Shibuichi Longhorn Beetle Hobo Nickel Tutorial

Shibuichi_Longhorn_Beetle_Hobo_Nickel_Tutorial_1Shibuichi_Longhorn_Beetle_Hobo_Nickel_Tutorial_2 Shibuichi_Longhorn_Beetle_Hobo_Nickel_Tutorial_3
Starting a new project, a Hobo Nickel with a shibuichi Japanese-style inlay of a longhorn beetle. I’ve been watching Ford Hallam (https://www.facebook.com/Ford-Hallam-Following-the-Iron-Br…/) make his lovely metal inlays, and have been taking his advice to “steal with my eyes.” I think I’ve broken the code, so I’m trying it with this beetle inlay.

Of course, I might have it all wrong, so you should take this with a grain of salt.  Additionally, since the traditional methods I’ve alluded to here are taken from the Japanese method of hammer and chisel, I’ve tailored all the actions to better suit my use of pneumatic hand engraving technology.

Here I’m sawing out and filing a tiny snail from a self-made plate of shibuichi (75% copper and 25% silver), about an eighth of an inch thick (3.2 mm).

Here I’m sawing out and filing a tiny snail (less than half an inch long) from a self-made plate of shibuichi (75% copper and 25% silver), about an eighth of an inch thick (3.2 mm).  This will make an almost 3D beetle in very high relief.

Shibuichi_Longhorn_Beetle_Hobo_Nickel_Tutorial_4
Above is a small sample of my favorite Japanese-style raised metal inlays by Ford Hallam, just to illustrate the wide range of exquisite work in this style being done today.  More of his work can be seen here:  (https://www.facebook.com/Ford-Hallam-Following-the-Iron-Br…/)

Shibuichi_Longhorn_Beetle_Hobo_Nickel_Tutorial_5
Heres a terrible image of the beetle after sawing it out with a jeweler’s saw and 2/0 blade.  Sorry for that…  I glue a paper printout onto the sheet and just saw through the paper.

Shibuichi_Longhorn_Beetle_Hobo_Nickel_Tutorial_6
Note the tiny vise I use to hold the beetle for careful filing.  It’s a wide nose pin vise.  This one is an antique, but almost identical modern versions are available at http://www.gesswein.com/p-10440-pin-vise-wide-nose.aspx

You can also see the two jeweler’s files I used to trim up my rough sawing technique.  I try to file so that the base of my shibuichi inlay is wider than the top surface.  That way the inlay will tend to “dovetail” into the inlay pocket when I punch the pocket edges down into contact with the inlay, trapping it in place.  This will make a completely secure mechanical connection that is unlikely to ever come apart.

Shibuichi_Longhorn_Beetle_Hobo_Nickel_Tutorial_7
One of the problems I’ve always had with this style of inlay is getting a clear and close outline of the inlay transferred to the substrate because I couldn’t hold the inlay in place and trace around it without moving.  Here’s a view of a “complicated contraption” clamp I use to hold an inlay in place on the surface of the “base” metal while I scribe a very close outline.

I find this far quicker and more useful than the methods I’ve attempted in the past, including trying (and failing) to hold the inlay with my finger, and even super-gluing the inlay into place, scribing the outline and then releasing the glue using heat (warping the base metal and making a huge mess to clean up).  Incidentally, this little beetle is less than half an inch long (about 12 mm)  This clamp is held in place with a single socket cap screw in a threaded hole in the top of the vise, and rotates around that screw as well as allowing the brass nose to extend and contract in length.

As a point of interest, the shibuichi beetle inlay is harder than the cupronickel base metal of the coin, hence the need to use this style of inlay.

I’ll also use this clamp again to hold the inlay in place in the pocket while I punch the sides of the base metal to jam the inlay into place for a permanent installation.  The clamp will hold the inlay firmly in place, without allowing any movement, and the small size of clamp contact won’t interfere much with the operation.

Shibuichi_Longhorn_Beetle_Hobo_Nickel_Tutorial_8
Another view of the clamp.

Shibuichi_Longhorn_Beetle_Hobo_Nickel_Tutorial_9
A close-up view of the clamp in action.

