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Giant carcass splitters of DOOM!!!

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Howdy, folks.  Been a busy, productive year, and not as much time has been spent on forums as I used to.  But I have had a couple of interesting projects I wanted to share.  They are the two largest carcass splitters I've made so far, one completed in February and one in August.

The first was a commission from a chef who owns multiple restaurants who wanted as large a carcass splitter as I could make as a gift for a friend of his.  The second was a commission from a fellow who butchers a lot of hogs.  Both started out as bars of 5/16" x 4" 80CrV2 steel, and both ended up with hemp cord over neoprene handle wraps and Boltaron sheaths.  And both were hair-shaving sharp when shipped.

The first one was forged as close to shape as possible with my power hammer, with only minimal cleanup grinding along the edge profile before grinding and filing the bevel to final dimensions.  It ended up with a blade just under 20" long, 5 3/4" wide at the widest, 41 1/4" overall length, and a weight of 8.22 pounds, a good 3 pounds more than my previous largest carcass splitter.  

50219259313_3b21f442c4_c.jpgcsp03 by James Helm, on Flickr

50219910021_e6194a889c_c.jpgcsp04 by James Helm, on Flickr

In comparison with a "small" carcass splitter that is more like a 15" blade, 15" tang, and around 4 lb weight, and with a 6' 2" Sasquatch for scale.

50219910176_e49c777a71_c.jpgcsp01 by James Helm, on Flickr

The second one was forged as close to final dimensions as I could on my power hammer, but the end was trimmed and the spine had minimal cleanup grinding.  It isn't quite as wide, but is larger in all other ways at just over 20" blade length, 5 1/2" wide, and 44" overall lenth, with a weight just over 9 pounds.

50220086872_40260a5d24_c.jpgcs01 by James Helm, on Flickr

50219213933_12ca6f09d0_c.jpgcs02 by James Helm, on Flickr

It picked up some extra texture from sitting a few days in a mixture of vinegar that had more 30% acidity in it than I realized (most of the mixture was 9% or 5%).  Usually the vinegar eats the scale off without affecting the steel; this time it definitely added texture.

50220086382_d02d747d8d_c.jpgcs03 by James Helm, on Flickr

In comparison with a 15" bladed bush sword that weighed just under 1.33 lbs prior to stock removal:

50219863231_f3039654ca_c.jpgcs11 by James Helm, on Flickr

Sasquatch for scale.

50219213353_3054a24745_c.jpgcs06 by James Helm, on Flickr

Gotta say, it does nothing to help you hitch hike, even if you show a little leg!  I had just finished demonstrating how it could shave hair, too!

50220086242_741d72cd7b_c.jpgcs04 by James Helm, on Flickr

More details, process video and pics, and general silliness in this video:


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I don't know how the Health Department is going to react to cord wrapped handles.  They may get impregnated with blood.  Other than that they both should break down a hog carcass.



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Ah James....you just made my day.
My thoughts as I was scrolling down.......


first pic...that looks very cool and also looks like a fair size.


then that pic of you holding it.....bloody hell!!!!! That was a lot bigger than I thought

but that last hitchhiking pic did I for me...Hahahaha no wonder the streets look deserted :lol:

great work man


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Thanks, guys!


Doug - A lot of the antique carcass splitters have handles wrapped in waxed linen cord.  The hemp cord on this is impregnated with West System marine epoxy, making it solid and waterproof.  Nothing should be soaking in.


Rob - My buddy Tobin and I actually blocked traffic for  truck driver whose GPS had steered him wrong down a little dead end street next to Tobin's shop where we were filming.  I had the carcass splitter over my shoulder in the street while doing so until the truck driver could get backed out and headed in the right direction.  I'm sure several folks had stories to tell when they got home.  :D

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James, you must be the other guy. 


I actually drove a truck around a year way back in the early 70's. I was a one direction driver, forward only. Couldn't back up to save my life. Think I would have panicked seeing some huge fellow with a beard as long as he is tall carrying a tool to chop down utility poles. Glad to hear it had a happy ending. 


Normally its a smaller fellow wanting a bigger tool but not in your case. Always enjoy seeing your work!

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