Frosted Blades

Some of my customers order “frosted” blades, but what does that mean? And why is it cheaper than the crystal clear blades? Today, I will share with you the  answers to these questions and more. Stand back everyone! It’s about to get nerdy in here… as we discuss the secrets behind the movie magic.

First, let’s start with my signature crystal clear acrylic swords.

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This lovely Jahoel model short sword takes five hours of wet sanding to bring it to this level of clarity. Longswords like Azrael can take as long as seven straight hours of polishing! When placed on an open book, you can easily read through this blade.

This clarity comes at a price, and I don’t just mean money.

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Here is an Azrael sword lit up in pitch darkness. Do you see the swath of darkness up the middle? Why doesn’t it light up evenly? Hang onto your hats guys, it’s time for science!

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The beam of a flash light shines straight and true, illuminating the space you shine it on. The protective glass, or plastic protecting the light bulb inside is polished to 100% clarity to make sure all of that light goes where you want it to.

But you want a sword, not a flash light! How can we make the sword glow and not just let all that light pass directly through? We need to give the light something to reflect off of. That is why the edges of Azrael are so bright in the image. The curved surfaces of the sword meet in points and ridges and it is here that the light bounces off the acrylic in a way you can see it.

Here is a method for getting the sword to be brighter, though. Let’s take a look at Jace’s sword from The Mortal Instruments movie.

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You will quickly notice that the edge of this sword is frosted, unlike the rest of it which is crystal clear. Why did the movie’s prop team do this? To properly explain, we must see the blade in action.

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Yes, I know, we all need a moment to drool over Jamie Bower …

Okay! Moving right along. This sword has no light in it. So how is it glowing? Look carefully at where the shadows are on the actor’s body. He’s lit from underneath. By frosting the blade’s edge, the prop team cleverly gave the appearance of an inner glow by giving the light something to reflect off of! Pretty genius huh?

So what would it look like if the whole blade were frosted?

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Hands up everybody who recognizes this image! Yeah, I knew you would. This is a blade from the Shadowhunters TV show. The props team decided to opt for a handle that you can’t see through in order to hide a light inside. The style has definitely grown on me. There’s a lot of room to customize a sword just by its wrapping.

Ah but enough of my chatter about handles. It’s the blade we’re interested in here. Why is the frosted blade so much brighter? “Frosted” pretty much means “millions of tiny abrasions all over the surface” and it’s these tiny scratches that the light bounces off. Sometimes this effect is achieved by spraying a matte finish all over the sword, but this is not how I do it. Because my frosting effect is part of the blade itself, it cannot be rubbed off with wear.

Now, I mentioned that my frosted blades are cheaper than the crystal clear ones. This is because the frosted blades require only two to three hours of polishing.

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If you don’t care about being able to read through the blade, then not only can I cut the polishing hours in half, but I can also use a smaller LED like the one you see here. You wouldn’t think that it would make a big impression, being so tiny but …

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It sure does. With the light bouncing off millions of tiny abrasions all over the surface of the blade, it illuminates the pommel (butt end) of the sword even though the LED is pointed in the opposite direction!

Is there a difference in the smoothness of the sword? Yes. The crystal clear blades have a texture like satin, or glass. It’s a sort of liquid smoothness. The frosted blades feel more like silk or steel. Still quite smooth. The difference is a small one.

Any questions or comments about frosted blades? Scribble it in the comments and I will be happy to answer. I have a question for you, fellow Shadowhunter fans! Do you like the TV or movie blades better? And why?

I like the TV show blades better, personally. I love working with leather wrapped hilts!

What’s on Ethan’s Table This Week?

From left to right, we have an up-sized Jahoel, a mystery blade, a Tzoriel dagger, and a Zaapiel ring-sword. All polished up to 180 grit.

From here, I continue polishing Jahoel while the other three get treated to some engraving on the blade. I like to have those engravings done before the final polishing because it’s less of a headache to fix if the Dremel slips and scratches something. That’s okay! I was going to polish that anyway!

The mystery blade will also get its polymer clay hilt fitted in place. The design is sci-fi in nature so I don’t have to hide the screws. *gasp!* I think I gave another hint! Hmmm what could it be?

Stay tuned folks, there’s a lot of brand new stuff coming from the Studio shortly.

What’s on Ethan’s Table This Week?

 

This week, we have an up-sized Jahoel with an LED in the making. (Far right) It’s going to be a VERY special project and I’m super excited to bring it to life.  It will be something you’ve never seen before from the Studio!

The blade with the white handle is still a mystery project. Anyone care to guess what it is? I’ll give you a hint: it has nothing to do with Shadowhunters. Don’t worry. There’ll be plenty more opportunities to figure it out!

The ring sword and leaf blade have received their first polish and are looking very lovely. The rings have to be removed for the polishing process so their colour plating won’t be damaged. You’ll see them again, promise.

The site continues to undergo renovations. Thanks everyone for being patient!

Engraving in Leather

I’ve had some questions about engraving runes into the grip of the sword. The most frequently asked one is: what does it look like?

Here’s my most recent Azrael style sword with runes for your viewing pleasure.

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Anyone want to guess which runes those are? C’mon, put on a Fearless rune and shout ’em out!

AHHH! What happened to the website?

We are renovating to serve you better 😉

Don’t panic guys; everything is still here! As you may have noticed, I’m rearranging my website to make it easier to use. I want you all to be able to find what you’re looking for without any hassle.

I get emails every day asking me “How much for a custom sword?” and I wondered why. Perhaps the chart was confusing? So I reached out to my friends, many of whom are entrepreneurs themselves, for some feedback on how my website functions. The results surprised me.

My sidebar was not visible on cellphones and some tablets! No wonder people couldn’t figure out pricing. Both the site menu and the search box were on the side bar. Not at all friendly to mobile users. I’m so sorry guys. I had no idea you couldn’t see it!

You’ll see some more changes in the coming days as I re-do my pricing page, my Frequently Asked Questions, and put up a brand new gallery for you to browse. Hopefully, it will all be much easier for you to navigate.

I want to thank you all for your patience, your creativity, and your enthusiasm. You’re what keeps me energized to create art and see each project to completion. Hang in there while I fix things up, and stay awesome.

It’s not what it looks like!

Okay so … I was testing out a new brand of polymer clay for making sword handles. Sadly, it doesn’t quite work the way I’m used to so this particular version of the handle didn’t really work out the way I wanted it to.

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No, you don’t understand. It REALLY REALLY DIDN’T WORK OUT THE WAY I WANTED IT TO.

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I was not pleased.

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Oh well. I’ll just have to experiment some more. I guess I’ll just … make this into a pencil holder … or something …

Updated Seraph Blade Tutorial

At long last, I have updated my tutorial on how to make Seraph Blades. Now you can see precisely how I make my creations. If you’ve got the tools and the tenacity, you too can play the part of an Iron Sister!

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Click the image to learn my crafting secrets!