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Guest ford hallam

Nunome zogan or Japanese cloth weave overlay.

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Guest ford hallam

Hello all,

 

some of you may have seen the images of my studio that I posted over on the photographic thread which also provided a little glimpse of the piece I'm working on right now. The following images illustrate a Japanese overlay technique called nunome-zogan, which I've used here to make my moon silver. The word Nunome describes the appearance of woven cloth. In this instance I wanted to utilise exactly that visual textural quality, as you will see the name is quite appropriate. Once the silver is completely worked in and burnished smooth I will selectively polish through some of the silver to create a shaded effect. Bear in mind that the iron ground will ultimately be a deep dark brown, this will show off the graduated shading that makes this technique so expressive. I hope! :)

 

I know that the images will probably only raise more questions, so ask away. I'll do my best to clarify.

 

 

The first image is of the tools I used, minus the little hammer and chisels. I'll post an image later showing the actual action shot of the cutting process.

 

These next two shots show the first 2 stages in cutting, or preparing the ground to receive the foil. Usually this would comprise 3,4 or even 5 sequences of cuts. In this case though I want the woven texture to be quite clear so I am limiting the ground work to just 2 sets of cuts, at right angles to each other.

To give a clearer idea of what this is on I've also posted an image of the whole piece showing the chisels I used to carve it thus far. It will be the back of a Kagamibuta netsuke.

 

The next 3 shots show the silver ( pure or fine ) foil being worked in to place using the little copper "pushers". Once the foil is secure the outline is cut away using a blade like a scalpel or the tool shown.

 

The last 2 images show; the foil in place and ready for burnishing followed by an image of the burnishing completed along the convoluted cloud outline.

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Guest ford hallam

Hi Jim, glad you're enjoying my little expose` :(

 

The very acute angle you see on the chisel I turned sideways ( so you could see that angle :) , nice of me, hey? ) is particular to the chisels used in this particular type of nunome. There are actually 3 basic variants, the differences being in the way the ground is cut. The style generally taught at the Tokyo Art School is termed gakko-nunome and utilises a chisel with one face significantly shorter than the other. The angle between the faces is far less acute and the chisel is used at a slight angle. When cutting in that style the chisel actually raises a sharp ridge, unlike the technique I'm using here which is cutting vertically, down into the ground.

 

The style I'm using here is a bit finer. If you follow the Art school technique and try to create too fine a ground you end up cutting the little spikes off!

 

....to much information, probably. :)

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Hi Ford,

Thank you Sensi for doing this. We can never learn too much or have too much information about our passions. I can't wait to see your website. When do you think your book will be published? You should also consider doing a DVD so we could watch you work. There are no books out there that show these techniques. Bits and pieces but nothing complete. You are charting new territory.

Thanks again

Dick

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Guest ford hallam

Hi Dick,

 

I'm really pleased that you chaps are interested, it makes it so much more relevant to have an idea of who I'm "talking" to. Although, this is merely a small part of a much longer, general step by step sequence. I plan to create far more technical and exact tutorials to present individual techniques. This one is certainly not a beginner process, there are a couple of easier process to cut your teeth on. :(

 

I will in fact be producing ( with the help of some talented young students from the Cape Town Tech ) a DVD to accompany the manual. When that finally gets printed is anyone's guess. :) There is so much to document and illustrate. I hope that the web-site will get the ball rolling in the meantime though. And I imagine the feed-back might be helpful in refining the actual presentation of information and technique.

 

and I'm always wandering off into uncharted waters...... B) , I enjoy boldly going where no-one has been before. Jim may remember a memorable, late night, "underbelly" tour of London I took him on! some years ago. :)

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This is amazing - I see so much here I want to learn. What guage is the foil you are using? I have been making my punches for repousse work from square drill rod - would this be suitable for making these chisels? What is the type of steel your disk is made of? I hope you are going to publish soon, though I realize that I am looking into a whole new field of exploration that will take me years to absorb, so I personally am in no true hurry. Thank you so much Ford for your generosity!

- Magnus -

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Hi Ford,

I have been wanting to try this thank you for putting the information out. I have notes from my visit, but the chisel side shot is very helpful. I would also like a measurement on the foil thickness. Is fine silver the best practice material?

I was inspecting a gold and iron Kabutogane that had the rim work done in Nunome. The gold appeared to have 100 percent coverage on the rims at first glance. Looking at it with a loop however revealed many tiny iron dots showing through the gold. Would this be the result of wear or are they meant pierce the foil in a subtle way? In this particular case it did not appear to be an intentional shading effect.

