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About Stormcrow

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    Senior Member

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    San Antonio, Texas
  • Interests
    Blacksmithing, obviously.

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  1. 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. Ed Calderon, the Taco Ninja, usually works with the small and concealable, but he loves my big carcass splitters. 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. 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. 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. 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. Allan Reid of ARctc Knives was grinding so hard he got to the show late, but he came with a good showing. James Huse earned his ABS Journeyman Smith stamp this year. Congratulations! More pics in a bit. 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. Carcass splitter with a 15" blade, 14" handle. Bush sword, about 15" blade. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.
  2. Stormcrow

    Knives Illustrated article

    Thank y'all!
  3. Stormcrow

    Knives Illustrated article

    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.
  4. Stormcrow


    "As plain as possible" indeed, and very beautiful.
  5. Stormcrow

    Skinner set for family

    One of the cool things about custom knives is stories like that.
  6. Stormcrow

    Mini-fridge massacre

    Frosty FTW indeed!
  7. Stormcrow

    Mini-fridge massacre

    Thanks, guys! John in Oly, WA - It's a sword that can open wild appliances in the bush.
  8. Stormcrow

    Mini-fridge massacre

    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
  9. Stormcrow

    Water hardening steel

    Ammo cans with the lids latched down make great quench tanks, and should theoretically not spill if they get knocked over somehow. Always check for leaks with water before you ever put oil in one, though!
  10. Stormcrow

    Water hardening steel

    Gotta go with Templehound on this. Choose your alloy based on performance more than messiness. Besides which, I've seen a lot more folks have blades fail in a water quench than in oil.
  11. Stormcrow

    Blade Show 2018

    I have no idea who I was looking up at in the first picture.
  12. Stormcrow

    Pre-Blade Show Carcass Splitter

    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."