Thursday, October 29, 2015

Woodsman, Benghazi Warfighters, Little Roks, and 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

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Shop upgrade helps with big Kydex

I daily peruse knife forums and YouTube looking for techniques and tooling that I can integrate into my own methods, as well as inspiration from all the amazing blade makers out there.  I came across a video on YouTube a few months ago showing a T-shirt press being used to heat Kydex prior to molding.  After a bit more research, I added it to my list of future shop upgrades.  I've been using a toaster oven for small Kydex and an electric griddle for long Kydex.  Both of them would end up with a usable sheath, but they were inconsistent in heating and I ruined more Kydex than I was happy with through scorching or melting since the toaster oven would fluctuate and the griddle would overheat in the middle.

A few weeks ago, a customer agreed to pay me for his bush sword and sheath before I started on the sheath (I usually only charge when everything is ready to ship) so that I could afford to buy my T-shirt press and use it to make his sheath.

Boy howdy, am I happy with the results!  Much more even heating, and I can set the temperature higher without worrying about it melting from temperature fluctuations, so the Kydex molds better. 
And since I got the press with a 16" x 24" clamshell surface, I can very easily heat big pieces for making bush sword sheaths.  Once the press is up to temp, it takes literally a minute to have the Kydex nice and noodley and ready to mold.

Here's the press.  You can see the griddle sitting on the bottom shelf of the rolly cart.

So, the various blades that came back with me from the Gathering have all gotten sheaths since then and most have gone on to customers.

Here's the one that paid for the press, with a retention strap and shoulder sling.  That's an 18" blade.

Another 18" blade.

Blades that widen toward the tip are particularly tricky to make sheaths for that have decent retention yet can still be easily withdrawn.  I made these two for cleaver-type blades with open backs and retention straps.

Works great for small sheaths too.

So, definitely worth the money for the increased control and ease of working long pieces.  I'm happy.  :)