Friday, December 13, 2013

Camp knife with mesquite and Benghazi Warfighter with Micarta

This is a pair I made some time back, before starting work on tomahawks, and I just haven't put pictures up yet.

They're both 5160 with leather sheaths.  The first's blade is about 7" - 8" (I forgot to measure before mailing it), with mesquite handle slabs and brass pins and flared tube lanyard hole.

The second is a Benghazi Warfighter model with a short false edge and natural canvas Micarta.

The customer wanted to dye the leather himself, so requested it undyed.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Wrecker tactical tomahawk with Kydex sheath

If y'all aren't paying attention to what's happening over on the Grinding Division side of things, y'all should.  :D

Monday, November 11, 2013

Benghazi Warfighter hacking on hackberry

Got some feedback with pictures recently from a customer freshly out of the Marines.  He had gotten this as a graduation present earlier in the year for his younger brother who is planning on attending West Point next year:

Well, he also wanted one for himself, about a half inch longer with a double edge.  This is what I built for him:

And these are some of the pics from his camera that he sent me afterwards:


His comments:   "Only took me a couple of minutes to get through all three of the limbs in the two pictures, and still shaved hair off of my arm with both edges. After going through some branches about thigh size along with a lot of other smaller branches, I did a quick touch up with a wet stone. Took no more that 45 seconds before it was shaving sharp again. You did an amazing job thank you."

That's what I like to hear.  :)

Friday, November 8, 2013

Custom knife trade: cleaver for belt knife

It's not often that I get a chance to own the work of another custom knife maker, but I got the opportunity recently.  When I posted my last cleaver, Ben Tendick said he'd like to get one at some point.  I had actually forged another cleaver at the same time as the one I posted that I had forgotten to stamp my touchmark on, something that almost never happens.  I offered a trade for one of his knives, and he agreed.

The cleaver is 5160 and paracord, and the belt knife is L6 and curly maple.

I think we're both happy with the trade.  :)

Monday, October 28, 2013

Benghazi Warfighters put to work: Feral hog #578

I got these pictures today in my e-mail from the customer who had gotten a matched pair of Benghazi Warfighters for himself and his wife.  This is the 578th feral hog that the wife has killed since the spread of the porcine plague reached their ranch in early 2008.  It's around 220 pounds.
If you haven't seen the damage a herd of hogs can do in a single night, it is amazing and devastating.  They have reached my family's farm in the last couple of years and when they hit it looks like someone got drunk and went plowing, tearing up acres of ground as they search for grubs and other edibles.  They are a terrible infestation here in Texas, and I rejoice at every one killed.
Since these are killed for population control (and due to their huge numbers), the wife typically cuts out the backstrap and disposes of the rest of the carcass.  She commented on how the blade cut effortlessly through the tough hide "like butter" and how the handle fit her comfortably.  Both are things I like to hear from a customer.  :)


Thursday, October 24, 2013

New tooling

If you haven't seen it yet, head over to the stock removal side of Helm Enterprises and see the new heat treatment furnace that I just got set up for use on tomahawks and other fun projects:

Monday, October 21, 2013

Pair of double-edged Benghazi Warfighters

This was a commission for a husband-and-wife pair of sharp-and-pointies.  5160 steel, triple normalized, triple hardened, triple tempered.  Canvas Micarta handles with flared stainless steel tubing rivets. 

And Kydex sheaths with TekLoks.

They shave on the tops and bottoms, which impressed the customer.  He said he hadn't gotten a knife with a sharpened top edge that was that sharp before.  :D  They ain't his first custom knives, either.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Forging ahead

Just to show you I'm still out there working on some sharp-and pointies:

Also, check out the Helm Enterprises, Grinding Division blog to see some of the tooling that I've been working on to use in building my tactical tomahawks:

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Hiatus from commissions

Hi, folks.

It's been one crazy summer.  Three knife shows, family medical stuff, the wheels falling off of my poor old pickup (well, almost; the brake booster and wheel bearings went out in rapid succession), and work to launch my stock removal line of blades (Helm Enterprises, Grinding Division

So I have gotten behind in taking care of custom orders.  There's a lot of communication involved in building a custom knife, so even if I have you written down on my list, discussing new commissions divides my attention and can make it hard to keep track of what I need to work on right now.

