William Henry Steampunk Viperfish – Side B, Part 2

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Finished the sculpting today! Here’s a before and after of the squid-thing. Lastly will be detailing with rivets and panels, then stippling the background (ugh!)

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Big push on finishing the background stippling today. Here, I’ve been working around the edges of the bad tempered anglerfish…

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Yay! The stippling is done (except for the tiny spot I missed – can you spot it?)… Next are rivets and panels, then it’s finally done!

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At long last! It’s done, and here’s the beauty shot. The details: William Henry model B12 scales, 4 inches long 416 stainless steel, hand engraved with 24 karat gold and copper inlays.

Thanks for looking!

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William Henry Steampunk Viperfish – Side B, Part 1

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Well, I’m baaaack! With the unmasking of Side B of the Steampunk Viperfish. At the top is THE PLAN, the center has the design transferred to the steel knife scale, and the bottom has had all of the major lines engraved. Tomorrow, I’ll start the copper and 24 karat gold inlays. See you then!

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Here’s the anatomy of a large copper inlay. 1st image: three copper wires “tacked” into place. You can see tiny “hooks” engraved into the bottom of the inlay pocket. 2nd image: all wires tacked onto place. 3rd image: copper wires have been punched into the hooks in the pocket bottom, and flowed into the undercut edges. 4th image: the copper has been stoned flat, and tiny lines engraved around the steel edges.

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Almost all of the copper inlays in place. Next, the gold inlays…

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I got some of the gold inlaid today before I burned out…

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Finished the gold on the steampunk anglerfish. Bear with me a little longer, just a couple more inlays on the squid-thing and then fun stuff will begin happening…

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Inlaying gold wire into a complex gear. I add in short gold wire segments, which will become a solid mass when hammered into place.

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The same gear hammered and stoned smooth and flat.

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All of the squid-thing inlays are finished. Next I’ll begin excavating the background and sculpting the elements.

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Background removal around the anglerfish. Still need to stipple the background…long way to go yet…

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A big push today towards background removal – sorry there’s not more to see.

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Yippee – almost all of the background removal is finally done. Next is background stippling to increase the contrast, then on to the fun part, sculpting!

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Spent most of the day making small circle punches to make the pins in the squid-thing’s bicycle chain tentacles. Here I’m turning a taper on the business end of one of the punches on a tiny Sherline lathe.

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You can see the four different sized punches I made in the center of the image, and the test marks at the blue arrow. I also placed all of the circular pivot pin marks on the bicycle chain tentacles.

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I spent today sculpting the tentacle attachments to the squid-thing. These were way more complex to sculpt than I had anticipated…

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A lot done today on the tentacles. The half on the right are finished, punch work left to do on the left…

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The bad tempered anglerfish is fully sculpted, and except for rivets and a few panels, is finished

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William Henry Steampunk Viperfish – Side A

Starting a new project – a pair of steampunk knife scales for William Henry Knives. Follow along with me as I progress, it’s nice to have company!

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I’ve cut all of the major lines, and next I’ll start on the copper and gold inlays.

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This is one of the rays on the big fin, ready for a copper wire inlay. You can see where I’ve undercut the bottom edges of a V- cut. When I pound in copper wire, the softer metal will flow into these undercuts, trapping the copper.

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Here’s the copper wire starting to be hammered into place. It’s stuck tight enough at this point that I’m not having to hold the wire in place.

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Here’s the copper hammered into place and trimmed flush with the steel surface.

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The finished inlays, stoned flat and smooth, with a tiny engraved line cut around the edges. And that’s my day…

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I couldn’t face any more inlays today, so I worked on background removal. I also sculpted the fins and the bicycle chain backbone.

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I managed enough engraving time to put in the largest copper inlay. These are kind of a pain, but very necessary to the design…

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This image is with a new closeup lens for my iPhone. What do you think?

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Beginning the excavation for another copper gear inlay…

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I carved away all the parallel cuts, and cleaned up the edges…

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Here I’ve undercut all the edges and created a forest of tiny hooks in the bottom of the pocket. These will bite into the soft copper, permanently trapping it…

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Filling the gear teeth with short pieces of copper wire.

