Monday, July 21, 2014

Knives for sale

"Available Work" has been updated to include knives that are on hand and ready to ship:

Available Work

Edit: And updated again to include Aggression.  :)

Friday, July 18, 2014

Blades on hand!

I finally have some knives available for sale!  They are mostly left from the Blade Show and still needed sheaths built.  They now all have sheaths and I will be putting them in the "Available Work" section in the next few days.

Unfortunately, it's too dang late for me to do so tonight.  :)  But be checking back this weekend if you're interested.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

New article in BLADE magazine

If you haven't seen the October issue of BLADE magazine, one of my War Chief tactical tomahawks was reviewed by Kim Breed along with a Battle 'Hawk by Derick Rougeau.  I think Kim did a good series of tests on them and am pleased with the results.

But the full length photo in the article foreshortens it a bit.  If you're visiting my blog because of the article, here's what it looked like before I shipped it to Kim:

And if you are here because of the article, please visit my blog dedicated to my mid-tech line of blades, such as the tomahawks, which is about to expand to include knives and bush swords:  Helm Enterprises, Grinding Division

Monday, July 14, 2014

Throwing 'hawk vs. non-throwing 'hawk, featuring Mike Deibert

This question came up in a forum and it gave me a good opportunity to answer a common question and show off a beautiful tomahawk made by Mike Deibert.

"Are tomahawks designed for throwing made in a different, identifiable fashion? I guess I just have the idea that tomahawk = throwing axe, ahha."

This is a throwing 'hawk made by Mike Deibert, an American Bladesmith Society Journeyman Smith who runs a missionary vocational school in Nicaragua.  They have a blacksmithing and metal fabrication program that is kind of the heart of the school.

I helped point him at Tai Goo's washtub forge back when he was setting up the school and was looking for charcoal forge designs that could be built with materials on hand, and have had the pleasure of getting to meet and visit with him in person several times when he's come to knife shows in the States.  At the 2013 Blade show I gave him a forging hammer I'd made and he gave me this 'hawk, which my 1/64th Choctaw fiancĂ© (now wife) promptly laid claim to.  :)
Here it is next to one of my 18" Wreckers, the one I busted some padlocks with a few months back.  

The overall lengths are similar, but design and construction are very different.  Mike's is a traditional wrapped eye, mild steel with a 5160 cutting bit forge welded in.  You can see the handle is widest at the top and tapers all the way down to the butt end of the handle.  That lets it slip out of the hand easily when thrown.  Mine tapers in the opposite direction and has a swell at the butt, making it not want to slip out of the hand when swung.

The handle cross section and the 'hawk eye are a teardrop shape that keeps the head from rotating around the handle.

The eye is wider at the top than at the bottom, of course, to accommodate the taper of the handle.  The head stays on with friction and centrifugal force, like a pickax or a grubbing hoe.  This is also related to throwing, which puts tremendous stress on a handle.  If it lands wrong when being thrown, the handle will break.  With the head able to pop loose if it lands handle-first, it reduces the shock in the handle and makes it less likely to break.  But pretty much any handle on a 'hawk that is thrown will break eventually.

This 'hawk also has a leather sheath that reminds me a bit of ladies' swimwear or undergarments.  :D

And a look at the back end.  You can see where the eye was hammered true around a drift.

So, there is a traditional throwing 'hawk differentiated with a modern, non-throwing 'hawk.  They're aimed at different purposes and the construction is completely different for that reason.  Many of the modern tactical 'hawks are built with retention in the hand as one of the design considerations, so they have various kinds of appropriate tapers and butt-swells to provide for that need.  The America Tomahawk Company LaGana 'hawk is a notable exception, as it is designed with combat throwing in mind.  Footage of Peter LaGana demonstrating combat tomahawk throwing in simulated contemporary (Vietnam-era) combat situations shows just how well his design and skilled hands allowed his weapon to throw.  Different design considerations, different designs. 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Order status

As fellow knifemaker Ben Tendick says, my books are CLOSED.

I have had some very patient people waiting on me to get their blades forged, while I've stayed busy with tactical 'hawks and working to increase my line of mid-tech stock removal blades, as well as making headway on my list of forged orders.  While I have recently had an article come out in Tactical Knives magazine that has let a lot of folks know about my work who didn't before, I need to take care of the orders that have stacked up rather than take on a bunch more.

As a knifemaker becomes better known and the number of orders increases, he has several avenues he can follow:

1.  Increase prices.
2.  Increase output.
3.  Limit sales.
4.  Get behind, get overwhelmed, ruin his reputation, and go out of business.
5.  Build a multi-year waiting list.

My approach is going to be a little of the first three and avoidance of the fourth one.  That's why I don't take payment until a blade is ready to ship.  :)  And I'd rather not have the multi-year waiting list, either.

I'll make a link on the right hand of the page that lets you check on whether I'm taking orders at the moment or not.  Until I get caught up, I am only accepting new orders for forged work from people who are:

1.  Active duty military, LEO, or first responders.
2.  Customers who have already bought work from me and want something else.

So, if you have already talked with me about an order and haven't heard back in a while, send me an e-mail.  We'll make sure you are written down on my work list and I will get your blade to you as soon as I can.

If you are interested in a tactical tomahawk, or one of the mid-tech knives when they become available, I am still taking orders for them.

Thanks to everyone who has purchased my work!  I am grateful to be able to make blades that serve their owners well, and am pleased with the feedback I've gotten from folks.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Dismembering a mesquite tree with the carcass splitter

I got a chance to put the carcass splitter to the test doing the kind of work I grew up doing and which has informed my thoughts on cutting: dismembering a mesquite tree. I think it's a lot more informative than a water bottle test or trying to cut multiple coconuts (though that may be because I failed to cut multiples due to the blade deflecting).
But see for yourself.  :)

Friday, May 30, 2014

Carcass splitter cutting video

Got a bit of cutting video.  Unfortunately, the button didn't get pushed during the 2" x 4" chop.  :(  But it cut over halfway through with each swing.