Sunday, November 15, 2015

Heaping helping of 'hawks

I have not posted tomahawk pictures like I meant to.  So, in no particular order, tomahawks I've made in the last half a year or so.  All are 1/4" 4140, black oxide finish, TeroTuf scales, flared stainless steel tube rivets.  Kydex sheaths with a variety of carry hardware.

Ok, I should be pretty well caught up.  :)

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Woodsman, Benghazi Warfighters, Little Roks, and forged oxtail camp chopper

My brother-in-law asked me to donate a couple of blades for a Ducks Unlimited auction, with the opportunity to sell blades at the event.  Time was short, but this is what I put together.  My wife went in my stead; I have blades to make and friends coming in from out of town.  She's a good 'un.  :)

The Woodsman 'hawk and one of the Benghazi Warfighters were the auction items, with the other Benghazi Warfighter and two Little Roks for sale.

The 'hawk is 1/4" 4140 steel, the knives are 3/16" 80CrV2, and they all have back TeroTuf handle slabs and a black oxide finish.

On the other end of the spectrum, I also sent along a forged 5160 oxtail camp chopper with a 12" blade and a hybrid handle wrap.  It has a foundation of neoprene along the tang (something new for me, instead of the leather I have been using), with an underlay of hemp, an overlay of stripped paracord, and a three-strand Turk's head knot of intact paracord, all impregnated with West System marine epoxy.

Back to work.  :D

Monday, October 12, 2015

Wrecker 'hawks at Blue Line Gear

Four of my 15" Wrecker tomahawks are available for sale at Blue Line Gear.  These are the first of my work to be picked up by a dealer.  There are two tan and two black, with Kydex sheaths and shoulder slings.

Check them out.  They have better photography than me.  :)

Blue Line Gear - Helm Enterprises

Monday, August 24, 2015

Wasteland Leatherwork on a Helm War Chief

I've collaborated on projects with Noah Legel of Wasteland Leatherwork in the past, and have had several customers send him blades they've bought from me to get his distinctive and complimentary leather for them.

He sent me pictures of this 18" War Chief with black oxide finish and black TeroTuf that the owner had requested a sheath for.  As always, beautiful work, Noah!


Sunday, June 21, 2015

Some of the process of making Helm Enterprises tomahawks

I finally got video edited and uploaded that was shot back in the cooler weather. Here is a look at the grinding and heat treatment on my tactical 'hawks.

Be sure to watch all the to the end for the nuttiness after the seriousness.  :D

A look at handles is next, and I need to shoot an updated look at making sheaths.

Why I love TeroTuf for my handles

'Nuff said.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Home again, home again, jiggity jig

Whew!  It's past 11:30 at night, and I have just now settled down at home after returning from the Blade Show.  I haven't stopped long enough to be able to catch up on e-mail since before I left, so I you sent me a message in the last few days and haven't heard back yet, give me a little while!

I had the most successful Blade Show so far, and needed about four more days to get around to see and talk with everyone I wanted to, much less see everyone I don't already know.  My loverly bride Allie always makes a trip better, and on a practical side was a great table monkey.  I wouldn't have had nearly as enjoyable a show just by myself, and I know I wouldn't have been as good at the world's largest shoe and purse convention as she was at the world's largest knife show.  :)

I'm hitting the road again tomorrow to go attend the Robert E. Howard Days in Cross Plains Texas with my brother and my friend.  Good literary discussion about sword-wielding barbarians, in the heat of early summer in central Texas, thirty miles from where I grew up.  I will endeavor to catch up some on e-mails before I come back home earl next week, and am about to hit a few critical ones before my eyes droop right now.

So, had a great show, glad to be back, excited and energized to get back in the shop.  And catch up on sleep as I go!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Blade Show!

I'm on my way to the Blade Show with the trunk of my rental car stuffed full of goodies!

I'll be at table 4CC with my loverly bride.  Hope to see y'all there!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Blade Show?

Isn't the Blade Show coming up sometime soon?  Better get a move on!  (These are not all I have, there's a decent showing squirrelled away ready to pack and take.)

Some forged 80CrV2 blades ready for their handles to be impregnated with marine epoxy.


Mid-tech knives in 3/16" 80CrV2 ready to heat treat.

And hardened, about to close the kiln and start their first tempering cycle.

There will be representatives of 6 of the 9 mid-tech designs I'm working on.  Wish I could have them all, but it just doesn't work out logistically.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

First mid-tech out the door!

The first mid-tech has left my shop!  This Little Rok went to a good customer who wanted to build his own Kydex sheath for it.  Good thing since I haven't gotten a chance to tweak on the sheath tooling yet (been working on forged stuff).

Here's a bad photo with me reflected in the oil on the blade:


And a better one that he took, with another essential tool:

And what he has to say about it:

"I believe this is the first mid-tech model to leave James' shop.  This is the "Little Rok" model and it's just an amazing EDC type blade .  In addition, it will no doubt will accompany me on many outdoor adventures. I can't speak highly enough of the craftsmanship and the comfy ergonomics.  This is my 4th tool from James and I couldn't be happier."

