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James Helm

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James Helm last won the day on March 18

James Helm had the most liked content!

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About James Helm

  • Birthday 06/10/1982

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

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  1. James Helm

    Hupmobile leaf spring come back to Life!

    You are always a master at making the natural curve of antler work with the man-made curve of your blades. Any idea what year Hupmobile it was? I had no idea they lasted to '34. An image search tells me I like the looks of their '34 coupes.
  2. James Helm

    Pre-Blade Show Carcass Splitter

    In the weeks leading up to the Blade Show, a knifemaker's life gets pretty crazy. One aspect, especially for full-timers, is moving along enough work for customers to be able to stay ahead of the bills while also building inventory for the show. Add to that equipment breakage, injuries, lack of sleep, torrential rains, high heat and humidity, and general bad luck and it's a wonder any of us make it to Atlanta alive and coherent. As part of the pre-Blade balancing, I forged out a couple of big ol' carcass splitters. One was to be a commission, the other table inventory. I let the customer pick which of the two he liked once they were forged out, then finished it out to his taste. carcasssplitters02 by James Helm, on Flickr I'm kind of enjoying shaping the fawn's foot handles on these full-sized carcass splitters. The blades were forged as closely as possible with the power hammer, with a hand hammer used only for straightening. The spines are as-forged. carcasssplitters01 by James Helm, on Flickr Getting the handle wraps epoxied with some other Blade Show inventory. bladeshow11 by James Helm, on Flickr The customer picked the blade with slightly more curve to the profile, and requested hemp cord (over a neoprene foundation) and black paracord Turk's head knots fore and aft. carcasssplitter04 by James Helm, on Flickr I built a Boltaron sheath for it. carcasssplitter05 by James Helm, on Flickr Little hard to see in the picture, but there is more power hammer texture in the blade than usual. carcasssplitter06 by James Helm, on Flickr Big blade! carcasssplitter07 by James Helm, on Flickr Long handle! carcasssplitter08 by James Helm, on Flickr The specs: Blade is forged from 1/4" 5160 steel, is 18 1/2" long and 3 1/2" wide. The overall length is 40 1/4" and the weight is 77 ounces, or 4.8 pounds. It shaved hair cleanly down the full length of the edge. The customer commented upon receipt, "Pics are great, but you need to feel this thing in your hands to appreciate it."
  3. James Helm

    "Unlimited Class" Competition chopper

    This is for my table at the Blade Show, but is an experiment in how I'm thinking of approaching the challenges on "Knife or Death". Fully sharpened convex edge on the spine, main cutting edge drops slightly below the level of the knuckles for power, straight handle doesn't favor either edge. It'll be wrapped in hemp cord over a foundation of neoprene, with three-strand Turk's head knots at the top and bottom of the handle, all impregnated with West System marine epoxy. Grippy, will accommodate the use of gloves, and will provide a solid mechanical lock to keep it from flying. bladeshow7 by James Helm, on Flickr
  4. James Helm

    CeltIberian War Knife for Knife or Death

    Enjoyed seeing you compete with that, Josh, and you did well with it! Any chance it'll be with you at the Blade Show? Alan - They did have a "seax" on there. It was far removed from historical precedent.
  5. James Helm

    Bevy of bush swords

    Thanks, Raymond, the thumb is healing as fast as can be expected. Of course, I want it 100% NOW! Hope your arthritis repair heals up quickly. I like integral socket handles, but I feel like I've reached a point with my layered wraps that I can make a more comfortable handle that way, so I haven't done any socket handles in a while. Just evolution in style.
  6. James Helm

    Bevy of bush swords

    Some bush swords recently finished up and off to their new owners. All are 80CrV2 steel with marine epoxy-impregnated cord wraps and Boltaron sheaths. About a 13 1/2" blade, based on a wooden Filipino training sword the customer already had. Black on black wrap. bushsword05 by James Helm, on Flickr bushsword06 by James Helm, on Flickr This one is about a 16" blade. It was made for an old schoolmate of mine, one grade ahead but who was in several classes with me in high school. Olive drab on OD wrap, tan Boltaron. I had made it almost 36 years without any stitches. As I was re-sheathing it from taking these pics, the sheath slipped and I cut the ever-lovin' crap out of the thumb on my dominant hand, earning 10 stitches. I tweaked the sheath to be a smidge looser before mailing it to him. Sure has made it challenging to get ready for the Blade Show. bushsword03 by James Helm, on Flickr bushsword04 by James Helm, on Flickr And finally, a two-hander with an 18" blade and a hemp cord wrap. Wasn't sure about it, but by the time I finished up, I really liked it. Fast and powerful! bushsword01 by James Helm, on Flickr bushsword02 by James Helm, on Flickr
  7. James Helm