Shibuichi_Longhorn_Beetle_Hobo_Nickel_Tutorial_10
Here are some images of the inlay hold-down clamp I took my inspiration from, so here are some images of it. Much more elegant than my cobbled-together solution. Photos courtesy of Mike Dubber and Brian Marshall, the clamps actually designed and manufactured by Ray Letourneau.

Shibuichi_Longhorn_Beetle_Hobo_Nickel_Tutorial_11
The result of the scribing and clamp in action, a clear and close outline, in the proper place.

Shibuichi_Longhorn_Beetle_Hobo_Nickel_Tutorial_12
Here’s the start of the pocket creation for the beetle inlay.  I use a narrow flat graver (45 degree face), and simply plunge it into the base metal at about a 45 degree angle.  My aim here is to start piling up a blob of base metal, and then using the power of the pneumatic airgraver to push the pile just beyond the edge of the outline.  I’ll repeat this all the way around the edges of the outline until I’ve gone completely around.  The tighter the curve, the narrower flat graver I use.

I use a Lindsay Classic Palm Control Airgraver with the heavy tungsten piston, 60 psi air and fairly long stroke – I want nice large piles of metal around the edges.  I’ll use these piles of base metal to punch down around the edge of the inlay, jamming it permanently in place.

I’m not terribly familiar with GRS or Enset operation, but obviously you’re going to want a high power setting.

A small disclaimer here – I’ve not used this method with steel yet, but I think it will work just fine.  I anticipate a few more broken tips, however, as this is likely to be hard on narrow flat gravers…

Shibuichi_Longhorn_Beetle_Hobo_Nickel_Tutorial_13
Above, I’ve gone all the way around.  Notice the individual graver marks have left a rough interior – I’ll use an onglette graver to clean up the bottom edges of the cuts.

Shibuichi_Longhorn_Beetle_Hobo_Nickel_Tutorial_14
Here I’m using the standard method of multiple parallel cuts to begin the excavation of the excess material from the inlay pocket.

Shibuichi_Longhorn_Beetle_Hobo_Nickel_Tutorial_15
I’ve used an NSK micromotor and tiny carbide bur to excavate to the bottom of the parallel graver cuts.  I’ll repeat the parallel graver cuts and carbide bur excavation to get this pocket deep enough (about 1 mm deep) to hold the inlay securely.  I’ll also use the onglette graver to make sure the bottom edges of the inlay pocket are clean and slightly wider than the top opening.

If I’ve done this correctly, the shibuichi inlay will “click” into place and not wobble horizontally.

Shibuichi_Longhorn_Beetle_Hobo_Nickel_Tutorial_16
Here’s the shibuichi inlay almost in place.  It doesn’t quite fit in the “right shoulder” notch and point of the shoulder (see the red arrows).  I’ll use the flat graver as a bulldozer and push up the edges of the inlay pocket in those areas a little more until I can see a small dark line between the inlay and base metal.

Shibuichi_Longhorn_Beetle_Hobo_Nickel_Tutorial_17
Once the inlay has a good fit, I use a small block of lead and engraver’s hammer to firmly seat the inlay in place (another Ford Hallam trick).  The lead won’t mar the inlay and acts to make a solid but controlled dead blow (no bounce).

Shibuichi_Longhorn_Beetle_Hobo_Nickel_Tutorial_18
When everything fits well, I re-install the clamp, adjust it until the position is correct, and then begin punching down the little piles of base metal around the edge of the inlay pocket.

Shibuichi_Longhorn_Beetle_Hobo_Nickel_Tutorial_19
Here’s a closeup of the inlay just sitting in the pocket.  Notice the raised edges of the nickel inlay pocket against the pinkish shibuichi inlay.  We’re ready to begin punching those raised edges down against the inlay.

Shibuichi_Longhorn_Beetle_Hobo_Nickel_Tutorial_20
Above, I’ve used a tiny punch to push the inlay pocket edges as close to the inlay as possible.  I’ve leaned the engraver’s block to and fro to get the angle right for effective punching.

My punches are made from old carbide bur shafts, with the carbide portions snapped off.  i grind the face flat, with a very slight radius to the edges of the face to avoid marring the surface.  The punch I’ve used here looks to be a little less than a millimeter in diameter.

Shibuichi_Longhorn_Beetle_Hobo_Nickel_Tutorial_21
A closeup of the punched edges.  The inlay is now permanently installed – to attempt to remove the inlay at this point would probably require destruction of the nickel base metal, and perhaps the shibuichi inlay as well.

