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James Helm

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Everything posted by James Helm

  1. Thank y'all! Here's what I found by way of a digital version: https://pocketmags.com/us/knives-illustrated-magazine
  2. 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.
  3. Thanks, guys! C Craft - The second pic shows the edge after chopping. Probably wont shave hair any longer in that spot, but no damage.
  4. 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
  5. 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.
  6. 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."
  7. 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
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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
  11. Geof - That's the idea with my cleaver up above.
  12. 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.
  13. 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
  14. 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.
  15. 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?
  16. 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!!!!
  17. 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-)
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. I recently forged out four choppers for inventory for the Blade Show, two parangs and two bolos. A couple of customers came along and laid claim to one of each design, so now I have one parang and one bolo for Blade. Better get hammering! They were all forged from 3/16" 80CrV2 steel and came out light and fast in the hand. parangobolo by James Helm, on Flickr The parangs ended up with hemp cord wraps and paracord Turk's head knots. All of them got Boltaron sheaths. parang01 by James Helm, on Flickr parang02 by James Helm, on Flickr parang03 by James Helm, on Flickr The bolos got paracord wraps and fully sharpened top edges. The one claimed by a customer got a "rattler" pattern camo paracord per the customer's request, as well as a shoulder sling. bolo01 by James Helm, on Flickr bolo02 by James Helm, on Flickr bolo03 by James Helm, on Flickr bolo04 by James Helm, on Flickr bolo05 by James Helm, on Flickr bolo06 by James Helm, on Flickr Both customers were happy with their blades. The fellow who got the parang sent some pictures of it being used for yard work, along with a blade from my buddy Tobin Nieto. use01 by James Helm, on Flickr use02 by James Helm, on Flickr use03 by James Helm, on Flickr use04 by James Helm, on Flickr Always glad to see my blades put to work.
  21. Sam - It's 80CrV2. Pretty much the only steel I'm using these days.
  22. Thank you! Definitely a design I want to play around with more.
  23. I've made a number of bush swords down through the years inspired by a certain blade in a zombie-killing video game. They typically are around 15" blades. Here's the first of this basic style to be made, back in 2015: biohazard (3) by James Helm, on Flickr I recently made a shorter blade that is essentially the Biohazard Outbreak Response Blade scaled down to a 9 3/4" blade. I really dig it! This was the fastest knife to sell that I've done. I had forged and trimmed to the rough shape, posted a picture on Instagram, and it was laid claim to within three minutes! Here's the initial picture: zkiller06 by James Helm, on Flickr It was finished out with a thick false edge, aggressifying the aesthetics but not coming close to a cutting edge. The customer wanted a hemp cord wrap, and I topped it off with a three-strand Turk's head knot in paracord. zkiller01 by James Helm, on Flickr The sheath has my first-ever molded drainage hole at the tip, again per the customer's request. zkiller02 by James Helm, on Flickr Feels great in the hand! zkiller03 by James Helm, on Flickr In comparison with a tanto with an 8 7/8" blade. Similar lengths, totally different knives! zkiller05 by James Helm, on Flickr The customer's response upon getting it was, "What is this damn monstrosity!" In a good way.
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