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Aloha Ford,

 

Let me add my thanks to the chorus. Thanks! The only other place I've ever seen this technique is Von Neumann's book and I nearly go blind squinting at the fuzzy images. :)

 

Questions that come to mind:

I am seeing a copperish blush in the image of the grounding process. Is that transfer?

Does the foil tear so much as actually cut away at the edge of the cross hatch?

I noticed a little "tooth" on your cutting tool.. to help anchor the foil?

 

mahalo

Karl

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Guest ford hallam

Hi Magnus,

 

I'm unfamiliar with the drill rod you mention so can't comment on it's suitability really, although I'm sure it would be fine. For this kind of work though you really want delicate tools. I'll post more detailed images of the chisels and hammers, and the action shot, if I can just figure out how to operate the camera with my feet while holding the chisel and hammer ihn my hands. :) The disc is simply mild steel. 1.7mm thick.

The foil is 0.02 mm thick ( or thin ).

 

Patrick,

 

fine silver is probably the cheapest material to use, foil and wire, well annealed. It is possible to use copper or soft brass but fine silver is significantly easier. The cost really is'nt a major factor here. The tiny dots of iron showing through the foil on the piece you describe is probably due to wear, not really intentional but somewhat inevitable in time.

:(

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Guest ford hallam

Molo kinjane, Karl :)

 

It's funny you mention Von Neumanns book. I was give a photocopy of the section on Japanese metalwork techniques from that book by my jewellery tutor at art school 26 years ago, this was the moment when I caught the bug and set off on my own personal Odyssey. The following year I packed art school in and started an apprenticeship as a goldsmith. I still have those photocopies, I hope to produce a slightly more detailed instruction manual :(

The copperish blush you can see is actually the residue from some black marker pen. If you want to anneal foil this thin you can mark it with a black marker, place it in a cleaned, paint free shoe-polish lid and heat with a soft flame from underneath the lid. Once the ink fades to almost invisible the foil is annealed. Allow to air cool. The foil is quite tough really, you need to cut it clear very carefully, always cutting away from the piece you want to keep on the ground or else at that point it could still be lifted off. The tooth you can see is not really there, the chisel is only 3mm across :) , that's a very much enlarged view that may have dust and / or some edge artifacts on the image. The disc is only 40mm across. I'll post some images of the piece in hand to give a better sense of scale. B)

 

sala kukuhle,

 

Ford

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Aloha Ford,

 

Thanks for answering my picky questions. :) (I need a better monitor.) As the tutorial develops, myself and others who want to try this technique will probably scramble around to find the pieces and parts to give it a try. Maybe part of tutorials can be sourcing or a link to materials? Don't know.

Von Neumann's book had a similiar effect on me (I have my original copy). Gene P. tells me this incredible story that some of the images are of masters' works kept in a vault under the university. :( What I would give....

 

(Is that a custom piece of bamboo chopstick I see?) :)

 

mahalo

Karl

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Guest ford hallam
(Is that a custom piece of bamboo chopstick I see?) :)

 

yes, but they must be from take-away sushi joints. :(

 

I know the pieces Gene P. was referring to. I actually have many photos of them but not adequate quality to publish to the web. I will see If I can't arrange a photo session at the University next time I'm there, perhaps this Autumn. I'd love to be able to show them on-line. I'll try and present the tutorials with a work sheets and material specs, tool plans etc, perhaps as a download.

 

and to end off this section of images here is a close up of the moon. It's been completely burnished smooth and then given a very light polish/grind with magnolia charcoal. The shading effect I want will be polished in when the other "haze" nunome on the edges of the clouds has been completed. Here's a close-up view, and an image that is a little closer to actual size. ( well on my monitor it's still 20% bigger than the real thing! )

 

cheers, Ford :)

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I think the info presented sofar is great. larger photos of the closeup views help to actually see how the process is completed. i think drill rod is fine for the chisels,there are several dealers who have W1 or W2 tool steel in various sizes at fair prices.here is a link that has been posted here before,but the photos are small.

