What’s your “signature style”?

For those of you who create, whether that’s painting, sculpting, sewing, smithing…anything really, what is your “signature style”?

As I watched a couple of seasons of the History Channel show “Forged In Fire” I kept hearing that phrase for the first round of competition in nearly every episode. The blacksmiths were told to create a blade in their “signature style”.

I’ve been smithing for a few years now and I’ve made knives of all different styles and sizes.

I’ve made:

Bowies,

Kukri,

Swords,

Camp knives,

Skinning knives,

You name it, but I realized (after I competed of course) that I didn’t really have a signature style. So I thought, and I pondered and I came up with a style that I’ve made before and it seems to really fit me and my style.

It’s a smaller version of the traditional Bowie knife with a similar blade shape. I like a good, usable knife that looks really good. I like this shape and its easy for to me to reproduce.

I plan on making them with a variety of steels. I’ve got some from Damascus, 5160 high carbon, repurposed farriors rasps, AR500. I’m also making them with a mix of handle materials.

I will continue to make them as I feel the designs, but I’m always open to requests if someone has a particular mix of materials that they are looking for.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I will always make a wide variety of knives, from swords to chef knives. But in general this looks to be my “signature style”

The big question is, and I’d love to hear what it is…What is YOUR signature style?

All the best,

Chad

Www.noharminfarmin.com

Big moves on the crafting front…

Most folks that follow us know that in addition to working to start our homestead, we are avid makers and crafters.

In April Maria and I went to NYC so that I could compete on the History Channel show “Forged in Fire”. That was a pretty big deal for me. No, I haven’t heard when it will air, but yes I will let everyone know. Its driving me crazy in case you were wondering, lol.

Well….I’m not the only one to get some famous recognition recently!

Maria got an order to make a couple HUNDRED feet of hand tie dyed hunting, and an 8 foot by 8 foot tie dyed door curtain for the Monterey International Pop Festival!!!

It’s the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love and they are celebrating that anniversary with another concert. And, Maria’s tie dye will be hung all over the place! How cool is that? She is super stoked and I am so proud of her!

Here’s a photo of the door curtain before it went out. Doesn’t that say “summer of love”?

We just wanted to share our excitement and we hope that you all have your own summer of love!

Chad

Www.noharminfarmin.com

Mudhole mystery solved, carpet bridge.

The great mudhole mystery has been solved! Its not a spring, it’s a particularly clay heavy area of the soil. This keeps the water from absorbing. I’ve graded it enough to allow the water to run off into the existing ditch nearby.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that there are several other areas with the same soil along our driveway. We haven’t had the water problems as the mudhole, but the problem is that when wet the water runs off without soaking in, causing the top 2 inches to be really gummy. Its not too much of a problem if you just walk on it, but as soon as you try to drive anything across it the dry under section starts to get wetter, and the soup gets deeper.

That means we can dig it out 12 -18 inches and refill it with rock and gravel ( which will cost a fortune), lay down some roadbed fabric and then some gravel ( also very expensive), OR we can follow the suggestion made by Dr. Wang from the University of Georgia and reuse carpet scraps as the roadbed fabric.

He completed a study to include several field trials to show that the use of old carpet under gravel can, and does stabilize soft and slippery soils to give a better load displacement under the gravel.

Once I started to research this method I found an article put out by the EPA approving the use of carpet for the underlayment of both paved and unpaved roads, even up to Interstate Highways.

The study showed that it could drop the cost of road construction 40 to 50 percent. It also show that less excavation and less fill material needed to be hauled. That has allowed for less green house gases produced from heavy equipment and trucks.

Its solid underneath, but greasy as bacon on the surface and thats not even the worst mudhole. That’s just normal after the rain today!

I’m going to do a small scale test on the carpet/gravel theory across the famous mudhole, but I think its a good solution.

If I can get the driveway drivable, I think we can really make some progress on the cabin.