To help with keeping focused on taking care of the customers who have already made commissions with me, I am taking a break from accepting new commissions until I can get more caught up.  I am working on them right now in batches, which is more efficient than working on one at a time.  I'll be posting the new work as I finish it up, just like usual.  I'll also be continuing to work on prototyping and streamlining the process of building my line of stock removal blades as I do that.

1.  If you're active duty military and you're looking for a knife, go ahead and contact me.  You go to the front of the line.
2.  If you've commissioned a blade from me and we haven't communicated in a while, drop me a line.  I'm only human and I sure want to make sure that I have you on the list of blades I'm working on.
3.  If we're in the process of discussing a commission, don't worry.  You got in under the wire.  :)  We'll get everything hashed out and you'll be added to the list.

Thanks for all your patience and for taking an interest in my work.  It is greatly appreciated!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Brush choppers with leather

Finished these three recently and got them in the mail. All three are 5160, triple normalized, triple hardened, and triple tempered. The sheaths are all built by Luke Swenson ( All three sheaths are built to be ambidextrous (which, as a lefty, I really like), with adjustable height belt loops, and leg tie-down areas.

Short bush sword:  I forgot to take measurements before packing away, but this is approximately a 14" blade.  The raised clip is a false edge.  Handle wrap is black paracord impregnated with epoxy, with two-strand Turk's head knots fore and aft.

Bush cleaver: About the same length, but a bit heavier. Also in black paracord with two-strand Turk's head knots.

Mini-parang: Posted this before without the leather. Blade is 10 1/4". Hemp cord with epoxy on this one, with three-strand Turk's head knots.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

First time for my work in print!

If y'all haven't seen it yet, one of my knives was tested out and reviewed by Kim Breed in the November 2013 issue of Blade Magazine, on page 28.  Magazines being the weird critters they are, the November issue is on the shelves right now in August.  :)

Kim tested out one of my Benghazi Warfighters with a short, fully sharpened double edge.  He refers to it as a Neo-Tribal Utility in the article, which is also accurately descriptive.  He put it through a pretty good workout and I'm pleased with how the knife did.  I particularly liked that he commented a couple of times about the comfort of the handle, as that's something that's important to me.

He put the blade through a thorough series of real world tests and it did well.  The number of rope cuts was a little low, but given that this is a knife built and intended to balance on the tougher side of things to withstand military usage and that bringing the edge back to shaving sharp is quick to do, I am overall happy with the performance.  Kim didn't hold back with it and the knife served well.

This is actually the second time that my work showed up in Blade, but the previous time was a letter to the editor where I thanked them for their article on the Bowies at the Alamo as the picture of the Caiaphus Ham Bowie knife in the article helped me build a commissioned replica I was working on at the time.  I included a picture of my version that they published, but this was the first time that someone else's thoughts on my knives had seen print.

I believe there are some more articles forthcoming in other magazines, but not sure when.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Bush cleaver

Been working on a handful of cleaver commissions since building the zombie meat cleaver for a KITH a while back.  This one was shipped last week.

I forgot to take measurements before packing it up, but the blade is in the 13" to 14" range.  The steel is 5160, and the integral socket handle is wrapped in hemp cord, with three strand hemp cord Turk's head knots, all impregnated with epoxy.

Kydex sheath with MOLLE locks.  The blade is hair-shaving sharp, of course.  :)

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Goat cleaver

This was a commission from a Navy SEAL (a buddy of the one who's been such a good customer to me) to use in processing out the wild goats and feral hogs that he hunts in his downtime there in Hawaii.  Since he was wanting it for more butcher duty than some of the blunt-ended choppers I've made in the past, I followed a more traditional meat cleaver design.

As part of that, I angled the blade to the handle where the knuckles would have plenty of clearance when chopping a carcass on a butcher block.

I decided to take pics with several different backgrounds and levels of shade.  :)

The steel is 5160, the handle is an integral socket handle wrapped in hemp cord with three-strand Turk's head knots at the ends, impregnated with epoxy.  The overall length is 18", the blade is 12" long and 3/16" at the spine, and is 3 1/2" wide at the widest.  It shaves hair very cleanly.

A shot of it in hand.

And a picture he sent me of one of the goats he's hunted in the past.  He's promised to send me pics when he gets to hack up a carcass for a barbecue.

