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Everything posted by tsterling

  1. Sweet, Gerhard! Lovely lines. Tom
  2. Very cool! Beautiful work on all levels. Thanks for showing it. Tom
  3. Thanks, JD! I appreciate the kind words. Tom
  4. Thaks for the superlatives, guys! Glad you've enjoyed Serge's and my efforts - I know we both enjoyed making and showing them to you! I'm looking forward to more colaborations in the future! Tom
  5. This “Steampunk Viperfish” was definitely the most complex engraving I've ever done, and while it was only 1 5/8 inches in diameter, that turns out to be quite a lot of real estate - over two square inches to engrave. Add in the large number of inlays (seven inches of gold wire), and it all adds up to about 30 hours of engraving (although I did have to find some time to make two beading punches for the little round rivets - and it turns out titanium isn't very cooperative with beading punches, so I need to “refresh” these). This was a special version of Serge Panchenko’s Coin Claw pendant knife, and Serge went all out by making a lovely stainless steel damascus blade, Timascus spacer, Al6V4 titanium frame and spring, and a special Grade 2 titanium backplate created especially for engraving. I added copper and 24 karat gold, and, of course, some engraving… Serge is an up and coming young knifemaker, and it was a real privilege just to handle his neat little knife. The knife is really more like a small, exquisite jewel. Everything fits beautifully, and Serge’s finishes are topnotch. See more of Serge’s work at http://sergeknives.com, https://www.facebook.com/serge.panchenkoknives, and http://instagram.com/sergeknives Note the little surprise ugly fish (hidden under the blade when it is closed). The Al6V4 titanium is "stonewashed" for a nice even grey finish, and I used tiny little abrasive stones inside the fish to remove that grey finish. It turned out pretty sweet, I think. While I’ve shied away from Al6V4 titanium in the past, it turned out that small cut lines with a Lindsay Carbalt engraver worked out pretty well. I still wouldn’t like to do deep cuts and sculpting in Al6V4 titanium! Thanks for looking!
  6. What Dave said! I've faced this dilemma all my adult life, and all I can say is that computers have freed my mind, not restricted it. The answer is for you to become what I call a "Renaissance Man" (or "Person" if you prefer). That means you must know EVERYTHING about SOMETHING, and a LOT about EVERYTHING ELSE. And that SOMETHING MUST have a real job attached to it at the end - so no Art History, Gender Studies, Liberal Arts, yada yada yada..... Yes, the job will change as the years go by, but a Renaissance Man has the ability to change with it, and is CREATIVE enough to embrace the new possibilities those changes will bring. As a computer scientist in a former life, I can tell you that I seriously doubt a Renaissance Man will be replaced by a machine. Yes, waitstaff can largely be replaced, but a really good chef can't, because then you wind up with Chef Boyardee in a can. Isn't that yummy! Creativity is even more difficult to quantify, and if it can't be quantified, it can't get programmed. If you are college-bound, then a STEM degree (Scientific, Technical, Engineering, Math) is the answer. Also, Accounting (Bean Counters in the IRS and big corporations will NEVER go away). If you're not college-bound, then skilled trades like automotive mechanics, plumbers, electricians, etc, are your answer. Just ask your parents which service specialty came to your house to repair the (fill_in_the_blank_here) and how much that cost. And, you must have the drive to eventually create and manage your OWN skilled trade business - you MUST become the guy who hires less driven people. You must aim to be the boss. Then you are the guy who decides which of your many workers gets replaced by the new plumber robot...and you are also the guy who decides which firm of robot repair mechanics you hire to keep your plumber robot running. What the hell, maybe you're the boss of the robot repair company, because your Renaissance Man self recognized the opportunity therein. Fortune Favors the Prepared. Best of luck! Tom
  7. Hi Guys, Thanks for the kind words. I always appreciate the feedback. These were a lot of fun - it was just one of those projects that just comes together, and everything falls into place. I live for those! Tom
  8. Hi Folks, Here are two knife scales I just finished for William Henry Studios. This is their B10 model, and the scales are 416 stainless steel. I’ve placed one main inlay on them, a longhorn beetle in shibuichi (25% silver, 75% copper) with 24k gold antennae. The other side has a highly carved centipede with 24k gold legs. If you look closely, you might find a small jumping spider as well. I vividly remember seeing one of these bad boy centipedes as a young child in Texas, when I was perhaps 5 or 6. Black body and startlingly yellow legs, it seemed like it was a foot long and struck me as being “powerful.” Bugs aren’t something you would normally think of as powerful. Stingers, biters, scratchers, yes, but not as having power. But this thing was angry, not happy being held down with a stick across its’ middle, and it seemed to be winning the fight. As usual, you can see the ad nauseum multiple part tutorial of making these at my blog: http://sterlingsculptures.com/wp/?p=3220 Thanks for looking! Tom
  9. Hi Jake, That one really speaks to me, and I'm not a particular fan of dirks! Good on you... Tom
  10. Great news! What a relief this must be to you - I know I'm relieved. Tom