Shibuichi_Longhorn_Beetle_Hobo_Nickel_Tutorial_22
Above is a quick and dirty graphic of the basic process of Japanese-style pocket inlay.

Shibuichi_Longhorn_Beetle_Hobo_Nickel_Tutorial_23
Above is the inlay installed, and the beginning of roughing in the additional details.

Shibuichi_Longhorn_Beetle_Hobo_Nickel_Tutorial_24
Here I’m rounding out the beetle’s body with carbide burs, although flat gravers would work as well.

Shibuichi_Longhorn_Beetle_Hobo_Nickel_Tutorial_25
Above, I’ve used a tiny scraper to refine the shape of the beetle wings (the long part of the body).

Shibuichi_Longhorn_Beetle_Hobo_Nickel_Tutorial_26
The same tool has refined the front body portions as well.

Shibuichi_Longhorn_Beetle_Hobo_Nickel_Tutorial_27
Trimming the body with a Lindsay Universal graver (116 degree V graver) and tiny carbide bur.  Then, the body parts were smoothed with a 600 grit pencil stone.

Shibuichi_Longhorn_Beetle_Hobo_Nickel_Tutorial_28
Above, after a little burnishing with 0000 steel wool.

Shibuichi_Longhorn_Beetle_Hobo_Nickel_Tutorial_29
Starting to inlay 24 karat gold in the legs.  The largest section of the right hind leg is two 28 gauge wires wide.  The middle leg shows the undercut sides, with angled holes made in the bottom of the inlay trough with a simple single pointed tool – I drove them in at about 45 degrees from vertical.  Barry Lee Hands explained the hole technique in this thread:  http://www.engraverscafe.com/showthread.php?19991-Barry-Lee-Hands-24k-gold-overlay-work-in-progress   He calls this style of teeth raising “louver,” or “arch” and it works very well.

Shibuichi_Longhorn_Beetle_Hobo_Nickel_Tutorial_30
A little better view of the “louvers” in the inlay channels.

Shibuichi_Longhorn_Beetle_Hobo_Nickel_Tutorial_31
I doubled the gold wire over for a short distance to fill the widest parts of the legs.  A single width of wire worked fine for the slimmer portions of the legs.  You can still see the excess length of wire still attached.

Shibuichi_Longhorn_Beetle_Hobo_Nickel_Tutorial_32
Above, all the legs have been inlaid with gold, punched flush, and trimmed.  I use a small scraper to scrape the excess gold from the tops of the inlays.

Shibuichi_Longhorn_Beetle_Hobo_Nickel_Tutorial_33
Above you can see the tiny cuts I make in the nickel base metal just outside the gold inlay (see the right rear leg).  This step really finishes off the gold inlay and refines the visual appeal.  Compare the right rear leg with the right middle leg just above, and see how much more refined the right rear leg appears.

Shibuichi_Longhorn_Beetle_Hobo_Nickel_Tutorial_34Shibuichi_Longhorn_Beetle_Hobo_Nickel_Tutorial_35
All of the gold inlays outlined with tiny cuts.

Shibuichi_Longhorn_Beetle_Hobo_Nickel_Tutorial_36
Above, I’ve begun making a raised inlaid ant in 24 karat gold.  Here I’ve excavated the tiny ant pockets in the usual manner, undercutting the edges with a tiny flat graver and raising “louvers” in the inlay bottom.  Then, I melted tiny balls on the end of my standard 28 gauge gold wire, altering the sizes of the melt balls as needed.  Using a flat-faced brass punch, I’ve tacked the balls into place, then begun shaping them into the appropriate ant body parts, making certain to securely punch down the edges into the undercuts.

Shibuichi_Longhorn_Beetle_Hobo_Nickel_Tutorial_37
Above, you can see the rough shapes established with the small brass flat-faced punch.

Shibuichi_Longhorn_Beetle_Hobo_Nickel_Tutorial_38
Here, I’ve used a small shaped female punches to further refine the shape of the three body parts.  For more about making punches like my “ant punches,” visit this link:  http://sterlingsculptures.com/wp/?p=1417

Shibuichi_Longhorn_Beetle_Hobo_Nickel_Tutorial_39
Above I’ve used a tiny square graver to trim away the excess gold, and further refine the shapes.  I’ve also gone over the surface with a tiny flat faced steel punch (made from a tiny worn out carbide bur).

