Stormcrow

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About Stormcrow

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    Senior Member

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  • Website URL
    http://helmforge.blogspot.com

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  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    San Antonio, Texas
  • Interests
    Blacksmithing, obviously.

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  1. Thank y'all! Neilyeag - I have no natural skill in that direction, but I'm extremely stubborn!
  2. Those are some gorgeous cutting boards, and the knives compliment them well!
  3. Been busy banging out bodadacious blades. Here are some recents. 80CrV2 steel, cord wraps, and Boltaron sheaths all around. A biohazard outbreak reaction bush sword and smaller utility knife that went to a repeat customer in Canada. The bush sword has scorched hemp for the main wrap and black paracord Turk's head knots. The smaller knife has tan paracord over hemp, with a black paracord Turk's head. A similarly-sized (6"~ blade) knife as the above utility, with hemp. Variations on Benghazi Warfighters, two with sharpened upper edges. A Benghazi Warfighter with black oxide finish, headed to an Army Ranger. He had commissioned a bigger chopper/fighter from me a few years ago, a variation of my Aggression design (I need to make some more of those). We decided this was a "micro-Aggression" and the sheath is a "safe space" from it. He can't tell me yet where he's deploying, but this is going with him. A couple of donation blades, the first for Knife Rights in their continued fight to remove restrictions on the ability of law-abiding citizens to carry arms in the United States. This year, a falcata-ish bush sword with retina-searing neon orange underlay. I don't realize how big my hands look until I take a picture of me holding a blade. And a much smaller donation knife for my old high school, raising funds for teacher projects that run outside the school budget. One of the most useful comments I've had on my work came years ago when a knife dealer told me my blades were good but my sheaths sucked. I have worked to make that better, and think I have achieved a decent level of workmanlike sheaths. And finally, the first oxtail dao I've done in a long time. The customer had as reference a picture of one I built many years ago. Here's what I came up with for him. He was quite taken with the results. I'd say I've improved through the years. The top edge is fully sharpened on the new one. The design called for an open-backed sheath. Ok, headed to the shop to work on some carcass splitters.
  4. Beautiful work and a great story. Really love the blade shape and have built similar before in my own style. Glad to see you bring it out of the cabinet and put it to work.
  5. Yep. Look at the product first, with the maker adding a bit of secondary interest afterward. I'm so white I could send emergency signals just by rolling up my pants legs and going for a walk. I've drawn inspiration from makers around the world, most of whom don't look a thing like me. There is a strong, vibrant Asian knifemaker community in various countries. I follow several from Thailand on Facebook and Instagram. No idea what their text says, but their work is beautiful, and they obviously keep a close eye on what is going on in the American market. I've seen pieces inspired by Scagel, Cohea, and Rhea, in addition to more Oriental stylings, both Thai and from other Asian styles. They build their own 2" x 72" grinders, hydraulic forging presses, and salt pots, and have their own version of Blade Sports. They didn't look over here and turn up their noses because most of us don't look like they do. They learned, adapted to their own styles, and are an inspiration to a number of us on this side of the Pacific. There are several Japanese and Chinese knife magazines that I have seen pictures of. I can't tell you any titles since I don't speak or read the languages, but they don't hesitate to put the work of old white men in them next to more local makers.
  6. Thank y'all! Thad - On smaller blades I temper at 425 Fahrenheit, on larger ones, 450. I have a whole HT schedule from Ed Braun I'll send anyone interested if they'll send me an e-mail at helmforge at gmail with the subject line "80CrV2 HT". Templehound - The milled bevels are a smidge thicker than I'd like, but we're going to be adding a smoothing pass that'll shave it down a bit thinner. I want to heat treat at the point that they're ready to be sharpened. These were done with a 5 degree tapered end mill, but future ones will have a 3 degree mill, so the bevel will come higher up the blade and be thinner. We broke our 3 degree end mill on the second pass due to a mistake on our part and swapped to the 5 degree to finish out testing our proof-of-concept.
  7. It's been a very busy last several months, and while I have produced a good number of blades, I haven't been as active online to post them. So here's most of them from recent months. Everything is 80CrV2 steel, with various combinations of paracord and hemp wrapped handles, and Boltaron sheaths except for the two retina-searing colors, which are Kydex. In vague order from November to February: This chopper was forged very close to the final shape. Minimal stock removal on the bevels. A rare foldover sheath: My eyes! Not the same tan tanto as above. A very rare kiridashi. O tanto with a 13 1/2" blade and wakizashi with a 15 3/4" blade. The waki was a commission from a Green Beret. This 9" recurve was finished just in time to be a Christmas gift. Did a number of ginuntings, have more in the future. My eyes! Hey, look, a midtech Little Rok with CNC machined bevels! Slowly making progress.
  8. Thank y'all! Thad - The cord is quite variable in how thick it is, which can be aggravating. I make sure the wrap is tight, so that the variable thickness adds to the texture. Hemp cord is the grippiest handle material I've encountered, and that contributes to it.
  9. Chuck Burrows was primarily a leatherworker, but he had a good number of collaborations with knifemakers (Gib and Tai being the ones I know about the most) where they supplied a blade and he did all of the handle work, fittings, sheath, and display stand, giving the finished piece his own distinctive style, hence me including him.
  10. The customer has assured me that the lamb splitter will be used for butchering.
  11. A couple of new big blades that got shipped out earlier this month. Two firsts on these: the cord-wrapped one is the heaviest I've made, and the slab handle on the lamb splitter is the longest slab I've ever made. Both of them are forged from 80CrV2 steel with Boltaron sheaths. The wrapped one has an 18" blade and weighs 5.14 pounds, the first of mine to weigh more than 5 pounds. The handle is 22" long, scorched hemp on top of a neoprene foundation, with West System marine epoxy. It was a Christmas gift from a wife to her husband, and she had me laser engrave this on the blade. The lamb splitter is an over-sized version of what is usually a large one-handed butcher knife-looking blade. The blade is 17 1/4", the handle is 17", and the weight is 4.125 pounds. It has the longest slab handle I've ever made, from tan TeroTuf with flared stainless steel tube rivets. by James Helm More details in the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gho0LtKQPzg
  12. I'm sure some of y'all have seen the new open cutting competition show on the History Channel, "Knife or Death". While I haven't gotten to compete on it (Several "Forged in Fire" competitors, including Rashelle Hams from my episode, have been on. She did quite well.), I did get to be involved in an interesting way. I was contacted by Tu Lam, retired Green Beret and one of the three hosts of the show, when he saw some of my carcass splitters on Instagram. He asked to meet me at Blade Show to discuss a project. bladeshow13 by James Helm, on Flickr All three hosts of the show were getting blades for themselves to do some cutting for demonstration and promotional material for Season 2. Travis Wuertz built his own piece of awesomeness. Bill Goldberg, the wrestler. had a big cleaver built by Wayne Meligan, who had competed on Season 1. Tu was interested in having me build him a blade for him. In particular The Mutant double-edged carcass splitter that was my reaction to seeing the first episode of the show caught his attention. bladeshow12 by James Helm, on Flickr We discussed what he was looking for, his thoughts, my thoughts, made some sketches, and continued the discussion after I got back home. What I ended up building was a kind of pan-Asian dao that Tu named the Ronin War Sword. There are influences from Chinese pudao, Korean hyeopdo, Vietnamese yem nguyet dao, and Nepalese ram dao. ronindao03 by James Helm, on Flickr The steel is, of course, 80CrV2, with a 16" blade and 18" handle. The weight ended up just over 3 pounds, with the point of balance right behind the front Turk's head knot. The handle wrap is toasted hemp cord over a neoprene foundation, impregnated with West System marine epoxy. ronindao06 by James Helm, on Flickr The main edge is a tall flat bevel with secondary bevel, while the spine side and clip are zero-ground convex edges. Stout, and hair-shaving. In addition to a forward lanyard hole, I laser-engraved Tu's dragon logo on the blade. ronindao07 by James Helm, on Flickr I built an open-backed Boltaron sheath for it. ronindao04 by James Helm, on Flickr A look at the War Sword in my hands... ronindao08 by James Helm, on Flickr ...and a far more dramatic shot of it in Tu's grip. It looks better with him! ronindao01 by James Helm, on Flickr I know that there has been at least some cutting done with it in association with the show. Tu made a nice, clean cut on a big fish using the convex side. ronindao09 by James Helm, on Flickr The Ronin War Sword and the other hosts' blades have been all over social media in promotional material, but Travis' sword is the only one that I've seen (in very quick shots) actually on TV. I was pleasantly surprised when I picked up the latest issue of Knives Illustrated to see that in their interview with Bill Goldberg and Tu Lam, that Tu discussed the Ronin War Sword and they included a picture of him with it. That makes two months in a row that my work has ended up in Knives Illustrated. ki01 by James Helm, on Flickr ki02 by James Helm, on Flickr In spite of living a nearly hermit-like existence, I sure get to meet some interesting people and do some interesting things.
  13. Very gad to see you back making blades. I know it weren't easy getting everything back rolling!