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Everything posted by tsterling

  1. Thanks, guys! A little positive reinforcement goes a long ways to keep me inspired...
  2. Very cool, almost impressionist - I like the just-right amount of detail. Very expressive!
  3. Another knife I just finished. This one is (very!) loosely based on the Japanese kiridashi style knife (basically a general purpose/utility sort of blade). I "Americanized" it by using a standard Western-style double edge bevel rather than the traditional Japanese single side chisel bevel. It's 1095 carbon steel with copper scales and three steel pins, 2 1/4 inch blade, 7 inches overall length. Thanks for looking!
  4. More expensive, and much slower as well. They do OK for smoothing after the carbide burrs, but end up looking like you used fairly coarse sandpaper. I like the texture carbide burrs leave better than diamonds. Carve first, then heat treat!
  5. Hi McAhron, I really like my Lindsay Palm Control (PC). I've never tried any of the other engravers or a foot control, so I don't know enough to be knowledgeable. All I can really say is I think the PC dramatically shortens the learining curve of engraving. I was able to engrave something recognizable within half an hour of starting. Having tried hammer and chisel engraving, I know it would have been much longer. I think a foot control would be a little harder than learning with the PC, since you've got to get your hands and a foot working together - chewing gum and walking, so to speak... Hey Mike, I'm cobbling right now on a kiridashi that will have BOTH sides with bugs on them... Hopefully you won't have to wait long!
  6. Brutal, Mike, just brutal! Fortunately, there's a really nice clip on the other side, that obscures the scale. One side is good enough for me!
  7. Dude, I did a spider on a Spyderco! Seriously, though, I coudn't think of a cool bird on such a small and narrow space that I wanted in my pocket. A heron might have worked, but was just not what I felt like having. Thanks for all the kind words, guys. Your feedback really helps keep me going!
  8. I've been playing with engraving and carving steel and other metals lately, but like the shoemaker's kids, this kid was also going barefoot, at least knife-wise. So I stole a few hours and engraved a Spyderco Byrd (Meadowlark model) for myself, to actually carry in MY pocket! Folded, the handle is 4 inches long. I used my Lindsay Palm Control pneumatic engraver to cut the outlines and fine lines, then an NSK micromotor and carbide burrs for the carving/shaping/texturing. I used Jax Silver Blackener and Birchwood Casey Super Blue to darken the stainless steel handle, then buffed the high spots off. Not sure what type of stainless the handle is, but engraves and carves pretty nicely. I stumbled across the use of both of these chemical darkeners by good fortune, like a blind squirrel finding a nut. Together they darkened things quite well, while either one alone didn't. I didn't know that stainless could be blued...still don't know about other types of stainless? So here it is... hope you like it! Thanks for looking!
  9. Finally, here is the finished push dagger. While sharpening it today, I recalled why I swore off double edged knives - takes twice as long to sharpen them. Remind me to follow my own advice next time... The engraved and carved copper scales are patinated with Birchwood Casey Super Blue. The engraving and carving on the scales is done exactly like the bark and wormy wood on the 5160 steel blade. The only difference is that the copper is, of course, much softer than steel, and in fact is a little bit “gummy.” The carbide burrs tend to move (smear, maybe?) a little bit of the copper rather than cut it, leaving a little bit of flash sometimes. The flash is easily removed by trimming with the carbide burr from another angle. Thanks for looking!
  10. Way cool, Serge! About the hamon - I've only ever had bad experiences with hamons, so I'm not really qualified to comment. However, I will anyway... I use a pretty gentle, just straight warm vegetable oil quench for any blade I carve on. Seems to me hamons require a pretty extreme and quick acting quench, and I'm always afraid the carving will provide stress points for cracking during the quench, so I'm pretty conservative with the carved blades. Your blade doesn't appear to have really deep or irregular carving on it, so you may get away with it. Maybe if you really build up the clay thickness over the carving? Good Luck! I'd go with pins that reflect the same treatment you end up with on the blade. If you antique the blade, antique the pins.
