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Everything posted by tsterling

  1. Another of my signature “Knapped Steel” knives. I had so much fun playing with moose antler and potassium permanganate from a previous non-knife-related moose antler adventure, I decided to make a knife handle. To see that previous "adventure" and a little more in-depth discussion of potassium permanganate as an antler coloring, go here: Making a Kagamibuta Netsuke Bowl Part 4 Above is the knife I “carved” prior to heat treatment. I use a scan like this to design (on paper) a pleasing shaped handle. Here is the moose antler handle, completely fabricated and ready to color in a hot potassium permanganate bath. Here is the antler handle after the first hot bath of potassium permanganate. I’ll remove most of the color at this stage, and do repeated baths. Lather, rinse, repeat as necessary. And, above, the results of the last trip in the hot potassium permanganate bath. I’ll remove more of this for the final coloring of the handle, ready to engrave some petroglyphs on. I call this “engraving” rather than scrimshaw. Scrimshawing doesn’t remove material from the surface of the ivory/antler or whatever material is being used, while engraving does. Hence the difference. Anyway, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. The handle colored, and ready to permanently install the blade (using an ancient Native American remedy called ee-pox-ee). Above, I’ve engraved the lines for my petroglyphs, and “painted” concentrated potassium permanganate into the grooves. I use a very tiny synthetic artist’s paintbrush for this, and will repeat “filling the ditches” with the potassium permanganate solution several times to build up the depth of color I want. By the way, I also use a tiny bit of TSP (tri-sodium phosphate, or washing soda) in the solution as a wetting agent. It seems to help. In the sun petroglyph above, you can see some of the purple potassium permanganate in the grooves, before it has oxidized the antler. A few minutes later, and the color will be dark brown. I also cheated a bit, and the final application is a little brown ink. Above is the final appearance of the petroglyphs after a vigorous application of steel wool to smooth everything out. Available soon at BladeGallery.com Thanks for Looking!
  2. Here's mine: http://sterlingsculptures.com/wp/
  3. I highly recommend Ray Cover (just south of St Louis). I took his intermediate class a couple of years back, and he really jumped up my skills. He gives both multi-person classes and individual instruction. Well worth it! Not only is he an excellent engraver, but was a professional teacher and actually has good teaching skills! http://rcoverengraving.com Best of luck! Tom
  4. Here are 4 tutorials concerning making tiny scrapers for use in netsuke carving. The first three are by Clive Hallam, an internationally recognized netsuke carver. They will also help you smooth the relieved background areas on your handle. You can use the same techniques to make different shaped scrapers for difficult areas. 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 a little different approach by me for use on metal, but also works on bone/antler/ivory and hard woods: http://followingtheironbrush.org/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=1472
  5. Hi Dave, I just figured out how to salvage your grind-through - enlarge the opening until you get back to solid metal, cut a thick copper piece to fit the football shaped opening, peen it over on both sides just like a rivet, then carve faces into the copper on both sides. Should look pretty cool. Then delete these posts and claim you intended that all along...
  6. Hi Marat and Martin, Thanks. I hope the tutorial is helpful to your knifemaking! Tom
  7. Most excellent, Jim! I especially like the little sheath/box thingy - gives it a particularly nice presentation. It's got everything that says elegant, subtle, and, well, just Kelso. Tom
  8. If it is not obviously fossil ivory to even the most casual of observers (meaning very brown or black areas), then you run the chance of confiscation, lots of hassle trying to get it back, and perhaps being pilfered before the onerous process is complete. And since it is walrus, you are dealing with marine stuff, not just mammoth ivory. Customs and Fish/Game seem to be "shoot first and ask questions later" about ivory shipments. If I really wanted this commission (and I would not), then I would contact Boone Trading Co and get some documented mammoth ivory instead. They are pretty good about helping you select the ivory piece(s) you need. They may also be helpful about your paperwork questions. Save the walrus for in-country sale. Best of luck, keep the aspirin handy. Tom
  9. Slim, pointy and very pretty! I vote for for the texture. Tom
  10. I've done it before, and got some pretty interesting pattern. You will get an etched pattern with pattern welded single-type steel in the same manner as welded cable. The "melted" welds etch at a different rate than the clean, unwelded steel. Of course, your mileage might vary. As Alan said, it may depend on the composition of the bandsaw steel. Oh, and don't try this with the bimetal blades. I've heard they don't weld. One way to get the pattern to be more pronounced after etching is to cold blue (gun blue) the blade, followed by light sanding with really fine paper on a hard backing, leaving the high spots shiny and the low spots dark. You will need to etch long enough to get enough variation in surface height. Low count damascus will look the best. Don't fold too many times or the pattern will be too fine (tiny) to be nicely visible. Go ahead and try it. It's just a broken bandsaw blade! Good luck, and let us see a picture when you're done. Tom
