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carving steel


robert weinstock

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I have a little time right now, so I thought I'd do a little tutorial on carving.

This first shot is of my basic layout on the bolster. I superglue the work down to a block of steel to make it easy to hold in my gravers block. This usually works pretty well, although sometimes the work lets go before I'm ready for it. ;) The holes are for screws to hold the bolster to the liner of the knife.

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Now, with mostly flat and round tools of various sizes ranging in width from about .010" (about 1/4 mm.) up to about .150" (about 3mm.) I model the surface of the ornament. I'm still usung my fulcrum tool (I don't know what else to call it, but I've talked about it before under tools and materials). At this point I'm still only removing metal.

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At this point, I've started to clean up the background using files. I have many riffle files, some of which I made from staight jeweler's files. They can be heated and bent by pushing against a peice of hardwood. If needed, they can be shaped with files as well. Then re-heat treated.

Eventually, the background is stoned, and then finished using emery cut in thin strips and held on a peice of wood shaped for the purpose.

In this photo, I've started using punches to clean up the depths of the carving. The punches resemble curved and straight chisels, but the edge is dull. They're good for cleaning up the bottom of a groove.

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At this point, I've finshed the backgroud. I do this first, because I go right up against the carved areas with the stones, and emery, and if I had already done the chasing (hammer and punches), I would have to go back and redo a lot of it. I usually do have to anyway.

Once I've finished the background, I then go in with hammer and punches and chase the entire surface of the ornament. I use the punches to texture the surface, but also to refine the shape. There are some things I can only do with a hammer and punch.

These punches are mostly like plannishing punches, but other types are used as well. I have several hundred punches that I've mostly made myself, but have found some at fleamarkets as well. They're usually pretty cheap. I will buy punches whenever I can, even if they aren't shapes I can use, because they can easily be altered. It's easier to alter an already made punch than to start from a peice of square rod, but I do make them constantly for various uses.

At this point, the peice is basically done, ecept that it's damascus steel, so it needs to be etched.

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Thank You!

 

This was very interesting to read about.  You did a nice presentation here.

 

For my non metal vernacular needs, what is stoning and plannishing?

 

Janel

Hi Janel and thanks. By stoning, I meant using stone to polish the surface. Stones are available in various cutting grades. Some are identical to the stones you use to sharpen your tools like india and arkansas stones. They come in various shapes and sizes, and even come in a form like a pencil that can be shaped for whatever purpose you chose.

Plannishing is a reference to the shape of punch I use. Plannishing punches are tipically slightly domed and can be perfectly smooth, or have a tooth to the surface, depending on the effect you are trying to acheive. A smooth punch can produce an almost polished surface. A textured punch will produce a dull surface.

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