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Everything posted by tsterling

  1. I've just been using Birchwood Casey Super Blue lately, just because it's readily available at the hardware/sporting goods store. Yes, it's made for steel, but will work fairly well on sterling silver, a bit slower on .999 fine silver. Use a cotton swab (Q-tip), wipe it on, paper towel off before it dries, repeat until it's dark enough, steel wool the high spots leaving the dark in the low spots, then soak for a minute or two in ammonia or baking soda/water to neutralize the acid in the bluing. Renaissance wax to finish. Liver of sulfur works fine too, if you have some. Dissolve a little in water, heat the silver to a little more than warm with a torch (OK, for you bladesmiths, that means NOT in the forge - that's WAY too much...) and dip or paint the liquid on. Will blacken rapidly. Wash off with soap/water to stop the action, or repeat for darker. Steel wool the high, leave dark in the low spots, yada yada. You can get a range of yellowish to brown to black colors with brief applications and washings if you play around a bit.
  2. This trigger design won't work unless the release spring is really beefy, then you probably can't set the trigger by hand - the pressure of the bow against the trigger post will just keep it tight against the forward edge of the vertical hole. There is a better design for a trigger using a rotating cylinder system which is pretty easy to make. Here's a link to a company that makes steel bows for crossbows - further down the page is a link for plans, including triggers: Crossbow Prods Here's a photo of a crossbow I made using their smallest bow (only about 100 pounds pull). I was concerned about what might happen should the bow break under tension, so I encased it in rawhide, with the hopes the rawhide would keep the bow limb from whipping around with a razor sharp broken edge. Never had it break, so this is untested! Use at your own risk...
  3. Sorry, Chris! Didn't mean to direct you to places you might find interesting... of course, there's not much I like better than wasting time on the confuser! I find I've had to narrow my focus to less than 20 projects at one time... And for you other guys, thanks for the kind words!
  4. Just use a candle flame to blacken the mold surfaces. Here's a link for an "adjustable" size ingot mold: Ingot Mold
  5. Hi Chris, If I recall correctly, coin silver (US coins) is 90% silver, sterling is 92.5% silver, and fine silver is 99.9% (.999 fine) silver. All three look about the same when shiny. For a bladesmith's purpose, you'll find the coin and sterling work about the same, the fine is softer and more easily scratched. The biggest difference for the customer is the fine silver will stay silver looking (not tarnished) for a long time, while the coin and sterling will tarnish relatively quickly no matter what sort of protective coating you put on it. Collector's knives that aren't handled often will stay shiny longer than ones for actual use, of course. Tom
  6. Nice one, Bob. Needs a nice old-looking rawhide sheath.
  7. Thanks for the kind words, guys! I neglected to mention I also used my little Sherline lathe to spin the copper stub for the inlaid eyes. Mac/Adlai, I guess I need to up my dosage...
  8. A tiny little seahorse knife, carved in carbon steel, completely in the round. A lot of effort, I learned a lot, but lots of fun. I used forge/anvil/hammers, angle grinder, belt grinder, bandsaw, drill press, air engraver, abrasive pads and carbide burs. Damn near every tool in the studio, and all on a three inch (7.62 centimeter) knife. I still need more toys...and maybe some professional help... Thanks for looking!
  9. Thanks for the feedback, guys! It always helps to get a nice reception to a new attempt. Todd, I use an NSK Electer grinder to power the carbide bur - I tried my little local Doug Fir squirrels, but they just don't generate enough torque, no matter how much speed they're on!
  10. Just finished this little fellow up - I engraved and carved a lot of him (her?) over the last weekend in September as a demo during our island-wide studio tour. I'm constantly amazed at what a small carbide bur can do to steel! Birchwood Casey Super Blue finish. I used a pipefish (close relative of seahorses) as a general model, but have taken a fair number of liberties (OK, OK, a very large number of liberties)!
  11. Love my Sherline lathe and mill - they've done everything I've asked of them, even things that were a little large for their capacity. www.sherline.com
  12. Thanks for the kind words, guy! Todd, I use a Lindsay AirGraver to engrave the basic outlines of all the forms, then an NSK (small grinder) with dental burrs (several sizes) to carve all the relieved areas down into the metal. I repeat that basic litany as needed... I also use some tiny chisels and a little hammer to nick steel off in the tight corners. Then, using the AirGraver, I use some little punches to chase texture into the textured areas. Of course, all that is done after the basic shape is done by forging, angle grinder, belt and disc sanders/grinders, and files - standard knife stuff.
