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shibuichi tsuba


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Hi everyone, I've been doing more lurking than posting, and this isn't strictly a carving by any means, but I think it can fit here :)

 

I've posted quite a few more pics over on Don Fogg's forum, but here is a photo of a tsuba (japanese sword hand guard) I just completed. Its my first real leap into non-ferrous metals, and my first tsuba. It started as an ingot that I cast, comprised of 15% silver/ 85% copper. I then forged, sanded, filed, sawed, carved, hammered, textured, polished, patinated, and swore it into this shape. :lol:

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Guest ford hallam

Morning Garrett,

 

Congratulations!, i like the way you`ve graduated the texure on the plate, all to often texture is used as a lazy way to finish a piece. In this case you`ve utilised it well. :)

 

Of course I have to ask, was the dendritic structure still visible prior to texturing, if so what persuaded you to go for this finish instead?

 

and it`s your first tsuba, he he ... a few more first timers and we could change the name of the forum to "The tsuba makers path", just kidding, administrators :lol:

 

regards, Ford

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dendrite - noun : short fiber that conducts toward the cell body of the neuron

 

 

Perhaps Ford refers to the mixed, melted metals, and the forging of the ingot which might yeild a visual "grain" or differentiation of some sort of visible element.

 

-from an non metal-basher-

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Janel,

the dendritic effect I am perceiving is the result of the graduating texture. To clarify, the 'large' dimples towards the centre form edges that, to me at least, are perceived as the thicker branches of the dendrite. These 'branches' become smaller and denser as the dimples decrease in size towards the outside...

So what i am seeing as the branching effect ('dendrite' refers to the tree-branch shape of the neuronal structure, as you mention) is the change in size and density of the edges of the dimples and not a change in the colouration of the alloy constituents...

 

Is this all too formal a description? or am I just being pedantic? :)

 

-t

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Thanks guys :o

 

The dendritic structure in the alloy is probably the result of both my inexperience in this area and a very slow cooling of the ingot I made (faulty tongs, I couldnt grab the ingot out of the Kerr electronic furnace)

When many metals cool slowly they can form large crystalline structures, like snowflakes in a way. This happened with my little ingot, and when forged out and polished, it looks like a very fine random pattern damascus steel.

I found, through limited testing :) that the best way to bring out the pattern was a quick dip in ferric chloride, a strong salt used in etching circuit boards. Even then, the pattern was fairly subtle. I like subtle, but this is more of an exploratory piece for me so I really wanted to try some other techniques.

Thanks Ford, the graduated texture is fun. It didn't come out quite as I'd like, as my texturing tools were beginning to blunt and change shape as I progressed. Arg. Thats what I get for making them out of store bought hardened drill rod and not hardening them myself.

Here's a picture of the original ingot, along with a closeup of the dendrites, and a pic that may show the polished dendritic structure.

 

By the way, cutting out the nakago ana (center hole, where the sword goes through) in the tsuba is harder than I thought!

Ford, do you have any tricks for thick precise cutouts like this? Obviously I'd be going for the refined look seen on many antique pieces and more recently on Patrick's wonderful work.

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post-100-1133553165.jpg

post-100-1133553189.jpg

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Garrett,

The second picture explains it all! I guess then Ford was referring to the dendritic structures that form as the metal cools down... Hm THAT I couldn't see in the first picture. Hats (and eyeglasses) off to Ford for noticing. I can barely see it in the pre-texture photo, let alone the end-result... hm mental note to get that sawdust off my glasses :)

 

Great work Garrett. I really like the tsuba. :o

 

-t

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Thanks toscano. Its yet another example of something that'd be fun to see macro pics of.

 

Gotta love those macro pics. I have some interesting Shakudo with a grain pattern. I have been meaning to photo it. I have to do a shoot tommorow Ill throw it in.

On the Center hole (nakago ana) I drill a pilot hole and hand saw the hole with my jewelers saw. If you have a copeing saw wih fine blades you could probably use that. You can fine tune the hole with files. There is nothing quite like a Jewelers saw. If you don't have one I would recommend getting one. They run about $15 and are highly addictive. For Tsuba work I recommend the 4 inch throat depth.

Patrick

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Thanks toscano. Its yet another example of something that'd be fun to see macro pics of.

 

Its not the greatest pic, but it shows the grain ok. This is Shakudo I made when doing intitial trials in making Shakudo. I am not sure what caused it and it hasn't happened since that one tiny batch. I forged it down and formed it into this kashira. The piece is about 36mm long. The metal takes on a nice dark purplish black that hides the grain completely, but if you rub it for awhile with your fingers it reveals what you see here in the pic. The surface has no texture its just high polished and machine buffed at that. cool eh:)

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Patrick,

that's very interesting. Like I mentioned before, I wasn't aware that the cooling of alloys can result in this dendritic pattern. Very intriguing. Any other metal-bashers have any comments?

 

-t

 

I have seen dendrites form in many different alloys as a result of slow cooling, but in this case the metal went from liquid to solid in just a few seconds. So I suspect something unkown to me. The thing that gets me is it will color uniformly.

patrick

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