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Posts posted by Alveprins

  1. Alright, I've given it somewhat of a try. I've adjusted pressure down to 10psi, switched to steel piston, lowered the idle (was way too high) and gone pretty thin - and as close as I could:


    Fine Lines.JPG


    I'll do the rest of the plate tomorrow. :)


    I took the opportunity to read up on the user's manual, and man, did I need it.. haha :lol: I accidentally gained a bit more understanding of how the little thing works. So far I've been running full throttle at 80 psi with the tungsten piston - cutting both deep and shallow. With 10 psi and steel piston I gained infinitely more control in comparison with my previous setting. ^_^

    • Like 1
  2. 6 minutes ago, tsterling said:

    1. Yes, that’s the big bugaboo about learning to engrave...learning graver control.  That comes with practice, practice that is measured in kilometers, rather than time!


    2. As to your end cuts/corners, try not flicking the chip out at the corner. Just leave the bur and it will be removed when you intersect the line from the other direction at the corner. Runes are tailor-made for this technique...


    3. The lines should be little more than shade cuts, just to visually stop the inlay from blending with the background, providing an “edge.” The eye is extremely adept about detecting edges...probably an evolutionary adaptation. Your distant ancestors survived because they could spot the leopard in the tall grass.

    4. Presumably you have a Lindsay Airgraver? For shade-sized cuts, turn down the air pressure to a low setting (below 30 psi) and if you have a Classic, adjust for short power strokes. An ultralight piston might be of use here as well.


    1. Yeah, I figured as much. I want to try to fit in around 1 hour of engraving every day, along with 1 hour of drawing - but it is difficult. I get up at 04:00 to go for a 1h run, lift some weights - and then get in the car and drive to work by 06:00. Then when I arrive at home around 16:30 in the afternoon, I have to eat, pay a minimum of attention to my wife - and then - if I have any energy left in me - I have 2 hours available to either draw, engrave, forge or do general work on knife projects I've got going before having to hit the sack at 20:00. :rolleyes:


    2. Will do!


    3. Alright, I will try to keep it shallow on my new practice plate.


    4. Yes, Lindsay Airgraver Classic. I'll make the adjustments you suggest. I'll replace my carbide piston with the steel one. ;) I also use the carbide graver for this work. Keeps its edge nicely, and bites well.


    Fingers crossed I don't mess up my shiny new plate too badly, and thanks allot for your valuable input Mr. Sterling.

    PS: You earned yourself another follower on Instagram. :lol:

  3. 17 hours ago, Daniel W said:

    You can also try to stippling the background to help set it apart.  Basically using a very fine peen punch tool and making small depressions around the lettering.


    fantastically nice job.



    Stipling works if I frame the whole thing - which in my current project will not be possible.

    I am going to put runes going down nearly the entire length of a 40cm long multibar damascus blade - so I think I am gonna have to do the outlines, or simply leave it flat - and let the etched steel surrounding the inlay create the contrast.


    I just finished a new practise plate for myself. Going to practise doing the outlining of the inlay:


    Pracise Plate number two.jpg


    I tried inlaying some brass as well this time, so simulate gold - in terms of contrast relative to the steel, as well as the copper.

    I learned that inlaying copper is way easier than brass.. More malleable - by far... :)

    • Like 3
  4. 3 hours ago, tsterling said:

    You’ll probably have better luck cutting non-ferrous materials like copper, aluminum, gold or silver with tungsten carbide gravers. A lot of the soft materials will “gall,” leaving bits of material stuck to HSS steel gravers, but not carbide. Another of those logic defying things.

    ...I just darken my copper to start with. That way my unsuspecting client doesn’t have an ugly surprise sometime later.


    I just call it "patina". ;)


    Anyhow, interesting thing this with the types of graver alloys and how they all function.


    I did all the cuts today with a tungsten graver, althought I did the channels in the steel with a HSS one. I've ordered a bunch of tungsten graver blanks from Lindsay though, as well as som.. what did he call them.. M42? Tougher than HSS.


    Anyhow, I tried to outline my inlay today.. ended up like this. :rolleyes:

    Outline attempt 01.jpg


    I started out with the "line" - which was catastrophic. Dug into the copper real quick.

    I then moved on to the "T", which was not much better.

    I am much more satisfied with the "E" (M) though, and the S.


    My biggest challenge her is keeping correct distance from the inlay itself, and depth control with the graver.

    Also, where my cuts end, and I flick out the chip - I tend to leave a noticeable transition from broad to narrow cut, due to the graver going from deep to shallow.


    I am currently working on a brand new practice plate though. I'll upload pics of my next results - unless I'm boring you guys. ;)


    Sincerely, Alveprins.


    • Like 3
  5. 2 minutes ago, Alan Longmire said:


    ... Fine silver and gold are so soft they're nigh impossible to cut a clean line in.  Silver especially is "gummy," for want of a better term.  It likes to grab the graver and pull the point in deep, leaving little balls of silver in its wake.  It's actually easier to do fine silver by pulling the graver backwards (by hand, no power applied)...