    "Unlimited Class" Competition chopper

    Geof - That's the idea with my cleaver up above.
  8. James Helm

    "Unlimited Class" Competition chopper

    Oh, there's no telling. Television is looking for what they think will deliver the most entertainment, not necessarily what will perform the best. Not to say that I would perform the best, but what they're looking for and what we're looking for do not necessarily align. I'm not going to worry about it. Got too much to do to get ready for the Blade Show.
  9. James Helm

    "Unlimited Class" Competition chopper

    I've gotten as far as filling out a questionnaire to see if I can go on Season 2. We'll see. I have two thoughts: Something like this, with a longer sharpened portion on the spine. It would balance on the side of power and need a good bit of strength and stamina to wield. cleaver01 by James Helm, on Flickr And something like this, which would be quicker and lighter: bushsword03 by James Helm, on Flickr
  10. James Helm

    Bambi's Father

    I figured that was most likely the case. I remember the blades getting smaller and smaller as the amount of shear steel left got less and less.
  11. James Helm

    Bambi's Father

    Beautiful, as usual. Is this some of the shear steel saw blade you had a good while back, or is all of that made into blades long ago?
  12. The Blade Show approaches with frightening rapidity, as usual. I have two tables and at the moment nothing ready. I did have this 5160 blade, but it sold within a few minutes of me posting it on Instagram. My wife wasn't too happy about that, but my pickup's transmission decided it needed rebuilt RIGHT NOW and I needed the money. bladeshow01 by James Helm, on Flickr The rest of these were commissions that I finished up prior to the show. They're all 80CrV2 steel with Boltaron sheaths. These two are about 7 1/2" blades. camp01 by James Helm, on Flickr camp02 by James Helm, on Flickr camp03 by James Helm, on Flickr camp04 by James Helm, on Flickr A 5" blade with retina-searing neon orange over hemp, for a deer hunter who wanted a hi-viz knife handle. camp05 by James Helm, on Flickr And a blade a bit over 6". camp06 by James Helm, on Flickr And now, panic mode engage! Time to FORGE AHEAD!!!!
  13. Sometime last year I made an o-tanto that caught the eye of the very talented Ben Tendick of BRT Bladeworks in Oregon. We had been wanting to do a collaboration for a while, and it seemed like a good direction to go. The tanto was slated for someone, so I forged another, and ended up making a wakizashi in the same style as well. I forged the blades, and Ben did the rest of the work. Here's what was sent to Ben, a 16" and a 11.5" blade forged from 80CrV2 steel, heat treated and ready for Ben to work his magic on the handles. I left the tangs big and blocky to give Ben plenty of canvas on which to paint. helmtendick01 by James Helm, on Flickr Ben worked them down, shouldered the tangs to fit the tsubas, and drilled the holes to anchor the wrap. helmtendick02 by James Helm, on Flickr I left all the details to Ben on how he wanted to finish. He decided to use wrought iron for the tsubas. In his words, "I did my best to capture that well used Ronin style in this set." helmtendick03 by James Helm, on Flickr helmtendick04 by James Helm, on Flickr And copper menuki with his touchmark. helmtendick05 by James Helm, on Flickr He went with antiqued cotton cord for the underlay. helmtendick06 by James Helm, on Flickr helmtendick07 by James Helm, on Flickr Finished up. helmtendick08 by James Helm, on Flickr helmtendick09 by James Helm, on Flickr helmtendick10 by James Helm, on Flickr helmtendick11 by James Helm, on Flickr helmtendick14 by James Helm, on Flickr helmtendick16 by James Helm, on Flickr helmtendick17 by James Helm, on Flickr I think Ben nailed it. 8-)
  14. James Helm

    Parangs and bolos

    Thanks, guys! Vern - 80CrV2 works for a looooooooot of different blade types. For someone like me who doesn't like to play around a lot with materials but instead focus on the shape, it's great stuff.
  15. James Helm

    Biohazard Outbreak Response Blade, Short

    Raymond - The Resident Evil video game series is sold under the name "Biohazard" in Japan. Or vice versa, rather; the Biohazard series is sold in the US under the name "Resident Evil". It centers around dealing with zombie outbreaks. The 80CrV2 isn't far off from 5160 in working, but you need to be able to soak at temp for 10 minutes to get the best out of it, so I wouldn't try to eyeball heat treat it.