A New Look!

Whoa! Dude! What happened to the site? Don’t panic guys; I changed my logo. Everything’s still here.

I took a recommendation from a friend to check out Turbo Gold Media  to get my very own logo designed for me. I liked the work they did on her logo so much that I decided to give it a whirl. I was immensely pleased with their services and I found their prices to be quite reasonable for the quality I got. They’re very quick and responsive and took my feedback seriously.

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I felt the need to change my logo because the old one didn’t really fit the direction my company was going. Originally, it was my plan to make a career of both writing novels and making cool costume props. Well, it turns out that making costume props is a heck of a lot more work than I thought and takes almost all the energy and time I have and I still don’t get everything done that I need to. On top of that … well … books just don’t sell. I don’t really care about worldly riches but I do need to eat and pay rent.

So, yes I still write, but it’s a hobby now. It was a brutally difficult decision to make but I had to be real with myself and admit that it was time to adjust my priorities. Maybe once I can afford to hire an employee or two to help me out and I don’t have to do everything myself, writing will be able to take a bigger role in my life. Until then, I need to focus on improving my prop-making business and get a stable income so things aren’t so financially tight for me.

Running a company is hard guys! O_o

Enough yammering about my new pretty picture! What’s up in the workshop? Well! I had a crazy failure in casting a couple of swords. I think the resin got contaminated or is a little too old or quite possibly the heat/humidity is too high in my workshop right now. It’s 30 degrees Celsius and because there is no air conditioning, I have no way to bring the temperature down.

Either way, I had this bizarre snowflake-pattern delamination on two swords.

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Now, that would be rather cool if it was what I was going for, but since I wanted crystal clear and perfectly smooth … nope. Bad news for me. 😦 As you can see (maybe) there’s a bajillion little bubbles there and each one has flaky resin coming up around it in a flower/snowflake pattern. Boo!

What to do? I didn’t want to waste all that resin. So I sanded the swords as best I could manage to get alllll those little air bubbles and flakes off the surface. I got it as smooth as I could and then tried something weird: I mixed some glazing resin (the stuff you normally use to seal a painting or piece of wooden furniture) and carefully dribbled it down the sides of one of the swords until it was completely coated and left it hanging to dry.

It was an unconventional solution to be sure, but desperate times call for desperate measures. Either it would work and the sword would be saved, or I would have to admit defeat and throw it away. And you know how crazy I get over wasted plastics!

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Whoa. Just whoa.

Why did I never think to do this before!? That is the clearest, smoothest, most pristine finish I have ever been able to get on a sword EVER. I cannot wait to get back to the workshop today to handle it and inspect it now that it’s all cured.

What do you guys think of it? I mean … this is more than crystal clear. It looks like a liquid that just decided to hold the shape of a sword! Should I offer this option as a possible finish you could choose for your blade? What should I call it? Ahhhh I’m so excited! I gotta go to the workshop now and give this beauty a handle!

Another Lovely Clariel

I’m almost finished crafting the third Clariel I made with my first mould. I’m very pleased with how this beauty came together. Gave me no trouble at all. My crafting technique is getting smoother and faster. Yay for practise!

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What’s next from the Inkblade Studios? Well, I continue to work on my crazy bucket experiment. Once I’ve confirmed whether or not it works, I can move on to creating a brand new model of sword! Or … will it be a witchlight? Or maybe a stele?! Ahhh help me decide!

Quick Update & A Lot of Pics!

Hi everyone! I’m in a bit of a rush today. Lots of running around picking up materials, doing research for tools I’ll be needing in the near future, and trying to get the last bit of work done on the Clariel model sword to create the final perfected mould. Gah! It’s crazy!

And 25 degrees is WAY too freaking hot for me! I’m melting. Seriously, I moved within sneezing distance of the Arctic Circle to get away from being toasted by the evil fireball in the sky …

Stop talking about the weather and give us pictures already Ethan! Okay okay. Yesssss I finished the 2nd cast resin Clariel last week and she is awaiting word from her Australian Shadowhunter to ship out. Here’s the pics I promised.