  11. I use potassium permanganate. Here's a link to a tutorial: http://www.thecarvingpath.net/forum/index.php?/topic/800-potassium-permanganate-on-antler/
  12. Try asking your question: http://thearbalistguild.forumotion.com They have lots of information, lots of folks make their own crossbows, and lots of ideas (some good, some bad...) for "embellishment." Tom
  13. Spear. Too many knives make Geoff a dull boy... Google "Assegai," add a little steampunk, make a Serge-style copper bolster-ferrule-thingy and wow us all. Oh, and add a skull crusher doodad on the butt end. Baseball stitched rawhide wrap at the balance point. Call it a blade smith medicine lance. Tom
  14. Thanks, guys, I'm really stoked by your kind words to this thing! Owen, yes, the reliquary case is mainly to keep the damn thing from getting out, but it also keeps it quiet, since it keeps insisting it needs more cool fluff added. Tom
  15. Thanks, Mark, but I think I'm going to draw the line at making my own steel. That's just too far off the deep end, even for me... Tom
  16. Alan, you replied within 5 minutes of this post? Dude, we need to see about getting you a life... So, the concept. Well, I was between major projects, desperately needing a new one. I was out of airspeed and ideas, and I was beginning to panic, so I fell back on my old standby - sitting on the couch and going through my file of inspirational photos and memory lists. So, I wandered over to YouTube on my TV, searched for forging or blacksmith or somesuch, and in a very roundabout way I stumbled across this: [/url] The basic idea sprang from that, because the simple twist he demonstrated looked just like a knife handle. So, I set out to make one. Of course, he made it look easy with that big chisel thingy, so I made one from a brick-cutting chisel (I think) that was laying around. Didn't work for squat. It's now back to being a brick-cutting chisel (I think). So I did it with a cold chisel on hot steel. Took way more heats than it should have, so I think I can do the same thing just by engraving deep lines next time. So, Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS), do what you know... Once that was done, and having recently seen some damn Viking thing Petr Florianek had just done so very well, bemoaning my fate and kicking myself for not coming up with that idea myself, Petrdoesit,whycan'tyou,hemakesitlooksofriggin'easy,whatthehelliswrongwithyou,hegetsallthegoodideas... Anyway, the little triangular pieces left on the ends of the twist started insisting they were dragons and helmeted Viking dudes, four each. I hate doing two of anything, so things just started going south from there... Once the dagger was done, it insisted it needed a stand, so I wrassled with the idea for that for several weeks, then tripped over this piece of brass bar rail that fell off the top of my tool chest with the rest of the metal odds, ends and offcuts that are too good to throw away. The bar rail began insisting that it deserved better, that I use it for something to do with the stand, and rest is history. Tom
  17. My latest major project, the Dragonslayer Reliquary (and The Project From Hell). I guess you can call it finished, but it turned into one of those projects where it became more abandoned than completed - it just kept insisting that I add another element, then another, then another and so forth... I seem to have a lot of those. Anyway, it's a fantasy integral poniard dagger, made from 1045 carbon steel, 15 inches overall length. The reliquary is fabricated from a brass rail from the bar in a famous hotel in Bellingham, WA, brass rod, boxwood, black walnut, desert ironwood, fossil ivory and steel with engraved runes. On the sculpted raw steel handle are four hand engraved and carved dragons and four Viking-ish helmeted dudes. Hope you like it. Thanks for looking! Tom
  18. Cool! Grampa's sawn-off straight razor Tom
  19. I sell a tutorial for a foolproof Celtic knotwork method for the princely sum of $10 for the advanced part, but the basic tutorial is absolutely free. Here's a link to the free part:http://www.handengravingforum.com/showthread.php?t=6047 Here's a link to an animated GIF of the basic method (the forum won't let me post the GIF directly) - http://www.sterlingsculptures.com/forumposts/celtic_plaitwork.gif This simple grid can be expanded in length or width, stretched or curved to fit just about anything. The advanced methods include Celtic cutwork and circles for some really elegant and versatile knotwork. Good luck! Tom
  20. Now you're talking, Paul! Looking pretty good Tom
  21. Above is the beginning of a practice helmeted viking to go on the rear ends of the dagger handle, again penciled in over white permanent marker.  Above are the engraved lines to replicate the shape on the handle.  Unlike the dragon head which was quite angular, the viking head needs a nice smooth, rounded area carved with carbide burs.  In the above two images you can see my paper laser transfer and the viking head after engraving in the lines. Again, since this carving is 5/8 of an inch long, I've kept everything pretty basic and simple. Above an image through the microscope, cold gun blued to provide a better photograph. I've been carving the top of the head with the small carbide bur.   More carving, excavating the face, mouth area and eyes. And the carving with the bur is completed.  Above, I've been working on the left side of the head (the right side of your screen) with the punch in the Lindsay Airgraver. You can see the dramatic difference between the smoother punched surface and the tool marks on the other side left by the burs.  And, above, the same with the cold gun blue for better visualization.  Above, the finished head. I've also gone back and re-cut all the lines to clean them up. I think this will work fine on the dagger. Only four more viking heads and four more dragon heads to carve. Sigh.........
