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James Helm

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Everything posted by James Helm

  1. Beautiful! I'll try to make it by. I'm desperately trying to get my own inventory finished up for that show.
  2. 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.
  3. I like the way this is going. Lots of work involved!
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. "Make something beautiful with it." Mission accomplished!
  8. Thanks, Mike! As for the wraps and knots, I have no natural skill in that direction. Fortunately, my best quality is sheer stubbornness!
  9. 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.
  10. That is a tiny ax! Beautiful work, as usual.
  11. Thanks, guys! MikeDT - Them damned zombies just won't kill themselves! Charles - I'll be finding pink Kydex sawdust around the shop for the next half a year, I'm sure.
  12. It's been a very busy last several months, and while I have produced a good number of blades, I haven't been as active online to post them. So here's most of them from recent months. Everything is 80CrV2 steel, with various combinations of paracord and hemp wrapped handles, and Boltaron sheaths except for the two retina-searing colors, which are Kydex. In vague order from November to February: This chopper was forged very close to the final shape. Minimal stock removal on the bevels. chopper by James Helm, on Flickr A rare foldover sheath: js01 by James Helm, on Flickr My eyes! orange by James Helm, on Flickr Not the same tan tanto as above. tanto02 by James Helm, on Flickr knife01 by James Helm, on Flickr knife02 by James Helm, on Flickr knife03 by James Helm, on Flickr A very rare kiridashi. knife04 by James Helm, on Flickr O tanto with a 13 1/2" blade and wakizashi with a 15 3/4" blade. The waki was a commission from a Green Beret. knife06 by James Helm, on Flickr This 9" recurve was finished just in time to be a Christmas gift. knife05 by James Helm, on Flickr tantos01 by James Helm, on Flickr bushswords02 by James Helm, on Flickr Did a number of ginuntings, have more in the future. bushswords03 by James Helm, on Flickr bushswords04 by James Helm, on Flickr bushswords05 by James Helm, on Flickr My eyes! knives01 by James Helm, on Flickr knives03 by James Helm, on Flickr knives04 by James Helm, on Flickr Hey, look, a midtech Little Rok with CNC machined bevels! Slowly making progress. midtech02 by James Helm, on Flickr
  13. A couple of new big blades that got shipped out earlier this month. Two firsts on these: the cord-wrapped one is the heaviest I've made, and the slab handle on the lamb splitter is the longest slab I've ever made. Both of them are forged from 80CrV2 steel with Boltaron sheaths. The wrapped one has an 18" blade and weighs 5.14 pounds, the first of mine to weigh more than 5 pounds. The handle is 22" long, scorched hemp on top of a neoprene foundation, with West System marine epoxy. carcasssplitter10 by James Helm, on Flickr carcasssplitter12 by James Helm, on Flickr carcasssplitter14 by James Helm, on Flickr It was a Christmas gift from a wife to her husband, and she had me laser engrave this on the blade. carcasssplitter13 by James Helm, on Flickr carcassssplitter11 by James Helm, on Flickr The lamb splitter is an over-sized version of what is usually a large one-handed butcher knife-looking blade. The blade is 17 1/4", the handle is 17", and the weight is 4.125 pounds. It has the longest slab handle I've ever made, from tan TeroTuf with flared stainless steel tube rivets. The customer has assured me that the lamb splitter will be used for butchering. lambsplitter03 by James Helm, on Flickr lambsplitter04 by James Helm, on Flickr lambsplitter05 by James Helm, on Flickr More details in the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gho0LtKQPzg
