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New hawk, sort of a half WIP, picture heavy


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I covered this in that other thread about fancy hawk handles, but I was already taking pics, so here you go.

 

Draw a centerline, and draw a stop where you want the end of the star to go. Do this on both sides of the handle. The stars aren't identical, but nobody will ever notice that since they can't see both sides at once.  They WILL notice if they aren't the same height on the handle, though, since they can see the tips from the back.

 

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Make the initial cuts with the exacto knife on one of the long points. This is your anchor.  Once you have that one point inlaid, it will hold the star still enough to scribe around the rest.

 

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Smoke the inlay over a candle to show the high spots that need removing.

 

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If it's not soot stained, do not remove it!

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It's also important to note the color will change a bit over time.  It will get slightly darker, both from continued oxidation in the stain and from the fact that linseed oil yellows as it ages.  This

First I went back to the vise, removed the dye with acetone, and went over the whole inlay with a smooth chasing chisel to drive the silver into all the undercuts and barbs, followed by the ball end o

It's unfortunate that you can't watch the process of staining in real time.  But I work alone and need both hands, so that's that.     The process is simple.  Take a good paper towel or lint

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Once it's pretty much flush with the wood and level on the back so there's no deeper pockets (if there's a deep spot in the middle the ends of the long points will raise up when you nail it on!), nail that sucker on. Adjust the outer points by gently hammering them down with a small hammer and file it truly flush. 

 

Fitted:

 

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Nailed:

 

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Flush. 

 

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That's it for today.  I'll do the other one tomorrow, and maybe some other stuff.  I might take more pics of making the nails, if anyone's interested.  It's much easier than making an iron nail.

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13 hours ago, Alan Longmire said:

I might take more pics of making the nails, if anyone's interested.

Yes please. I have wondered how it’s done.

"The way we win matters" (Ender Wiggins) Orson Scott Card

 

Nos, qui libertate donati sumus, nes cimus quid constet.

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And here was today.  Same as yesterday for the inlay sequence, but I took more pics anyway.  These show the sequence of outlining and fill removal better than yesterday, I think.

 

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And the skew chisel.

 

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You may notice the star has been annealed.  The smaller points were not wanting to seat properly, so in a flash of inspiration I annealed the star.  Note to self: do not do this after you've inlet the thing.  It got a bit too hot and drooped. :ph34r:  I had to put it back in the swage block and then use the inlet itself as a form to gently hammer it back to shape, then anneal again (more carefully!) before starting on the nails.

 

First we need a hole for the nail. How big?  The silver wire is 18 gauge, or 0.040 inches/1.02mm. 

 

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To pass through the inlay without binding, we need a 0.040 bit.  But, to ensure the nail sticks firmly in the wood, we need a slightly undersized hole. The silver is way too soft to drive into maple, so it needs a pilot hole. Here's my solution.   Note also the tip of that countersink at top left.

 

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To ensure concentric holes, first drill through the silver and into the wood without stopping using the #65 bit. Hand drill only! The inlay tends to lift out when the bit breaks through the back of the silver, and a power drill would chew out the crisp edges of the inlet before you could stop, assuming you didn't break the bit beforehand.

 

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Small hole:

 

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Countersunk:

 

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Only after you get this far do you use the larger bit. If you are aggressive with the countersink, you may not even need it, but check. If the hole is smaller than the wire, the nail will bind and bend before seating.

 

 

 

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Now to make silver nails.  The tricky bit is that you hold the tip of the wire in the inner cone of a propane torch flame until it melts and balls up on itself.  The instant that ball forms, you have to get it out of the flame or it will drop off.  Quench the ball end, especially if you're holding the wire in your bare fingers.  This does anneal it, but it's cheap insurance against the end dropping off.  Apologies for the blurry picture, this was the best of three attempts.  

 

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The blob on the wire:

 

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Now check how deep your pilot hole is and cut the wire just a bit shorter than the hole is deep.

 

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Slip it into your nail header.  This is case-hardened wrought, but it's lasted 20 years so I think it's okay.  Three holes for three wire sizes, countersunk with the exact same tool I used on the inlays.

 

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Flatten the ball into the countersink with a small ball-peen hammer.  If the ball is big enough you won't need the ball peen end.

 

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This work-hardens the head. The end of the shank will be visible on the other side of the header. Now's the time to file a point on it if you want one.

 

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Head with flare to fill the countersunk hole on the inlay.

 

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Installed.

 

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And with nail #3. Nail #2 stuck in the hole and bent. You get one chance to straighten and retry. If it bends again, toss it in the scrap tin and make another one.

 

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Don't try to drive the nail further than it wants to go, or it will be visible by the dents when you file it flush, like what happened with the band.