We did have a visitor today who seemed to be enjoying the driveway, muddy or not. He just decided to cruise on up the driveway.

We hope that everyone has a great week.

Loving custom orders and quick sales!

I was contacted a few days ago by a lady looking to have a knife made for her husband’s birthday. She was very nice and very specific in what she was looking for. 

She was interested in a Damascus blade kukri, with a brass guard, camel bone handle, with her husband’s initials engraved.

I was super excited with this challenge. I took a few days to forge and shape the blade. Of course, I don’t generally have a camel cadaver laying around, so I ordered the bone for the scales.

I then took a break to work 2 days at my “regular job”. Then I got hopping today to complete the fit and finish. I might be a little biased, but I think this one came out looking FANTASTIC! But you tell me.

Here’s a little short video of the initial heat treat.

This one was a beautiful custom order. We love to hear from people and to see the creativity that others can come up with. The real joy is to take that vision and then for us to make that vision come to life.

Now, this wasn’t the quick sale as it took about a week and several messages back and forth. But, the quick sale came from Maria’s work. She had a fresh bunch of tie dyed aprons and took photos yesterday. She then posted them on our Etsy shop and within an hour one of them had sold! Gotta love a quick turn around!

We hope you all have a great week, and feel free to come check out our shop. Www.noharminfarmin.com

All the best,

Chad

We’ll be headed up to the farm to study the mud within the next few days. We’ll post an update on that mystery then.

Remembering those that have gone before…

On this Memorial Day I want to ask each and every one of you to spend just a few minutes to reflect on the sacrifices made by our folks in the military. Those that spend weeks and months away from home, family, and friends to train, to fight, to protect the very rights that so many these days take for granted. In particular the ones who made the ultimate sacrifice and did not come home.

I am not a combat vet. I wasn’t a SEAL, or a Sniper, or any other high speed, low drag operator. I was a Motor Transport Mechanic (U.S.M.C. MOS 3521). I was capable, as a Sgt, of running an Infantry squad. Each Marine is a rifleman before anything else. I am proud of my service and am saddened each day when I see news of military members who take their own lives because the burden that has been place on them is too great.

So, I ask that if you know a veteran, whether they served in combat or not, just a quick, sincere ” thanks” means more than you know. We don’t need discounts, or perks, or special treatment. That’s not why we did what we did. We did it for you, and most would do it all again at the drop of a hat.

I hope that you take the time to enjoy the freedoms that have been won this weekend, but please, just take a moment to think about where they came from.

Semper Fi,

Chad Hollar

U.S.M.C.

1991-1992, 1995-2001

Taking a break…haha

Lately we have been running wide open, full throttle. Both of us working full time jobs, making things for our etsy shop (for stock and custom orders), and going up to the farm every other weekend has been a rough pace for Maria and I.

We haven’t been staying overnight yet until we get the driveway drivable and the shed/cabin built. Using the tent cuts into work time and we found that we get more work done by driving up in the morning, working til dark and then driving back. That equates to 7 hours total driving and about 6-8 hours of work. Unfortunately that also means one day of work every 2 weeks. That severely slows progress.

This last Thursday I started looking at the weather, and it looked as if there was to be thunderstorms on the day we planned to go. So we made a decision to just stay in town this weekend.

This has proved to be a good decision, even though it turned out not to be much of a break. Since Thursday we’ve gotten a good number of orders in our Etsy shop for both made items and things we had to make. Including one fantastic custom order request for a Damascus steel kukri knife that I’ve been working on between other projects.


I started with 11 layers of 1095 high carbon steel and stainless sheet. I’m going to keep folding to try to get to 200+ layers.

So, even though we haven’t set foot on the farm, the work never ends for homesteaders. It’s a good thing that we love what we do.

