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About Stormcrow

  • Rank
    Senior Member
  • Birthday 06/10/1982

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  • Location
    San Antonio, Texas
  • Interests
    Blacksmithing, obviously.
  1. Collins engineer bolo revamp

    I don't often work on blades that I didn't make myself. However, I agreed to do a re-handle/re-sharpen job on a Collins engineer bolo mostly because I wanted to get to check it out first-hand. I took waaaaay to long to do the job, though the work itself went fairly quickly. I had thought that these were WWII-era, and have found since then that they started making them pre-WWI. The bolo wasn't in terrible shape, but definitely wasn't pristine. The owner picked it up for $25. It had cracked handle slabs and was missing a chunk from one, and there were some pretty deep notches out of the ax-like edge. It looked like re-sharpening had altered the profile a bit. I started out by grinding the heads off of one side of the brass handle rivets and removing the slabs. There was no glue/epoxy/cutler's resin. The handle wood was untouched by rot, though cracked from impacts. I think it is probably rosewood. engbolo01 by James Helm, on Flickr I drilled out the rivet holes from 3/16" (I think, didn't actually measure) to fit the 1/4" stainless tubing I was using on the replacement. The third hole was double-drilled, apparently at the factory, which made getting it sized a bit tricky as it kept catching the drill bit. Then I built a jig from poplar wood, cut out slabs from TeroTuf, attached them to the jig, and shaped them with a series of router bits. engbolo02 by James Helm, on Flickr I then cut out the 1/4" stainless steel tube rivets. Due to the tapered tang, I ended up needing to cut them different lengths. The original slabs were the same thickness throughout, so I didn't try to taper the replacement slabs. engbolo03 by James Helm, on Flickr I cleaned up rust with a wire brush on a bench grinder on the blade and a ScotchBrite belt on the tang, then attached the new handle slabs with rivets and epoxy. engbolo04 by James Helm, on Flickr Then on to working the edge. I had not intended to try to get all of the notches out, but by the time I had the bevel cleaned up, most of them were gone. engbolo05 by James Helm, on Flickr This thing is truly frightening now. It's a massive blade, with a convex edge that will scare the hair off my arm. The owner is going to have to make sure he hits what he's wanting to, because it will tear up Jake on anything it contacts. engbolo06 by James Helm, on Flickr Should be good for another century of work now.
  2. Templehound - Thanks! I have improved on my Kydex sheaths as I go, but of course there are always improvements to do. I'm probably about to swap out to Boltaron instead of Kydex as it is supposed to be more resistant to heat and cold once it's been molded to shape. It has to be molded about thirty degrees hotter, but otherwise seems to work the same. These sheaths have been built using some standardized hole layout and trim tooling. I could probably pull it in a bit tighter, but I had some older pieces of tooling that were too tight, and wanted to give a little bit of room for error.
  3. Thank you! I ground and heat treated the last batch of old-style Benghazi Warfighters tonight.
  4. Some more recently completed work. A forged camp chopper, 80CrV2 steel and TeroTuf handle slabs. The blade is about 10 5/8" long. The customer wanted a large finger choil for choked-up work. It's not the biggest blade I've made by any stretch, but everyone who handled it agreed it was a beast. tw04 by James Helm, on Flickr Kydex sheath. tw05 by James Helm, on Flickr The customer requested an exposed skullcrusher tang and a dedicated lanyard hole. This was a first for me, to build a slab handle with a notch to accommodate a lanyard hole. I say "dedicated" because the flared tube rivets also afford lanyard attachment points. tw06 by James Helm, on Flickr I've been in the very long, slow process of trying to launch a mid-tech stock removal line based on my more popular forged designs. I haven't posted too much about it because I wanted to have everything ready to roll first. I'm finally approaching that point. Along the way I have had small batches of blades waterjet cut and have tweaked my design a bit as I go, getting everything zeroed in to the final product. I have a very small handful of the older style blade designs in various states of completion, most of which are already claimed, before doing a full launch of the line. This set of three Benghazi Warfighters was bought by fellow for himself and some family members. The blanks are waterjet cut from 3/16" 80CrV2 steel, ground and heat treated by me, and handle slabs shaped from TeroTuf using jigs and a series of router bits. bw04 by James Helm, on Flickr The blades have a Caswell black oxide finish (the final version will have a coating) with the touchmark laser engraved. The sheaths are standardized, one will fit any of the blades. bw05 by James Helm, on Flickr A couple of hours after picking these up, the customer called up and laid claim to one of the older-style Little Rok mid-techs in progress.
  5. I liked that you added the 3D printed elements to it when I first saw it on the show.
  6. The Temple Boxer