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Here I’ve wound copper wire into the cavity, lightly hammering it into the little hooks at the bottom. It’s now held fast, ready for me to hammer it all together her into a single mass…

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WM_Henry_Steampunk_Viperfish_15The finished gear inlay. I’ve scraped and stoned it smooth, and added tiny boundary cuts.  I’ve firmly hammered the wire so it all flows together. It’s also overflowed the banks of the pond…I’ll be carefully scraping away the excess back down to the surface of the steel.

I also finished the copper and gold inlays on the unlucky little ugly fish.

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I’ve mostly finished the unlucky little ugly fish. Still a few rivets to add in, but those will come towards the end…

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I got the big scary 24 karat gold teeth inlaid today. Now this fish can bite…

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Eye inlaid, and beginning to excavate around the big teeth…now the scary fish can see with big mindless killer eyes…

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I finished the last inlay and all of the background removal. Next will be sculpting the big fish head, then stippling the background. We’re almost finished with this side…but there’s still Side B to go! The adventure continues…

Thanks for looking!

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Baby Snapping Turtle Pendant

Baby Snapping Turtle Pendant by Tom Sterling

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This is how an engraving begins. My design is laser printed on ordinary kitchen baking parchment. The laser printer toner doesn’t stick well to the paper, and with a little encouragement from the antler burnisher, will transfer to the sticky Dammar varnish.

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Above, I’ve engraved all of my design lines.  This will be a relief carving, so I need to go quite deep when removing the background.  As I carve and round over the turtle parts, I’ll end up re-engraving all of these lines several times…

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More background removal, using carbide burs now.  The right side is about correct, the left side needs lots more work…

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Above, all background removal done, and a little inking thrown in, just to see how it might look when finished.  Here’s a side view of the total depth, as well.  Technically this is “low relief” engraving, but it’s still pretty deep! I also find it easier to see what I’m doing when I cut the darker metal around the edges.  Less glare, as well.

Also, I’ve begun carving the shell to make it look like it is round.  Since this is low relief, it’s a little tricky to make things look right.  There’s not much depth to work with, and it’s more than just carving away everything that doesn’t look like a turtle shell.  There’s a lot of taking off a little bit, then pulling my head out of the microscope and looking to see how it’s working.  Then, lather, rinse, repeat until it looks like a turtle shell to the naked eye.

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I couldn’t resist adding a little sand texture to the smooth sand in front of the turtle.  Just because I’m curious to see how things will eventually look.  Behind his front legs, I’ll eventually be adding in the turtle tracks as he/she books for the relative safety of the water, before the local critters spot him/her.

I’ve finished carving the shell, his arms and legs, and head.  I’ve used a combination of flat gravers and carbide burs. I finished up by using a smooth faced punch to move metal around and smooth everything over. Engravers call this “sculpting.”
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Finished! This little turtle is ready to crawl off to his new home… He’s an inch and three quarters tall.  The pendant is hand engraved and carved from Al6V4 titanium, with an inlaid 24 karat gold cross on the reverse, and Argentium™ silver jump ring and leather neck cord.

Thanks for looking!

 

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Baby Sea Turtle Pendant Part 4

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Above, I’ve finished carving and sculpting all the flippers and her cute little tail.  I’ve also carved the track details, and textured the sand.

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And a side view. Pretty deep carving, even though it’s low relief!  Now it’s on to the silver back…

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I’ve engraved the outlines of the starfish, and using a tiny carbide bur, I’ve excavated the pocket for the inlay.  I’ve also undercut all the sides, and laid in lots of tiny hooks to catch the gold wire.  Above you can see the beginning of the gold wire being punched into place.  The tiny hooks in the silver hold the gold quite well, even when it is just barely punched down.  I want to leave enough gold above the pocket so when I really punch the wire down, it will become a single, solid mass and flow into the side undercuts and into all the gaps between the hooks.  24 karat gold will readily cold-weld to itself, becoming a single piece.  This is how dental fillings were done for many centuries, before mercury amalgams were introduced.

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Above,the first round of the gold wire punched loosely in.  I’ll continue this until the entire cavity is filled with concentric wires.

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Above, all the wires in place, and before punching it all securely into place.  The super-soft gold will flow in all directions, and fill all the visible gaps.

