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Everything posted by tsterling

  1. OK, since you've seen most of the information here, which in a general sense, is pretty much all there is to know, it's time to leave the generalized questions and step up to a specific task (a small one, preferably). So I'm going to suggest this task: Step 1: Start with a small full tang knife (about 5 inches in total), perhaps a simple skinner or even a kiridashi, with two light colored wood scales, two pins, no bolsters. Just something you can make fairly quickly and that you don't have a huge attachment to, so you're not intimidated by the possibility of "ruining" it. I'd suggest a straight-grained maple, which should be fairly easy to obtain in Connecticut and is hard enough to make a decent handle. Make your pins out of something you can drill out easily, since you may find you want to start over at some point. I'm suggesting a knife here, because I feel it is what your eventual aim is, it will illustrate the knife-specific problems you will run into and will tend to keep you on task, rather than just a practice piece of wood. Step 2: Lay out a fairly simple celtic design (on paper), full size for the shape of your scales. I'll be glad to help you here, I have a simple tutorial on celtic line drawing I can send you. You will need to do a lot of drawing to come up with an attractive design that will be simple enough to carve without going insane. Step 3: Begin carving, just like in Jake Powning's tutorial. You don't really need any power carving tools - they speed things up, but we have many thousands of years of carvers doing just fine without them. I'm certain you'll find you need to make some small knives, chisels and scrapers, but you're a bladesmith so that should present no real challenge. I can help, as can a lot of others here on the forum. Of course, post images of each step and get some feedback before you move to the next step. Ask specific questions, with photos of the actual problem area. This little exercise will uncover a lot of the more specific questions you will have, and, I think, be far more useful to you than the more generalized esoteric questions. It will also uncover the shortages in your tool set, many of which you can easily make. Best of luck, and I hope you'll take this suggestion in the good spirit it is offered in. To paraphrase what a good friend of mine told me while he was instructing me in flint knapping, "(knapping) carving takes guts - you have to haul off and (hit) begin it." Academics are over - the only way to actually learn this is to begin a project.
  2. Hi Kevin, OK, for celtic, here's what I know: Here's my tutorial on woodburning celtic knots - of course, you'll need a good woodburner (like the bird carvers use). With deep burning like I describe, it is fairly sturdy on an art knife type of handle, but may not hold up for decades of everyday use: Celtic Pyrography For actual carving of celtic knots, here is an excellent tutorial by Jake Powning: http://www.powning.com/jake/commish/progress3.htm I would approach carving celtic knotwork in wood only a little differently than Jake - I would lay out the knots, make stop cuts with chisels, gouges and/or knife ("outlining" the ribbons), then use my NSK (not the air powered type) and small round burrs to remove the waste wood (this is the main difference), then clean up everything with knives/gouges/sandpaper. Note, however, that carving complicated celtic knotwork will lead to madness and strong drink. In addition to searching this forum for Jake Powning's work, also check out Jake Cleland's work - both produce killer celtic-style work. As far as inlays in metal - you're pretty much stuck with engraving methods - air powered engravers will help considerably with this extremely steep learning curve. For wood: I have seen some tutorials on the web for inlaying silver wire in wood, but can't remember where. I don't do this - I've never been much of a fan of this type of inlay. Maybe some of this will help!
