Monday, January 9, 2017

Zombie Killer Bush Swords, with forging and cutting video(s)

Chris Thorn of the YouTube channel Drop Forged Survival has been doing a series of videos featuring the (fairly numerous) custom knifemakers around south Texas, including my buddy Tobin Nieto making and testing a seax with an elk leg bone handle.

Chris also filmed me making a bush sword, as well as some cutting tests.  I had a commission from a soldier for a bush sword with a sharpened top edge, so I built one for him and one for the video at the same time.  After filming, the test blade got bought by a repeat customer at a discount.  Winners all around.  :D

These bush swords are the two closest to each other that I've ever made.  Both have 16 1/2" blades forged from 80CrV2 steel, fully sharpened top edges that shave hair, integral socket handles wrapped in epoxy-impregnated paracord, and Kydex sheaths.

 The soldier's rig got set up with a double-adjustable quick-detachable shoulder sling, while the test rig got a pair of MOLLE locks.

The test blade did some water jug and coconut cutting as seen in the video below, then was put to real work chopping seasoned mesquite (which is part of the intended use of the other bush sword).  The mesquite chopping will be featured in an upcoming video.

Watching the video really drives home to me how much work goes into making a bush sword.  And I'm the guy making 'em!  :D

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Sniper Aggression and Benghazi Warfighters

Some recently finished blades, all in 80CrV2 steel, with marine epoxy-impregnated paracord over neoprene handle wraps and Kydex sheaths.

This blade was commissioned by a customer that wanted a rig similar to one I built for an Army sniper, as a gift for his dad.  The blade is 12 1/2" long, with a black oxide finish.  The top edge is fully sharpened and shaves hair, and the butt of the tang is exposed to give some hammering ability.  😎

The sheath got a retention strap, a couple of MOLLE locks, and some extra paracord of the same color used for the handle wrap's overlay (the underlay is olive drab, though it looks black unless you look closely).  Give you an idea how much the epoxy darkens the cord's colors.

The paracord is secured, but easily accessible.  Even if the end comes untucked, it's not going to come loose.

And a couple of 7 1/4" Benghazi Warfighters that went off to different customers, one in tan over black and the other with black over black.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Put those blades to work!

I love getting feedback and seeing the blades I make being used.  Here's some pictures that customers have sent me recently.
This fellow in Nebraska has used his o-tanto to cut up boxes, cut an old couch into smaller pieces to be able to fit into a Dumpster, chop up 2x4s, split 2x4s, and make fire starter shavings from seasoned fire wood.  He's been pleased with its edge-holding and toughness when accidentally encountering metal in the couch and cement.
This fellow in Finland had this to say:
"Hi James!
I want to share my experience using Primal/tactical tanto in hunting and fishing trip in Finnmark, Northern Norway.
Knife performed excellent. I used it mainly wood processing. It was used very hard. Batoning wood and chopping smaller branches. It takes some serious blows with baton and it suffered no damage. I clean trout quite easily. Not the best knife for the job, but it was easily done.
I baton juniper roots smaller and small birch logs. (4"-6" wide). Shaving edge was gone but no chips to edge. At home minute with Spyderco Sharpmaker and it shaved again.
Paracord grip was hard to bare hands while batoning as expected. With gloves it was much better. Very good for tactical knife designed for fighting.
My friend tried it too and he liked very much. He liked knifes balance and blade lenght preferring it over Ontario RAT 5 he owns.
Thank you for good knife."
And the pictures he sent:
A Montana customer used his custom tomahawk and knife set to cut the spine out of the Thanksgiving turkey to spread it out in a pan for cooking, something I had not seen before.
Abbott and Costello, the o-tanto twins, have gotten in on the action as well, in spite of going to separate homes.  Costello carved the turkey...
And Abbott opened the corn!

Thanks for sharing, guys!  And a bigger thanks for actually putting the blades to work!