  13. Americans, Brits and Aussies would know the wood as Yew. English longbows of historical fame were made from it. Otzi, the "iceman" made his axe out of it. It's technically a softwood (evergreen, with needles, not deciduous leaves) but the wood is actually moderately hard and carves/finishes very well. Taxol, the breast cancer chemotherapy comes from it, and the wood lasts pretty much forever because of its' toxicity - few bugs like to eat it.
  14. Just finished this one - a small engraved/carved knife in 1080 carbon steel. I managed to harden the blade without hardening the handle, just by quenching the blade in oil and not submerging the handle part until the glow disappeared. The 1080 steel carved and engraved very nicely. Thanks for looking!
  15. Thanks for the kind words, boys! Dick, the background is cut away, so the centipede is raised, at least locally. And Alan, it was your class posting that did it, so I guess you're the guilty one...
  16. My latest is a Samuel Bell inspired dirk, all metal construction with a carved centipede and copper inlay. Samuel Bell was a knifemaker in the time of the legendary Bowie knives, and this blade is similar to dirks he made, with unique Spanish notches (the funny hole and twisted shape at the base of the blade). This is my take on that style blade, with a little Japanese influence - sort of a fusion of cultures, and a lot of artistic license. The antiqued finish on this one is from a rusting potion devised by Ford Hallam, followed by boiling in strong tea - seems to have worked very well - thanks, Ford! The blade is inspired by Alan Longmire's previous posting here of a Bell-style blade at a class he took - good on ya, Alan! Thanks for looking!
  17. Dick, Try looking on these two engraving forums. I recall seeing a lot of discussion there about microscopes. Engraving Forum Engraver's Cafe
  18. That really looks like it would hurt! Beautiful job, Ray...clean, simple, elegant and scary!
  19. Cool, Richard! I especially like the gold dingle berries on the back of the blade - they add an interesting touch, takes a primitive look to one that's kind of classy...
  20. Thanks for the kind words, guys! It's always good to get a little positive feedback...
  21. Once again, a small "knapped" steel dagger. Am I getting into a rut? Forged to overall shape, then carved with an angle grinder followed by a Foredom flexible shaft grinder and various size sanding drums. 2 1/4 inch carved 1095 steel blade, 5 1/8 inches overall, fossil ivory bolster, snakewood handle. Thanks for looking!
  22. Howdy, Jake - I rough in the flakes with an angle grinder and a pretty rough wheel, then I use a fairly large drum sander in my Foredom to do the final carving of the flake scars before heat treat. I use a medium grit for most of the carving, then switch to a worn-out fine drum to get rid of the sanding marks. I sand to the edge so it is sharp, ready to hone. Then, I harden in a coffee can of cooking oil (Wesson, I think...) that I heated with a red hot railroad spike, so the oil is hot, but not on fire. Not sure what the temp is. I've never had a blade crack or warp in this stuff, although my experiences trying to make hamons with water quench have all been tragedies. I temper at 425F for about an hour and 15 minutes. After soaking in vinegar overnight to soften any scale, I use an olive drab scotchbrite pad in a mandrel in my Foredom, followed by a maroon one to prepare the surface, then cold blue, followed by linseed oil (and wiping off most) when I do the final finish on the handle. So far I've had very nice edge holding from this process on all my knives.
  23. Finally finished the rawhide sheath for this knife.
  24. Thanks for the feedback, guys! Larry - Thanks for the explanation of your finish. I've tried to stay away from scale finishes, not because I have any particular experience, but because more experienced knifemakers have said the scale can eventually pop off and expose the metal underneath. I don't know at this point - I'm pretty new to steel working, so at this point I bow to the voice(s) of experience. Any of you more experienced guys have suggestions about the durability of firescale finishes?
  25. Hi Sam, I pickle off any scale with an overnight soak in household vinegar, go over the surface with coarse and fine (olive drab and maroon) scotchbrite pads in my foredom down to shiny metal, then a quick buff, wash the rouge off with soap and water, cold blue, and another VERY quick buff to restore the gloss, followed with linseed oil when I soak the finished handle. Have no idea how long the finish will last with use - this kind of knife is intended for the collector, and probably not something folks would actually go out and use in the woods.
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