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And here’s the final punching, followed by outlining the inlay with tiny engraved lines.  Normally I would stone the gold completely flat, but since I’ll by using a tiny beading punch to texture the starfish skin, I won’t bother here.

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Above, I’ve used the beading punch to make tiny knobs all over the surface, just like the knobby skin of a real starfish.

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And here’s the 24 karat gold starfish inlaid in the Sterling silver back.

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Finished! This little turtle is ready to crawl off to her new home… She’s an inch and a half tall, hand engraved in 416 stainless steel, with a sterling silver backing, and inlaid 24 karat gold starfish.

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A close-up of the turtle and the turtle tracks in the sand. She’s booking for the water before the gulls spot her!

Thanks for looking!

 

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Baby Sea Turtle Pendant Part 3

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Now it’s time to begin rounding over all the flippers and the head.  I’ll start with the baby’s right front flipper, using a flat graver, and then followed up with burs and punches.

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Above is a close-up of  the flipper before using the punch for final refinements.

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Above, I’ve finished with the right front flipper, and added the patina.  Looking more like a tiny turtle now…

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Now I need to do the same thing to the head.  This is my favorite part, since the turtle will take on life once the eyes are done – the eyes are the window of the soul.

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A close-up.  I’ve just used carbide burs here, and, of course, a v-graver to re-engrave the lines for the skin plates.

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Above, the head is finished after refinement with punch and the addition of patina.

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I’m ready for my close-up, Mr DeMille…

Thanks for looking!

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Baby Sea Turtle Pendant Part 2

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I couldn’t resist adding a little sand texture to the smooth sand in front of the turtle.  Just because I’m curious to see how things will eventually look.  Behind his front flippers, I’ll eventually be adding in the turtle tracks as he/she books for the relative safety of the water, before the gulls spot him/her.

Also, I’ve begun carving the shell to make it look like it is round.  Since this is low relief, it’s a little tricky to make things look right.  There’s not much depth to work with, and it’s more than just carving away everything that doesn’t look like a turtle shell, so there’s a lot of taking off a little bit, then pulling my head out of the microscope and looking to see how it’s working.  Then, lather, rinse, repeat until it looks like a turtle shell to the naked eye.

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I’ve finished carving the shell, using a combination of flat gravers and carbide burs. I finished up by using a smooth faced punch to move metal around and smooth everything over. Engravers call this “sculpting.”

Thanks for looking!

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Baby Sea Turtle Pendant Part 1

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This is how an engraving begins. My design is laser printed on ordinary kitchen baking parchment. The laser printer toner doesn’t stick well to the paper, and with a little encouragement from the antler burnisher, will transfer to the sticky Dammar varnish.

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Here’s the transfer on the stainless steel pendant blank, with a silver backing.  It’s about one and one half inches high.  Next, I’ll begin engraving all of the layout lines.

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Above, I’ve engraved all of my design lines, and begun removing and leveling the background. This will be a relief carving, so I need to go quite a bit deeper than this. As I carve and round over the turtle parts, I’ll end up re-engraving all of these lines several times…

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More background removal, using carbide burs now.  The left side is about right, the right side needs lots more work…

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Above, all sides done, and a little dark patina thrown in to see how it might look when finished.  I also find it easier to see what I’m doing when I cut the darker metal.  Less glare, as well.

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Here’s a side view of the total depth. Technically this is “low relief” engraving, but it’s still pretty deep!

Thanks for looking!

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Steampunk Viperfish

Here’s a small Work-in-Progress engraving Serge Panchenko’s exquisite Coin Claw Pendant Knife.

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Above is the finished Coin Claw knife.  This was a special version of Serge’s Coin Claw, and Serge went all out by making a lovely stainless steel damascus blade, timascus spacer, 6Al4V titanium frame and spring, and a special Grade 2 titanium backplate created especially for engraving.

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This is the starting canvas.  The knife alone is like a small, exquisite jewel.  Everything fits beautifully, and Serge’s finishes are topnotch.

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Above is the beginning design for a nasty-piece-of-work steampunk viperfish, complete with gear-guts.

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Day 1, I’ve disassembled the knife (seemed like such a shame!) and engraved the major lines of the design, cutting through Serge’s nice stonewashed finish.