  11. Hi Daniel, Try looking here for some insights on etching by Sr. Antonio Montejano: http://www.engraverscafe.com/showthread.php?5369-William-Henry-by-Montejano Sr. Montejano creates very fine etchings, although I believe he combines the etching tehnique with engraving. He has a number of threads at the Engraver's Cafe, so a search would be in order - I don't know if you need to be a member to search or not. You will also find a good article by Barry Lee Hands here (the etching part starts on page 6): http://www.engraverscafe.com/showthread.php?11981-Carved-Lee-Helgeland-Winchester-Model-70-458-Magnum-by-Barry-Lee-Hands/page6 His success is mainly due to 1) Skill 2) Good resist 3) Good etchant (a commercial etchant from Cronite, not ferric chloride). He also is primarily an engraver, and his etching is a support technique for that. I suspect a great deal of you problem is due to your choice of etching resist. If you aren't using a good commercial formulation that is both easy to apply and that sticks to the steel really well, then you are getting a lot of leakage under the resist that destroys the detail you're seeking. Of the few successful artists I've seen that use etching as a commercial technique where the etched article is the end result, they seem to use a spray system that keeps plenty of clean etchant on the surface, and also washes away the crud you see building up in the etched areas (without damaging the resist). The art world also teaches using a soft feather to constantly brush away the bubbles and crud during etching. Obviously, a good resist is required here to keep from damaging it with the brushing. I've played a bit with etching (experiencing the same frustrations you are) and have decided that if what you want is good, clean and crisp edges, then etching isn't the way to go and you should be learning to engrave instead. Good luck! Tom
  12. Dave, I thought Alaskatians were supposed to be tough? I grew up in Florida - I don't recall noticing it was unusually hot, although it could get really frigid in winter... At least the plexi will keep snakes out of the shop. Don't be a wuss! Now I'm waiting for the picture of a red hot blade stuck in the plexi door 'cause the munchkin closed it while you weren't looking... I'm on board with the pipe bellows thingy, though, so all other peccadillos are forgiven. Tom
  13. For quick and dirty, I use Birchwood Casey Super Blue (cold gun blue), probably available in a hardware store or gun shop near you. Clean metal, paint on with Q Tip, wait a few minutes, wash off with soap and water. Lather, rinse, repeat as required. Cut back lightly with 0000 steel wool for highlights. Not anywhere near the traditional Japanese procedure, but darkness will result. Tom
  14. Very well done, Gerhard! Clever and attractive - I would say there is a little bit of raven in you. Love the carved feather, too. Tom
  15. I have to agree with C Craft, Miles. Somebody is going to talk you out of that one, so you better make another right now! Tom
  16. John, are you using a centrifugal, vacuum or steam caster for such a small casting? If not, then you probably have more than temperature problems. Molten bronze in small quantities has a high surface tension (notice it forms a high curved surface when you melt a small blob), so it will not flow well into tiny areas without some sort of pressure behind it. As Jerrod alludes to, a 30 pound pour creates its' own pressure thanks to gravity, but a few ounces won't without encouragement. Anything that slows down the flow will allow the metal to harden and choke off unfilled areas. So, really large spruces and ample venting if you are doing just gravity pours. I've found I'm happier carving metal by hand than when I used to do centrifugal lost wax casting. By the time I created the wax, sprued and vented the wax, invested the wax, vibrated the mold (I didn't have vacuum), burned out the mold, melted the metal, cringed as I let the caster spin, quenched, cleaned off the investment, cut off the sprues, carved and chased away the problems, dealt with the inevitable shrinkage, and then reaccomplished the above steps for the occasional and inevitable failure, carving by hand is actually faster for a one-off piece. And, I hate to say, 500 F burnout isn't even close to the temps you need. Good luck, Tom
  17. Thanks, guys! George, I think I'm going to need at least 15 steps... Tom
  18. Hi Guys, Thanks for the encouraging words! Hope to see some of you at the show - be sure and let me know you're Bladesmith Forum dudes...it will be great to put some live faces to the names and swap some lies. Hi Owen, I sell most of my work through BladeGallery.com. Here's a link to my page and my available work: http://www.bladegallery.com/shopdisplayproducts.asp?id=721&cat=Sterling%2C+Tom If you scroll down, you can read my bio, and see the sold work from days gone by...much of it somewhat twisted as well! Oh, did you mean the twisted handle? Hi Paul, None of these are for sale until the show! It's a tough policy, but if I don't do it this way, I might end up sitting at a table with nothing but pictures to show.........and if you believe that, I have some land you might be interested in. We can go see it at low tide today... Tom
  19. I've been working like a maniac to finish up knives and jewelry for the 1st Annual Seattle International Knife Show the last weekend of April. This is my first time showing at a knife show, so wish me luck! First off, here's the jewelry. Clockwise from the top - Titanium/shibuichi/gold dragonfly and cherry blossom pendant, next is a copper/titanium/silver zombie hummingbird skull dog tag, then a titanium shishiaibori-style cave painting pendant, and last the copper/titanium/silver flayed face dog tag. Engraved Spyderco Cricket "Puget Sound" in NW Native American style The "Lascaux Dagger" in knapped steel style, 1075 carbon steel, titanium scales engraved in shishiaibori-style, copper rivets, 4 inches total length. Here's the "Helheim Dagger" in 1075 carbon steel, with engraved and gold inlaid 410 stainless steel scales, moose antler, with copper rivets. Done in 1075 carbon steel I decided to do this one in my signature “knapped steel” style, so it resembles a stone knife, overall length 7 1/2 inches. Helheim (” the house of Hel”) is one of the nine worlds of Norse mythology, and is ruled by the goddess Hel, who is half beautiful woman and half corpse. Those who die of old age or disease go to Helheim, while those who die bravely on the battlefield go to Valhalla (which is ruled by Odin, the greatest of the Norse gods). And, last (thank goodness it's finished!) the "Dragonsbane Dagger" in engraved and carved 1045 carbon steel, with 24 karat gold inlays, carved copper crossguard. 22 inches overall length, and a huge pain to carve and engrave. This was one of those projects where it is gets more abandoned than finished! Remind me not to do another really large dagger like this. Or any really large engraved knife. Really. 'Cause I'm likely to do something insane like this again. It's just my way... Help. Please stop me...
