Monday, September 19, 2016

Monday, September 12, 2016

Tantos, big and less big

In amongst other blades, I continue to play around with tantos with varying degrees of traditional/non-traditional profiles.  These are some of the more recent ones.  All of 'em are forged from 5160 with paracord over neoprene wrapped handles impregnated with marine epoxy.  Also, Kydex.
First off, my donation this year for Knife Rights' Ultimate Steel fundraiser.  Like I told Doug Ritter the other day at the Gathering, I would rather sweat in the humidity and feed mosquitos in my shop than deal with the lawyers and politicians he does.  My wife is a registered nurse and I feel much the way about her job; I would never be able to or want to do it, but I am very grateful that there are people who can and will.
And, of course, they have professional photographers that do much better than I could hope to.  Off the top of my head, I want to say this was about a 13" blade.
Next up are Abbott and Costello, forged for the Gathering show.  They were forged from the same size starting stock, which I did not measure before starting.  Costello came first, shorter and fatter with a 12" long blade and 17 7/8" overall length.  Next was Abbott, longer and skinnier with a 15" blade and 20 7/8" overall length.
Abbott has more power hammer texture than I usually leave, similar to the chubby kwaiken I did for the Blade Show.  Both of these have beefy handles from me using thicker neoprene for the foundation than I usually do.  Playing around with different ways of building 'em.  Abbott and Costello are both stout suckers.
And the smallest of this round, dubbed the "Mean Little Sucker".  It's narrow, pointy, and really wants to be all stabbity stabbity.  It was a bit scary to work on even before there was any kind of cutting edge on it.  Gotta keep an eye on the tip.  Blade length is 7", overall is 12 3/4".

Friday, September 9, 2016


Folks, I'm swamped!  I will be busy well into next year, 2017. 
It's a good position to be in, but I need to get work out the door and whittling down on the stack of orders waiting on me, not adding to the stack.
I have a couple of large group buys, some wedding knives, and a bunch of individual orders.  As well as a growing list of mid-tech projects I want to do that need CAD files to have a chance of seeing the light of day.
There will be some available work posted soon, but I usually don't have work on hand because I am mostly making commissioned orders.
So, if you are active duty military, law enforcement, or first responder, feel free to place an order.  I try to take care of y'all first, but at this point it may still take a while.
If you want a tomahawk (and there are three new designs that I haven't done a solid post about yet), feel free to place an order.  Follow the instructions and price guide here: Helm Enterprises, Grinding Division
If you are wanting a custom one-off and are not one of the aforementioned people, I have to decline at this point.  Thank you for your interest, but I have a pretty full plate already.
If you are someone who has placed an order and is wondering where the heck it is, shoot me an e-mail.  My mind can only focus on so many things at a time, and while I maintain a work list, sometimes people slip into the cracks.  I'm working on catching up from folks who e-mailed while I was getting ready for/traveling to and from the Gathering.
I'm eager to get work to my patient customers.  Please help by reducing the amount of e-mail I have to handle telling folks that I can't take on more work at the moment.  I'll be posting pictures of finished work here, and you can catch in-progress shots on Instagram and Facebook (@helmforge). 
Oh, if you are looking for knifemaking/blacksmithing lessons in the San Antonio area, check with the Southwest School of Art for a class taught by my buddy Tobin Nieto (Forged in Fire champion!).  If you aren't in the area, check with the American Bladesmiths Society.
Thank y'all!  Stay tuned!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

A small look at the Usual Suspects Network Gathering

I just got back yesterday from the Usual Suspects Network Gathering show in Las Vegas.  Here are a few pictures from the show.
My table with my loverly bride.  I was up all night to finish everything for the show, so she drove the first day while I slept.  Thanks, sweetheart! 
 I had some tomahawks, including new designs I'll be posting more about at some point in the near future.  Yep, there's a tactical war hammer on the table.  It was my eye-catcher for this show.  :D/> 
And a goodly handful of forged blades in paracord and Kydex.  Your choice of black and tan or tan and black.
Last year I traded a tomahawk to Pat Pruitt for a bracelet with my touchmark.  He promptly cut himself on the 'hawk, right before the end of the show.  My wife, an RN, with the help of a first aid kit brought by the Broadwells, got him patched up.
Well, this year he showed up with this awesome cuff with my touchmark machined in zirconium.  I'll get it sized and fasteners added and will be wearing it to knife shows from here on out.  In addition to making awesome jewelry, Pat makes some amazing folders.
The very talented Don Andrade split a table with the likewise talented Ben Bawidamann.  Their work on one table made for a nice juxtaposition.
Some of Don's culinary cutlery featuring vintage phenolic handle slabs.
Don had this awesome little neck knife made by the inimitable Tai Goo.  There is no way my photography with a cell phone could begin to capture the transition from the tang to the blade.
I always have to check out Kiku Matsuda's table.
Travis Weurtz (that magnificent bastard!) (Forged in Fire champion!) posing with one of his well-engineered grinding gems.
And finally Larry from Blade Art and Liong Mah hamming it up with a couple of my choppers.
Of course, this isn't remotely all of the show.  It's largely folders, in spite of my pictures.  :D  I got to talk with old friends, meet some new (Tracker Dan!), and see Elvis driving around in a pink mid-'50s Cadillac.  Enjoyed it, glad to be home, looking forward to next year!