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Copper Bracelet


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I was trying this summer to focus on the mundane work that needed done around here. The rut became deep and the feeling something was missing in my life grew. So I carved something and now I'm happy and rut free.

 

This is my first bracelet and first time I've carved copper. The copper was a pleasure to work with.

 

I took inspiration from the bracelets done by Weldon Lister without trying to copy his design. I did a quick sketch using Weldon's basic banner layout and added my own elements . I didn't transfer the design. I re-drew the main elements, cut them in and then added the rest as I went along. Fun project start to finish.

 

This was push graved with the Flat and V tool you see in the picture. I also used a narrower V for cleaning up details and a small homemade burnisher to smooth the sculpted areas. About 25 hours of carving. I could clean it up a bit more but probably won't. The copper is far to thin for this deep of carving. Last time I'll make that mistake.

 

Critical comments welcome.

 

John

 

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Don, it's a hobby so I don't get a lot done. You see most of my work. I let a few carved nickels go without pics but that's about all.

 

Magnus, It was about 90% the two tools. The rest was a narrow V to clean the nooks and a small burnisher to smooth out the details. No chasing. I'm a single handed carver if you get my point. I can run a chisel and a hammer but only one at a time. :)

 

Long term I'm going to make a special tool just for cleaning nooks on the 3 cornered parts. It would clean up the details which provides more contrast.

 

I do have a homemade pneumatic tool but I prefer the peacefulness of wiggle and push graving. To me it's all carving in the end. Someday I'll buy an Airgraver. I tend to carve in short sessions with lots of breaks. It's easy just to pickup a handtool when I walk by and carve for a few minutes.

 

I do wonder if going to power would change my style. Seems to me it would and I'm not sure that's a good thing.

 

This group has been a huge motivator,

 

John

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John,

I want to buy a graver to do detail work on my antler carvings. Need something very thin and and sharp pointed, like a knife point. Don't know much about gravers, so what do I need? Also something to cut away the background. Can you give me some advice? I use a grave that I bought for a dollar at a flea market, but I don't know what it is except it has a point and is thin.

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Don,

 

Jim Kelso already did a good tutorial on making a graver.

 

http://www.thecarvingpath.net/forum/index....hl=dowel+graver

 

I've never actually bought any gravers but I do know they usually need to be sharpened. The factory set I was given needed to be.

 

I think a V tool with the V about 100-120 degrees is a pretty good all around tool. For background a tool with flat bottom works best. Make Jim's tool but grind the sides flat and the bottom. The face on gravers are usually 45 degrees with a 5 degree heel. There are more tips over at http://www.engravingforum.com

 

To be honest with you I think sharpening is the hardest part to learn. In steel you sharpen often. If I was starting all over I would buy one of Steve Lindsay's Sharpening Systems. I have no connection to Steve other than using his forum from which I've learned a ton. He also has handles and graver blanks. Grinding tools properly and sharpening was a struggle for me. Unless you like figuring things like that out, which I do, you can save yourself a zillion slips by getting a better setup than hand sharpening. It can be done but expect a long learning curve.

 

I hope that helps,

 

John

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John:

 

Just wanted to say how well I think your piece turned out. I have a nodding acquaintance with engraving so I respect what you've done tremendously. Engraving isn't for me, I make too many mistakes. But you didn't, and look at the results!

 

For all the time and energy you are spending on a piece, quit messing around with copper and move on up to silver. The biggest mistake I ever made was making my first jewelry piece (a ring) out of nickel silver. When I was done, I had made something no one really wanted to wear (including me). I know how much fun the copper is to work with, I love it too, but please, do something in silver.

 

Please don't take this as criticism in any way, I think your work is really good. I think you can do just about anything you want to do, I just know that the general public respects silver and gold, but not copper and brass. Everything changes when you go over to steel (guns and knives), I don't know what that audience likes.

 

I'm looking forward to seeing what you do next. This piece is really well-done. I really like that this is done by hand, I think it makes it so much more special.

 

 

Debbie K

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Debbie,

 

I always like your comments.

 

>I make too many mistakes. But you didn't, and look at the results!

 

That's funny as all I do is make mistakes and then fix them. I was very frustrated with engraving just a few months ago because of all the mistakes I made. It seemed like a game for the neat and proper.

 

When I draw it's really rough starting out and I just keep correcting my lines and darkening till it looks good. Engraving seemed like you needed to make every cut perfect the first time and there are engravers that are like that. If I zoomed in on that bracelet you'd see it's like my drawing. Really rough and nothing more than a zillion corrected mistakes. Somehow I've been able to make my engraving fit my drawing style rather than fit what other engravers do. It's what works for me.

 

In the interest of furthering the craft I'll zoom in and post my dirty secret. Not very perfect is it? I try for texture and an overall look. I think it's called Gestalt in some circles.

 

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I'm ordering some silver this week. I think it would look better in gold but that's bit pricey.

 

John

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John:

 

In my opinion, I like the close-up better than the overall shot. Maybe it's because I always "find the line" rather than say "here's the line". The close-up looks like a sketch. I like it. Don't know what others would think, but some engraving is so perfect it looks like it's done by machines; in this, you see the mark of the hand. It also has a pleasing, organic appearance.

 

I'm so glad you're going to do something in silver. Don't be intimidated by it in the least, it's really not that expensive. The size of the piece you're likely to be working on is probably less in price than a steak dinner, or movies for two. If you really mess it up it can always be sold back for scrap. I say this, but every time I sit down with an expensive stone I get analysis paralysis. I overthink what I'm going to do to the point I can't do anything.

 

I'm looking forward to seeing what you do next. Keep being flawed and human.

 

Debbie K

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