  11. Hi Serge, Here's an image of my Lindsay Palm Control engraver. It's a very compact but quite powerful air-driven system, and the control (how fast and how hard the internal piston hits the graver) is in the palm part. The harder you push, the more power the "hammer" delivers - very responsive. I'm not sure exactly what you're asking about the ants, so I'll answer what I think is the question. Ask again if this isn't what you're looking for. Basically I draw the ants on the steel, using a very sharp pointed nib pen and india ink, then engrave those lines using a 90 degree square graver in the Lindsay PC. All of this can be done using a simple hand held graver and hand held chasing hammer just as the old timers did for many past centuries (and some folks still do today). Some bad news: I've tried the hand method with hand-made graver and hammer (you are on a knifemaker forum, so hammer and graver manufacture is certainly within your skill set). I can confidently say it will take a LOT of practice to get decent enough for your work to be seen in polite society. Conversely, I cut something fairly recognizable the very first time I used the Lindsay PC. There's more bad news: this new generation of air powered engraving tools is quite costly, and needs support equipment like graver sharpeners and compressors, also not exactly cheap. The good news is they are significantly easier to learn than the traditional hand method. Lindsay has a new engraver, the Artisan, that is considerably less expensive than the Palm Control. It has a foot control, like the foot accelerator on your car, rather than the control on the handpiece. Probably a little less convenient than the Palm Control, but I've seen some very nice work done with them. I'd love to have one as a second system, especially for stippling, but that's another story. Here's how I hold the Lindsay, for what that's worth: If you want to learn more about engraving, visit these sites - it's how I learned to engrave: http://www.engravingforum.com Lindsay Engraver commercial and training site http://www.igraver.com/forum/ http://followingtheironbrush.org/
  12. Thanks for the kind words, guys. Kevin, the knives were soaked in vinegar to remove fire scale, then taken down to bare metal, and then cold blued (Birchwood Casey Super Blue), then buffed. With my style of bufffing, I remove some of the bluing from the flats, but not the rest of the blade for a two-toned finish. The basic finish is left as they were from filing, with some of the original file teeth still on the blades (hammered down flat, of course).
  13. Thanks for the kind words, fellows. Hope this is of some use to you!
  14. I'm pretty stoked, I just finished a little knifemaking class for a few of my friends. We are a small flint knapping group, and have branched out on a number of other "primitive" skills. They each hand forged, filed and heat treated a small knife (about 4 inch blade, a little over 7 inches total) from old files, and made a rawhide sheath to match. Everybody seemed to have a good time - here are the results! Thanks for looking!
  15. I promised a tutorial on how I carved the "rotting and wormy wood" texture on the Wormy Shiv, so here it is. This is my method; I’m certain there are other ways to accomplish the same thing. I use power tools when it makes sense, and I don’t apologize for it. If you enjoy doing things in the traditional ways, then may you have every success. WARNING!!!! EYE PROTECTION IS ABSOLUTELY REQUIRED. The techniques described here are dangerous, and not for inexperienced persons. Know your tools and safety procedures! Here’s my starting canvas, 5160 carbon steel, with copper grips. The steel has NOT been heat treated yet, so it is still soft enough to engrave and carve. I’ll harden and temper the blade after all engraving and carving is complete on the blade, and before I begin to engrave and carve the copper grips. There is some risk to the blade during the quench, so I’ll not expend the effort on the grips until I know I have a good blade. I wish I knew a method to allow the engraving and carving AFTER heat treating, but I don’t, so I just take the risk. Consider the turtle, who never gets anywhere without sticking his neck out... You can see one side of my pattern in the background, and I’ll be transferring the bark pattern part of it to the steel of the blade. Don't forget to flip the image horizontally in the computer, or you'll get a mirror image of what you thought you wanted. I print it out on a laser printer (you can use a toner-based copier as well), place it face down on the metal, and use a cotton swab dampened with lacquer thinner or acetone (fingernail polish remover). The liquid will dissolve the toner and deposit it on the metal. Be careful not to use too much, or