    Thanks man, I had no idea. Pressing it is! ;)

  6. 5 minutes ago, tsterling said:

    On second thought and upon mature reflection, you may need to cut the tiny outlines in the copper of your inlays, since the steel will be hardened at that point. Shouldn’t be too much of a problem in your work-hardened copper, but would be a bit of a problem in soft .999 silver or 24 karat gold.


    Actually, I just softened my test-plate to do a trial outline around the runes. :lol:


    Anyhow, I can cut the outline before hardening. It will not be shiny after that, but the engravings will be in damascus steel anyway, which will be etched - so. Will make little difference.

    If I want it shiny though, cutting in the inlayed metal itself might be the solution as you suggest.

    In fact, I think that in hardened steel, the graver would more or less just skit up against the hardened edge of the groove, while the inlayed metal would be cut easily by the graver.


    Why do you think it would be problematic in soft .999 silver or 24k gold btw?

  7. Thanks for the info Mr. Longmire!


    I decided to switch from my Lindsay Airgraver punch to a good'old hammer - and smashed the damn wire in. (After using the airgraver to freshen up on the "teeth")


    Test - complete.jpg


    I think I'll buy a small ball-peen hammer - or maybe forge myself something small for doing this on the real blade. The hammer I used today was .. a bit big. :)


    I ordered some graver blanks and templates from Lindsay today, which will help me with the gold inlay. Seems he's got a couple of graver models specifically designed for the purpose, so... But I still need to make myself a little "smasher" for mushing the stuff in. ;)


    EDIT: By the way, seems to me Ferric Chloride eats both copper and gold. Any suggestions for an acid that will etch (for the most part at least) the steel?

    • Like 1
  8. 6 hours ago, Alan Longmire said:

    Did you undercut the sides of your channel, or just key the bottom?  I have better luck with undercuts than keys on thin lines.

    That is what I learned today... see below. ;)

    Inlay Collage.jpg


    So, to answer your question Mr. Longmire - no, I did not side-cut, because I have yet to make a proper tool for that. :lol:

    If you look at the top right corner picture, you can see that the first line of the rune "E" which ironically looks more like an "M" - did not take properly.


    So I am going to have to make myself a knife chisel of some sort to get into those bottom corners and carve out a nice dove-tail.^_^


    The "T" stuck pretty well though, and the bottom line remained solid throughout the quench, annealing and final sanding.


    I think I need to make a new punching tool though:

    Inlay 06.jpg


    I am thinking maybe I ought to use soft steel instead of brass for the punch. It mushrooms severely, even when simply punching softened copper wire. I am starting to think maybe soft steel is the way to go instead. I don't know how you guys go about it.






  9. 16 minutes ago, Brian Dougherty said:

    Nice.  You are one step ahead of me on that road, but I hope to be following someday soon.


    What vise did you buy?  Those things are quite pricey...


    Thanks man, you'll get there.


    I bought one of those Chinese vices. Only thing I could afford unfortunately.

    It is no doubt low quality, but it does the job for now. In time I'd love to have one of those Lindsay or GRS vices, but... still waiting to win the lottery... :P



    Would love to get one of these : 650 USD.



  10. Alright, so I am preparing to do some serious inlay work on a blade I am working on.

    I've never done this before - so I figured I'd start with some test plates.


    After making myself a flat point chisel graver and a brass punch today, I cut a deep groove into some 15n20 steel I had lying around, cut into the bottom of the groove from both sides to lift up "teeth", and then proceeded to punch the 1mm copper wire into it. Went surprisingly well.


    First Inlay.jpg


    Next step will be to cut grooves in the form of runes into a piece of steel, harden it, and then do inlay - as this will be the most likely method I will use on the actual blade.


    It's not  much, but it is a start. :)


    Sincerely, Alveprins.


    • Like 2
  11. Alright, as this is a quite interesting post - I thought I'd throw my progress into the proverbial basket as well. :)


    Knife Progress.JPG

    Four years of progress.


    First blade was a full tang cooking knife in san-mai lamination with folded and twisted 15n20 and high carbon tool steel. Handle in african Ebony. I folded this steel entirely by hand as I had yet to aquire my pneumatic hammer at that time. Damn, I really punished my arms and shoulders with this one. :lol:

    Latest blade I suppose is known to most of you as I posted it quite recently here on the forum.


    I was thinking the other day, and discussed with my wife in fact - how I feel I am wasting my time at my dayjob. I feel that I instead should focus on my forging and knifemaking, improving amongst other things my drawing and engraving skills. I want to do gold and silver inlay, as well as gems... But, there are only so many hours in the day. I really feel as if time is running away from me. :blink:

    I wonder where my skill level would have been at today if I had been doing what I love for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week instead of riding this damn keyboard at work for the past 9 years. -_-


    sincerely, Alveprins.

    • Like 5
  12. 1 hour ago, jake cleland said:

    Only use hardenable steel for the edge bar.

    That train.. I'm afraid.. has already left the station... About 55 hours of forging ago.... :P

    1 hour ago, Brian Dougherty said:

    You might give it a try with a piece of mono-steel just to see how the engraved channels come through the heat treat process.

