Sunday, May 3, 2015

Short bush sword/long bush knife, plus Blade Show preview

This was the quickest turnaround time on any order I've ever done, and it was just happenstance.  I had a fellow call me up wanting a shorter version of a bush sword that he had seen posted on a bushcraft forum.  This particular bush sword is on my business card in a picture showing it having cut through a tree almost as big around as the length of the blade.  He wanted a shorter version, which would really take it out of bush sword proportions into large camp knife territory.  I was already going to be forging another bush sword blade and had a looming bill that could be eased with another order, so I took it on and had it shipped out the next week.

The blade is 10.5" including the choil, and the handle is an integral socket with marine epoxy-impregnated hemp wrap and two-strand Turk's head knots.  It's forged from 5160.

A shot of it in hand with my camera acting funky.

Here's the picture of the original that's on my business card.

And after cutting all the way through.

And a look at some of the forged work I plan to have on my table in Atlanta.  Still need to do tactical tomahawks and mid-tech fixed blades, too.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Primal/tactical shorty

I posted this knife a little while back:

It was actually forged after this one:

The customer who got the slab-handled one liked the blade shape of the cord-wrapped one, but decided his commanding officer (for whom he was buying the knife) would rather have the slab handle, and without the false edge to make it a little less aggressive-looking.

I finished up the cord-wrapped one (5 1/4" blade forged from 80CrV2), and it ended up being bought by a tac medic here in Texas.  I had to ask what that entailed, and apparently they get called in when there is some kind of SWAT event or other "shots fired" situations.

Per his request I added a Combat Loop (similar to a TekLok, different latching mechanism) for scout carry.

He plans on carrying it as his EDC, and added his RATs tourniquet to the sheath.  I love Kydex.  :)

Thursday, April 9, 2015

April 2015 Balcones Forge meeting

Oh yeah, if you are in the area, I will be hosting the April meeting of Balcones Forge, the San Antonio/Austin area blacksmithing group.  My plan, such as it is, is to focus on simple heat treatment of simple steels for simple minds.  I'd love to have you come by if you can make it!

More info here:

I'm alive!

And doing ok!

But seriously, folks, I've been putting in a lot of time in the shop 'midst the humidity and giant skeeters.  Part of it has been working on launching my line of stock removal knives that I've been working on for a while.  To see the first fruits of that labor, be sure to check out the Grinding Division side of things: Helm Enterprises, Grinding Division

In short form, I am turning several of my forged designs, plus some all-new ones, into mid-tech stock removal knives.  For several reasons that I'll go into later, but primarily so that I can get more knives out the door to customers without compromising quality.  

New and exciting bladed things upcoming!  Keep tabs on it.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

SWAT wakizashi, and knives for USMC and Army SF

These are some pieces that got finished up and delivered in March, in amongst working on tomahawks and such.  As I work my way down my list of commissions, military and law enforcement orders go to the top.

This Benghazi Warfighter and Little Rok pair went to a Marine.  The Benghazi is for work, and the Little Rok for play.  Both are forged from 80CrV2.

The Benghazi Warfighter has tan Tero Tuf for its handle.

The Marine wanted to have a leg strap, adjustable-height quick-detach belt loops, and a retention strap.  This is what I came up with.  I shot some video talking about it, but need to edit it together and get it uploaded to YouTube still.

The Little Rok has walnut for its handles, and black Kydex with a TekLok.

The next knife is for a soldier currently going through his Special Forces qualification course.  He wanted something for tactical and camping purposes with about a 7" blade.  So we went with a cord-wrapped Benghazi Warfighter slightly longer than usual.  Once again, 80CrV2 for the steel.

We also decided to do a black oxide finish.

And we went with a Combat Loop on the sheath.  These are similar to TekLoks, but with a locking mechanism that I like better.  I plan on using them more, but this is the first sheath I've made to get one.

The background for these photos is the hood of a first generation International Harvester Scout.  I noticed something funny as I walked up to it.

