Sunday, April 23, 2017

Forged in Fire, Season 4 Episode 3, Katzbalger

This is the last of my FiF stuff. It's dominated my week, but now I need to get back to working on Blade Show inventory.

A washed-out look at the push knives I did for the first challenge. They can actually be seen better in the reflections.

The katzbalger in its hideous glory:

My second take on the guard. Didn't like how the first one fit, so abandoned it before I finished out the quillions.

And my second take on the handle since I ground through the side into the channel for the tang on the last day. So many things had to be done several times on this that I named it "der doppleschwert".  The pommel was forged from a piece of pipe with the end cap oxy/acetylene welded on. The TeroTuf of the handle fits down into the pommel and the flared tube rivet goes through pommel, TeroTuf, and tang.

And finally, a YouTube video featuring myself and fellow FiF champion Tobin Nieto (season 2, episode 8, Cutlass) reflecting on the show, our experiences with it, and answering common questions and criticisms. It's as long as an episode of FiF, but I think it's both entertaining and informative.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Monday, April 17, 2017


Tomorrow night!  (Tuesday, April 18, 8:00 CST)

Here's the episode description:

"For the first time ever, the competitors are challenged with creating not one, but two blades in the first round. With double the pressure and double the work, the bladesmiths are pushed to their limits, which leads to another first–a hospital trip. After a grueling second round, the two remaining smiths have just five days to create an iconic 15th century combat sword–the Katzbalger. Which bladesmith has what it takes to burn through the obstacles in their way and become the next Forged in Fire champion?"

Friday, April 14, 2017

Teaghlach Firearms

This is an article written by Josh Stevens, a customer of mine, a soldier who is dealing with splash damage from too many near-misses with explosives while in service of our country.  He was the fellow who got the first ever Little Rok, as well as its larger companion, Mightor, and a couple of pry bars.

In all my correspondence with him, he has always struck me with his calm thoughtfulness, and he is the kind of guy I'd want in charge of me if I was in the military.

Josh is now a gunsmith.  Check him out:

Thursday, April 13, 2017

T-shrits available for pre-order!

To quote Yogurt from "Spaceballs", "Moichendizing! Where da real money from da picture is made."

We are taking pre-orders for Helm Enterprises T-shirts, featuring artwork by the talented Matt Dyck @mattdyckstudios and printed on heavy cotton by Texas Special Tees @texasspecialtees. Modeling for artwork done by Tobin Nieto @stonehavenknifeworks

Color will be orange on black.

Prices, shipping not include:

Small - XL: $15.00
XXL: $20.00
3XL - 5XL: $25.00

If interested, send me an e-mail at with "T-shirt" in the subject line. Please include the number of shirts, sizes, and your shipping address. Thanks!


Monday, April 10, 2017

Forged in Fire Season 4

New season starts this week.

And on the 18th:

Yup, I'm the one in the green T-shirt, second from the right.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Camp bolos

Here are a couple of camp bolos that went out to customers recently.  Both of these started out as demonstration pieces, showing how I use the dies on my power hammer to forge blades.  Neither one of the customers who ended up with them had me build sheaths for them.  The blades are a little over 12" long, with false edges on top.

This first one was for the first STAB (South Texas Association of Bladeslingers) get-together out at my shop back at the end of January, forged from 1084.  I finished it out with tan over black paracord on top of a neoprene foundation.

The second was forged from 5160 as a demonstration for a fellow who came to my shop to study my home-brewed guided helve power hammer to help build his own.  He ended up buying the demo blade from me, and I finished it out in black over black paracord over neoprene.

Primal/tactical tantos

Some recently finished tantos.  All are 80CrV22, with paracord wraps over neoprene hardened with West System marine epoxy, with Kydex sheaths.

This black one was a commission, while the tan one will be on one of my tables at the Blade Show.  Blades are around 7".

This o-tanto and smaller, stabbity slicety tanto were a commissioned pair by a son for himself and his father.  The o-tanto is about a 14" blade, and the other is about 7 1/2".

The stabbity slicety tanto is about as narrow a point as I can recall doing on a blade!

The son decided he wanted a retention strap added to his o-tanto as a belt-and-suspenders insurance policy to keep it secured while it rides on a pack.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Wooden sword vs. Slingsword

Some of y'all may (or may not) recall a few years ago I built an 18" sword blade for Joerg Sprave, the German mad genius of creative and deadly slingshots and other unconventional weapons.  He built a handle for the blade that (of course) incorporated a slingshot.

I was pleasantly surprised to see today that he had brought the slingsword back out, as a basis of comparison for a wooden sword he had made from European dogwood, the hardest wood that grows in his area.  The slingsword shows up just before 8:00 in the video.

As far as I'm aware, this is the first time a blade of mine has been used on a tatami mat cut.  His comment: "The tatami felt like NOTHING AT ALL when I attacked it with your blade... great work for sure."  😎

Monday, January 30, 2017

STAB - South Texas Association of Bladeslingers

This past weekend, we had an informal, yet large, gathering of knifemakers and folks interested in knives at my shop.  There were demos, Forged in Fire contestants, outlaw cutting competition, material sales, camaraderie, and some of the most talented knifemakers from across Texas.  It was fun.  :)

Here's a video from Chris Thorn at DropForged Survival that captured part of the day:

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Big ol' Bowie

This Bowie was commissioned by a customer who saw a similar one I had done last year.  I had traced it out, so I used that to make a pattern, but tweaked on it a bit.  It has a wider handle, which I like better.

The steel is 1/4" 80CrV2 steel, with TeroTuf handle scales and flared stainless steel tube rivets.  The top bevel is a false edge.

I played with the Kydex also, bringing it up onto the handle more than I usually do.  It's fitted with a Combat Loop for belt carry.

It's a sizeable sucker, with a blade that's 10 7/8" from point to choil and an overall length just under 16 1/2".  Balance point is about at the touchmark.

The customer commented, "Very nice.  Big yet light.  Good job."  :)

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Zombie Killer Bush Sword cutting video

Thought I had already posted this.

The mesquite had been seasoning after blowing down in a wind storm just before the Blade Show, and was hard enough that each blow echoed from the surroundings.

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