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James Helm

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Everything posted by James Helm

  1. Joerg is a hoot and a half. I jumped at the chance to build a blade for him.
  2. Those twists combined with the file texture makes the handles look like little dragon tails. Awesome!
  3. Some of y'all may (or may not) recall a few years ago I built an 18" sword blade for Joerg Sprave, the German mad genius of creative and deadly slingshots and other unconventional weapons. He built a handle for the blade that (of course) incorporated a slingshot. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lWI0jqsW4Cc I was pleasantly surprised to see today that he had brought the slingsword back out, as a basis of comparison for a wooden sword he had made from European dogwood, the hardest wood that grows in his area. The slingsword shows up just before 8:00 in the video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GCjXZk-vzvg As far as I'm aware, this is the first time a blade of mine has been used on a tatami mat cut. His comment: "The tatami felt like NOTHING AT ALL when I attacked it with your blade... great work for sure." :cool:
  4. I, too, have been enjoying seeing this on Instagram. Kewl project!
  5. Thanks, guys! Kevin - Get a'-forgin'! Let's see what you turn up with your Bowie. I'm curious to see.
  6. This Bowie was commissioned by a customer who saw a similar one I had done last year. I had traced it out, so I used that to make a pattern, but tweaked on it a bit. It has a wider handle, which I like better. The steel is 1/4" 80CrV2 steel, with TeroTuf handle scales and flared stainless steel tube rivets. The top bevel is a false edge. I played with the Kydex also, bringing it up onto the handle more than I usually do. It's fitted with a Combat Loop for belt carry. It's a sizeable sucker, with a blade that's 10 7/8" from point to choil and an overall length just under 16 1/2". Balance point is about at the touchmark. The customer commented, "Very nice. Big yet light. Good job."
  7. Here's the cutting video. That's some pretty good-sized mesquite that has been seasoning since it blew down in a big windstorm just before the Blade Show, so it was plenty hard. The ring of the blows echoed from the kills (literally) as I chopped. Since the soldier who ordered up the twin is wanting it in part to chop mesquite, it seemed like an appropriate testing medium.
  8. Chris Thorn of the YouTube channel Drop Forged Survival has been doing a series of videos featuring the (fairly numerous) custom knifemakers around south Texas, including my buddy Tobin Nieto making and testing a seax with an elk leg bone handle. Chris also filmed me making a bush sword, as well as some cutting tests. I had a commission from a soldier for a bush sword with a sharpened top edge, so I built one for him and one for the video at the same time. After filming, the test blade got bought by a repeat customer at a discount. Winners all around. These bush swords are the two closest to each other that I've ever made. Both have 16 1/2" blades forged from 80CrV2 steel, fully sharpened top edges that shave hair, integral socket handles wrapped in epoxy-impregnated paracord, and Kydex sheaths. The soldier's rig got set up with a double-adjustable quick-detachable shoulder sling, while the test rig got a pair of MOLLE locks. The test blade did some water jug and coconut cutting as seen in the video below, then was put to real work chopping seasoned mesquite (which is part of the intended use of the other bush sword). The mesquite chopping will be featured in an upcoming video. Watching the video really drives home to me how much work goes into making a bush sword. And I'm the guy making 'em!
  9. Very nice pair of knives!
  10. I like the contrasting dragon theme on these! I've certainly seen worse for 4th and 5th knives.
  11. That is quite lovely. Love the overall profile.
  12. Thanks, Kevin! The original version of this was commissioned by a sniper to build sniper hides, as well as to use as a backup defense. So, removing limbs of whatever variety is necessary.
  13. Some recently finished blades, all in 80CrV2 steel, with marine epoxy-impregnated paracord over neoprene handle wraps and Kydex sheaths. This blade was commissioned by a customer that wanted a rig similar to one I built for an Army sniper, as a gift for his dad. The blade is 12 1/2" long, with a black oxide finish. The top edge is fully sharpened and shaves hair, and the butt of the tang is exposed to give some hammering ability. :cool: The sheath got a retention strap, a couple of MOLLE locks, and some extra paracord of the same color used for the handle wrap's overlay (the underlay is olive drab, though it looks black unless you look closely). Give you an idea how much the epoxy darkens the cord's colors. The paracord is secured, but easily accessible. Even if the end comes untucked, it's not going to come loose. And a couple of 7 1/4" Benghazi Warfighters that went off to different customers, one in tan over black and the other with black over black.
  14. Very cool, and I haven't seen that style of fitting either.
  15. That is one of the great things about custom knives. They can have a connection with the owner that would be impossible with a mass-produced blade. You did great with what you had to work with, and bless you for refusing to use the Pakistani blade on the project!
  16. Don't get me wrong, you've improved on the mosaic since last time I saw you use it. But a beautiful single piece of wood would visually flow better. Or even something synthetic. Saw some beautiful kitchen knives on IG today with what I think was black G10.
  17. Still not a fan of the mosaic handle wood, but I love everything else on this setup! Those pig fittings would look great on a cleaver, too.
  18. Some work that went off to customers this past month. All of 'em are 80CrV2 blades with paracord over neoprene handles and Kydex sheaths. First off, a Little Rok with exposed butt that went to a Georgia state trooper. This had a 5.5" blade, longer than usual for that style. Next, a 6" little black tanto that will be going on a duty belt. A little 6" kwaiken in tan over black. Which ended up being bought along with Costello the o-tanto... ... which got used to carve the customer's Thanksgiving turkey. This black-over-olive drab Benghazi Warfighter went to a soldier. And this one was supposed to be the one above, but the touchmark ended up getting stamped sideways. I decided to aggressify the profile and make it a fully sharpened top edge. I posted a pic of it on Instagram after the cleanup grinding had been done on the profile and offered it up at a pretty good discount (especially since it was a cosmetic flaw), and it ended up getting snatched up literally about two minutes later by a repeat customer in Special Forces. He asked me to leave the butt exposed for hammering (or skullcrushing!) purposes. It, too, has a black-over-olive drab wrap.
  19. Very cool project, and the carving is great!
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