Little Rok, tantos, and Benghazi Warfighters

Some work that went off to customers this past month.  All of 'em are 80CrV2 blades with paracord over neoprene handles and Kydex sheaths.
First off, a Little Rok with exposed butt that went to a Georgia state trooper.  This had a 5.5" blade, longer than usual for that style.
Next, a 6" little black tanto that will be going on a duty belt.
A little 6" kwaiken in tan over black.
Which ended up being bought along with Costello the o-tanto...
... which got used to carve the customer's Thanksgiving turkey.
This black-over-olive drab Benghazi Warfighter went to a soldier.
And this one was supposed to be the one above, but the touchmark ended up getting stamped sideways.  I decided to aggressify the profile and make it a fully sharpened top edge.  I posted a pic of it on Instagram after the cleanup grinding had been done on the profile and offered it up at a pretty good discount (especially since it was a cosmetic flaw), and it ended up getting snatched up literally about two minutes later by a repeat customer in Special Forces.  He asked me to leave the butt exposed for hammering (or skullcrushing!) purposes.  It, too, has a black-over-olive drab wrap.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Double-edged meat cleaver, carcass splitter, short sword re-wrap, etc.

Some of the work that I've completed in the last few months that hasn't gotten posted yet:
This double-edged meat cleaver was built as close as possible to a sketch sent to me by the customer.  I'm pretty pleased (and so is he!) with how closely I was able to get to what he drew.  The blade is 13 1/2" of 5160 steel, the top edge is fully sharpened, the handle is marine epoxy-impregnated blue paracord over black over a foundation of neoprene. The butt is left exposed, and there are Turk's head knots fore and aft.
He also ordered up a Benghazi Warfighter with matching handle wrap.
An idea of scale:
Forged at the same time as the cleaver was this carcass splitter, with a single layer of black paracord over neoprene for the handle.  The blade is 17 1/2" long of 5160.
This was a short sword I forged a few years ago, inspired by Celtic and Chinese ancient swords.  It ended up being bought by my best customer, a Navy SEAL.  A few months ago he asked if he could send it back.  He loved it, but it just was not a practical blade to carry on the battlefield, so it had been on display, unused.  He wondered if I could re-sell the sword and put the money toward something he would actually strap to his gear when in the dangerous parts of the world.  I agreed, and put forth the offer to any interested buyer that I would re-wrap the handle with my improved methods in their colors of choice and build a new sheath, once again since my skills in that area have improved. It ended up getting spotted on Instagram by a customer who had seen it when I first made it and loved it then.  He jumped on the opportunity and laid claim.
His choice of colors was to keep the original black over retina-searing neon lime, but decided to make the three-strand Turk's head knot blue instead of black.  The handle doesn't look a lot different from what it did before, but it fits the hand much better than before.  The blade is 13 1/4" long, again 5160.
And the improved sheath molding is obvious.  The original black one was done by heating about 6" of Kydex at a time with a heat gun.  The new tan one was heated with a T-shirt press.  The T-shirt press is one of the best tooling investments I've made.  :)
 And less dramatic-looking but at least as special to me is this long Little Rok.  It was ordered by the soldier who ordered the first-ever Little Rok (along with Mightor, the big ol' Bowie that went it it) to carry in Afghanistan.  This one was commissioned as a gift for his father, the blade extended to current legal carry size in Texas, 5 1/2".  Wrap is tan over olive drab over neoprene.
He has built a leather sheath for it in addition to the Kydex one I made.
The original Mightor/Little Rok and two mini-prybar rig from 2013:
And a little video showing some of these blades and some others that I've already posted:

Further seaxiness

Some testing video with Tobin Nieto's seax.  A lot of the cutting tests were filmed at my shop.  You may recognize the old clothes dryer.  :D

Friday, October 21, 2016

Survivor's Edge article

My work ended up in a magazine article again!  Thanks to Steven Dick for including me in his article about the Usual Suspect Network Gathering knife show for the winter 2017 issue of Survivor's Edge.