I appreciate '80s metal, and so did whoever owned this in the '80s.  :D

And finally, an interesting couple of blades for a sheriff's deputy who is on a reserve SWAT team.  He's been carrying a 14" bladed machete on his pack and wanted a "tanto machete" to replace it with.  I had a 14" bladed quasi-wakizashi already forged out of 5160 and sent him a picture.  He decided to go with it.  He also wanted a fairly wide-bladed 5" knife with a false edge on top for his son's graduation present, which I forged from 80CrV2.  

 They both got matching cord wraps and Kydex, and both have coffin-shaped exposed skullcrushers.  You can see that the quasi-waki has a fairly straight blade, but the handle is angled slightly.  I've seen a few other tactical wakis take this approach and wanted to try it.

Here's a look at it in my meaty paw to give a sense of scale.  The beard is temporary; I'm reverting back to jaw-length sideburns the next time I get a haircut.  :)

I look tired for some reason in this picture.  :(

Off to the next adventure!  :)  Also, spring has sprung in south Texas, and the hills and fields are covered in a riot of wildflowers.  Here are some bluebonnets up the slope from my shop.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Naval knifery

This knife was a commission from a fellow in the Navy who was wanting a knife for his new commanding officer, a fellow he already knew from before.  He described their outfit as a "sea and combat search and rescue helicopter squadron that deploys in support of Navy carrier air operations in the Middle East".  And, he needed it pretty quickly.  So I put it to the front of the line and got it to him on time.

It's about a 5" blade, very pointy with an almost-westernized-tanto tip (which is more obvious in person than it is in the picture), forged from 80CrV2.

Handle is tan TeroTuf with flared stainless steel tubing rivets, and the sheath is tan Kydex.

The knife has the squadron, HSC-7, laser engraved on one handle slab, and "Commanding Officer" on the other.

The customer texted me today and said that the Skipper loved it.  :)

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Weed Whacker: Drug Enforcement Mini-Parang Rig

This setup was requested by a fellow in California who has served on local, state, and federal drug task forces, as well as other law enforcement positions.  He wanted a chopper to carry while locating and destroying illegal pot farms, often located in state and national parks.  The agents end up having to rappel from helicopters a lot of times, and he's even come across booby traps set up to catch them as they rope in.

So he needed something with a lot of chopping power in a short overall package, with a sheath that wasn't going to dump the blade out if he got hung up and turned upside down.  We went with a mini-parang with a blade about 10" long, forged from 5160, with olive drab paracord impregnated with marine epoxy for the wrap and an OD paracord lanyard.

The sheath was an interesting challenge, if a bit less than the one I did for the sniper's rig a little while back, with several new things for me to try.  For one major thing, he wanted an open back and a retention strap going across.  He also wanted it to be able to be quickly detached from his belt.  And a drain hole, which weren't no big deal but was the first I'd done.  :D

You can see that I cut a notch into the Kydex deep enough to expose the spine for the retention strap to rest against.  Since I didn't have grommets on each side of the sheath to attach carry hardware like I usually do, I built a panel with grommets and slots that attach via Chicago screws and allow the quick-detach belt loops to be balanced out so the sheath wouldn't pull to one side or the other.  There's height adjustability in each half of the belt loops, as well as with the panel itself.

A couple of shots in hand.

And on the hip.  I forgot he had told me he was going to wear it on his left side (pistol on his right), so I set it up for right side carry like I usually do.  But after he reminded me, it took a minute with a Phillips screwdriver to swap it over.  I love the modular, ambidextrous nature of Kydex!  :D

Some video discussing the rationale behind it, with cutting video.  The leg hair shaving scene is something to behold; I never wear shorts!   :0

And if you watch the video all the way through, you'll see this little guy that went to another customer briefly attached to the sheath of the parang to demonstrate the modularity of the Kydex sheath.  It's 5160 with olive drab over tan paracord for the handle, with a blade around 4 3/4" long.