Shibuichi_Longhorn_Beetle_Hobo_Nickel_Tutorial_40
I’ve inlaid the legs, but this time I did not punch the gold flush with surface, but left it fairly thick.  I might add these legs are quite tiny and narrow, so 28 gauge gold wire is pretty excessive for the size.  That leaves a pretty thick and wide layer of gold above the surface.  Using my tiny square graver I trimmed the excess gold away, leaving slightly raised inlays.  The ant is 3/16ths of an inch long (4.75 mm).

Shibuichi_Longhorn_Beetle_Hobo_Nickel_Tutorial_41Shibuichi_Longhorn_Beetle_Hobo_Nickel_Tutorial_42
Here is an overview of where we are now, all the inlays are in and we are ready to do some background removal and texturing, followed by some stippling.

Shibuichi_Longhorn_Beetle_Hobo_Nickel_Tutorial_43
Above, the background has been removed around the beetle to create raised legs, and stippled to darken the shadow areas near the beetle and around the legs.

Also, I’ve stippled around the ant, and carved a hole for the ant.

Shibuichi_Longhorn_Beetle_Hobo_Nickel_Tutorial_44
And with the addition of patina (I use Birchwood Casey Super Blue) and a good inking, the Shibuichi Longhorn Beetle Hobo Nickel is finished!

Thanks for Looking!

Tom Sterling

http://www.facebook.com/TomSterlingHandEngraving#
http://instagram.com/tom_sterling_hand_engraving

 

 

Posted in Carving, Hobo Nickel | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Inlaid Shibuichi “Slimy Snail” Hobo Nickel Tutorial

Starting a new project, a Hobo Nickel with a shibuichi Japanese-style snail inlay.

Shibuichi_Snail_Hobo_Nickel_Tutorial_1
I’ve been watching Ford Hallam (https://www.facebook.com/Ford-Hallam-Following-the-Iron-Br…/) make his lovely metal inlays, and have been taking his advice to “steal with my eyes.”  I think I’ve broken the code, so I’m trying it with this snail.  I’ll discuss the technique further as the project unfolds.  Here I’m sawing out and filing a tiny snail from a self-made plate of shibuichi (75% copper and 25% silver).  Note the tiny vise I use to hold the snail for careful filing.

I cut it out with a jeweler’s saw and 2/0 blade (actually several of them, since I had to attack it from several directions because of the length of the shibuichi plate, and I broke a blade backing out – I seldom break blades in forward gear, but reverse sometimes gets the best of me…)

Shibuichi_Snail_Hobo_Nickel_Tutorial_2
One of the problems I’ve always had with this style of inlay is getting a clear and close outline of the inlay transferred to the substrate because I couldn’t hold the inlay in place and trace around it without things moving, and then requiring a lot of adjustments to the inlay pocket.  I’ve even superglued the inlay in place, then scribed around it, but removal is a mess.  However, I saw a beautiful clamping fixture designed to fix all that – unfortunately no longer manufactured.  So, this is my (rather inelegant..) solution, but it works like a champ.  I use the clamp fixture both for tracing the inlay outline and permanently seating the inlay in the substrate..

Shibuichi_Snail_Hobo_Nickel_Tutorial_3
There’s been some interest in the inlay hold-down clamp I took my inspiration from, so here are some images of it.  Much more elegant than my cobbled-together solution.  Photos courtesy of Mike Dubber and Brian Marshall, the clamps actually manufactured by Ray Letourneau.

Shibuichi_Snail_Hobo_Nickel_Tutorial_4
Here’s how I begin the inlay process (upper left) – using a flat graver, I drive it downwards (slightly inside the lines) at about a 45 degree angle, pushing up a little mound of metal and continuing to move that mound until it it slightly beyond (outside) the inlay line.  I repeat this all the way around the edge.  In the past, I’ve cut around the inside edge of the inlay pocket with a v-graver, then removed the interior waste material, but getting a good fit was difficult.  This new method (new to me…) solves those problems, needing only minor adjustments.  I then remove the interior waste material as per normal (flat gravers and carbide burs).  Two rounds of waste removal seemed to make the proper depth.  Next, I’ll seat the inlay and push the nickel edges up tight against the shibuichi inlay, fixing it permanently in place.  I believe this is the method of the ancient Japanese metal artists.