the toner will run and you’ll have a blurry transfer. Here are the tools I’ll be using for the carving portion. For the engraving, I’ll be using a Lindsay Palm Control. I won’t go into how to engrave, since that’s way beyond the scope of this tutorial. If you’re interested in engraving, I suggest you start at www.engravingforum.com and http://igraver.com/forum. The small black grinder is a 35,000 rpm NSK micromotor grinder, with carbide burrs. I get the 4 sizes of carbide burrs I use from http://www.lascodiamond.com/products/stndcbhp.htm. I use the 3/32inch shanks, but 1/16 inch shanks are available. Below, circled in red, are the 4 sizes I use. In the second image is the hand piece for my Foredom flex shaft grinder. I use these two types of Scotchbrite polyester abrasive pads for a LOT of my knife work. The olive drab is the coarsest, and the maroon is finer. The coarse will leave a brushed finish on steel, remove burrs, quickly eat off fire scale, and will rapidly smooth copper. The maroon will simply shine the metal. I use a standard mandrel with a small washer on each side of the pad - if you omit the washers, the pad will quickly tear out the center. I cut small squares and just punch the mandrel screw through the center - don’t bother cutting them round, as they will round up very quickly in use. Also, don't use them full speed, or they won't last long. About quarter throttle seems to work the best. After applying the bark pattern, I engraved the lines, as shown above. The blade is held in a small pitch bowl, filled with lead and pitch from www.northwestpitchworks.com. Note the duct tape over the edges of the blade for safety. I used the NSK micromotor grinder and the #2HP carbide burr to texture the bark segments. I cut a radial channel, starting in the center and stopping about a millimeter from the engraved edge. Here the radial cuts are shown in red. This first set of cuts looks pretty good at the edges, but usually leaves a confused looking center. I go back for a second set of short radial cuts in the center area, stopping well short of the edges. I’ve used Birchwood Casey Super Blue to darken the engraved lines. I’ll be removing the blue several times during the process using the Scotchbrite pads and Foredom flex shaft, and reapplying several times as well. I prefer the Super Blue because it will provide a nice brown patina for the copper as well as a dark black for the steel. Above is the final bark texture, smoothed with the olive drab polyester pad, and blued once more. Note that the untextured area in the center (which will be bare wood) needs to be cut down below the level of the bark. Since I’ll be cutting next to engraved lines, this is a good place to talk about cutting strategy. The first image above shows the first cut using a carbide burr, running along an engraved line. I’m holding the grinder in my right hand, and cutting from top to bottom. Since the burr is rotating counter-clockwise (the underside of the burr is rotating towards the bottom of the image), the best cutting action is against the rotation (towards a right-handed carver). It’s also the “Safe” direction. I say “Safe” because like the tires of your car, the burr rotation wants to drive the burr towards the top of the image (away from a right-handed carver). In this case, a slip will tend to cause damage above the burr (away from me), but probably not damage the engraved line I’m cutting next to. If I slip, or the burr unexpectedly gains extra traction, it’s away from the “Safe” direction that the tool wants to go (up in the image, away from a right-handed carver). The direction is “Safe” because any unexpected damage won’t be in that direction. The idea here is to realize what direction the tool will cut best, and the direction that any damage will occur, and orient your carving to exploit that knowledge. Of course, you won’t always be able to carve in an optimum direction (thank you Murphy’s Law). In those cases you need to realize what might happen and be prepared to counter it. Fortune favors the prepared. Burrs will suddenly gain extra traction should they snag an edge. In this particular case, should the burr catch the edge of an engraved line in the “Danger” direction, the tool will suddenly move away (up in the image), damaging the edge and any metal the burr makes contact with. Also, the same will happen should a corner of the blade be encountered in the “Danger” direction. The burr will suddenly gain traction, jerking the burr over the corner, damaging both the corner and any metal beyond. Should you need to carve near an edge, the safest option is to carve against the rotation of the burr and towards the corner, where a slip won’t pull the tool over the edge. Here I’ve successfully cut along all the engraved lines. The