 

Higo Inlay

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Guest ford hallam

these 2 images will hopefully give an indication of the scale of the tools, etc. The close up of the left hand grip shows the chisel not perfectly vertical, this is actually incorrect, it ought to be at 90 degrees to the surface being cut. I'd adjusted my position to allow my wife to get a decent shot. :huh: , and not re-adjusted the pitch bowl. The other view shows the grip on the right hand holding the hammer, it's quite a delicate grip. The hammer is very light and the shaft is quite flexible bamboo. The action is a rapid, almost bouncing, tapping. The springiness of the bamboo and the chisel rebounding off the metal allows you to create a sort of chattering movement forward, with a little sensitive guidance, of course. ;) I hope that helps describe the cutting action. Film footage next, I suppose. :rolleyes:

 

cheers, Ford

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these 2 images will hopefully give an indication of the scale of the tools, etc. The close up of the left hand grip shows the chisel not perfectly vertical, this is actually incorrect, it ought to be at 90 degrees to the surface being cut. I'd adjusted my position to allow my wife to get a decent shot. :huh: , and not re-adjusted the pitch bowl. The other view shows the grip on the right hand holding the hammer, it's quite a delicate grip. The hammer is very light and the shaft is quite flexible bamboo. The action is a rapid, almost bouncing, tapping. The springiness of the bamboo and the chisel rebounding off the metal allows you to create a sort of chattering movement forward, with a little sensitive guidance, of course. ;) I hope that helps describe the cutting action. Film footage next, I suppose. :rolleyes:

 

cheers, Ford

 

 

 

Well I tried it out today and have the process working. It of course needs refinement. I made foil of the recommended thickness. That is as thin as I can go in the rolling mill. I tried the cloth weave and that works well, but the cuts are too irregular for a super clean look. I tried cutting in four different directions and that worked well yielding a smooth unbreached overlay, but my cuts were more shallow and numerous and the cloth pattern is lost. I need practice, but I am excited at the results I have from a few hours of playing. I do have the advantage of having seen Ford's tools for this in person I did not absorb it all from this thread. I had a little spare time today and this thread inspired me to dig out my notes and give it a try. What happens when you use thicker foil? Never mind Ill find out... :P

Thanks Ford,

Patrick

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Guest ford hallam

Hi Patrick,

 

that pretty quick off the mark, I'll have to watch you! ;) nice to hear that you were able to get the basic procedure to produce results. :)

 

I've just re-read the thread and realised that I omitted to describe one very important detail; so here it is, the secret teaching :P ,and I know how you all love "secret teachings" :rolleyes:

 

This concerns the little copper tipped tools I used to secure the foil initially. If you look at the image showing two of them you may notice that the one on the left appears smoother, while the other one has a frosted face.

 

This is crucial, the small saw sharpening file in the image of the tools at the beginning, is the key. The pushers need a finely textured face. This is applied by lightly tapping the copper tools mushroomed face with the file. This results in a grainy/ texture sort of like a 400 grit emery paper. The pushers are used in a firm but very controlled, and small, rocking motion. Not back and forth, more a single roll, then lift and another press and slight roll. The texture is very quickly worn down and must be re-applied. I generally have about a dozen little pushers to hand and simply retexture them all at once. You may begin to feel when the foil is really being attached and worked in place. Once the surface has been completely worked you can go over again with a bamboo or horn punch. After that a series of passes in different directions with a burnishing tool should ensure that the foil is going no-where. :)

 

The use of the pushing tool is only really necessary when applying foil or wire to very finely cut grounds and when working on hard, non-ferrous alloys, like shibuichi. If you prepare a rougher ground you may find that bamboo punches are sufficient to secure the foil, especially if the ground is mild steel or iron. In this case cut the last few mm of the bamboo punch off whenever you notice it's getting compacted and hard. That's why I use take-away chopsticks! :D As with the copper pushers, it's all about getting the foil into the gaps in the cut ground, the softness of the bamboo allows the foil to fit around the cut texture before it is pounded too smooth. It is a similar thing that happens with the copper pushers. The copper pushers are called oshitsuke in Japanese btw. B)

 

this little thread has made me realise just how much detail needs to be described to accurately convey a technique like this :huh: , I hope this little taster is sufficient to at least help some of you make a start.

 

happy tapping B) , Ford

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Hi Patrick,

 

that pretty quick off the mark, I'll have to watch you! ;) nice to hear that you were able to get the basic procedure to produce results. :)

 

I've just re-read the thread and realised that I omitted to describe one very important detail; so here it is, the secret teaching :P ,and I know how you all love "secret teachings" :rolleyes:

 

This concerns the little copper tipped tools I used to secure the foil initially. If you look at the image showing two of them you may notice that the one on the left appears smoother, while the other one has a frosted face.