  14. Beautiful work! And congrats on the new kid!
  15. I'm sure some of y'all have seen the new open cutting competition show on the History Channel, "Knife or Death". While I haven't gotten to compete on it (Several "Forged in Fire" competitors, including Rashelle Hams from my episode, have been on. She did quite well.), I did get to be involved in an interesting way. I was contacted by Tu Lam, retired Green Beret and one of the three hosts of the show, when he saw some of my carcass splitters on Instagram. He asked to meet me at Blade Show to discuss a project. bladeshow13 by James Helm, on Flickr All three hosts of the show were getting blades for themselves to do some cutting for demonstration and promotional material for Season 2. Travis Wuertz built his own piece of awesomeness. Bill Goldberg, the wrestler. had a big cleaver built by Wayne Meligan, who had competed on Season 1. Tu was interested in having me build him a blade for him. In particular The Mutant double-edged carcass splitter that was my reaction to seeing the first episode of the show caught his attention. bladeshow12 by James Helm, on Flickr We discussed what he was looking for, his thoughts, my thoughts, made some sketches, and continued the discussion after I got back home. What I ended up building was a kind of pan-Asian dao that Tu named the Ronin War Sword. There are influences from Chinese pudao, Korean hyeopdo, Vietnamese yem nguyet dao, and Nepalese ram dao. ronindao03 by James Helm, on Flickr The steel is, of course, 80CrV2, with a 16" blade and 18" handle. The weight ended up just over 3 pounds, with the point of balance right behind the front Turk's head knot. The handle wrap is toasted hemp cord over a neoprene foundation, impregnated with West System marine epoxy. ronindao06 by James Helm, on Flickr The main edge is a tall flat bevel with secondary bevel, while the spine side and clip are zero-ground convex edges. Stout, and hair-shaving. In addition to a forward lanyard hole, I laser-engraved Tu's dragon logo on the blade. ronindao07 by James Helm, on Flickr I built an open-backed Boltaron sheath for it. ronindao04 by James Helm, on Flickr A look at the War Sword in my hands... ronindao08 by James Helm, on Flickr ...and a far more dramatic shot of it in Tu's grip. It looks better with him! ronindao01 by James Helm, on Flickr I know that there has been at least some cutting done with it in association with the show. Tu made a nice, clean cut on a big fish using the convex side. ronindao09 by James Helm, on Flickr The Ronin War Sword and the other hosts' blades have been all over social media in promotional material, but Travis' sword is the only one that I've seen (in very quick shots) actually on TV. I was pleasantly surprised when I picked up the latest issue of Knives Illustrated to see that in their interview with Bill Goldberg and Tu Lam, that Tu discussed the Ronin War Sword and they included a picture of him with it. That makes two months in a row that my work has ended up in Knives Illustrated. ki01 by James Helm, on Flickr ki02 by James Helm, on Flickr In spite of living a nearly hermit-like existence, I sure get to meet some interesting people and do some interesting things.
  16. Glad to see you back forging ahead!
  17. Came out good! Dimensions? Materials? Punched eye?
  18. A better look at the forged blades. All wrapped handles. The cleavers are 5160, the rest are 80CrV2. The hemp wraps were torched prior to being impregnated with epoxy. Sheaths are Boltaron. Especially with the cleavers, I've been working on getting closer to the final shape with my power hammer, Gunnhilda. The cleavers in particular only had hand forging to straighten them. The power hammer die texture on those has not been smoothed over with a hand hammer as I usually do. Just an area of skill I'm currently working on refining. It's been a while, so any dimensions mentioned below will be approximate. Carcass splitter with an 18" blade, 22" handle. bladeshow15 by James Helm, on Flickr Carcass splitter with a 15" blade, 14" handle. bladeshow18 by James Helm, on Flickr Bush sword, about 15" blade. bladeshow16 by James Helm, on Flickr The first ginunting I've made, about a 15" blade. I'm working on my second one right now for inventory for Blade Show West. bladeshow17 by James Helm, on Flickr. This carcass splitter was my reaction to seeing what challenges were on the first episode of "Knife or Death" on the History Channel. I call it "The Mutant". Approximately a 14.5" blade, 14" handle. The "spine" side is sharpened with a stout convex edge that is frighteningly sharp. The idea being that the main edge would work for most of the cutting tasks, while the convex edge is reserved for particularly damaging tests such as buckets of gravel and huge ice blocks. I think of the design as a hybrid fusion of a carcass splitter and a Nepalese ram dao. It balances on the heavy side for plenty of inertia, but is still nimble and *very* powerful! This was one of the blades that caught Tu Lam's attention. bladeshow12 by James Helm, on Flickr I initially tried to build a normal Boltaron sheath, but saw that the chances of grievous harm to the sheather was high, so ended up turning it into a split sheath. bladeshow13 by James Helm, on Flickr The cleaver hole is centered on the blade instead of offset toward the spine, which made me think of a Cyclops and contributed to its name. bladeshow14 by James Helm, on Flickr While this particular carcass splitter was not forged until after the Blade Show, it was requested by a repeat customer after the other short carcass splitter got picked up by Filthy Mitch at the show. He was really hoping it would make it through the show so he could buy it, so I ended up making him one as close to the one he had liked. carcasssplitter02 by James Helm, on Flickr carcasssplitter03 by James Helm, on Flickr I'm currently working on inventory for Blade Show West coming up the first weekend in October in Portland, OR. It'll be my first time in the Pacific Northwest, and I'm looking forward to it. Only one table this time, and all of the inventory is forged work.
