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Who Is Carving What?


Janel

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Guest ford hallam

Hi Tom,

 

the two wings you refer to were done, as you surmised, with punches to texture the ground. I used a slightly oval, polished shape and followed the general patterning on a dragonfly wing. On one, I avoided the veins to leave a fine ridge, while on the other I engraved ( with a chisel ) the veins after a general background texture had been created.

 

Namaste, Ford

 

p.s. glad you enjoyed the "motivation" I posted. :P

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Hi Remo,

I have found , like Ford, that it is often easier and much quicker to fabricate pieces rather than cast them if you are making one or two. If you are making more than one or two a plaster (plaster makes a great mold for waxes and you can carve details that will be raised on the inside of the mold) or rubber mold for waxes is the way to go. When I have to make two of a piece I fold my metal and cut out two at once. The second is cut out for no extra work.

Hi Ryan,

Nice Koi. Are you working in pitch?

Dick

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I've been making tools and experimenting with metalwork. Here are some practice doodles, along with two knives I just finished as "canvas" for some steel carving. VERY steep learning curve, this metal stuff! New techniques, and you have to make most of the tools as well (of course, that part is fun as well). I'm working up the nerve to begin carving on one of the knives, and agonizing over what to carve on them.

 

The knives are 1095 or 1080 carbon steel, the blades hardened and tempered with the handles left soft (I hope!). The doodles are mild steel (2 inches high), and the coppery-pinky metal is 10% shibuichi I cobbled together, just melted buttons straight from the crucible, forged a little, then carved. Oh, yes, the shibuichi and the jellyfish are enhanced with a sumi wash, as well as gun bluing patination. The sumi wash really increases the contrast - I like it. Have yet to begin the Japanese patination journey...so many opportunities, so little time!

 

post-11-1183312726.jpg

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Guest katfen

Hi Tom,

 

Would you mind to please post some close ups of the ones that are new? This is interesting and I'd like a closer look.

 

Thank you,

 

Kathleen

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Tom, I agree with Dick. That jelly fish is nice. And Patrick really nailed it on the little dagger. I think a squid would suit it well.

 

If you are worried about whether your handles hardened in your heat treating process, you can engrave them before hand. To keep them from scaling over try a scale preventing material from Brownell's, the gunsmith supply house. I've used it on my carbon damascus folding blades in the pivot areas, and on some of my carving done before hardening. It really keeps the steel clean.

 

David

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Thanks for the encouragement, folks! This has been a little nerve-wracking - so much to do and learn. Some of it is similar to the carving I've done before, but a lot of it requires other tools and different thinking. This idea of being able to move parts around without cutting them off or gluing on requires a little brain reprogramming.

 

I am pretty amazed at how much 3-dimensional illusion can happen in such a small depth, especially once the metal is patinated.

 

Patrick, I think you just solved my choice dilemma for the double edged dagger. Squid it is... I do find the design aspects of artwork the most difficult for me.

 

Magnus, I make most of my knives starting with carbon steel rectangular bar stock. I hot forge the shapes (using a small propane-fueled forge) "somewhat" to shape, concentrating mostly on the thickness I want. Both of these knives have what is called a "distal taper," meaning that they are thickest at the blade guard location (center), and then taper gradually towards the tip and the hilt. Then I normalize (heat to red hot, then allow to air cool to black heat) three times to reduce the stresses I put in while pounding on the steel with hammers. I then grind them to the outside shape with a common angle grinder. From there, belt grinder and files shape most of the rest. Once I'm happy with the shapes, I reheat to red hot, then quench in hot cooking oil to make them hard as glass (but also as brittle as glass - don't drop it on the floor at this point - and don't ask me how I know this!). Next, I heat the knife to about 425 degrees F (218 C) for an hour to draw back some of the hardness and make the blade knife-hard, but not as brittle. I just quenched the blade sections of these knives, hopefully leaving the handles soft enough to carve. That's a very quick and dirty description; you could make a lifetime of study just on heat treating, forging, etc.

 

David, thanks, I'll keep the anti-scale stuff in mind. We'll see if the handles end up too hard. If so, I'll have to anneal them, then engrave/carve, then harden again. At this point in my knifemaking career, I'm liking the forge texture you see on these, coming directly from the hammers, and I think the scale plays an important part in this, leaving it's own special texture behind once I've soaked it off in a vinegar bath. But, we'll see shortly how this marries up with steel carving... Wish me luck!

 

Kathleen, here are the newest ones. Pardon the quality, they're just flatbed scans.. I have to warn you that metalwork leads to the dark side of the Force...

 

post-11-1183324254.jpg

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Guest ford hallam
I have to warn you that metalwork leads to the dark side of the Force...

 

he he he :lol:

 

That's looking great Tom, you really seem to have grasped the feel of how to use a chisel in metal. The jelly fish is particularly impressive. Looks like you're one of us now :lol:

 

cheers, Ford

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Jeez, now you guys are saying I've come over to the dark side! Luke, I am your father..................(ominous breathing sounds), now where did I put my light saber? The red one. Oh, yes, its on the carving bench with a jellyfish on it.

 

Guess there's no going back now. :lol:

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Here is a knife in progress. The handle is carved purpleheart. The fittings are made of copper and the blade is 440C stainless. I call it squid. I have a lot of "works in progress", so I'm trying to buckle down and finish them up. Hope you enjoy this piece, (as is, for now).

post-1558-1183378527.jpg

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I have to warn you that metalwork leads to the dark side of the Force...

 

Or to the dark side of the forge, depending on how much space there's left in your workshop

 

Really nice progress there Tom, I really like that jellyfish/medusa rendition.

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Hi Hyllyn, with the addition of knifemaking equipment, and now metal carving stuff, there's not much free space left in my studio, so I can't even get around to the dark side of the forge now. Now I have to keep cleaning the place just to be able to work. My bad habits catching up to me, I guess!

 

Nice squid, Mike!

 

And, yes, Janel, I'm having lots of fun! :lol:

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Hi,

Here is what I am playing with at the moment. It may be a kagamibuta netsuke. I say may because this is the first time I have tried my new Lindsay engraving tool and I don't know if I will bother finishing the piece. If I do the eyes will be inlayed in silver and also possibly the wings. I am including a picture of the setup in my studio with the new Lindsay equipment. The Lindsay tool works great. Thanks Jim for the piece you did on the Lindsay engraver. Your article and speaking to Steve Lindsay convinced me to by the setup.

Thank you Janel for your help and information on uploading pictures

Dick

post-15-1183420491.jpg

post-15-1183420504.jpg

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