Monday, July 29, 2013


I've been working to get ready for the upcoming Denver Knife Show and the Usual Suspects Gathering, both happening in August, as well as working on commissions.  It's kept me busy.  :)

Here's a mini-parang I'll be taking:

Positioned a little differently in the light:

The steel is my favorite, 5160, that has been triple normalized, triple hardened and triple tempered.  The handle is a curved integral socket wrapped in hemp cord, with three-strand hemp cord Turk's head knots fore and aft.  I tried something new, using West epoxy to impregnate the cord.  I like the results very much and will definitely be using this more. 

The blade is 10 1/4" long, including the choil, and 2 1/2" at its widest.  The spine thickness tapers from approximately 3/16" next to the handle to 1/8" at wide spot..  The overall length is 16 3/8".  It shaves hair nicely.  :)

Here's how it looks in hand...or paw, as the case may be.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Graduation present in G10

This was a commission from a Marine who wanted a high school graduation present for his brother who is slated to attend West Point.  He wanted my Benghazi Warfighter design with handles in the high school's colors, navy blue and white.  Given the limited color palette in Micarta, I turned to G10 for the very first time.  I'd read horror stories about how difficult it is to work with, and of course there is the extra health hazard with the glass fibers while shaping it, but overall it wasn't too bad.  It's not a material I want to work with a whole lot, but I'm sure I'll use it more down the road.
In addition, he wanted "Class of 2013" on the handle.  I looked around, found a laser engraver who specializes in firearms and is only a 15 minute drive away, and got it taken care of.

This was also the first time I used a liner on a slab handle, in this case white G10 to match the school's colors.  Nothing much to it; I epoxied the two different colors of G10 together and clamped them tightly overnight, then worked it as a single piece as I always would.  :)

Other than that, it was relatively typical for me.  5160 steel, triple normalized, triple hardened, triple tempered, shaving sharp.  Flared stainless steel tube rivets.  Kydex sheath, gray in this case, with a TekLok.  Da woiks.  :D

Helm Enterprises, Grinding Division

I am pleased to launch a second endeavor related to Helm Enterprises, Forging Division: Helm Enterprises, Grinding Division.  That's right, a line of stock removal blades made with waterjet cut blanks.  I'm not giving up forging (not at all!), but will be giving a portion of my attention to the stock removal side of things.

So far the tomahawks are the only products in the line, but I hope by early Fall to have several different knife designs as well as a bush sword design or two ready to roll.  These are all so far based on designs that I have forged and have been proven.

Exciting things ahead.  Check it out:

Monday, July 15, 2013

Spike versus spike

I've had a number of people ask me about the difference between the combat spike and the pry spike on the tactical tomahawks. 

The combat spike is formed by two arcs meeting to make a point.  It's designed to easily penetrate but then easily slip out to allow for a follow up shot if needed.  It's absolutely vicious in that regard, and is a pure weapon.  On the off chance that the opponent survives a wound from the combat spike, it's going to be very difficult to sew up.

The pry spike is formed by two lines meeting to make a point.  It is intended to slip into narrow gaps and then lever out.  In conjunction with the rounded top of the 'hawk's head, it acts like a roller head pry bar with an ax blade on the other side.  The spike is angled in relation to the handle to give good knuckle clearance when prying (one of the alterations made during the prototyping phase).  It's still a vicious weapon and withdraws easily to allow for follow up shots.

And a side-by-side look.

Neither the bevels on the combat spike nor the pry spike meet to form a cutting edge.  They allow for easier penetration and withdraw from a hole more easily than square edges.  The bevels on the combat spike are more acute, pushing through material more easily.  The bevels on the pry spike are less acute, giving greater strength to a point that will see breaching and demolition work.
So you have options.  Straight up weapon, or tool that can also be used for CQC.  And don't forget the hammer poll option.  :)

Friday, July 12, 2013

Double-edged Little Roks in Micarta and cocobolo

Here are a couple of double-edged Little Roks that went out earlier this week.

The first is in olive drab Micarta, stainless pins and flared-tube rivet, 5160 steel, with olive drab Kydex sheath.

The second has beautiful cocobolo handle slabs, brass pins and flared-tube rivet, 5160 steel, and black Kydex sheath.