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Before you file flush, make sure all the points of the star are as far into the inlet as they'll go. Gentle hammering with a chasing hammer is okay, but the chasing burnisher used to smear the silver to fit the inlets back when I was inlaying silver into the iron head is better.  It's more accurate and the force is concentrated.

 

The burnisher, driven with a small chasing hammer.

 

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The inlay after burnishing down the points.

 

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File flush and sand as usual.  And one thing I didn't show on the other inlay, but since I'm sharing so many little tricks as they occur to me, this is a biggie when it comes to clean inlays in wood: After you've filed and sanded flush, dampen the wood around the inlay.  Not a lot, but a few drops on the surface.  This expands the wood, closing any small gaps.  I'll do that to the whole handle prior to staining it, but there's a different reason for that.

 

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Yeah, I hit that nail a little too hard.   A bit more filing and sanding and it'll disappear.

 

Next week: simple wire inlay!  Hopefully!  It was NOT working for me this afternoon.  We shall see.

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I think this is an awesome thread.

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“So I'm lightin' out for the territory, ahead of the scared and the weak and the mean spirited, because Aunt Sally is fixin’ to adopt me and civilize me, and I can't stand it. I've been there before.”

The only bad experience is the one from which you learn nothing.  

 

Josh

http://www.dosgatosdesignsllc.com/#!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdJMFMqnbLYqv965xd64vYg

J.States Bladesmith | Facebook

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Another weekend, another photo dump of the day's activities.  When lat we saw this, I had begun the process of wire inlay, and mentioned it was not playing along.  Today, victory was achieved!  Sort of, anyway...

 

So what is wire inlay?  It's not wire.  It's thin strips of sheet stock.  This is 0.018" / 24ga sterling silver. Just snip it off the sheet with shears.

 

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it'll be coiled up and corkscrewed, but that just makes it easier to anneal the first time.

 

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Anneal, then unroll it and file one edge sharp.  This is the side that will go into the wood.

 

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While you're at it, file the ends to a point as well.  I'll talk about that more later, and you'll see why.

 

Now, what tools do we need?  I use an Exacto knife and a couple of chisels I made from hacksaw blade chunks.  I've seen guys grind screwdrivers down, use a sort of graver-like thing, and all sorts of variations on a short-bladed homemade Exacto.  I made these chisls to do the inlay work on the Meriwether Lewis replica from a few years back.  It had a simple pattern of an even sine wave running all the way down the handle.  It is very hard to freehand an even sine wave, so I cut a bit of hacksaw blade and forged it to a half-round and sharpened it.  It wasn't quite a complete half-circle, so a made another one with the same radius, but with a much narrower edge.  

 

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Here's the Lewis hawk repro showing the long inlays.  At the time I did not know it was attributed to the same guy who inspired this one!

 

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So how do you use the chisels?  You just drive 'em into the handle, straight in, as far as they'll go.  I wanted a sort of scrolling wave here, so I used the narrow chisel more than the quarter-round.  I did draw it with a pencil to give some guidance, but I didn't follow it exactly. Just hammer in the chisels and clean up with the Exacto. Try not to snap the tip off of the Exacto blade, if you do you have to dig it out and that is no fun.  Between that and the silver refusing to follow the curves last week, that's where I left it.

 

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And of course I forgot to get pics of the inlet before I started trying to force the wire into the slots.  

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That silver fought me every step of the way.  I ended up annealing it at least four different times during the inlay process to get it to conform to the curves, both horizontal and vertical, as it also has to bend to match the handle contour.  Annealed silver is great for bending, but I want this to be half-hard so it stays in by spring tension as well as friction from being driven into the groove.  This exercise took about 2.5 hours, using small round-jaw jewelers pliers, my smallest chasing hammer, and a nonstop string of foul language, as every time I got the lower end set, moving up the scroll caused what I'd already done to pop out.  But when I changed the direction I was working, i.e. started at the tip of the scroll and worked back towards the mouthpiece, it suddenly snapped into place in a matter of minutes.

 

Here, the tip  is set and I'm fighting with the third and first bends, in order of size. 

 

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Here I have wet the upper end, locking it in place, while I massage the stubborn bits closer to the lower end.

 

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It's in!  And wetted to lock it in place.  Remember that from last week?  This is where that trick was invented hundreds of years ago.  Note the sharened lower end blends with the mouthpiece, while the not-sharp upper end looks rather abrupt.  That's because the sharp bit broke off.  <_<

 

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Let it dry, then CAREFULLY file it flush, checking every  stroke to see it you're pulling something loose.

 

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But we're not quite done...

 

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That line splits the curves up the middle to the tip.  Why?  Accent dots!  These are just headless nails from the same 18 gauge / 0.040" silver wire I used to make the nails for the other inlays.

 

Drill holes using the small bit from before:

 

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Sharpen the end of the wire with three or four file strokes, and snip it off slightly longer than the holes are deep, and gently drive it in.