Shibuichi_Snail_Hobo_Nickel_Tutorial_5
Got the snail inlay installed in the nickel.  You can see the before and after, using a punch to move the nickel “piles” back into place to contact the shibuichi inlay.  The hold is solid, permanent and strictly mechanical – no glue or solder.  Now I have to begin simmering turkey necks for tomorrow’s world famous gravy – hope everybody has a wonderful Christmas!

Shibuichi_Snail_Hobo_Nickel_Tutorial_6
Finished carving and texturing the snail with flat gravers and carbide burs.  Next will be creating the background by removing the Indian head, in a logical sequence.

Shibuichi_Snail_Hobo_Nickel_Tutorial_7
The Slimy Snail Hobo Nickel is complete.  I slipped in a simple background and texture and patina.  Shibuichi snail, hand engraved and inlaid into a 1929 US nickel (5 cent coin).

Thanks for Looking!

Tom Sterling

http://www.facebook.com/TomSterlingHandEngraving#
http://instagram.com/tom_sterling_hand_engraving

Posted in Carving, Hobo Nickel | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Tom included in The World of Art Knives, Vol III by Dr David Darom

Those who’ve been around the knife world for very long will recognize the many art knife books by Dr David Darom. I have a number of them myself, and have found lots of inspiration in them. Imagine my pleasant surprise when he asked me to participate in his latest, The World of Art Knives, Vol III. A very great honor! I was even more pleased when I received my copy, and got to see the spectacular 4 page spread he created with my artistic efforts! Thanks so much David!

Darom_Sterling_Book

The book is available from Nordic Knives USA,
Phone: (805)688-3612 NORDICKNIVES.com

Thanks for Looking!

Posted in Engraved Knife | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Centipede Tactical Lanyard Bead (and Others…)

Spent the last two days making titanium blanks for a pair of earrings and a couple tactical beads.

Centipede_Tactical_Lanyard_Bead_0It’s a lot easier if someone else makes the knife or jewelry blanks, but no joy here…

Centipede_Tactical_Lanyard_Bead_1 Starting a new project – a tactical bead in titanium. I blatantly stole the bead shape from sergeknives.com and I’m carving a wraparound centipede with 24 karat gold legs.

Centipede_Tactical_Lanyard_Bead_2 After yesterday’s shameless commercial (I offer no apology!), we’ll continue with the centipede tactical bead…putting in all the gold inlays (28 of them), and reminding myself why I need to steer clear of this terrible titanium 6Al4V. Remind me next time I get this crazy idea…but, I have ordered some Grade 2 Ti, so not to worry!

I’ve removed all the background – next will be punch sculpting the body, followed by stippling the background, and we’ll be done!

Here’s a short video of the Centipede Bead:  Sorry, you’ll have to click the link to make it play…Centipede_Tactical_Lanyard_Bead_2
Finished, except for a little cleanup (tomorrow!). Hand engraved and carved titanium centipede, with 28 pure gold inlays, 7/8 of an inch tall.

Centipede_Tactical_Lanyard_Bead_3 OK, I had a cute idea (even if I do say so myself) to turn a tactical lanyard bead into a pendant…a simple turned hanger (this one is copper) and a couple of jump rings, and voila! It’s nondestructive, so if you want it to be a lanyard bead again, just remove the jump ring and it all comes apart…

Centipede_Tactical_Lanyard_Bead_4 Spent the last two days turning six lanyard beads for tactical knives in Grade 2 titanium, copper and bronze. Here you can see the various stages of manufacture, including drilling the titanium. The titanium drilling took longer than the rest of the operations combined! I’ll be engraving these over the next several months.

Centipede_Tactical_Lanyard_Bead_5 After engraving the centipede tactical lanyard bead in this $@:*+{: terrible 6Al4V titanium, I wimped out and just “knapped” the second one, did a little minor engraving and stippling between the flutes, and heat treated it to a nice dark gold color.

Centipede_Tactical_Lanyard_Bead_6 Making a copper pendant “dangler” at a client’s request for the faceted tactical lanyard bead. This one is designed for a ball chain.

