Today is all about carving the bark. Above, I’ve begun by using a small carbide bur to begin adding vertical development to my so far very flat bark. Since the stainless steel scales aren’t terribly thick, I’ve chosen to cut away the top side and left side of each bark element (top and left seen as the image is oriented here). That will leave the bottom edge and the right side at the original surface level.
Above, I followed up the tiny carbide bur with a much larger one. I’ve done this to eliminate the tiny “scribbled” texture the tiny bur leaves. The top image is unpatinated, and the lower image has had a quick patina added. Notice how the patination really cuts the shine, and improves the appearance immensely. It’s actually starting to look like bark now.
The bark still looks too “defined” and sharp. So, above, I’ve used a large and slightly rounded punch to “beat the bark into submission.” You can see the face of the punch in the image. I’ve also textured the face of the punch by hammering it lightly into a 600 grit diamond lap. This grips the stainless steel better, causing it to move more efficiently, and leaves behind a nice, dull surface. I’ve also concentrated on the edges of the bark elements to slightly round them over, and lower the very flat bottom and right edges in spots.
Above, this is a far as I’ll go today. The two large areas with the original surface will end up as bark eventually, but I need to inlay the beetle antennae in gold first, followed by carving away the bark up to the edge of the gold inlays.
Thanks for looking!