 

Two down:

 

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Last one started:

 

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And filed flush.

 

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Then we take the handle to nearly finished, sanded to 600, steel wooled to standard #0000, and dewhiskered (wetted and quick-dried with the propane torch to raise the grain, then re-sanded and wooled.)  This ensures a truly smooth surface after finishing.  There are pics and descriptions of that in the thread about how I do a fancy hawk handle, so no pics here.

 

The more observant of you may be saying "But wait!  You haven't drilled the hole to connect the bowl to the smoke hole in the handle! "  And you're right!  That's the LAST thing I do before finishing the handle.  That's because every time I sand the handle it gets a little smaller, and the head thus moves a little further up the handle when driven home.  That's why you finish it to almost totally complete before you drill that hole.  

 

Drive the head as far as it'll go, and using the 3/16" bit the bowl is drilled with, start a hole through the leather gasket and into the handle.

 

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Now remove the head and drill out the hole. Trick #2:  The hole in the head is 3/16".  The hole in the handle is drilled out to 1/4".  This allows for the handle to move and still be smokable.

 

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I was then going to go ahead and stain it, but my prepared aqua fortis / ferric nitrate/ dilute nitric acid "killed" with iron had evaporated a bit too much, so I will be making a new batch over the next day or two.  It's always something, eh?

 

 

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So how do you make aqua fortis stain?  Take nitric acid, HNO3, and add that to 3 times the volume of distilled water or rainwater. Always Add Acid to water. If you add water to acid, depending on the acid, it could blow all over the place.  Then, add iron until it won't dissolve any more.  Luckily I had a jug of diluted and partially killed acid sitting around.  I scored a gallon of straight nitric in 2000, back when you could buy things like that at any industrial supply.  These days you can sometimes find small amounts at compounding pharmacies, but you'll end up on a watch list.  Turns out there are many nefarious things one can do with strong nitric acid.  Another win for the terrorists, sigh...  But I digress.  I poured a pint of diluted, half-killed acid into the old jar, neglecting to rinse it out first, then started adding iron in the form of steel wool.  Fine iron dissolves much faster than bigger pieces. 

 

Here's the jar with the fresh acid.  It's muddy yellow because I didn't rinse the sediment out.  Otherwise it would be a clear yellow.

 

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There's abit of steel wool working in there, but you can't see it.  Here it is.

 

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If you choose to do this, do it outside with a good crossbreeze, and use heat-resistant containers.  Glass or stoneware only.  It gets HOT while it's working.  It will boil, and can boil over if you add too much iron at once.

 

It also produces a dark yellow smoke.

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That's not a smudge on the wall, that's nitric oxide gas.  This is the main reason you do this outdoors.  It's not the fun nitrogen oxide, this one will rot your lungs.  

 

This was yesterday afternoon.  I added wool until it seemed like it wasn't taking any more, covered it loosely and left it overnight.

 

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This morning I added another roll of #0000 steel wool and let it sit for a couple of hours.  It did the trick, no heat and it hadn't eaten more than a quarter of the wool.

 

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It also turned black, which is a good sign.  Now, to filter out the remaining wool and as much sediment as I can.  Several layers of cheesecloth, another vessel, a funnel for the second filtration, and, of course, gloves.  This won't burn you, but it will turn you dark orange for a week or so.  

 

 

 

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I poured the jar contents through four layers of cloth into the basin, rinsed the goo still in the jar with sodium carbonate to completely kill it, then rinsed the jar so I can see how it's progressing.  Here it is after double filtration:

 

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The cloth doesn't get the finest sediment out.  I learned long ago not to worry about that.  Coffee filters clog immediately, and so aren't worth it.  Thicker cloth is a little better, but that wastes a lot of the acid.  Instead, I just get the big stuff out and let it sit.  Here it is after sitting for about three hours:

 

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Tomorrow it should be mostly clear with a layer of orange-brown goo in the bottom.  I could siphon off the clear stuff, but instead I just don't stir or shake the jar from here until it's gone.

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Well, it didn't turn as clear as I was expecting, but it looked ready to use, so I did a test piece.  One should always do a test piece with this stuff, different woods react very differently.  If possible, use scrap from the actual object you want to stain.  In this case, this is the top 1/4" of the handle where I cut it off to get a flat square top.

 

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That's the color I'm after, so on we go!  The beauty of this or any other finish is determined by the surface quality prior to application.  This handle was sanded to 600 grit, dewhiskered, and burnished with ordinary and Liburon brand #0000 steel wool.  On maple as hard as this, that leaves a glass-smooth shiny finish  before applying the stain.

 

Why two grades of wool?

 

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That's ordinary hardware store #0000 on the bottom, Liburon on top.  It should be graded as #00000, and it will polish things to a mirror sheen.