  19. It has been a very busy summer and I haven't kept things updated as I should. Had an awesome Blade Show this year (first weekend in June! I am way behind!), and two full tables of inventory. This year had the distinction of the *first* show I've ever had a table where I wasn't having to sharpen blades in the hotel room/at the table. My wife was happy about that. One table was dedicated to forged blades and the other to mid-techs. bladeshow01 by James Helm, on Flickr bladeshow02 by James Helm, on Flickr bladeshow03 by James Helm, on Flickr bladeshow04 by James Helm, on Flickr bladeshow14 by James Helm, on Flickr bladeshow15 by James Helm, on Flickr bladeshow16 by James Helm, on Flickr bladeshow17 by James Helm, on Flickr Ed Calderon, the Taco Ninja, usually works with the small and concealable, but he loves my big carcass splitters. bladeshow05 by James Helm, on Flickr Filthy Mitch added to his impressive collection of Helm blades with a smaller carcass splitter and my first-ever ginunting, plus one or two mid-techs. bladeshow06 by James Helm, on Flickr Tu Lam, co-host of the History Channel cutting competition show "Knife or Death" had seen my big blades on Instagram and arranged to meet up to discuss a project for him. More details later. bladeshow13 by James Helm, on Flickr Tobin Nieto re-created the pose used by artist Matt Dyck for my T-shirt design, using the wakizashi/tanto daisho collaboration I did with Ben Tendick. bladeshow07 by James Helm, on Flickr I was quite pleased and humbled when ABS Mastersmith Lin Rhea came over to my table to tell me he appreciated what I was doing in the field of forged blades. Especially high praise given his amazing skill with a hammer. bladeshow08 by James Helm, on Flickr bladeshow09 by James Helm, on Flickr bladeshow10 by James Helm, on Flickr Allan Reid of ARctc Knives was grinding so hard he got to the show late, but he came with a good showing. bladeshow11 by James Helm, on Flickr James Huse earned his ABS Journeyman Smith stamp this year. Congratulations! bladeshow12 by James Helm, on Flickr More pics in a bit.
  20. Thank y'all! Here's what I found by way of a digital version: https://pocketmags.com/us/knives-illustrated-magazine
  21. If you pick up a copy of the November 2018 "Knives Illustrated" magazine, you'll see a well-written article about one of my knives by Waysun Johnny Tsai. article02 by James Helm, on Flickr article01 by James Helm, on Flickr This 7 1/2" bladed variation of my Benghazi Warfighter model got put through a pretty thorough series of tests and did what it was supposed to. camp03 by James Helm, on Flickr camp04 by James Helm, on Flickr Thanks to Waysun for the testing, the article, and the good-quality photos.
  22. Thanks, guys! C Craft - The second pic shows the edge after chopping. Probably wont shave hair any longer in that spot, but no damage.
  23. Not necessarily something I'd recommend, but apparently my bush swords are mini-fridge rated. Customer pics. minifridge by James Helm, on Flickr minifridge2 by James Helm, on Flickr
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