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Jim Kelso

Moth in mixed alloys

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Some time ago I said I would do a sequence on the paperweight moth. Here it is. I prefer to have questions asked as I go along as it seems less awkward than having to go back, but if you come in late and have a question, that's fine too. I mainly want to get the info out, not to make it easier for me.

 

Here's the whole paper weight and a close up. Wood is Vera.

post-4-1124566429.jpg

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Here you see the finished contours and the pattern for the head in frosted mylar with the gold sheet stock. After roughing the contours with burrs I smoothed them with files, rubberized abrasives and fiber wheels. The blotches are just oxidation.

post-4-1124568538.jpg

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Some time ago I said I would do a sequence on the paperweight moth. Here it is. I prefer to have questions asked as I go along as it seems less awkward than having to go back, but if you come in late and have a question, that's fine too. I mainly want to get the info out, not to make it easier for me.

 

Here's the whole paper weight and a close up. Wood is Vera.

 

 

Hi Jim

That is a beuty.

 

From an earlier post you mentioned that the Vera doesn't take to glue due to its oils, how have you attched the beastie to the base and is the base also sand blasted?

 

Cheers

Mike

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Guest DFogg

Monster burr and a surprise. I would think that it would chatter and be difficult to control. What speed and what grinder do you use it in? I am really happy to see the tutorial Jim, thanks. :lol:

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Mike there are pins that are under the gold triangles on the wings. You'll see this clearly later. The pins go into cavities in the wood. The cavities are seriously undercut so that epoxy filling them forms a plug, holding the pins. The pins are also roughed up to give more adhesion. The base is sand blasted with no finish.

 

Don, I guess that burr is a little big, but I think it makes it easier to not create divots and flat spots.

Chatter control is a matter of trial and error to find the sweet spot of rpm. Those big burrs are a real time saver and then I can spend whatever time I need to smooth and contour with the other tools. For those burrs I use the biggest Foredom handpiece(#30? I think) and pretty low rpm, I would guess around 5K. Part of this method involves having a solid holding device that helps prevent grabbing and also having the direction of the burr pulling away from the holder and not into it. This helps prevent grabbing too. I'll try to get a photo of this. The holder also keeps your fingers at a distance and away from heat build-up. :lol:

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Here's a shot showing the jeweler's ring-clamp holding a piece of copper in a typical scenario. You'll notice that holding it like this the chips are flying right at you so you need to do it behind a shield and also wear glasses. Holding like this gives the maximum control. I use both of my thumbs against the clamp and/or each other for support. You can see the clamp has taken a fair bit of grief over time. It has leather padded jaws.

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Here's a shot of the ring-clamp, a very simple but effective holding device. One end is rounded and the other square. The wedge makes it very fast to get work in and out.

post-4-1124634713.jpg

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Hi Jim,

Great tutorial. You give us information as well as inspiration. Thank you. Have you ever tried a product called "Jet Sett"? I bought some about six months ago but haven't had a chance to try it out.

Dick

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Hi Dick. I haven't seen that. Maybe you could try it and give us a run-down under the thread "how do you hold your carving" in Tools and Technical.

 

Moving along on the moth, the next step was to introduce the spots, which are rather like soldered bulls' eye sections of varying alloys. You can see in the photo how I left "handles" on the bits as I sawed and filed them until I was ready for the final fit. These handles made the sawing and filing a lot easier. Also shown here is the gold sheet that has been rough forged to shape for the head and antennae.

post-4-1124755314.jpg

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This shows one of the larger spots almost all sawn and fitted looking like a funny bird head with the "handles still attached. I wasn't ultra concerned about getting the tightest fit as I planned to forge the gaps shut after the soldering.

post-4-1124755531.jpg

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Showing the back post solder. I needed more than one heat to get the solder where I wanted it.

I used an "easy" or "medium" plumb solder, not sure.

post-4-1124757363.jpg

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This shot shows the tightening up of the joints between the different alloys. First I engraved out any gold solder and then chased the gaps closed with rounded punches. The spot in the upper right is pretty much tightened up and the one on the lower right has much to do.

post-4-1124927290.jpg

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This shows the beginning of the engraving of the "hairy" wing parts. Not sure what these are correctly called. Any moth experts out there? As the engraving progresses, I use a fine abrasive(400 alum. oxide) sandblasting to cut the shine and give everything a flat finish. I find this a great aid to seeing th actual form of everything.

post-4-1124927697.jpg

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These inset gold triangles are functional as well as decorative. The pins go through the wings and hold the moth on the box along with the pin under the head.

post-4-1124927947.jpg

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After the texturing I engraved some accent/shading lines just to give a little more visual interest. I drew them on first with a photo marking pen and then made a series of parallel lines. You can see them better in the photos of the finished moth above.

 

Also showing the head engraving progressing.

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post-4-1124928942.jpg

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The final polish is achieved with a Japanese horse-hair brush(migaki-bake) and 800 grit silicon carbide powder in water. Traditionally this would be done with charcoal powder, but the s/c powder does a more than credible job. All hail Ford Hallam for introducing this adjusted technique to the western barbarians!

post-4-1124929433.jpg

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The last step is the alloy coloration. This is a subject calling for it's own full tutorial(Ford?) <_<

 

Basically the piece is boiled in a solution of rokusho(proprietary Japanese compound), copper sulphate and water. Shown below is a feather brooch during the bath.

post-4-1124929923.jpg

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Guest ford hallam

Morning Jim,

 

Thanks for the kudos, bit concerned about the amount of droop on your bristles though ;):P

 

I might have a series of interesting tutorials to post at the end of September, and the photography will be much better than mine! We`ll keep you all in suspense until then. <_<

 

That pearl blasted finish really does make it easy to see the metal clearly, does`nt it? Thanks for the sequence of images showing your working method, I know it really helps to educate the non-metalbashers out there.

 

cheers, Ford B)

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Hi Jim,

Thank's for the tutoriol. I learn smoething new almost every day on TCP. Where do you get the 800 grit silicon carbide powder? I have some carbide powders for an air eraser I wonder if they would work. The Moth is Beautiful! Thank's again.

 

Ford,

I can't wait to see some more of your work.

 

Dick

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