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ralph G

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  1. I would second Alans recommendation on the use of Nitric for deep etching on steel. Ferric is ok for bringing out the pattern in damascus but for a really deep etch its not very good. It fairly quickly develops a sort of black sludge in the etched area which then subsequently stops the etching action. I never had the good results on steel I get with ferric as on nonferrous alloys I also tried electro etch with either, saltwater, vinegar+ salt, salt + citric. with all these electrolytes there is also the problem of a black residue forming in the etched grooves which will slow or stop the etching action after a while. With some trials i found that an addition of about 10-15g of potassium nitrate to the electrolyte solution results in a cleaner etch. With the addition of KNO3 bubbles are produced not only at the kathode(Hydrogen)) but also on the anode (possibly oxygen) which then clean the black residue constantly away. I do a lot of etching , mostly for jewelry purpose and I use ferric only for nonferrous like Brass, copper, Nickle silver, Bronze etc. on this it does a splendid job. Even better if you do it with an addition of citric acid which then is called "edinburgh etch" Instead of scratching the desigh into wax or asphaltum laquer I use the Toner-transfer method. .The image is printed with a laser printer and then transferred by heat onto the subject. Can be done with either Ironing or a laminator. Just google "Toner Transfer" and you will get numerous results. There is also a special paper which is used for the process, its calles Press n`Peel or PNP blue. With some trial&error you can also use other papers. I personally favor the sliconized paper thats used for backing stickers. If the temperature is right all of the toner is cleanly transferred to the metal. Here is an example of a small copper plaquette before sawn and mounted which i did for a friend with this technique so you can see whats achievable with the toner transfer method. Size is a bitt less than an Inch. Toner transferred: after etching: all the details ate there but I was not satisfied with the appearance of the negative image so I inverted the picture and did a second etch, which then looks much more like the original picture after patination. You can get some nice results with the toner transfer method, these were all done with ferric and them mounted in a turned wooden base. Chtulhu got some bubbles trapped on this one, not the cleanest etch but still nice. a certain fondness for skull motives cannot be denied : So up to a certain extend almost all you can print you can etch. The finer the details the less deep you can go because of "underetching" you will loose very fine lines when going too deep. With thicker lines you can etch fairly deep without having to worry. Best regards Ralph
  2. Weidmesser means in broad terms just Hunting Knife, it is used for a variety of knives and not affixed to a special type. In german a Weidmann or (older) Waydman/Waidmann is a Hunter.
  3. Since I am setting up for Lost wax casting in the next year I tried to get as much information beforehands and read some books on the topic of Lost Wax casting. I tend to accumulate books so this got a bit out of hands after the first few ...You wont need them all but its hard to recommend one best over the others since all are a bit different and tend to be stronger on information specific topics while other topics are better described in another book. Most of the mentioned Books are older Editions that are no longer in Print but can in some cases be picked up for a few bucks in used condition on amazon, betterworldbooks, powells etc. Nowadays the casting machines and wax injectors have become more sophisticated and the use of RTV silikones vs vulcanized rubber molds is more widespread but the general process of lost wax investment casting has not changed much and most of the information in the Books is still valid. Thats not necessarily a bad thing because instead of telling you to go out and buy the latest equipment gizmo the older books can tell you how to do it yourself for lower cost . For Lost Wax casting: Fred R Sias, , Lost Wax casting, Old, New and Inexpensive Methods Still in print, deals with all the necessary topics from making waxes, investing ,Burnout, Steam-, vacuum- and centrifugal-casting and good troubleshooting section. Some informations on homemade caster, bunrnout oven etc. added to that the ashanti method of casting is explained. I liked it and for the Price it goes a valuable addition to my small library of casting books. Murray Bovin, "Centrifugal or lost wax Jewelry casting for schools and craftsman" Out of print, but still avaliable used for low to reasonable price.. Again solid Information on the lost wax casting process from start to finish. This one deals more with centrifugal casting than vacuum casting, What i liked is the many examples of how to cut difficult rubber molds for the waxes. This is of cause also explained in the other books but not with as much detail. I would by it for this chapter alone . Also deals with Whit metal spin casting and has a small chapter on scrap gold refining. Keith Edwards, "Lost wax casting of jewelry" Out of print, but I have still seen it on amazon and the likes. Aslo deals with all the needed topics to sucessfully cast something. Has more informations on making wax models by carving, and wax build up and sprueing, in addition to vaccuum assist and centrifugal casting, Pressure and steam casting are dealt with. Has a small section on fabrication, findings and setting for gemstones. Sharr Choate, "Creative Casting" Out of Print. This one is A mixture of a casting and jewelry making book. About 2/3 of the book is dedicated to the lost wax casting process, besides the usual also deals with Cuttlebone casting, (oil)sand casting, casting with hollow cores and casting of natural objects like seeds leaves beetles etc. the last third of the book deals with various jewelry making topics like finishing, soldering, findings, chasing& engraving ,stone setting etc etc. Greta Pack, "Jewellery making by the lost wax process" Out of print. Well, this is the book I would not recommend you get. In comparison to the others its sorely lacking on detailed information you want to read about if you want more than a general overview of the process. James E. Sopcak, "Handbook of lost wax or investment Casting" Out of print. Compared to the others this is just a small booklet. It deals mainly with homemade equipment for the lost wax process., How to make : a vacuum investment mixer, small burnout oven, Wire wax extruder, wax injector, rubber molds. Some informations on investing, burnout and making waxes but not as detailed as the other books. Only pressure casting, no vacuum assist or centrifugal casting informations. Its mostly about equipment and may give you a few Ideas on how to fabricate something yourself. Additional related books C.W Ammen "Casting Brass" Out of print. Since most of the aforementioned books are dealing with jewelry cast from precious Metals they all lack Information on the Brasses and various Bronzes that are most often used for our Fittings. This is where this book shines. 