Centipede_Tactical_Lanyard_Bead_7I’ve spent most of the last week working to create enough blank canvases to carry me through the next several months. Not my favorite part of the action, but eventually I run out of them so it’s back to the grind…literally!

Thanks for Looking!

Tom Sterling

http://www.facebook.com/TomSterlingHandEngraving#
http://instagram.com/tom_sterling_hand_engraving

 

Posted in Carving, Jewelry, Pendant, Tactical Lanyard Bead | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gold and Titanium Dragonfly Earrings

Deb_Dragonfly_Earrings_Posting_1
I started on a pair of titanium earrings for a friend. These will have 24 karat gold inlaid dragonfly bodies, and are about 0.75 inches square.

Deb_Dragonfly_Earrings_Posting_2The first few steps to inlay the gold wire in the dragonfly earrings. You can see the first gold wire tacked in place down the length of the dragonfly (lower right image) along with the double ended knife I use to trim the wire.

Deb_Dragonfly_Earrings_Posting_3 Scraping the excess gold using the small scraper (bottom images) followed by the carbide burnisher (upper right).

Deb_Dragonfly_Earrings_Posting_4 Stoning the gold with a Gesswein EDM stone (600 grit) to smooth the surface. I leave the gold at 600 grit because I like the look of the raw gold.

Deb_Dragonfly_Earrings_Posting_5
These earrings provided a nice way to show my process of background removal that will eventually make the design pop.

Deb_Dragonfly_Earrings_Posting_6Finished! Here I’ve added in all the body and wing details, and done the final inking in the lower image. Thanks for looking and all your great support!

Thanks for Looking!

Tom Sterling

http://www.facebook.com/TomSterlingHandEngraving#
http://instagram.com/tom_sterling_hand_engraving

Posted in Jewelry | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Knapped Chalcedony Stone Dagger and Tulipwood Presentation Box

Tulipwood_Presentation_Box_Posting_1Some of you will remember the recent upper left image – my daughter laid claim to the chalcedony stone blade at the red arrow tip, and demanded a knife like the one laying on top (it’s not her birthday or Xmas). So, I carved a moose antler handle, and antiqued it. Then I used an ancient Native American fixative (called e-pox-y) to permanently affix the blade. Then my better half insisted I make a tulipwood presentation box for the stone knife. Keeping my girls happy… I’ll show the box making tomorrow…

You can find more information about making this style of presentation box in the Resources Section at this link:  http://sterlingsculptures.com/wp/?page_id=882

Tulipwood_Presentation_Box_Posting_2
Here’s the start of the presentation box. You need thin wood, I resaw standard lumber (cut in half along the thickness) and then plane thinner. Superglue and spray accelerator speeds things up.

Tulipwood_Presentation_Box_Posting_3
The next steps in assembling the presentation box. I ended up with the pivot block a little too close to the box bottom, and had to correct by carving a bevel on the box bottom so the lid could fold back far enough…I’m calling that “graceful degradation.”

Tulipwood_Presentation_Box_Posting_4The final steps – trimming everything up and sanding smooth, with a linseed oil finish. I chose to round over the edges of this presentation box in a retro-1980s style that seems to work well with a stone knife.

Thanks for Looking!

Tom Sterling

http://www.facebook.com/TomSterlingHandEngraving#
http://instagram.com/tom_sterling_hand_engraving

Posted in Knapped Knife | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Engraving William Henry Koi and Waves Bolster Knife Scales

William Henry B12 Koi and Waves Knife Work-in-ProgressTutorial
William_Henry_B12_Koi_Waves_110William_Henry_B12_Koi_Waves_109William_Henry_B12_Koi_Waves_111

The images above are of the finished knife, and courtesy of the good folks at http://www.williamhenry.com.

William_Henry_B12_Koi_Waves_Web_1
A new project – a Japanese-style Koi and Waves for the good folks at William Henry Knives. This is a four bolster B12 model, and will have three colors of inlaid gold – 14 karat green and red, and 24 karat yellow gold. Here are several stages of inlaying the green gold foam…

William_Henry_B12_Koi_Waves_Web_2 Beginning the sculpting process. A long way to go yet…

William_Henry_B12_Koi_Waves_Web_3 Sculpting the koi and inlaying 14 karat red gold in some of the fish scales. Red gold is a major pain to inlay and very risky – it work-hardens instantly, so if your first hit goes awry, it’s all over…but the color is so fantastic, it’s worth it!