 

Here's the handle prior to stain application:

 

h146.jpg

 

I did a shot in the sun to really make the grain pop.

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It's unfortunate that you can't watch the process of staining in real time.  But I work alone and need both hands, so that's that.  

 

The process is simple.  Take a good paper towel or lint-free cotton cloth, roll it up into a pad.  I use a single sheet of paper towel folded in half and rolled into a pad shortways.  Dip just the very tip in the acid, then quickly wipe it as evenly as you can onto the handle.  At this point the stain darkens the wood about like water would.  Make sure you didn't miss any spots, and then use the other end of the paper towel to wipe off any heavy drips.

 

Then, IMMEDIATELY start going over it with a heat source.  A heat gun is great if you've got it preheated, I use a propane torch with a flame spreader tip, and in the old days they used either a red-hot iron plate or just held it over a forge or other clean fire.  Do not let the stain dry in the wood.  This will turn it too dark.  Use heat as soon as you're sure you've got the handle (or gunstock, or whatever you're staining) evenly coated.

 

After a second or so in the heat, the wood will bloom a beautiful reddish brown on maple, darker on ash. Oak will turn black.  Keep the handle moving in the heat, taking care not to char the wood.  Once the entire thing has turned dark, touch up and spots you missed with a quick touch of the paper towel and heat immediately.  If it's not dark enough for you, repeat the procedure. 

 

If you did your preparation properly and raised the grain enough prior to staining, it'll look like this:

 

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The grain will be a little fuzzy, how much depends on how many times you dewhiskered prior to staining. Now, hit it with the 600 grit again, followed by the steel wool.  Burnish it with the wool like you're trying to burn a hole in it.  Get it glossy and smooth as glass. It'll then look like this:

 

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Now it's ready for the finish. Oil finishes are the best for making the grain really pop. You can use any oil finish, or even varnish. You could, if you wanted, even use shellac.  This stain is a chemical reaction, it's not a pigment. You can't make it run or smear.  I use good old boiled linseed oil.  The hardware store kind is fine, but I usually use Tried and True brand varnish oil.  This is just boiled linseed oil that is nontoxic.  It doesn't use heavy metal driers, in other words.  Add a VERY thin coat, and rub it in with your bare hands until there's no excess. This polymerizes the oil and really adds gloss.

 

See?

 

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This stuff looks like tiger eye stone in person, the chatoyance is amazing.  Even a fly liked it (look to the right of the star).

 

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Now we let that dry for a week and repeat the oil application.  The full process takes about a month to do right.  

 

 

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It's also important to note the color will change a bit over time.  It will get slightly darker, both from continued oxidation in the stain and from the fact that linseed oil yellows as it ages.  This is exactly why I use this process instead of dyes and tung oil.  It's fun to observe, and, as I often say, if you want something to have the feel of an antique, you have to make it with the same methods and tools.  That includes finishes.  Not all of these were stained with aquafortis, especially the ones with carving, since it doesn't do the grain any favors.  The fanciest carved longrifles and hawks were often finished with violin varnish stained red with Dragon's Blood resin or other vegetable stains.  And that's a whole other direction.

 

In the next couple of weeks I'll add the head.  I do this on a wet coat of linseed oil, because it will penetrate the leather gasket in the eye and, when cured, act like a glue.  It's not string enough to resist a determined attempt to remove, but for ordinary use it's great, since it's flexible and matches the movement of the wood.

 

I hope y'all have enjoyed watching this.  Now I'm off to reconfigure the shop for folding knives.

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A wonderful journey. Thanks for taking us along

 

“So I'm lightin' out for the territory, ahead of the scared and the weak and the mean spirited, because Aunt Sally is fixin’ to adopt me and civilize me, and I can't stand it. I've been there before.”

The only bad experience is the one from which you learn nothing.  

 

Josh

http://www.dosgatosdesignsllc.com/#!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdJMFMqnbLYqv965xd64vYg

J.States Bladesmith | Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/dos.gatos.71

https://www.etsy.com/shop/JStatesBladesmith

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Thanks Alan. I’ve really enjoyed following this thread and learned a lot.

 

On 7/4/2022 at 5:48 PM, Alan Longmire said:

The fanciest carved longrifles and hawks were often finished with violin varnish stained red with Dragon's Blood resin or other vegetable stains.  And that's a whole other direction.


If you get the time and inclination at some stage, could you perhaps go into this (maybe in another thread) as it sounds very interesting too.

 

Thanks,

C

"The way we win matters" (Ender Wiggins) Orson Scott Card

 

Nos, qui libertate donati sumus, nes cimus quid constet.

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Thank you so much for sharing this process.  I have a strong interest in tomahawks and this provides every detail of anything I could ever hope to accomplish in making one myself.

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