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Everything posted by tsterling

  1. Thanks for the kind words, Josh. Glad you like it. B Finnigan, nice obsidian look. I find this style of grind habit forming, especially on art pieces. Have fun! Be sure to wear eye and substantial breathing protection gear - you'll find your eyes and nose get pretty close!
  2. I'm really enjoying this WIP, Serge. Thanks for taking the trouble to do it - an interesting little glimpse into the workings of your warped creative mind!
  3. tsterling


    You're welcome, Howie. By the way, I just noticed you're in Oak Harbor - I'm in Coupeville. Small world....
  4. Thanks, Owen and Dick, for the kind words. And as far as the time involved, Dick, you're correct. Then, of course, there's the rawhide sheath and the handmade chain and the clasp hardware - another couple of days. But if it was easy and quick, everyone would be doing it.... rather than just a bunch of crazy bladesmiths
  5. tsterling


    PMC is sintered metal powder (.999 fine silver in the case of silver PMC), and is only about 80% of the density of fully melted silver, somewhat porous, and in my experience, a bit on the brittle side. It's fine for jewelry items, and maybe handle inlays or menuki, but I wouldn't want to use it for a high stress area like a bolster. Tom
  6. Wow, I've always wanted to be a bad influence! Glad you like it, guys. Show us what you come up with, Shawn! If you have questions, just ask.
  7. Thanks for the kind words, guys! Glad you like the tiny thing.
  8. Pretty decent try, Dave, especially considering you chose one of the most recalcitrant woods for carving. I hate the stuff, and I'm allergic to the dust - wear a GOOD dust mask. A few suggestions: Clive Hallam, one of the world's top netsuke carvers, has produced an excellent tutorial on how to make some very effective little knives (I think of them more as scrapers). If you were to scale them up to around 3/16 inch stock, I think they would work very well for your purpose. Here's a link to the first of his three tutorials on Following the Iron Brush forum: http://followingtheironbrush.org/viewtopic.php?f=57&t=1361 I like to rough out my carvings with power tools and burrs (not having Jake's even temper and patience ). Then I clean up the edges with blades and scrapers. If you follow a few simple rules, burrs can help speed things up. For what it's worth, here's a link to a free eBook on my web site that explains everything I know about power carving: http://www.sterlingsculptures.com/Resources_folder/Netsuke_Book_folder/Carving_Netsuke.htm And finally, a little rule of thumb I try to follow: Highly figured woods and complex carved designs generally clash, especially something like Celtic ribbons. I think you'll find this style of carving looks best on tight grained but plain hardwoods. So, carving goes on plain woods; pretty and highly figured woods stand on their own. Hope this helps! Keep up the good work. Tom
  9. Just finished this little fella, a "Knapped Steel" 1080 steel neck knife, with a rawhide neck sheath, handmade antiqued copper chain, hand forged hardware, and a little hand forged copper snake fetish, topped by an engraved copper buttcap. The entire knife is a whopping 3 3/8 inches long (8.6 cms). Something of a fantasy work, since it doesn't really match any particular era or genre, sort of a "fusion of cultures." I've been taking pictures of my work as it progresses, sending my somewhat shut-in Dad a semi-daily email for his amusement. Thought this might amuse some of you as well. Cutting out the rough blank from a piece of 1/8" thick Admiral Steel 1075/1080 simple carbon steel Here's the blank blade and the piece of deer antler I've chosen for the handle. I'll use the thick end of the antler for the handle. Drilling the antler for the tang of the blade. Holding little bits of strange shaped deer antler for drilling is always a problem, as well as getting things lined up. I like to use a woodworking clamp, and sometimes have to get a little creative with shims and odd shaped pieces of wood to prop things up at odd angles. Little bits of leather can help, too. Whatever ends up working - flexibility is the key to tactical airpower... Above is the blade blank and the antler stub. I tend to redesign the blade as I go (drawn in red) since it's so difficult to visualize things when the antler and blade aren't together. Further refinement as I begin fitting the blade to the handle. I can begin to see how things are going to work together. Also, a very lovely smell of scorched antler as I burn the tang into place - not my favorite part of the process. It's time to begin shaping the blade for the "knapped steel" part, so I draw a "center" line. I need to shape the blade into a lens shaped cross section, in this case a longer taped on the bottom half, and shorter on the top. Clamped in the leg vise, I'll be using an angle grinder for rough shaping the lens-shaped cross section. Above is the right side ground to shape. Here's the blade properly shaped, ready to begin cutting the flake scars as if I'd knapped a stone blade. I'll carve the flake scars with a Foredom flex shaft grinder and a long drum sander. The drum sander is about a half inch in diameter, since I'm trying to simulate a small pressure flaked blade. I use larger sanding drums for bigger blades and simulating percussion knapping. I like the sand paper tube to extend slightly past the tip of the fixture, since I use the top edge a lot to refine the flake scars. I find I can get one side of the blade done with the top half of the sand paper tube, so when I begin carving the other side, I reverse the tube on the fixture. Above is the first flake carved in (also outlined in red for additional clarity). I like to extend the flake past the "center" line, and meet it with the opposing flake, alternating this as I carve opposing flakes down the blade. The first flake from another angle. I'm careful to bring the cutting edge just slightly past halfway down the thickness of the blade. When I carve a matching flake on the other (left) side of the blade, the cutting edge will end up meeting in the center, and slightly indented, creating a serrated steak knife kind of edge. Above is the opposing "short side" flake. Making these two meet without flat spots is where the end of the sandpaper tube comes in really handy, reaching all the little corners. Now I screw around with the very end of the blade - this will end up buried in the handle, but things will look and fit better with the blade tapering into the bolster area, rather than having a flat/square look, and ruining the illusion. Above, I've made it about halfway down the right side of the blade. Note how the matching flake scars meet, alternating past the "center" line. Real knapped blades seldom have flake scars meeting at the exact center, although I have seen knappers skilled enough to do that. All the flakes meeting neatly in the center makes for a very unnatural blade appearance, however. Here's the right side of the blade with all the flake scars carved in. Above are both sides of the blade finished. I've used gun blue to darken the steel, and rubbed it with fine steel wool, just to see how it will look when finished. Above are all of the components of the knife. I've done the final fitting of the blade into the handle, carved the handle to almost final shape, and rough shaped the copper buttcap. I turned a short tenon on the buttcap, and drilled the handle for it. I use tenons or screw pins so the buttcap is more secure on the handle when epoxied into place. With some sort of mechanical holding, I feel a bit more secure. Belt and suspenders, so to speak! The knife components from another angle. The handle components being epoxied together. Another place where a woodworking clamp is handy. After the epoxy cured, I shaped and engraved the copper buttcap. This knife is small enough that I could do the engraving with the buttcap on the knife. With longer knives, I have to shape and engrave the caps before they are installed on the knife, because the longer knives are more difficult to hold in my engraving vise. I do have to admit that I had to epoxy the buttcap on twice - I forgot that copper heats up so quickly and distributes heat so well that I melted the epoxy while shaping it...oops! Above, I'm working on the sheath. I've used regular veg-tanned leather to make the liner, glued up with contact cement. I drilled the holes in the drill press with a sharpened finishing nail as an awl. You can see the little piece of goat rawhide I'll use for the covering, and the copper rings for attaching the chain. Above is the finished knife, both sides. Well that's it for the photos. I forged a small snake for decorating the front of the sheath from a piece of thick copper ground wire. I used my blade forging hammers, which were a little large for that task. I need a nice small cross peen hammer for this kind of work, I'm thinking about changing a small ball peen into a tiny cross peen. I did use a trick to make the snake head. I intended to forge the front taper and leave an unforged blob for the head, but my hammers and not-so-sharp anvil edge weren't up to the task (it couldn't have been me, could it?). Instead, I forged an extra long taper and melted the tip into a blob for the head. I cheated, mea culpa............ Thanks for looking!