 

This is crucial, the small saw sharpening file in the image of the tools at the beginning, is the key. The pushers need a finely textured face. This is applied by lightly tapping the copper tools mushroomed face with the file. This results in a grainy/ texture sort of like a 400 grit emery paper. The pushers are used in a firm but very controlled, and small, rocking motion. Not back and forth, more a single roll, then lift and another press and slight roll. The texture is very quickly worn down and must be re-applied. I generally have about a dozen little pushers to hand and simply retexture them all at once. You may begin to feel when the foil is really being attached and worked in place. Once the surface has been completely worked you can go over again with a bamboo or horn punch. After that a series of passes in different directions with a burnishing tool should ensure that the foil is going no-where. :)

 

The use of the pushing tool is only really necessary when applying foil or wire to very finely cut grounds and when working on hard, non-ferrous alloys, like shibuichi. If you prepare a rougher ground you may find that bamboo punches are sufficient to secure the foil, especially if the ground is mild steel or iron. In this case cut the last few mm of the bamboo punch off whenever you notice it's getting compacted and hard. That's why I use take-away chopsticks! :D As with the copper pushers, it's all about getting the foil into the gaps in the cut ground, the softness of the bamboo allows the foil to fit around the cut texture before it is pounded too smooth. It is a similar thing that happens with the copper pushers. The copper pushers are called oshitsuke in Japanese btw. B)

 

this little thread has made me realise just how much detail needs to be described to accurately convey a technique like this :huh: , I hope this little taster is sufficient to at least help some of you make a start.

 

happy tapping B) , Ford

 

You showed me how to texture the tool, but only now do I understand what for. The work I did yesterday reinforces it for me. If I have the right idea, initially you only push the metal into the cuts, while avoiding flattening the metal that is over the ridges/spikes formed between cuts. A softer pusher can get the silver down to the bottom of a deeper cut without smashing (thinning) the silver over the ridges excessively. I am finding the balance in cut depth as well. Too deep and you can not burnish smooth. Too shallow and it does not stick very well.

I find it interesting how thick the overlay can look when its done. After thinking about it the texture formed from the cuts is higher than the surface fo the plate and silver is on top of that.

patrick

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Guest ford hallam

Hi Patrick,

 

it sounds as though you are getting the hang of this, it's one of those things that you just have to keep on "figuring out" :huh: . as you gain experience.

 

and here's a link to the thread Jim started to deal specifically with the varieties of pitch that we use.Link to Pitch thread..

 

Cheers, Ford :rolleyes:

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Hi Ford,

Just wanted to say thanks - your instructions are very clear(though

I have not practiced this yet, I have been hammering and cutting metal for so long that what you are showing is quite understandable) I'm looking forward to trying this out soon(already new designs are perculating up through the old brain).

- Magnus -

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Guest ford hallam

Hi Magnus,

 

your very welcome :huh: , glad to be able to offer a little something of interest to an old hand like yourself :rolleyes:

 

regards, Ford

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Hi Ford,

 

Thanks for your description of this technique.

 

In my years at the Canadian War Museum, I spent a lot of time working on the arms and armour collection, and noticed variations on this technique used for gold and silver overlay on edged weapons and armour of many regions, particularly on Turkish and Persian damascus blades. I had often wondered exactly how it was done, and this is the first time that I have seen the process clearly explained.

 

Thanks for clearing up the explanation of the file, I was wondering why it was in the first photo, and why it was so rough-looking.

 

I really appreciate you sharing your techniques and experience.

 

Phil

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Guest ford hallam

Hi Phil,

 

I'm pleased this overview was helpful to you. I'm sure you have a wealth of practical experience that will be of great interest and help to us all too. :rolleyes:

 

cheers, Ford

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Hi Ford

 

i've lurked here for a long time... after seeing your inlay tutorial... i had to try inlaying wire once again.. (after many previous failures)

 

although my first success looks terrible, it brought a big smile to my face ... .. i tried inlaying my initials and a sort of scroll below it... yesh

 

i forged all my gravers from o1 ... the flat chisel is chipped up.... need some more tempering...

and used a brass rod to set the wire

 

inlayno1.jpg

 

inlayno2.jpg\

 

 

if this is intruding on your post ....i'll move it and start a new post... something on my low level

 

can i ask... how can i clean up my lines.... as you can see they are very jagged... but they didn't look that way before i pounded the sterling silver in there... to my amateur eyes...

 

 

thank you again...

Greg :rolleyes:

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