  3. Hi Kevin, My basic tools consist of a Lindsay Palm Control air graver, an NSK Electer (small 35K RPM grinder), and a Foredom flex shaft. Each has its' use in my engraving and carving work, and I consider each indispensible in its' own way, and each with particular strengths and weaknesses. Along with those are a whole host of burrs, small knives, gouges, scrapers and chisels. Add to that peripherals like air compressor, microscope, engraving ball, lathe and mill, Oh, and don't forget all the bladesmithing crap to make the basic knife canvas with, but you already know about that. For any specific suggestions, I'd have to get a better feel about what you are actually planning to do in the area of carving and/or engraving. Carving and engraving are very different animals, with different end products. While you can make a final product that involves both disciplines, neither alone can make that final product, and the skill sets do not completely overlap. Here's a link to a small partial tutorial for a push dagger that involves both carving and engraving: How To Carve Steel - Wormy Wood #1 Maybe by perusing this topic, it will allow you to formulate your questions with a little more focus. I'm not trying to put you off, just to point out that the above listed equipment is quite expensive, and maybe we can help you ease into this without breaking the bank or ruining your marriage.... Also, be sure to check out the "tool wars" on the Carving Path forum: http://www.thecarvingpath.net There are also some excellent (mostly unpowered) tool tutorials on the Following the Iron Brush forum: http://followingtheironbrush.org/ I know this is as clear as thick mud, but you are about to embark on a significant expenditure of time and money, with a pretty steep learning curve. Please spend a little of that time figuring out what your initial goals are. I say "initial" goals, because as you add skill sets to the task, your goals are likely to change a bit. Oh, and before I forget, here are links to the two best engraving forums I know of: http://www.engravingforum.com/ http://www.igraver.com/forum/ More good stuff on these two forums than you can digest in years...
  4. Here's one on this forum: http://www.bladesmithsforum.com/index.php?showtopic=12650&st=0&p=114619&fromsearch=1entry114619 Here's a link to Ford Hallam's forum: http://followingtheironbrush.org
  5. Pretty, Serge! I really like the lines of this one - you obviously have the eye.
  6. Outstanding resource here, Chuck. Thanks! Looks like my local library is going to be pretty busy shortly. Also, I found your tutorial very useful in my rawhide work back when. OK, actually, I found all of your tutorials very useful. Thanks for your generosity! Tom
  7. If you are using solid forged copper (which you forge cold), work hardening (forging) will make them very stiff - just don't anneal after your final forging. And solid brass and bronze would benefit from the same sort of treatment. If you are intending to use thin sheet rolled up, then maybe none of the non-ferrous would be sturdy enough. I can't bend my flintknapping pressure flakers, which I forge to shape from large size ground wire (not having measured it, I'm guessing 3/16 inch diameter-ish?). And I have a few pieces of really old power line (you know, as in telephone pole to telephone pole kind) about the same thickness as ground wire, which have work hardened over time just blowing in the wind, and that is very difficult to bend. And as far as shiny goes - I hate shiny. I'd suggest you use Birchwood Casey Super Blue to patinate the copper to dark brown, and then a little steel wool or Pink Pearl pencil eraser to just remove a LITTLE of the patina, allowing just a little shiny to show through. Shiny won't last long anyway, as the oils and salt in the skin will take it to dark brown pretty quickly. And the forging marks won't let it be smooth-bright/shiny anyhow. Anyway, looking forward to the final result!
  8. Hi Chuck, Can you suggest some of those books? What I've been able to find on the web is pretty sparse, and most of those have been on antique auction sites, so I'm not very confident in the accuracy of the descriptions. Thanks, Tom
  9. Another weird but cool one, Serge! The only thing I can think of that I want in this one is to forge the side handle pieces out of copper, and inlay a copper round in the center of the diamond, just to add a bit of visual interest, and in keeping with Alan's talisman complexity. The name? - Talismanic Pendulum...Pendant Talismania...
  10. Thanks, guys. I knew it was going to br popular when my daughter saw it and said "Oh, it's just adorable!" Not something I expected to hear about a knife, but I'll take it!
  11. Got a wild hair to do this one in my knapped steel-style; my first like this, it was really fun. 1080 steel, antler tip handle, black walnut box. Here it is with a rather small hand for reference. Thanks for looking!
  12. Dang, Serge, you are a machine! And a pretty cool knife, as well - very creative use of the file handle, I wouldn't have thought of that. I don't think you'll have this one for long (hope this doesn't jinx it, though...) I'm really enjoying these last few and watching your creative side develop!