245 Pages of solid Informations on how to alloy and cast all the different Brasses and bronzes that are out there. Geared mostly for larger foundrywork and sand casting but tells you how to make the alloys , melting and casting temperatures, shrinkage , solidification issues, Detrimenal impurities to avoid, fluxes, gas pickup, what to watch out for when casting a specific alloy etc etc. If you want information on how to best cast a specific alloy this is the place to look. Highly recommended! If you can pick it up at a reasonable price - get one you wont regret it. Ernest A. Smith, "Working in precious metals" Out of Print. If you are looking for extensive informationson alloying, stength, composition, hardness ,casting, rolling drawing general properties etc of alloys of Gold, Silver, Platinum this book will fulfill your needs. Lawrence Kallenberg, "Modeling in Wax for jewelry and sculpture" Out of Print. 250 Pages of all you ever wanted to know about making wax models! One of the few books that deals exclusively with this subject. Good book with solid information, can still be had used for reasonable price. Sand casting & Ceramic shell casting I am mostly interested in lost wax casting but here is some books if you want to cast larger stuff: Stephen chastain, "Metal Casting, A Sand casting Manual for the small foundry" Vol 1+2 If you want to cast larger stuff,using the sand casting method these are the books I would recommend for setting up a small backyard foundry. Valuable information on all the needed topics from making your own equiment to mold making, core making, sprues and risers and casting informations from aluminium to bronze. Ronald D. Young " Methods for modern sculptors" This one deals mostly with the ceramic shell process for making larger bronze sculptures , How to sprue them, applying the ceramic shell, burnout and casting. Has a nice section on patina recipes for bronzes. This should give you some Idea whats out there in terms of books on the lost wax process. Some of these can be picked up used for low cost and I think its well worth the effort to inform yourself before starting to cast something. I still fully expect to get faliures when starting out - but the more you know the easier it will be to track down the issue and correct it. Best Regards Ralph
  4. Thanks for the kind words Mr Kelso. I am just begining and try to follow a road that others like you or Ford with much more knowledge and skills have shown to us. So far I have not tested this on shibuishi or shakudo since I was specifically after the red copper but am setting myself up for some lost wax casting (mainly for Bronzes) and do my own alloying so I will also make some shakudo in times to come. I guess I could just have ordered some rokusho from the US but I am from Germany and importing chemicals of any kind here (regulations, regulations- we germans are annoyingly good at that ) is always a hassle with customs. I like to experiment and improvise when necessary , the ingredients I used are readily avaliable so I just gave it a try. I took this approach because this way I can work with known quantities of relatively pure substances and tweak the recipe and take recordings of what has been done. I considered using the vinegar/salt evaporation method but according to experiments from others that I have read about it can vary from batch to batch in strength because during the natural evaporation the quantity and balance of the formed various coppersalts and other oxidation byproducts is not always the same - which makes it even harder to get consistent results and keep track of what works why...
  5. Hello I`d like to share some of my experimenting with Rokusho patination. I begun to experiment with it some time last year and was after the elusive red on Copper. I used a hommade recipe, based on copper acetate and copper sulfate, its Niiro #4 according to the paper on Rokusho from the sheffield Hallam university. Its a fairly well made study on the subject but debated by the experts. You can find it here: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/971/ According to the experts its not the "real" stuff , the recipe in eitoku sugimoris Book is also questionable I was told - but the japanese dont tell exactly whats in it and so I started with the informations from the aforementioned paper. Alternatively you can put some vinegar and salt in a copper pot and let it evaporate naturally. The leftover greenish residue crystals can also be used as a rokusho alternative. If you are USA based its probably the easiest just to buy it from reactivemetals, if you cant - or want to experiment here's what I found: You will need some white vinegar, Hydrogen peroxide (6% strength is sufficient) , some copper sulfate and a pinch of table salt. I first made some copper acetate by submerging copper in a whithe vinegar and hydrogen peroxide solution. Dont add too much H2O2 up front otherwise you will produce lots of greenish foam after it stops bubbling just add some more slowly. The solution will turn a dark bluegreen. Decant it and boil off the liquid until the copper acetate is left. I used some copper test plates, did a daikon pretreatment and let it simmer in Niiro#4 in a copper pot for about 10 1/2 hours. Both test plates were done at the same time, the right one was checked upon relatively often since I could not curtail my curiosity, the left one was checked upon only 2-3 times during the whole operation. As you can see the left one turned out much better, exposing the piece too often during patination is obviously not such a very good Idea and led to discoloration and unevenness in the right piece. I wanted to know if there would be some changes in the patina over time and had the 2 testplates sit on the windowsill (indoors) for about a year. I almost forgot about them and just recently made a new photo. As far as I can see there is not much change so the patina is fairly stable. The color difference you see between the two different photos comes mostly from using a different camera (my old one broke) and the lighting conditions (sunny vs overcast) I whish I had the same camera and would have included the vic for color reference in the first photo. Well, so much about foresight from my side... All in all I would have liked it to be even more vibrant red but for a hommade Rokusho done by a mere beginner I am fairly satisfied. Maybe tweaking the recipe a bit or adding some plum vinegar (could not find here) or the quality of the used copper will influence the result to give an even more red than what I was able to get. Thanks for your Interest. Best Regards Ralph
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