Dried Sardine Scalpel and Reliquary – Part 2

Above, I’ve started to shape the shibuichi scales.  I’ll be mainly using a my Foredom flex shaft grinder and small drum sanders.  You can see the central area where I’ve started the grinding.  Note that I’ve superglued the scales into position, and also used two pieces of 16 gauge copper wire as temporary rivets, and (very lightly!) peened them into place.  I’ll remove these when I’m ready to do the final assembly, and replace them with 16 gauge silver wire rivets.

Tapering back by the tail (blade).

Carving behind the head, and tapering the nose.

As you can see, this stage simply is a gradual tapering of both ends, and gently shaping here and there.

Above, the shaping is complete, and I’ve used a single edge razor blade as a wedge to gently pry the scales loose from the tang.  Now I’ll clean off the remaining super glue.

Above, everything cleaned up.  I’m using a larger drill bit to chamfer the holes in the tang of the knife, and the inner holes of the scales.  This generally neatens things up (every successful artist needs a little touch of OCD) and will facilitate lining things up at final assembly.

A shot of the scales together, to make certain my carving job matches up on both sides.

A view from the back end.  At this scale of tiny carving, you must pay attention to EVERY surface.  Any roughness or mismatching will be very obvious once permanently assembled, and VERY difficult to fix then.  Do yourself a favor and take care of the details as you go along.  Remember the little touch of OCD?  It will serve you well…

Now it’s time to shape the blade.  I need to taper the blade both in length and form the “flats” that taper to the sharp edge.

As you’ve seen me do before, I’m using files to cut in the “flats.”  Above is my clamp rig to help with that little chore.  You can see a little more detail about filing flats here:  Ants Miseretto Part 3

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The above images show the results of filing with a standard bastard file.  You can see the rough finish left behind.


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, I’ve used a finer cut, and almost worn out file to refine the deeper scratches left by the coarser file.

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And so here we are, the scales shaped, and the knife blade and tang ready for fitting the  stand, followed by heat treating the blade.

Thanks for looking!

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