  10. Lose the lines - less is more. I think they will look out of place since there really aren't any other incised lines on the piece. Carving raised antennae would probably work here since everything else is rounded, curved and carved, but lines are probably better left out. However, I don't think the antennae are needed at all. I think your instincts are correct - I suggest you plan for "graceful degradation (my personal approach to life in general)" and leave the lines out. If you feel they're needed later, you can always put them in, assuming you don't quench the handle. I wouldn't quench the carving if I could avoid it - lots of dandy stress risers...... Lines would work if you were to engrave the ribs on the wings and the markings on the thorax and abdomen, giving the whole thing a different kind of unity, but then you would lose the look I think you're going for. This girl is looking awesome just as she is!
  11. Aha! Busted! I knew there was a carver hidden in you somewhere, Serge. You've finally been corrupted over to the dark side, now there's no hope for you. The next thing you know, you'll be engraving, and then you'll be shunned from polite society. Oh, I forgot, you're already a knifemaker, so you're prohibited from the polites already..... This looks really great - anxious to see her finished.
  12. Elegant, but businesslike. That little bit of forge finish really sets the tone. Good job! Tom
  13. Lovely lines, Jake! Waiting to see this bad boy finished. Looking at your handle and habaki raises the question of how you go about making these angled habaki (still a deep, dark mystery to me) and get the excellent fit between the blade, habaki and handle. How about a WIP on those things? On my knees........
  14. You're welcome, Josh. Hope it's useful.
  15. As I understand it, chrome tanned leather is corrosive to metal. Best to stick with rawhide or veg tanned or brain tanned.
  16. I never doubted for a moment that this one would move quickly! Good on you, Jake.
  17. Rawhide, with matching antler dangly on the front, forged copper hanger. Maybe an antler thistle if you want a Scottish theme, or just a Celtic knot. Good looking, pointy, and very Serge-ish. Elegant, yet primitive - I might have to try one of these. A pox on you for thinking this up first... And next time, make the handle holes a bit larger and forge in some copper rounds/rivets, leave them proud for a good grip. Or, glue in antler rounds. Now that I expend some brain energy, faces carved in the bumpy rivets, or a jewel set in each one; lots of potential here!
  18. Oh, yeah! That's a Serge knife, no doubt about it. Good one, Serge!
  19. Hi JB, Here's a tutorial I made several years ago. The first part is wrapping a handle - Rawhide handle wrap I've changed a few things nowadays - I dye the rawhide while it is still wet, and I no longer use wood for the sheath liner (I use regular veg tanned leather). It is done wet - rawhide is nature's shrink wrap. The holes don't stretch much, and I just punch the hole with a sharp nail, I don't use a leather punch that removes the little circle of material. Tom
  20. Good - I always try to be careful that client's expectations are realistic. Wrap away, and the cost for this advice is you have to post pictures! Looking forward to seeing what you come up with.
  21. The linseed oil finish is the least of your worries if this is intended to be a food safe knife - how is your client planning on cleaning food residues out of the nooks and crannies of rawhide, especially if you're going to do a paracord-style wrap with a thong? Rawhide comes from a dead thing, with little processing, unlike tanned leather. Add in poor cleanability, lots of nooks and crannies, rawhide can rot, etc. There's a reason professional kitchen and table cutlery is made of steel, wood or plastic with smooth surfaces. Perhaps a rethink by your client is in order if this is a steak knife that will receive regular use and cleaning? At least make him understand. Tom
  22. The natural rawhide is a pretty awful bleached white color, so I'd suggest some dye at least. The Fiebings oil dye can be thinned with rubbing alcohol for a lighter color. And I believe the "oil" dye doesn't actually have oil in it. Go figure... I use the Fiebings oil dye because I think the stuff will soak into solid glass! I'm not sure what you mean about linseed oil staining the steel - when I use linseed oil on my handles, I apply it to the steel, blade, handle and all, so everything looks the same. Of course, I would complete whatever treatment I was going to use on the steel before I applied the linseed oil. I figure the oil finish helps with the rust problem, and gives kind of a unifying look (wipe the excess oil off the steel). But most common solvents will remove any oil overage that you don't want on the steel.
  23. Thanks, Jake - we must have been typing simultaneously.
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