We hope you all have a good holiday weekend, and if you need some tools made, or a good working apron for your homestead, feel free to come check out our Etsy shop while you are taking your break. Lol

Www.etsy.com/shop/noharminfarmin

All the best,

Chad

The great mudhole mystery part 2

So, we’ve gotten no closer to solving the mudhole mystery. We had these grand plans to dig a hole in the center to see where the water was coming from. Just one problem…

It rained like crazy the day before and everything was soaking wet. I was able to dig a slight ditch running to the existing swale and a ton of water ran off, but I don’t know if that was collected rain or something else.

This is what we are dealing with. Maybe on the next trip we will be able to figure more out.

The great mudhole mystery…

Since we got back from NYC we had a chance to get up to the farm for some work. We are just about ready to set the footing blocks for the cabin, which is really exciting.

But, we do have a bit of a mystery.

The area where we have cleared and graded for the new driveway is looking really good. Its about ready for the 175 cubic yards of crushed run…yeah a long driveway.

Most of it is cleared, graded, crowned, and looking pretty. But…..there is a very small section (about 10 feet across) that is always wet.

Leading up to it, and beyond that spot it will be dry as a crust. So dry that dust kicks up when you walk on it. Then, in a matter of two steps, you are up to your ankles in mushy mud. The soil doesn’t look any different than the surrounding terrain, there is no stream, ditch, or hole leading to it but it is constantly wet.

It’s not even in a low lying area, its almost at the top of the hill. I don’t know if that soil is packed too tightly and won’t allow rain water to drain, or if we’ve got a hidden spring.

There was no unusual plant growth around it to indicate a a marshy area…the ground is just wet.

I don’t have any photos of it yet because its been such a mystery that I keep forgetting to take some. Lol

The next trip up there will be dedicated to unraveling the mystery. The only solutions I can see are: dig a pond, install drainage tile, or reroute the driveway around it.

Anyway, happy farming and have a great week!

Everything and nothing..

I’ve waited a while to write another post as we’ve had a lot going on and yet nothing really happening.

Confused? Me too.

Maria and I had a great trip to NYC so that I could participate in filming an episode of Forged In Fire. 

I can’t talk about the show much as of now due to it not airing yet. I will let everyone know when it does in case you want to watch. I can say that it was a great experience and I would totally do it again.

We had a few extra days in the city and we were able to do some tourist type of things. Neither of us are big fans of cities, but Maria was sporting around like a local in no time. We did a lot of walking each day, ranging from 5 to 13 miles and saw a lot of cool things.

This is the beautiful view from our hotel room.

We got a great view of Ms Liberty from the Staten Island ferry.

At the 911 memorial we found the reflecting pools very touching and heart wrenching. There was also a couple nearby creating this really cool sand structure.

We also spent a full day at the Met. Marveling over the history, and the craftsmanship of everything displayed there. It was very humbling to know that these things were created long ago with only hand tools. 

I found a lot of inspiration in the armory section. The knives, swords, and firearms were amazing.

Anyway, we are home now. We’ve had one trip to the farm to work since then. That’s a subject for another post. 

Remember to watch Forged In Fire, not just for me, but for all of the talented smiths that participate.

Slowly..

We have had so much going with other things since we bought our land that things have been super slow getting the homestead up and running. We do just about have the driveway ready for the 175 cubic yards of crusher run to “pave” it. We have had to cut, and dig, and plow, and scrape to get 950 feet of 12 foot wide driveway cleared.

We have been holding off with trying to build ANY structure until we can get the truck all the way back to the building site. We are close now.

This week is the trip to NYC for my competition and filming for Forged In Fire. Once that’s done we should be able to work on the farm more than 2 days a month.

Its hard to believe that we technically got all that done in 8 days work. Even though those 8 days stretched over 4 months.

Once I get done with the show, it will be game on with the farm. Just a tad bit more compaction and then the gravel. And then, we can get some structures up.

Its way past my bedtime as I need to get up tomorrow, complete an order for some woodworking holdfasts that someone ordered today and then stress about New York some more.

We hope you all have wonderful week.

Chad