William_Henry_B12_Koi_Waves_Web_4 All the gold inlays are in – 3 colors of gold in 11 inlays…probably one other day to go on this, then 3 more bolsters. No rest for the wicked!

William_Henry_B12_Koi_Waves_Web_5 Finished detailing the koi. All that’s left on this bolster is to detail the green gold foam (three more bolsters though). Just couldn’t push on to the finish today. Whew!

William_Henry_B12_Koi_Waves_Web_6 Finished the front bolster. The small view is (hopefully…) about life size (computer or tablet). 11 inlays, in 3 colors of gold. Next to start on the rear bolster, then another complete side after that!

William_Henry_B12_Koi_Waves_Web_7 There’s been a small delay since the last step.  I have been working on a design for the rear bolster of the Koi and Waves William Henry Knife. In the upper left is a test piece I made – in person, the heron and rising sun is spectacular (yay me!) and the large wave on the left is a total FAIL. Hence the redesign on the actual bolster below. If you wonder why engraving is expensive, here’s a great example. It’s not the cutting, it’s the agonizing hours spent designing, followed by redesign, and redesigning again…and tiny, awkward areas increase the difficulty tenfold…

William_Henry_B12_Koi_Waves_Web_8 The main steps installing green and 24 karat yellow gold inlays in the rear bolster. The yellow is wonderful to work with, not so wonderful the 14 karat green gold…

William_Henry_B12_Koi_Waves_Web_9 Side A of the William Henry Koi and Waves completed. Here’s the lovely cream and blue fossil mammoth scale installed. I’ve got Side B mounted and ready to add the heron to the Side B rear bolster since I’m already trained up on the design. Then on to the front bolster…

William_Henry_B12_Koi_Waves_Web_10 The Side B rear bolster inlays are in – that’s a 600 grit diemaker’s stone in a pencil holder that I use to stone the inlays flush with the steel.

William_Henry_B12_Koi_Waves_Web_11 OK, I’ll be taking a small break to go play at our local annual Knap-In (stone tool making), so I’ve been ordered to get back to work by my better half and finish this bolster before I can go…so, gold inlays are in, stoned and trimmed, and now I’m removing background. You can see the tiny carbide burs I use to carve out the background.

William_Henry_B12_Koi_Waves_Web_12 Well, the big Knap-In is over, so it’s back to the grind… We’re on the home stretch with the last Side B bolster of the William Henry “Koi and Waves.” Note that Side B doesn’t have a blade lock button hole, so that changes the design a little bit. Also, an added difficulty of a lock button clearance pocket on the backside, so I have to be careful over the resulting thin area not to cut through! Tomorrow, the green gold foam inlays…

William_Henry_B12_Koi_Waves_Web_13 Finished the green gold foam inlays – top left then clockwise: pocket excavated and undercut, bottom stippled, 3 green gold wires installed, more wires, all wires installed, gold heavily punched into the pocket, stoned flat.

William_Henry_B12_Koi_Waves_Web_14 Sculpting the waves and koi. Top left is the flat koi, bottom left is fully sculpted to round. Tomorrow, the remaining 6 gold inlays go in. Two of them are red gold – awful stuff to inlay!

William_Henry_B12_Koi_Waves_Web_15The Fates have been conspiring to keep me away from this.  The electricity is finally back on after three days and 2 and 1/2 nights of storm outage…tired of the dark, missing my studio (not enough light), and looking forward to a hot shower as soon as the water is hot…

Between Knap-Ins, our 3 day power outage and attending the West Coast Engraver’s Confabulation last weekend, I’m really behind the power curve on this one… Here I’m adding in 24 karat gold wire inlay in the koi’s left pectoral fin.

William_Henry_B12_Koi_Waves_Web_16 All the gold inlays are in place, now I just need to trim around the inlays, a little carving cleanup, and add in wave force lines. A day and a half and this one will be ready to ship!

William_Henry_B12_Koi_Waves_Web_17 All the gold inlays are installed and the distance waves are completed. All that’s left is detailing the gold and inking!