Shiny in the suuuuun! 😀

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Ahh you runed it! Haaaah terrible pun … *ducks head in shame*

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I’ve been working on getting my rare-earth magnet closures smaller and tidier for a nice sleek look. How did I do guys? 🙂

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Oooooh shiny! Yes it’s in my sauna. LOL I currently have nowhere else that is dark enough to show you the full glory of the sword lit up. But you know what? I’m rather proud to be living and working in Finland so I think it’s kind of fitting that the quintessential Finnish element of the sauna plays a role in my work even if it’s a small one. 🙂

That’s it for me for the day everybody. I’ve got to get going. There is SO much sanding and polishing to do and OMG I almost forgot!

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This one. This one is not yet claimed! If you want this Clariel for your very own, I have an Etsy listing for you to pounce on right HERE. And since it’s not yet finished, YOU get to choose what kind of finish you want to have on it. Lit? Unlit? Runes? No runes? Some runes? Different runes?! It’s up to you. Your wish is my command! 😉

Have a great day everybody! I’m off to … everywhere, probably all at once. LOL

Second Clariel

I’m so excited guys! I’m almost finished the second cast resin Clariel sword and it is gorgeous.

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The handle is all painted to simulate the look of weathered steel and the whole thing has been given three layers of high-gloss sealer. This sealer protects the sword from scratches and the yellowing effect that UV rays can have on resin over time.

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I’m committed to making items that stand the test of time so it’s very important to me that each sword has adequate protection against wear.

All that’s left to put on this sword is the handle strap and it will be ready to go to its new home! This Clariel is promised to a lucky Shadowhunter already but the 3rd resin cast Clariel is still unclaimed! Will it be yours?

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Engraving Runes

Hi guys! I’ve been hammering away at this Clariel here. Using some new techniques and some old ones too.

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I’ve also been doing some more research on the Shadowhunter runes in order to discover which ones, exactly, appear on the hilts of the blades in the TV show.

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Which rune is that on the pommel? I’ve done quite a bit of hunting and I have not found that precise one in the Codex or anywhere else for that matter. Is it meant to be a rune known only to the Iron Sisters? Something involved in the creation process of the Seraph Blades? Or did the props team simply screw up?

After painstakingly comparing the design on the prop to the runes we know of, I settled on this rune as the one they most probably intended:

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Things can get hairy when working with clay and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if a Heightened Speed rune got a little smooshed during the crafting process and then accidentally reproduced that way without the mistake being caught.

What about the rune in the middle of the hilt though? It’s almost totally obscured by the wrappings.

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All I have to go on is that little Y-shaped stick at the top. That’s not much of a hint. I had about four guesses, and settled on one that would make the most sense for a seraph blade.

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Accuracy. Flexibility might have also worked but it’s C-shaped and would probably be showing the other end of the C above the wrappings and would have to be turned on its side to look like that. Power could have been a possibility but, again, the other end of the Z-shape would probably be showing as well? Stamina was another possibility but it would have had to be tilted diagonally to avoid showing the other part of the “t” above the wrappings. Accuracy seemed like our most likely candidate.

Hang on, but isn’t Accuracy already on the sword at the bottom? Well … as you’ve probably already discovered while studying the runes for yourself, some of them have been re-labeled between adaptations from book to movie, and movie/book to TV show. The rune at the bottom there appears as “Calm Anger” on the Shadowhunter wiki.

What’s an Iron Brother to do? Well, keep doing my research and maintain my commitment to bringing you the very best art I can! I started making Seraph Blades for the sheer love of Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments series and that affection has not faded with time. It can be a bit of a struggle to make a judgement call on whether to follow the books or the TV show when a discrepancy arises. I tend to side with the books, personally, because there’s more info available and because it’s closer to Clare’s original concept of the Shadowhunters world.

Do feel free to respond to any of my posts either here or on my Facebook page. It’s just not as fun if it’s only me here talking. LOL! Let me know what you want to see me make! Ask questions! It’s all good. I answer whenever I can on weekdays. 🙂

Ciao for now everybody. I gotta go get painting!