  13. Hi Serge, I get my copper stock from McMaster-Carr. I can't remember which copper I bought (might have been 101 or 110), but these are listed as good for forming and working - 101, 102, 110, 122, 182 - choose the least expensive. Just be sure NOT to get any copper with berrylium in it - apparently bad health risks in the fumes and dust. http://www.mcmaster.com/#copper/=5auyos Liver of sulfur will patinate the copper just fine (to black), but I usually use Birchwood-Casey Super Blue (cold gun bluing) - it gives a nice dark brown patina, and lasts a lot longer than liver of sulfur in solution. A liver of sulfur solution (about a pea size rock in a cup of tap-hot water) only lasts about a day before light destroys most of it, so you have to mix a fresh batch each session. I just apply Super Blue with a cotton swab after steelwooling and degreasing the copper - a little handier and I like the color better. Dry off while still wet with paper towel - don't let it dry on the surface, or unsightly dry chemical residue will show up. Lather-rinse-repeat as necessary. When finished, neutralize in ammonia/Windex or baking soda, then wash well with toothbrush, soap and water. Personal preference only. As you've seen in a lot of my work, I really like the patinated copper against dark steel.
  14. Truly even wierder, Serge, but I like it, in a sort of steam punk sort of manner. How about using a fairly thick piece of dark patinated copper for that twisty add-on piece? Copper forges up and twists just fine as long as you don't get it too hot (seems to work best for me at a barely glowing temp, just a little above black heat).
  15. Jake, you clever devil! I just might have to steal that idea.... Thanks!
  16. Wierdly cool, and very clever, Serge! Good on you!
  17. Of all the resists I've tried, I like the professional artists black resists the best - they're designed to be painted on, flow well, and some (called stopouts) are also designed so they can be removed by scratching and chipping away, so you can get really crisp lines and corners. And easily removed once you're done. All the other home-made remedies I've tried have paled in comparison, either being hard to apply, too sensitive to heat during electro-etching, or allowing the etchant (ferric chloride) to creep under and spoil the edges. Try larger art supply stores and internet supply companies, Daniel Smith, Dick Blick, or Cronite.
  18. Jake, I only see two problems with it: I didn't make it, and it's not living at my house right now. Excellent job! By the way, how is the leather strap fixed to the sheath? Any chance of a photo of the back?
  19. Hi Michael, Here's a topic I posted a while back demonstrating a little of what you can do with your new Dremel, along with a source for some good carbide burrs: How To Carve Steel - Wormy Wood Don't know if the source will help in NZ, but good luck anyway!
  20. Boys, thank you for your kind words. It's always good to see one of my strange creations so well received.
  21. Well if Darci is doing this well in a week, I'll be very interested to see what her Master Bladesmith test knives look like! Awesome job, Darci!
  22. My latest major work, the 8th Plague Knife - a little carved grasshopper blade, and a small reliquary/display system to go with it. The knife is 2.5 inches long (63 mm), engraved and carved 1080 carbon steel, and the reliquary is American elk (wapiti) antler, black walnut, copper, silver and ziricote wood. The copper lid/drawer front is copper with an engraved and carved Egyptian-style cartouche of Ramses II. As a side note, the repairs are deliberately added - Much of my interest lately is trying to make my work look like a "modern antique" so to speak... Thanks for looking!
  23. That one sings, Serge! Good on ya!
  24. Thanks, dudes - glad you're enjoying the fish! Dick, no special purpose, but lately I've been enjoying surfing for medieval reliquaries (for saint's bones) and have done several pieces along that line (loosely!). Don, send a check and you can have a mascot! Serge, I've been adding "repairs" a bit to my work lately. These I added even though I actually had to carve the "damage" into the lid. Many years ago on a weapons training deployment to Turkey, I noticed lots of old copper pots among all the new shiny ones in Copper Ali's shop, and I was drawn to the crude but serviceable repairs most of the old ones had. You find inspiration in the oddest places! A lot of my work I like to look old, but new, if you get my drift? I don't know, modern antiques?
  25. Thanks, guys, I'm glad you like it. I appreciate your support!
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