Dragonfly Blossom (B30) William Henry Studios Knife Scales – Part 2

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It’s time to add in the butterfly inlay.  This will be in 25% shibuichi (a Japanese art metal, alloyed from 25% silver and 75% copper).  I cut out the butterfly with a jeweler’s saw and then carefully scribed around it on the knife scale to mark the area to remove.  Above, I’ve cut inside the outline, and begun to remove the waste material by engraving multiple cuts within (90 degree graver used here).

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Above, I’ve used carbide burs and flat gravers to remove the waste material from the “pocket.”  If I’ve done it right, it should be just a tiny bit too small for the inlay.

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Here, used a special tool to drive into the base edges of the pocket, lifting the edges a little bit, and providing a cut all the way around the underside.  This tool isn’t really sharp, it is used more like a punch and is driven straight into the metal.  This frees the metal above to be more easily moved so I can enlarge the pocket just enough to let the inlay fit.

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Above, I’m in the process of punching the edges back so the inlay will just fit.  You can see the punch I used – just a worn out bur end, ground flat with a slightly rounded face.   This will also have the effect of lifting the edges of the pocket, leaving a little raised edge.  Once the inlay fits snugly, I’ll be pounding those raised edges back down, forcing the steel into contact with the freshly annealed (and soft) shibuichi, holding the inlay securely.

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Above is a test fit of the shibuichi.  As you might imagine, there are a number of trial fits, punch back a little here and there, until the inlay slips into the pocket.

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In the above two images, I’ve been using the same punch to punch down the raised lip, so the inlay is captive.  In this case, I’ll be using a similar texture on the rest of the knife scale surface, so the textures will blend together.  If I wasn’t going to texture the surface, I would need to use scrapers and stones to smooth the surface to match the rest of the surface.

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Above, I’ve begun to texture the rest of the knife scale surface.  The texture isn’t deep, just enough to give a little “tooth” to the surface.  You can see the dramatic difference between the smooth satin and the texture in the area right next to the third flower from the left.

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Here’s a closeup of the area I mentioned above.

Thanks for looking!

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