he did!
  11. Watch the episode tonight and you'll see who won! A show that was perfect for knifemakers would not necessarily be as perfect for the average viewer. Within that limitation and the even bigger limitation of their 43 minute run time, they do a pretty good job. It at least gives a taste of bladesmithing to the general public, and we knifemakers can sit there and appreciate the ingenuity and nitpick over the mistakes each contestant shows.
  12. Caleb- Knifemakers have a love/hate relationship with this show. I agree to an extent with both sides. Overall it's a positive thing for our craft, I think, otherwise I wouldn't have competed on the show.
  13. Tomorrow night! (Tuesday, April 18, 8:00 CST) Here's the episode description: "For the first time ever, the competitors are challenged with creating not one, but two blades in the first round. With double the pressure and double the work, the bladesmiths are pushed to their limits, which leads to another first–a hospital trip. After a grueling second round, the two remaining smiths have just five days to create an iconic 15th century combat sword–the Katzbalger. Which bladesmith has what it takes to burn through the obstacles in their way and become the next Forged in Fire champion?"
  14. Beautifully done!