Forward!

All right! I’ve got a very busy week ahead of me guys! I’ll be finishing these two beauties; the first of my resin cast Clariel model swords. And I have a new shipment of moulding silicone coming in from Materialshop.fi . I’m going to be re-moulding my Clariel model sword with a higher quality silicone so I can have a more perfect mould that will last me much longer than the previous one.

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Have no fear, though. The swords I’ve made from the first mould are just as high quality as you expect them to be. Errors in the mould simply means I have to spend more time and effort in the finishing stages, sanding and buffing by hand. I want each sword to come out of the mould as perfect as possible so we can have a nice, consistent result every time and minimise the amount of time it takes for me to finish your sword. My goal right now is to take your order and have it finished for you in a week. A better mould will get me closer to that goal.

I still have a long way to go to get my crafting process where I want it to be, but I’m determined to get there! Thank you all so much for your support and encouragement!

That’s all from me for now. Wish me luck!

Ooh Shiny!

So I played with my new silicone mould last week as I continue my witchlight experimentation. I thought you might like to see the results. I was delayed a little bit at first since the plaster mould jacket I made broke.

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Whoops.

So I had to make a new one out of wood. That whole incident took a couple days more than I was expecting but I bounced back fairly quickly. And of course, I learned things! Time spent learning is never wasted. 🙂   (and my clamps may have learned a few new curse words …)

Aaaaanyway. Look! A shiny rock!

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Yaaaaay!

It’s flat on the bottom so I can more easily work on the whole internal electronics stuff. The resin is so clear, it looks like it’s hollow, but it’s actually solid!

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So next for this little treasure? I’ll be messing about with tiny electronics and figuring out how I’m going to hide a light inside a clear object. I’m thinking it will probably be similar to the witchlight you saw in The Mortal Instruments film that was kind of cloudy inside with some imperfections like a natural stone would have. Kind of like quartz?

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You know the one I mean.

It’s fairly safe to say that adamas would look something like this before it’s refined and worked by the Iron Sisters. At least as far as we can estimate by looking at how mundane metals and crystals behave. I’ll be playing with pigments, dyes, and different kinds of inserts to see what yields the best and most natural looking crystal, while still being able to light up. Y’know just … the usual high wizardry.

I’m sure I’ll figure it out. My superpower is stubbornness.

But! I didn’t spend my entire week on a rock. Nope! I was levelling up my crafting skill finishing off the first ever cast resin Clariel sword!

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Super DUPER shiny. 😮
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The hilt is a combination of polymer clay and leather.

I’m working on making the seams smoother so it’s more difficult to see where the handle opens up. This sword, like the ones before it, has an invisible light switch. Wait, it lights up?

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Of course it does!
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We must have the very shiniest! 😀
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Also functions as a flashlight. Y’know. Just in case.

So does this mean I’m taking orders now? Kinda? I have a mould but I want to make a better quality one since this one has some imperfections in it that I have to spend extra time buffing out when I finish each sword. Rawr! Since silicone is quite expensive, I’ll be selling the three Clariel blades I currently have so I can actually afford to do that.

Of course, those who have been waiting patiently on the contact list get first dibs on the blades up for sale cause that’s only fair. BUT! I can add your order to the list and let you know when one becomes available. I can’t give actual dates quite yet as to when I can complete those orders but I am definitely working on that. And no, you don’t have to put down any kind of payment on the order before I have a completion date for you. I’ve done that before and it’s really stressful on both me and the nice Shadowhunter waiting for their sword!

This whole ordering process thing WILL get easier in the future. Once I’ve got things the way I need them to be (ie: a quality mould I’m happy with and reliable crafting times from start to finish) I will be opening an official web shop for you to find my stuff and buy what you want. I’ll still be taking custom orders, of course. I just need to streamline the crafting process so I actually have time to make custom pieces again.

Enough blathering from me! I must go to the workshop and get busy finishing those other two blades. See you later!