Time to begin carving the beetle. I started by engraving parallel cuts between the legs, leaving a little metal at the edge of the inlay pocket. I don’t want to cut into the pocket and weaken the grip on the shibuichi.
Above, I used carbide burs to cut down to the bottom of the parallel cuts, followed by a punch (between the blue arrows) to further drive the raised metal down and in to the inlay pocket. Since I wasn’t certain how this might work out, I worked on a single small section – part of my policy of Graceful Degradation. However, luck was with me and the technique worked flawlessly!
Above, I’ve cut away the waste steel surface around the legs with carbide burs, and used the punch to drive the ridge further down into the shibuichi and inlay pocket along the left side. I’ve used a tiny flat graver to further refine the edges of the legs and the surrounding steel surface – you can see the little “roadlike” tracks left by the flat graver. I’ll use a tiny carbide bur to disguise the smooth “road,” followed by a tiny onglette graver to cut a small groove at the base of each leg and steel surface, and then use the punch to gently sculpt the upper surfaces of the legs. The sculpting will take the legs from tiny, blocky/square ridges to rounded and elegantly curved surfaces. All the boy beetles will sit up and take notice when she slinks by…..
I’ve tried another experiment, and stippled the left side of the steel surface around the beetle body and legs to darken the area like a shadow, and added a quick patina. I couldn’t resist seeing how it will turn out down the road!
Thanks for looking!