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Everything posted by tsterling

  1. Pretty - break a leg at the show, Serge!
  2. There's not a really effective way to reinforce a hardwood dowel - they are cut from sawn pieces of wood, which cuts through the wood fibers. For true strength you need to split wood along the grain, so that wood fibers run from one end to the other. As you might surmise, this approach doesn't always lend itself well to obtaining long, straight pieces, especially in oak. Shame your forge is down, because to split really well you need to make a froe. http://www.retiredtractors.com/tools/froe1.html
  3. Hi Serge, How about nunome zogan? It's a Japanese technique of overlaying gold or silver foil over crosshatchings cut in the surface of harder metal, and then driving it in with a punch. Check out the tutorials over on the iron brush forum (http://followingtheironbrush.org). Also check out Patrick Hatsing's latest tsuba on this forum where he mentions it - http://www.bladesmithsforum.com/index.php?showtopic=16556 No chemicals, an added Japanese coolness factor, and I suspect it's more wear resistant, and better special effects.
  4. Lovely work, Patrick! Please keep the in-progress pics coming. Thanks for showing!
  5. Another wierd, but cool one. Well done Serge! Love the textures and the copper/steel contrast - but you knew that aready....
  6. Good info, Patrick - thanks. I had heard so many horror stories about engraving the 300 series stainless. The "doodle' looks great!
  7. Yes to all. Be sure and post some pictures!
  8. Do you understand about annealing (making soft again) non-ferrous metals like brass/bronze/copper/silver/gold? You simply heat the work-hardened metal up to red (being careful not to melt them, of course), quenching in water if you want to work on it quickly - quenching won't harden these metals like steel.
  9. Bingo! I hadn't thought about echoing the little spiral on the blade with the handle knob...great idea.
  10. I use Birchwood Casey Super Blue (gun blue). It's a selenium-based cold gun blue, just paint it on, dry off, lather/rinse/repeat as required. No heat required, it's easy to get here (don't know about Scotland, though...), easy to apply, not much fuss. Then steel wool or pink pencil eraser to take it back as far to bright copper as I want. I figure copper is going to darken to a dark brown no matter what you do, so I tend to start mine off that way - clients don't get an unexpected surprise down the road... Plus it's more predictable that it won't change the contrast with your steel and handle materials over time - you know, that sinking feeling when you realise that it looks great now, but won't be the same in a year's time.........
  11. I'd like to see the handle in a rich but light-ish color, rather than a really dark wood. I think your carving would be lost on really dark woods - and I also think you can pull it off. Come to think of it, a nice, fairly smooth antler (with the knob out of the crown part) might be cool, too. Scrape off the rough outside, then carve the leaves. A little potassium permanganate in the carving crevices, and satin polish all over. Dark patinate the copper, and steel wool it back a little so some copper color shows through. Just my thoughts. From the excellent body of works I've seen you produce, I'm certain whatever you choose will be great! And crawdad tail-style armor plates would make a nice carving motif on your next one of these! I'm with Alan on the mud bugs/crawdads. Crayfish are what you buy in formalin from biologic supply comapanies for high school biology dissection - crawdads are what you eat with your best buddies.
  12. Slightly curved handle (opposite direction from the blade curve, boxwood) with a ball on the end (like an old flintlock pistol). Repeat the leaves design down the handle top side (opposite direction, of course). I like the blade very much!
  13. Thanks for the kind feedback, folks! It really makes my day to get up in the morning, cup of tea in hand, and look through the forum and see what all of you are up to. You leep me going!
  14. Just for Dee, here's the other knife lazy me promised - the Toadsticker Shiv. 5 3/8 inch 1080 blade (full tang), carved and engraved shibuichi scales with copper pins, 9 3/4 inches overall length. I agonized between calling it the "Froggy Shiv" or Toadsticker, the meaner-sounding name won out. Thanks for looking!
  15. I wondered where this one got to, Serge. It came out great - I especially like the little fullered details where the copper attaches to the hilt. How did you like the copper work?
  16. Hi Jim, long time no see. Glad you like it! Thanks for the feedback, Dee. From what you've said, it boils down to a complete, integrated whole. That was something I've definitely been working towards in my last few knives, an appropriate blade along with a carved/engraved handle that tells a story. Something a famous netsuke carver told me years ago that I've tried to integrate into my work was "a good carving should tell a story" and that's what I've tried to do here. But it's certainly not an easy thing to get it all to work together - often the vision and its' realization end up being different things - visions don't have to obey the laws of physics, but realizations do. Much obliged, ma'am!
  17. Thanks for the kind words, folks! I really appreciate your very positive comments. Kenon, I don't want to see the guy who can knap steel for real - he would have to have some incredibly strong wrists. Maybe with a titanium flaker and a liquid nitrogen quench... And, Dee, I have to ask - in particular, what is it about this one you like the best? Just curious, from a woman's perspective. My girls aren't as thrilled with this one as the other one I just finished and will post soon. Cheers!
  18. Finally got off my duff and finished up a few I've been working (stalling) on. I call this one the Sipapu Dagger - after the hole in the earth the people and animals emerged from in Southwestern Native American lore. It's of "knapped" 5160 steel, with carved and engraved shibuichi scales (a precious Japanese art bronze-like alloy of 25% silver, 75% copper), silver pins. 3 inch blade, 7 inches overall length. One side of the scales represents the empty underworld, and the other shows the people and animals emerging into the present world. Thanks for looking!
  19. Dan, you've got to stop showing Serge any more stuff. If he gets any better any faster than he already has done, we're going to have to have Uncle Carmine visit him and break his thumb just to slow him down! Looking forward to seeing what Serge can do with forging. I think you have created a monster... Many thanks to those of you out there who take the time and effort to show us newbies the path of skilled crafting. You are credits to humankind...and we have need of some heroes just now.
  20. Wonder if Ric can do this with the 400 series stainless, for better engraveability?
  21. Very cool, Patrick! I've heard that the 300 series stainless steels aren't the greatest to use for engraving - how was the carving on this? And how did the different layers affect the carving process? How hard was it to form the other fittings from this damascus (forgetting the proper names, must be having an acute alzheimers attack this morning!)? Sorry for the multiple interrogation, but inquiring (and nosy) minds... Thanks, Tom
  22. Discipline - the only real answer. Discipline is a learned skill, not something you are born with. When you get to the finishing stage, set yourself a deadline, and do not let yourself start another project until the knife is finished. The only exception to this rule is to make a short note of the great idea for the next knife you just came up with as you hit the finishing stage of the current knife - otherwise I forget, and then wonder for days what that great idea was. No other exceptions allowed. To my mind, artists are artists because they have an unrecognized and undiagnosed artistic form of the many types of ADHD. This not wanting to finish before darting off after another rabbit is characteristic of many artists, which is why they make such crappy business people. Just remember, when you are self employed, your boss needs to be a jerk.
  23. Save for the Lindsay, and the template sharpening system. I found the sharpening templates are the biggest secret to successful engraving, and the Lindsay is a very close second. Then you will need a stereo microscope and a good engraver's block (vise). Be on the lookout for an old drill press (minus the drill head) for an easily adjustable height stand for the engraver's block. None of this is cheap, but if you want to carve steel, you'll never regret the spending.
  24. Good on you, Kevin! Looking forward to seeing your efforts.
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