image on the left shows the direction and sequence of cut along the engraved lines to the left. I’m trying to cut away half of the line, leaving the other edge untouched. The image on the right shows the direction and sequence of those cuts - note that I rotated the blade 180 degrees so I could keep the engraved lines to the left side. At this point, now that I have carefully “outlined” the edges (remember coloring in kindergarten?), I have a “safe” buffer zone between the mass of metal in the center I want to remove, and the bark that I don’t want to damage. Here I’ve completed removing the metal in the gap of the bark. It’s deepest at the top of the gap, and shallowest at the bottom edges of the bark where it meets the undisturbed metal of the blade surface. Here’s how I hold the grinder (like a pencil) and the position for carving along the engraved lines on the left of the gap. Here is the gap fully carved, and blued. I used several sizes of burrs here, starting with a larger one to remove metal quickly, and smaller ones to get right up next to the bottom of the engraved lines. Since the burrs are round, there’s no way to get a 90 degree bottom to the cut. I use successively smaller burrs to approach that goal. Now it’s time to begin carving on the rotten wood. Sorry that the shiny metal doesn’t show up too well in the photo. Here I’ve begun carving small channels similar to the ones grubs cut in under bark. I used a Sharpie permanent marker to sketch in what I’m going to cut out. I only use this pattern as a general guide, and alter and add as I proceed. Not to be flippant, but the goal here is to cut away everything that doesn’t look like rotten wood...really! Fortunately for us, the round burrs are absolutely ideal for channels of this shape - we don’t have to deal with 90 degree corners here. Here I’ve blued the area, so you can see it a lot better. I tend to blue as I go - it shows me how it will really look when finished. There’s a remarkable difference in appearance between shiny metal and the final patinated results. Note how in the deeper areas I’m undercutting somewhat. This is probably a good place to talk about another danger with the burrs and the grinder. You should not carve a channel in the metal that approaches half of the diameter of the burr in width AND depth. Less than half diameter in depth works fine, but when the burr begins to get crowded, a resonance can instantly occur which will cause the burr to go uncontrollable. The burr will likely be damaged, and the hole you are working in will suddenly and dramatically get MUCH larger. You can avoid this by making sure the hole/channel is significantly larger than the diameter of the burr. If you need to carve a very deep hole, use a burr that is significantly smaller than the hole, or carve the hole wider as half the diameter of the burr is approached. Close in size is VERY BAD! Continuing on with more channels and holes. Note how some are shallow, some are deep, none are really circles but more irregular in shape. Also the deeper ones are undercut, and not going straight into the blade, but at angles away from the surface. I want some of the holes (see the blue arrows) to go all the way through the blade and connect with the rotten wood on the other side, and some to be tunnels connecting with other holes. Rather than trying to carve all the way through (3/16 inch thick 5160 steel) I used a 1/8 inch drill bit and drill press to lengthen holes I already began cutting. Since these holes are now pretty circular looking, I’ll enlarge them and make them more irregular. Finished with this side! I’ve added some rotting further down, and carved in several tunnels. Here are the three tunnels - you can see the point of the tool in the other end. Areas like this add to the sense of hollowness by allowing light into the dark recesses. Here’s the finished side. I’ve engraved three carpenter ants for a little more visual oomph. A good carving should tell a story, and there should be sufficient complexity that a piece won’t “wear out” with little surprises for the viewer.
  16. Thanks for the kind words, guys. It's going up on Bladegallery.com some time in the near future. Here's a link to its' little brother: http://www.bladegallery.com/shopexd.asp?id=86679
  17. Hi MrBaz, Fully carved the worm channels and heat treated the blade first. Then I made the worm from copper wire, rough shaped and bent first, cold-forged it a little in place for a better fit, then soldered it in place with soft solder. Then finish carved/engraved the copper worm, and cold blued the blade and worm. Bluing is after soldering - the solder won't stick to a blued surface. A little steel wool shined up the blade, didn't remove much blueing on the steel, but shined up the copper quite nicely.
