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Koftgari technique


Jesse Frank

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Tried it, couldn't get it to work very well.

Very PITA.

Since then, I got some advice, and will try it again soon.

Here's the advice I got:

"

Make a sharp, single edged chisel with a 45 deg blade angle, about 3/8" wide. Cut your cross hatching at such an angle that the resulting burr points straight up (the reason for the 45 deg blade angle), very close together. Cut 2 sets of hatching rows -- for instance 2 diagonal (left/right) so you have one layer like this ////////, one like this \\\\\\\\. I sometimes add a third like this |||||||||||.

 

Draw out pure silver wire very thin and anneal it. Sterling does not work as well. .999 silver works the best because its so soft. Bend your wire into the pattern you want and lightly tap it onto the keying, just enough to stick.

 

Do several pieces, then heat your iron/steel up to about 600F (blue) and gently peen the wire flat. If you flatten it too much the edges look crinkley (like Snoopy characters), but then thats kindof how the medieval examples look too. Quench and repeat. If done correctly, you can hammer on one end of a wire and yank the other end and it will break off before detaching.

"

Sounds like sound advice to me, and meshes with the rather vague descriptions of the technique that are out there, with additional clarity. Like doing the final planishing while it's at 600 degrees, that could be the secret solution.

 

Let me know if it works for you!

Jomsvikingar Raða Ja!

http://vikingswordsmith.com

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I got a quickey lesson in this from Gopilal bhanwarlal of India.

 

He uses 24K gold and fine silver.......soft. The gold he uses is about two human hairs in thickness.

 

I think he cuts the crosshatch with a scalpel like tool (that is how he showed me) and when I asked about a chisle he said "no". The scratches go in two directions,three is better.

The wire is bent to shape as you go and forced to the steel with a steel punch with rounded end (using a sewing machine action). Then the entire surface is burnished with a polished agate stone on a stick. He pushes hard to smooth out the wire, work it into place and fold down the steel cross-hatch.

 

no heat that I know of.

 

The entire piece is then blued (chemically or with a salt tank).so I guess there is heat then.

 

I have seen his work and sold some of his pieces for him and let me tell ya.......he is good at this.

 

Ric Furrer

  • Like 2

Richard Furrer

Door County Forgeworks

Sturgeon Bay, WI

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My teacher used to have us do it (when we tried it) with nitric acid. The nitric eats at a 45 degree angle (or at least that's the theory) and then the inlaying is made a lot easier.

 

Been waiting to finish building a new space where I can play with acids again so maybe will have some stuff related to it in the future.

www.eldayn.com

 

I started with nothing, funnily enough I still have most of it...

 

Rósta að, maðr!

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I have never tried this! That said, this is what I recall about the technique. A lot of books emphasize using acid to cut a channel for the wire. Correctly done it will undercut as the depth of the etch increases providing one with mechanical means of holding the wire in, because the bottom of the groove is wider than the top. The problem with using acid is that in order to get it to cut the way that you want the, concentration has to be just right and getting that right can be downright frustrating. The other way to do it is to cut a channel with a tool, graver, chisel, whatever, and then to go back over the channel and widen the bottom. The people who do this kind of work seem to prefer the later method if that tells you anything. I suppose it could be a lot more work to coat the piece with a resist, scratch out your pattern, then plunk the thing into the acid only to find out that it was too strong and widened all of the lines that you had drawn in so finely. Might as well just screw it up chiseling on it, then when you have to throw it away and start over you don't have a lot of work into it already. Also, if the matterial that you were trying to etch changed, even slightly, like the difference between wrought iron and mild steel, then the acid would no longer cut the same way.

“All work is empty save when there is love, for work is love made visible.” Kahlil Gibran

"It is easier to fight for one's principles than to live up to them." - Alfred Adler

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Bruce, that works for regular wire inlay, but this looks more like what I've always called "damasceneing." I've seen a few 17th-18th century Italian pistols that had the barrels decorated this way. If it's not done well, it looks like crap warmed over, and I suspect there's a mighty steep learning curve before one passes the crap threshold! :lol: That guy who did the candlesticks knew what he was doing. I don't. I therefore refrain from further comment. ;)

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I just can't see how you would be able to undercut the channel with the wires so close together

 

I re-scaled and measured some of the spacing on the hilts in "Swords of the Viking Age" - they were often cutting channels 2 per mm!

Fortunately for you and me, they found magnifying lenses in a Viking context - two per mm is getting pretty small, even with good eyesight. The plus side, small channels cut pretty fast.

The sax hilt I recently posted has about 0.8 mm spacing, not small enough.

Jomsvikingar Raða Ja!

http://vikingswordsmith.com

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 11 months later...

hi

i m a koftgari artist ,its really not an easy task to do the job it really very good experiece to perform fine quality

actually i m plannin to do work abroad but need someone wo can assist me there and i can to teach this art if anyone interested in this art

"Art is to me the glorification of the human spirit, and as such it is the cultural documentation of the time in which it is produced."

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hi

i can show u but its difficult to explain orally coz it have many process, it can be undertsand practically

and i can teach to those people who are interestin in this art and i m plannin to open an koftgari institute in abroad if anybody assist in my plan or can help me

 

it can become a hobby for people

 

i will post my pics doin the work in forum soon

 

contact me if anyone interested

 

sandeep

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please, anything you can throw our way would be great!

 

What kind of chisels do you use, what angle is it sharpeneed at?

 

Do you cross hatch, or do straight lines and reverse directions?

 

What thickness metal do you use to inlay, and how often do you anneal, if at all?

 

Thanks!

"Art is to me the glorification of the human spirit, and as such it is the cultural documentation of the time in which it is produced."

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  • 8 months later...

Hello to all, this is my first post on this forum!

 

Concerning koftgari, there is a very good book, "Metal Techniques for Craftsmen" by Oppi Untracht, that has pictures of koftgari inlay.

 

Concerning viking wire decorated pommels; I have been experimenting with various approaches, and I have found that with a modified koftgari, or as I was taught it, "overlay" technique one can key the surface much more quickly than with a close inlay technique. If all goes well, it gets a tedious job done much sooner. However, with inlay the wire will (almost) always stay put, whereas with overlay you can be halfway through and either one of the wires will spring out, or I'll hit a patch where it just won't stick, which causes me to use all the words I wasn't taught at school! Of course, this is more a deficiency on my part than on the part of the technique, but I think there may also be an upper limit of wire thickness for koftgari.

 

Which leads me to a question; Is there anybody who can tell me what size or range of sizes of wire was used on viking pommels? I am currently using .7 mm (twisted together making perhaps 1.4mm?).

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Dan P.

 

you may want to check the Carving Path forum.just started a new metal working section that will have tutorials by Ford Hallum and Jim Kelso.check the tutorial section for those already posted.

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