    Good idea! I will do exactly that! :)


    I'll put some before and after pictures in this thread just for good measure. ;)

  13. 10 minutes ago, Brian Dougherty said:

    I "feel" like I get a better etch if I quench and then over temper the steel than if I don't harden it at all.  Before hardening the pattern is not only muted, but looks kind of muddy to me.  This is not based in any quantifiable data, so take with a pinch of salt.  I'm posting this primarily to lure someone more knowledgeable into commenting on it.


    If it is all pattern welded, I think I would be inclined to cut your lines in before heat treating, but I've never done an inlay so I don't really know what I am talking about.

    I agree with the pattern visibility thing....


    I worry my lines will be completely gunked up with oil'n stuff though.


    EDIT: I've posted this question over at engravingforum as well.. I suppose I'll throw it up at engravers café as well to see if anyone over there has any experience.

  14. 1 hour ago, Alan Longmire said:

    I would fully harden the blade, then temper down the spine with the edge in a pan of water.  That will help you get the softest body, moreso than using clay.  Then engrave and inlay.


    Note if this is a damascus blade, differential hardening/tempering will result in a muted pattern on the softer parts.


    EDIT: I was imagining taking the full blade up to quenching temperature, and then quenching the edge only in a pan of oil / water.


    Pan of water, or oil? These are oil quenchening steels.


    Multibar damascus actually.. :)

    How about I quench the edge  in the pan first, and as the body turns to a dull red - I submerge it in oil... Dunno if this will enhance the pattern much though, without giving it much increased hardness..

  15. Alright, so I will be doing some engraving and gold inlay on one of my blades, and I am curious as how to go about it...


    Do I:

    1. Engrave the grooves before hardening, and then do gold inlay afterwards? (would get quenching oil and stuff into the grooves, damn near impossible to remove I'd recon.)

    2. Engrave and inlay before hardening, and then harden. (will be heating gold and silver along with the rest of the blade, and then quench... *cringe* )

    3. Differentially harden the blade, covering the body with clay - creating a soft body that can be engraved and inlayed even after hardening?

    4. Other...?




  16. 13 hours ago, billyO said:

    Might I suggest moving the forge out of the corner a little for a bit more clearance????:huh:

    But seriously, looking forward to the inaugural sword.

    Nah, but I am planning on cutting a hole in the wall too though... Insulating it with furnace bricks. I need to be able to move long blades through the forge, and a bit into the wall. :P


    My forge room is very small, and I actually don't have space to move the furnace anywhere but where it is right now. so... ;)

    • Like 1
  17. 11 hours ago, Jerrod Miller said:

    I wouldn't think you need to normalize any more.  If anything, this clamping would be an extra good normalizing cycle.  


    3 hours ago, Joshua States said:

    Do the same thing out of the quench and you should be good to go.



    Alright guys, I'll proceed to grinding the blade then. :)


    Thanks for all the good tips. I'll let everyone know how it goes after quench, whether or not it warps. :)


    Sincerely, Alveprins.

  18. Finally I got around to cutting an extra hole in my gas forge, and creating somewhat of a hinged door on the back side of it.

    I must say - it is quite something being finally able to forge longer blades! :D

    Forge Mod 01.jpg


    Forge Mod 02.jpg


    I suppose the next step for me now, will be to create one of those electric heat treating ovens, since I cant fit anything longer than 57 cm in my kitchen one... :P


    Sincerely, Alveprins.


  19. Ok, so I've made myself a little setup with two 2x4's and two sheets of sawblade steel.


    Here is the blade, all clamped down...


    Going down to have a look right now. Do I wait until it cools down to near room temperature, or what?

    Solution 01.jpg


    Solution 02.jpg


    Solution 03.jpg


    excited to have a look


    EDIT: By Odin's eye! It is straight! :lol: Thank you so much guys for your input! Invaluable! :D

    • Like 1
  20. 3 hours ago, billyO said:

    ...Basically, you're adding some (thermal?)mass to absorb the heat both to even out the temps throughoutt the space and to minimze temp swings when opening the oven...

    In that case - I think I'll cut up a few pieces of thick round-stock steel to throw in there. They'll soak up and keep heat nicely. :)


  21. 5 minutes ago, Jerrod Miller said:

    Depending on blade alloy(s) used, these can even be metal.  You'll want to watch out for marring a bit more than with wood though.  

    Yeah, I was thinking of taking two 2x4's, cutting thick saw-blade metal sheets - and bolting them onto the 2x4, and then using these to clamp down the blade.

    That way there will be metal against metal - while support structure will be wood. Then I avoid any unnecessary burning, and I can re-use the tool many times. :)

    • Like 1
  22. 24 minutes ago, Alan Longmire said:

    That's what foil-wrapped bricks are for. Keeps the temperature even.

    Just regular old bricks, wrapped in foil? ... hmm


    46 minutes ago, Ron Benson said:

    Do you have a convection oven, or a friend who does? Convection ovens are supposed to keep the temps more consistent because they have a fan that circulates the air.

    Nah, just regular old oven with heating elements at top and bottom.

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