  20. Hi Scott, Looks like you need a crook knife to smooth the interior your kuksa/noggin. Here's a link to a tutorial on my blog about making a crook knife: http://sterlingsculptures.com/wp/?p=233 Since you are a blade smith, this should present no problem to you. You'll also need something like this to smooth the interior of your antler sake cup. I think the little scrapers I talked about earlier could easily be turned into a "crook" scraper for the same thing. A large part of carving is cobling together a special tool to do some particualr task. A lot like bladesmithing... And here's the start point of a tutorial about carving a burl noggin (a lot like a kuksa) and a belt toggle (ok, a netsuke) to go with it: http://sterlingsculptures.com/wp/?p=814 Do you have a Foredom™ flex shaft grinder for hogging off waste? You need one... Do you have an electric micromotor grinder (I recommend NSK) for fine carving? You need one... And here's a link to a free 361 page PDF download about everything I know about carving netsuke: http://sterlingsculptures.com/wp/?page_id=315 Good luck! Tom
  21. Dang, Scott, you've got it bad. Well, there's nothing that will cure you other than going ahead and making it. Been there, done that, got waaaaaaay more t-shirts than I need. To help you on your carving adventure, have you seen Clive Hallam's “Shirley Temple” scrapers for wood/antler/ivory? Here are parts 1, 2 and 3: http://followingtheironbrush.org/viewtopic.php?f=57&t=1361 http://followingtheironbrush.org/viewtopic.php?f=57&t=1494 http://followingtheironbrush.org/viewtopic.php?f=57&t=1859 And here is my version for scraping in metal: http://followingtheironbrush.org/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=1472 Tom
  22. Hi Scott, You know, I really don't have much problem with your snail. It has a real rustic charm, to paraphrase Alan, kind of a snail version of Bill the Cat. I suspect you were reaching for a perfect spiral and finely modeled snail, but much of the art so prized by Japanophiles is rustic charm, not perfection. The shell reminds me a lot of the loopy/smoky spirals in Oriental art that represent clouds or smoke. I'm betting if you were to do a perfect version of this snail and show both together, this "rustic" version would be the one most people would choose to take home with them. Since this snail is pretty much a stylized caricature, I think rustic is the way to go. I would give you different advice if you were trying to make a biologically perfect snail - you find perfect copies of snails in Japanese art as well, but that has a different feel to it and a different avenue of reaching the viewer. Perfection like that would require careful observation and matching of textures to achieve the look of hard shell and slimy-but-bumpy skin. And a lot of skill to accomplish. Tongue-in-cheek here, my old boss use to tell me, "Sterling," he'd say, "it's better to be lucky than good." "Fear and superstition will beat skill and science every time!" That's sort of where I think you are now - you could use more skill (practice...) of course, but don't loose sight of charm on the road to perfection. And as far as "sufficient" skill goes, you will never arrive there - it is a journey, not a destination, and you will find the finish line recedes as fast as you learn. You will get better, certainly, but your expectations will grow as well, revealing more and more shortcomings. Fortunately, most of those shortcomings will only be noticeable by you. Keep up the good work! Tom
  23. Wuss! Real men age gracefully. Get your damn bifocals, just like me. Then get your optometrist to finagle your close prescription with a little extra magnification set for the distance you like to work close at, just like me. Get a set of single vision glasses with just that prescription for shop work, make sure they are safety glass, not plastic so they don't scratch so bad (grinders and abrasives, remember!) and be careful walking around with them on since you can't see the floor well. Wear your special glasses with the Optivisor and life will be much better. Then say the Bladesmith's Forum Creed three times, perform an act of contrition, and go forth and sin no more... Tom
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