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The next steps are to add in all of the copper and 25 karat gold inlays.  Above, I’ve begun excavating the pockets for the copper jaw, pectoral fins and tail pivots.  I’ll follow up the excavation with undercutting the outside edges, and cutting a forest of tinyhooks in the floors of the pockets.  I’ll wind copper wire in a spiral, using a brass punch to drive the soft metal into the tiny hooks and undercuts, resulting in a solid mass that is permanently trapped in the titanium parent metal.

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Here are the copper inlays left rough from the brass punch.

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Above, I’ve used diesinker stones to abrade the copper down level with the parent titanium.  I’ve also begun the copper inlays in the pectoral fin rays.

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More inlays, including some in 24 karat gold.  This is the end of Day 2 engraving.

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Day 3.  Above, I’ve carved the fins and the tail, and inlaid the gold gears.  Only four more gold inlays to go! And, while I shouldn’t, I couldn’t resist a little background removal just to see how it’s going to look…

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Here I’ve begun stippling the background with a tiny, sharp carbide punch.  Background removal and stippling is mind-numbing work, but it really makes the engraving pop!

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And, once again even though I probably shouldn’t, I couldn’t resist inking what I’ve engraved so far to see how it’s going to look.  Even if I do say so myself, it’s going to be good!  Day 4, I think?  I’m not sure where Day 3 went…

 

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More background removal, in front of the mouth.  I’m using a graver to remove a lot of the material before I switch to a small carbide bur.

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And more background removal.  Did I mention that background removal is mind-numbing work?

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Here’s the back plate in the engraver’s vise. I’m still working on background removal and stippling.  You can see the carbide stippling punch in my Lindsay Nitro G20 airgraver.  Its’ extra power is very useful for tough metals like titanium.  I think this is the end of Day 5.

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More background removal – stippled.

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There’s that section underneath the jaw that still needs the background removed, and then that’s the last of the football-sized areas.  The others should be a bit more interesting and faster.

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Above, the rest of the background excavated and stippled.  Didn’t I tell you it would go faster?  This is the end of Day 6.

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Above, here’s the backplate finished and inked for the last time.  I’ve engraved all the final details like the pivot pins in the backbone and the plates on the ugly fish’s back.  I’ve also shaded everything, which helps to make it all pop.

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And, of course, I couldn’t leave well enough alone, and decided I needed to add a small surprise for Serge.  Since I’ve been spending so much time with his little knife, I couldn’t help notice the little banana-shaped area beneath the blade.  That just cried out for an ugly fish of its’ own…so, above, I’ve engraved the outlines with a small carbide graver.  This frame is made of 6Al4V titanium, which is a notorious material for engravers.  However, I discovered that with a really small carbide graver, I could actually engrave lightly in it without too much grief.

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And, of course, since the nasty-piece-of-work viperfish on the back is pretty rich with all of her gold, the ugly fish on the front demanded her share as well.  Above, you can see the eye and the fishing lure light excavated, undercut and hooks raised, ready to inlay.

Here’s a little hint for the engravers in the audience – if all you have on hand is 28 gauge wire and the blob you want to inlay is a little large, just melt a blob on the end of the wire.  Problem solved…

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Gold in place, and stoned flat.  Of course, this is where I had a thought.  It’s rare when that happens, but I noticed that the nice stonewashed background would provide a really nice contrast to bare titanium inside the fish…

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So, a little later after work with a couple of tiny abrasive stones, a nice silvery fish…

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Above, shaded, finished and inked

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But, we’re not finished yet – the titanium pivot ring is insisting on a little attention as well…  Then, reassemble all of the parts, find the tiny screw that rolled under the bench and into the trash on the floor, try to remember if the bronze washer goes on the bottom or the top; no, that’s not the screw for that hole, careful – don’t scratch that part, and then sit in front of the boob tube and admire my handiwork…I wonder if there is any way I can keep this thing?  Oops, She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed is saying that I have to send it back to Serge…

Thanks for looking!

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William Henry “Engraved Longhorn Beetle Knife” Finished

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Above, I’ve completed the gold inlay, and cut the details in the antennae.  This image is before the final patina.

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Above are detail shots of the more important elements.

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And overall views of the final pieces.

Thanks for looking!

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