Always glad to have happy (and repeat!) customers.  :)  Hope it serves well.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Shop visit

Had a friend that lives on the other end of the state get to come visit for a while today.  He's short, lean, and wiry with years of FMA and ARMA training, while I'm tall and chunky with years of time spent chopping firewood and clearing brush.  His hand is 3/4 as wide as mine, and he grips them differently than I do, but he loved the feel of the handles, especially the Benghazi Warfighter and the mini-parang.  Since comfortable handles are something I strive for, I was pleased to see that.  He's planning on picking up a Benghazi Warfighter at some point in the future.  :)

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Sneak peek at new mid-tech fixed blade series

I've been working for a while on developing a line of mid-tech stock removal blades.  I don't usually post work until I'm done, but what the heck.  I'm pleased with how things are going.  :)  It's taken me a while because the approach in making these is so different from my usual forge finished blades, and I want to do them right.

Most of the lineup is based on designs that I have forged before, with a few brand-new.  They are intended to be straightforward working knives that will also serve equally well in a combat role.  Many of my customers are military and law enforcement, and that's who I had in mind while designing the lineup.

All of them are waterjet cut from 3/16" 80CrV2 steel, have tall flat grinds, and have black oxide finishes.  Three of the designs (only one seen today) are intended to have cord-wrapped handles or removable flat handle scales, while the rest get TeroTuf scales riveted with flared stainless steel tubing.  I'm also working on developing standardized tooling for molding Kydex sheaths for them.  While the basic design of the tooling seems good, there is still some tweaking needing done in execution.

All of these shave hair nicely.  :)

First off, what has become my new EDC, a Little Rok.  It's replacing one of my early forged Little Roks that I've carried for several years.  The new version is a much better knife; I've learned since I made that one.  It fits nicely in the tool pocket on the leg of my carpenter jeans.

Next up, the design that I have had ordered the most, my Benghazi Warfighter.  There's definitely been evolution of the design since I made the first six in 2012 and donated them to some Marines, but it's entirely been refinement.  The basic design is pretty darn solid.  A decent number of warfighters in different branches of the service, veterans, and civvies are carrying the forged version of this, and using it for everything from processing deer and feral hogs to chopping down fair-sized hackberry trees.

If you keep an eye on my work, you've seen this mini-parang design in forged form recently.  It was originally one that I forged, traced the blade outline, then turned it into a CAD file with the help of my waterjetter.  Then, a California drug enforcement agent wanted me to forge him a new one, and I used one of my waterjetted blanks as a pattern when forging out his.  And now I finally have a stock removal version ready to go.  One of those "circle of life" kind of things.  :D

And finally, one of the new designs, a wharncliff.  You can see on this one that my stamped touchmark got ground away.  I wasn't thinking about that happening until after I was already stamping and normalizing.  I quickly got an electro-etcher kit.  Now to try it out and get that process down too.

By hook or by crook I intend to have at least some of the new lineup on my table at the Blade Show come June.  Don't know that the full lineup will be ready by then, but hopefully most of it.  And, of course, tomahawks and forged work.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Busy, busy

Haven't posted a whole lot lately, but that doesn't mean things haven't been hopping around here.  :)

Spring is here!  The hills around the shop are filled with bluebonnets, sweet Williams, Indian paintbrushes, wild onions, etc.  This picture doesn't do it justice.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

A whole passel of tomahawks

I've been kind of remiss in posting up the tomahawks that have left my shop.  Here's some of 'em.

15" War Chief, sharpened inner beard, TeroTuf handles.

12" Wrecker, sharpened inner beard, Micarta handles.

The pair of them in comparison, with a Benghazi Warfighter to boot.

A pair of 12" War Chiefs with TeroTuf.  They weren't going to the same customer, but I thought that made a nice shot of them.  :)

A 15" Wrecker with tan Durabake and black TeroTuf.

A 12" Woodsman, sharpened inner beard, in olive drab.

A 15" Wrecker.

An 18" War Chief, sharpened inner beard, in olive drab.

An 18" Woodsman.

And finally, a 15" War chief, sharpened inner beard, in black.

Whew!  That's a lot of work!  Still more I'll post later.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Neo-Tribal / Primal/Tactical 'hawk and knife combo

This pair was ordered up by a customer who had previously bought an 18" Wrecker tomahawk from me and has used it quite a bit.  He wanted a matching 'hawk and knife with cord wrapped handles.

The 'hawk is the more "neo" of the pair, a 15" War Chief in 1/4" 4140, with the top and bottom rivet holes left exposed to allow for lanyard options.  The knife is forged from 1/4" x 1 1/4" 80CrV2, with a 7" blade and a false edge on the clip.  Both have hemp-over-leather handle wraps and black oxide finish on the steel.  There is a leather slab on either side of the tang underneath the hemp to bulk up the handle.  The edges on the leather were heavily beveled prior to wrapping to keep the corners of the handle from being too square.  Three strand Turk's head knots in black round leather lace cover the ends of the wrap, and the whole wrap is impregnated with marine epoxy.  The customer will be making his own sheaths.