  18. Adriaan, what Jake said. Here are links to four web forums to help: Engraving Forum, with Lindsay pneumatic emphasis Engraving Forum, with GRS toools focus Metalwork Forum, with Japanese style focus Carving Forum, check out the Metalwork section Also see the Museum of Fine Art in Boston for beautiful examples of Japanese metalwork, all done with hand tools, so power isn't a necessity (just an aid - it is the 21st century, after all... }. I know on the two engraving forums there is a fair amount of info on old-style hand engraving (ie with hammer and chisel), and on sharpening the gravers (the major secret, in my opionion). As a bladesmith, making gravers, scrapers and chisels should pose no significant problem to you. Jake, it is a Lindsay palm control. I use this to provide "outlines" for the shapes (think of this as a stop cut in carving). Then I use small round carbide burrs in an NSK Electer micromotor grinder (35,000 rpm) to refine the shapes and remove the background. Would a small tutorial on this process be of interest? My method does require a fair amount of power equipment, but significantly cuts the amount of time in production. The hammer and chisel method is a very cheap way to at least try it out to see if you might like it. You already have the carving sense/skill, all you really need to add is the technical method of doing it in metal. I found the move from wood to metal quite easy once I overcame the technical parts like proper graver shape and sharpening, and their use. Also, metal isn't chippy like some woods, and water won't raise the grain
  19. Glad you like it, guys. Thanks for the kind words! I'm kind of glad it's finally done... Alan, the idea about the black iron pipe just sort of fell into my lap, but after forging the pipe into a taper (my first pipe forging), it now seems an obvious answer. Pipe forges quite well, and engraved and carved OK. Adriaan, what do yoou mean about "whirring hunk of steel idea?" I use a pneumatic engraver and small carbide burrs/NSK. I'm happy to answer questions about the process.
  20. I finally summoned up enough gumption to finish this epic work - the "Rotten Stick" Misericordia. Between the large amount of carved steel, long tapered forged blade and rawhide sheathwork, it has taken several weeks of work in total. Misericordia were medeival stabbing weapons, supposedly intended to provide "mercy" (misericordia is pity or mercy in Latin) to seriously wounded foes on the battlefield. Typical blades are diamond or triangular in cross section, without sharpened edges. Not intended for cutting, they could slip in between the cracks of armor - eeech! My interpretation is 15 inches overall in length, 9 inch forged and filed 1045 steel blade, with textured copper habaki, guard and hilt. The handle is forged from black iron gas pipe, engraved and carved, with a blued finish. The sheath is of rawhide, with forged copper furniture and steel tommy bar wrench for disassembly and cleaning. Thanks for looking!
  21. Thanks, guys. You're making me feel pretty good right now!
  22. Adrian, here's a larger version of the wormy spot.
  23. Thanks, gents, for the kind words. I always enjoy your feedback. Stick, I used two sizes of carbide burrs and a small drill bit for all steel carving, and the worm was done by engraving the segments and then carving/smoothing with my smallest carbide burr. I used the drill bit for the initial holes through the blade - it's much easier to drill holes than carve them all the way through. Then I enlarged (and angled) the drill holes through the blade. I also made them more uneven (less round). Is that all clear as mud? I'm happy to answer any further questions.
  24. While I was on a road trip this summer, the steelworms got into my pile of blade steel, including this little knife that I had partially finished. Damn nasty little critters! 4 1/4 inch 1080 carbon steel blade, 8 inches overall. Blued and file-textured blade, Snakewood handle with fossil ivory pins, copper worm (forged in place, and soldered in, for those interested). Thanks for looking!
  25. Thanks very much for the kind words, guys! Hanging out here with folks of your exceptional character is always fun, and informative.
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