Bear Skull Blade Fetish Tutorial

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A new project, with a recycled tiny bear skull carved from antler I found hidden away in a forgotten box. I can no longer carve organic materials for health reasons, and this will be the last of my wood, antler or ivory carvings. Also a small piece of shaped 1075 carbon steel which will become more obvious shortly…

The Bear Skull Fetish will have a “stone” turkeytail blade done in my signature “knapped steel” style. Here is how I “knap” the steel using a small drum sander in my Foredom™ flex shaft grinder. You can see three “flakes” I’ve ground into the steel blade (red arrow).

The above is an example of “percussion” knapping. This blade is a heat-treated jasper, knapped by my friend, Dr Joe Higgins. Percussion knapping removes flakes by using a small but dense object to strike flakes from the stone. Percussion flakes are larger, wider and deeper than pressure flakes. I usually simulate percussion flakes in my steel blade work – simply because I like the looks better.

Above, the blade is mostly finished. I need to cut it out from the parent steel bar (it’s much easier to hold like this…) and add the notches.

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The Bear Skull Fetish “knapped steel” style turkeytail blade is complete, with a simple cold blue finish. Next, I’ve got to make a complicated silver bail, which you’ll see if it works out. If not, I’ll disavow ever having done it…deny, deny, deny. Wish me luck.

Here’s my soldering setup for the complicated little silver bail.

The Bear Skull Fetish Pendant with the successfully fabricated silver bail. I ended up silver soldering it so it won’t ever come off!

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The Bear Skull Fetish Pendant lashed onto the “knapped steel” blade with red Irish linen cord. Soaked with thinned clear epoxy to make it absolutely permanent. In the top left image

, you can see the “serving” I added to tie everything off. The curved needle (lower image) helps thread the cord through the tight spots.

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The Bear Skull Fetish Pendant finished

, with 3 inch long 1075 “knapped steel” blade, hand carved moose antler, silver hardware, red Irish linen cord, 20 inch long 3mm leather neck cord.

Thanks for Looking!

Tom Sterling


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