  22. While it is beyond the scope of this tutorial, I decided to give you a look at a little more advanced engraving and carving. This is one of the things that you can be working towards after learning the basics. I'm not using the simple hammer and chisel graver we used in the tutorial, I'm using my pneumatic Lindsay Airgraver and stereo microscope for all of this engraving. Of course, with diligence and careful work, hammer and chisel engraving can accomplish the same thing.  Above is an image of the forward end of the dagger handle and a scrap piece of the 1045 square steel bar. I'm going to carve a dragon head on each of the four little triangular pieces at the forward end of the handle, and since I'm not entirely confident of the outcome, I'm going to do a practice piece on the scrap rather than my hard won dagger. I have already done the heat treatment on the dagger, but I think the handle is far enough away from the hardened area to not cause problems. I've carefully measured the triangles of the handle and marked the scrap bar to reproduce a similar area and volume, and marked it out with a sharp pencil. Incidentally, the length of this area is one inch, so a pretty small carving will result. Above, I've deeply engraved the penciled lines on the scrap bar, to closely resemble the matching area on the dagger handle. It has taken several passes with the graver to get this deep.  Above, I've drawn in a simple dragon's head with pencil, working hard not to overly complicate things. Under the stereo microscope, it's very easy to put too much detail that will be too small to see with the naked eye.  Above, I've carefully engraved all the lines  And here's a side view.  Above is a view through the microscope. I've begun carving away the area in front of the eyes, and the rear skull areas. I'm using my smallest round ball carbide bur. I've also removed the excess metal in front of the snout. I'll eventually use a "scribble" texture there, most likely.  Above a side view under the microscope. More carving, and I've excavated the nostrils. The carving process really is a continual refinement of the form, carving a little on one side, then turning and repositioning the metal in the vise to carve the corresponding part on the other side, just to keep things as symmetrical as I can. The old joke about carving an elephant really is what's happening here - I'm simply taking away anything that doesn't look like a dragon's head. You can see that the carving is making my carefully engraved lines vanish somewhat. It is especially noticeable around the eyes, which I've left standing proud of the surface. I will eventually go back in with a very small graver and re-cut all of the lines. Above, the carving using the carbide burs is finished.  Above is a view through the microscope. You can still see the tool marks from the tiny carving bur. Next I'll use a hardened steel punch in my Airgraver to cold forge (in engraving, also sometimes called sculpting or planishing) those away.  And, above, is the finished carving after forging/sculpting/planishing in raw steel color.  And, finally, finished with cold gun blue, directly from the punch.  And, above, after bluing and burnishing with a little 4/0 steel wool. I like a little sheen, but not a bright polish. A little note here, steel wool will burnish steel without removing the patina, but in my experience will remove patina on non-ferrous alloys of copper, silver, gold, shibuichi, and nickel.
  23. Here's a little more practical example of simple engraving on an actual knife. This is an integral misericorde/poniard kind of dagger thingy I'm working on, 15 inches overall length of forged square cross section 1045 steel bar, with hand filed finish on the pommel and blade.  As in the example above, I've engraved two lines on each face of the diamond cross section blade. The white stuff you see on the blade is white permanent marker. This stuff dulls the shine on steel, can be drawn on with a pencil, and helps me see my laser printer transfers better. I've used 4 laser printer transfers here, one for each of the four faces so they all will look exactly the same. By the way, I'm doing the engraving, carving and texturing of the blade portion BEFORE heat treating the blade. Even though for this kind of dagger I'll only be hardening about two thirds of the blade, the rapid cooling during the quench close to the engraved/carved area will still affect the hardness somewhat. I don't have a requirement to make things harder than they need to be...  Above, I've used one of my medium sized carbide round burs to carefully carve down into the inner part of the engraved lines, paying attention to cutting in the "safe" direction and not touching the outside parts of the engraved line.   Above I used a larger carbide bur to carve away the rest of the inside, and faired the carving out down to the bottom of the hollow ricasso separating the handle from the blade.  Another view of the carving process. Above, I've used my smallest carbide bur to "scribble" texture the carved out parts. I've stopped about halfway because I'm going to carve something on the four little flutes to the left of the hollow ricasso, and I'll finish the texturing later.  Above is the finished texturing in raw steel color.  And here is the finished version after a little cold gun blue, looking more like it will when finished after heat treating.
  24. You're welcome, Peter! And if, in your sword research you should run across how the ancients approached engraving, please let us know. Maybe old engraving tools are buried in the museum basements of Europe? And thanks to all of you for your kind words. I hope this thing works! Tom
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