    That's a good way to put it.
  7. Thanks, guys! Templehound - One of the terms I use to describe my style is "primal/tactical". Lyuv - The texture is just me hammering the steel to shape. I soak in vinegar overnight to eat the scale off after I normalize, do my stock removal, heat treat, and then sand off the quench oil. The vinegar doesn't do anything to the texture; that's just my hand hammer and the natural texture left by the scale. Thomas - They were all drilled with the same drill bit, starting near the tip where the leverage would make the most difference, then moving back toward the handle. After I was getting close to the POB, I went back and enlarged three of the holes to 3/4". They all got countersunk. It was a bit surprising how much steel I had to remove to shift the balance back. The difference between a blade with multiple compound tapers and a flat bar cut to the same profile.
  8. Some mid-sized blades finished up a while back. All are 80CrV2 steel. First up is a small meat cleaver commissioned by a customer. He liked the looks of a cord-wrapped cleaver I had forged for the Blade Show and wanted one with a TeroTuf handle. I liked the results well enough I traced it out to have a reference if I do future versions. It's about a 7" blade. cleaver01 by James Helm, on Flickr cleaver02 by James Helm, on Flickr It was picked up at the Usual Suspects Network Gathering knife show, and I didn't get a chance to get good pics before traveling, but here are a couple of interesting shots of it. The first is during thermal cycling, after forging and before stock removal. cleaver03 by James Helm, on Flickr And a picture from the customer himself, just prior to cutting up these ribs. According to him, the cleaver "went through them like they weren't there". ribs by James Helm, on Flickr And speaking of cutting up critter parts, another customer had this pic of his drop point processing out rabbit along with an ESEE. rabbit by James Helm, on Flickr This bush dha was another casualty of having to get everything ready for the show. These are the only pictures I managed to get. It was originally intended to be a different blade shape, more of a bolo, but sometimes you have to work with the steel rather than boss it around. It's about a 12" blade with a handle of hemp under paracord. dha02 by James Helm, on Flickr I did get an awesome shot of it with the infamous Ed Calderon, the Taco Ninja. Got an interesting upcoming project with Ed. dha01 by James Helm, on Flickr And this 12"-bladed Persian fighter was originally planned to be on my table at the Blade Show, but ended up missing out because I was running out of time. It went to the Gathering with me and came back where it was claimed once I posted it on Instagram. The blade is about 12", and the top edge is unsharpened. I'd consider this to be about as close to doing a fantasy piece as I do. persian01 by James Helm, on Flickr persian02 by James Helm, on Flickr The customer requested a mild steel trainer to be predominantly used on his BOB training dummy. That was a first to me, but I agreed. I used 3/16" mild steel and trimmed out the shape on a bandsaw before cleaning up on my belt grinder. The handles of both are hemp under paracord, and it took three tries to get the wrap to feel almost the same as the original. Then I worked on getting the balance the same as the original. persian02 by James Helm, on Flickr The result was a trainer that's a bit lighter than the original, but due to having the same balance it feels very close to the same. persian01 by James Helm, on Flickr persian03 by James Helm, on Flickr
  9. The Temple Boxer

    You have a very distinctive style, and superbly clean craftsmanship to execute it. Always a pleasure when you share your work.
  10. Blademithing series on History channel

    "By doggies, you *will* let me check your grip on my tang!"
  11. Blademithing series on History channel

    Congratulations, Theo! I would have loved to do the challenge to get in, but would have hated to do the challenge to move on! Good choice on the 80CrV2, and loved the 3D printed handle elements.
  12. Epoxy substitute

    Never did it myself, but there are plenty of Neo-Tribal Metalsmiths (Tim Lively in Hood's Woods Volume 9 and his own Knifemaking Unplugged, both videos I highly recommend to anyone starting out bladesmithing on a budget) who have used cutler's resin made of pine pitch with a binder added. In particular, Tim used pinyon pine pitch with dried deer dung mixed in for the binder. Frosty - Otzi's knife was stone, his ax was copper. Don't know what type of glue, but I'd suspect tree pitch. Glue-up is never fun for me. If I'm doing a slab handle, the adhesive only needs to seal out moisture as the flared stainless steel tube rivets I use are stout! I've used some Loctite outdoor adhesive before, and am playing around with some other sealer. I'll take a look in the shop and see. I like it!
  13. A couple of knives that went out into the world not too long back. Forged 80CrV2, approximately 6 1/2" blades, marine epoxy-impregnated paracord handles, Kydex sheaths. The usual from me. First up is a long drop point bushcraft knife that went to a bushcraft school owner. busa02 by James Helm, on Flickr Then a Mean Little Sucker tanto to a LEO. mls02 by James Helm, on Flickr mls03 by James Helm, on Flickr mls05 by James Helm, on Flickr And some pics that past customers have sent me recently of their blades set up on their gear. A Ranger sniper. sniper01 by James Helm, on Flickr A Texas SWAT team member. swat01 by James Helm, on Flickr And a fellow who helped with dealing with Hurricane Harvey's aftermath took this prototype Fire Chief rescue 'hawk with him. Untitled by James Helm, on Flickr
  14. Thark bush swords

    Thanks, guys! Dick L. - The blades are 80CrV2, the handles are paracord over paracord over neoprene, all impregnated with marine epoxy to make a composite material in place on the tang.