William_Henry_B12_Koi_Waves_Web_18Finished, with a couple of in-work views! They’re off to the good folks at William Henry Knives tomorrow.

William_Henry_B12_Koi_Waves_110William_Henry_B12_Koi_Waves_109William_Henry_B12_Koi_Waves_111
The images above are of the finished knife, and courtesy of the good folks at http://www.williamhenry.com.

Thanks for Looking!

Tom Sterling

http://www.facebook.com/TomSterlingHandEngraving#
http://instagram.com/tom_sterling_hand_engraving

 

Posted in Carving, Engraved Knife, William Henry knife | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Hummingbird Skull with Silver Helmet Pendant

Silver_Helmet_Hummingbird_Skull_1
Starting a new press-formed hummingbird skull, this time with a twist. Here are several pressings, and carefully forging away the wrinkles in the copper sheet caused by the pressing.

Silver_Helmet_Hummingbird_Skull_2
Here’s the beginning of the twist – I’m upcycling a failed silver pressing (it cracked!) to become a helmet. Trimming it from the sheet and pressing it on top of the copper bird makes a very tight fit, then silver soldered permanently in place. The remaining little helmet crack over the beak will become one of my (in)famous repairs…

Silver_Helmet_Hummingbird_Skull_3 Imbedding the skull in pitch to chase and sharpen details, followed by rough carving the eye holes.

Silver_Helmet_Hummingbird_Skull_4
Freeing the skull from the copper sheet and beginning to prepare the titanium backplate…

Silver_Helmet_Hummingbird_Skull_5
Adding copper staples to repair the helmet axe damage (over the beak) and making tiny copper rivets with a miniature blacksmith’s nail header. Did I mention this is an inch and a half long?

Silver_Helmet_Hummingbird_Skull_6
Finished the skull and helmet, and starting engraving the skeletal wings and feathers. Another day or so to go…

Silver_Helmet_Hummingbird_Skull_7
Sculpting the titanium skeletal wings in Japanese-style shishiaibori (below the surface in-the-round) and detailing the feathers. One side finished, one to go…

Silver_Helmet_Hummingbird_Skull_8
Finished! That ended up being a lot of engraving…feathers eat up a lot of time! Shown with a 20 inch leather cord.

Thanks for Looking!

Tom Sterling

http://www.facebook.com/TomSterlingHandEngraving#
http://instagram.com/tom_sterling_hand_engraving
http://sterlingsculptures.com/wp/

Posted in Carving, Jewelry, Pendant, Press Forming, Steampunk | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Steampunk Anglerfish Dogtag – Available for Purchase Now!

Steampunk_Anglerfish_Dogtag_Standard_1 Steampunk_Anglerfish_Dogtag_Gold_1Titanium Dogtag with deep laser engraved Clockwork Steampunk Anglerfish now on the Available for Purchase page. Without gold is $125. With gold is $195.

Thanks for Looking!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Experimental Banknote Scroll and Sculpted Centipede

William_Henry_Scroll_Centipede_1
I’ve been working to learn “scrolls” lately – here’s a practice for a William Henry knife. In the second image, I’m beginning to excavate for the spots where gold will be inlaid.

William_Henry_Scroll_Centipede_2
Since this will be a hybrid between my usual sculpting and standard scroll technique, I’m not certain how this will turn out – hence, the practicing…

William_Henry_Scroll_Centipede_3
Sculpting the hidden centipede, and inlaying gold in the legs and antennae.

William_Henry_Scroll_Centipede_4
Laying in lots more gold. I hope this ends up working… The cutting isn’t the difficulty, it’s the scroll designing that is kicking my butt!

William_Henry_Scroll_Centipede_5
Finished up the three steps of background removal today, first with a graver, 2nd with carbide bur, and third by stippling the background. Tomorrow, shading….

William_Henry_Scroll_Centipede_6
The scroll experiment is finished! Not too bad, although I’m not completely pleased with the design. But, it appears I can mix sculpted bugs with banknote engraving and get away with it!

Thanks for looking!

Tom Sterling

http://www.facebook.com/TomSterlingHandEngraving#
http://instagram.com/tom_sterling_hand_engraving
http://sterlingsculptures.com/wp/

Posted in Carving, Engraved Knife | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment