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About Stormcrow

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    Senior Member

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  • Location
    San Antonio, Texas
  • Interests
    Blacksmithing, obviously.
  1. 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!
  2. 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.
  3. Blade Show 2018

    I have no idea who I was looking up at in the first picture.
  4. 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."
  5. Bevy of bush swords

    Templehound - It's closed up, but not back to normal. The new scar itself is sensitive, and the callused skin on top has come off, leaving raw, new skin underneath. Makes for new challenges, but much better than trying to work with a big ol' bandage. At least I can tie my shoes semi-decently again.
  6. Bevy of bush swords

    Biggundoctor - I posted pics of the thumb on Instagram with my grinning mug first so folks could avoid seeing the carnage if they wanted. It's far enough along I worked without a bandage for the first time today, then sliced my other thumb just enough to be aggravating and to sting while cleaning blades out of the vinegar they were soaking in.
  7. Bevy of bush swords

    It will hurt! TwistedCustoms - I've always done Turk's head knots fore and aft on bush sword handles. The smaller choppers and small knives usually only have a Turk's head at the blade/tang transition.
  8. curves ahead

    Impressive! When I think about what goes into making wavy blades like this, I feel less tempted to try one, but I truly respect those that make them.
  9. Pre-Blade Show commissioned blades

    Thanks, Robert! Been working on stock removal knives (I have two tables at the show!), got them heat treated today and will be taking them to get Cerakote tomorrow. While they're gone, I'll work on finishing up the forged blades. bladeshow5 by James Helm, on Flickr bladeshow4 by James Helm, on Flickr And one more forged blade, deliberately left with as much power hammer texture as possible. bladeshow03 by James Helm, on Flickr
  10. Bevy of bush swords

    Some bush swords recently finished up and off to their new owners. All are 80CrV2 steel with marine epoxy-impregnated cord wraps and Boltaron sheaths. About a 13 1/2" blade, based on a wooden Filipino training sword the customer already had. Black on black wrap. bushsword05 by James Helm, on Flickr bushsword06 by James Helm, on Flickr This one is about a 16" blade. It was made for an old schoolmate of mine, one grade ahead but who was in several classes with me in high school. Olive drab on OD wrap, tan Boltaron. I had made it almost 36 years without any stitches. As I was re-sheathing it from taking these pics, the sheath slipped and I cut the ever-lovin' crap out of the thumb on my dominant hand, earning 10 stitches. I tweaked the sheath to be a smidge looser before mailing it to him. Sure has made it challenging to get ready for the Blade Show. bushsword03 by James Helm, on Flickr bushsword04 by James Helm, on Flickr And finally, a two-hander with an 18" blade and a hemp cord wrap. Wasn't sure about it, but by the time I finished up, I really liked it. Fast and powerful! bushsword01 by James Helm, on Flickr bushsword02 by James Helm, on Flickr
  11. Pre-Blade Show commissioned blades

    Working on some carcass splitters and my first-ever ginunting for the tables.
  12. The Blade Show approaches with frightening rapidity, as usual. I have two tables and at the moment nothing ready. I did have this 5160 blade, but it sold within a few minutes of me posting it on Instagram. My wife wasn't too happy about that, but my pickup's transmission decided it needed rebuilt RIGHT NOW and I needed the money. The rest of these were commissions that I finished up prior to the show. They're all 80CrV2 steel with Boltaron sheaths. These two are about 7 1/2" blades. A 5" blade with retina-searing neon orange over hemp, for a deer hunter who wanted a hi-viz knife handle. And a blade a bit over 6". And now, panic mode engage! Time to FORGE AHEAD!!!!
  13. The Ghost Dog

    Would look at home on the belt of one of the Khan's generals.