Why is it so expensive?!

Hi everyone! Yes I’m still not dead. I have moved, again, this time into a house. While I’m setting up my new and improved workshop, I would like to introduce you to this video by Kamui Cosplay. She is one of my heroes of the profession and today she’s talking to us about prices.

If you are commissioning a custom blade from me, please expect at least 800-1000 euros. That’s practically giving the item to you because I don’t get to keep anything but a tiny faction of that.

I’m able to do these prices because my wife works a good full-time job and I should probably respect myself properly and ask for more … but it’s heartbreaking when a customer simply stops responding to me when I tell them the price even though I’m offering it as cheaply as I can without actually losing money. šŸ˜¦

How can we overcome this together my friends? I want to give you the pretty artworks but the materials are so expensive and I really can’t spend every day all day working for free. This is a fun job but it’s still a job you know?

I’m not going to stop doing commissions and I’m working all the time on new methods of crafting to make things more affordable. But the reality of the situation means that I’m going to have to offer you all some standard merchandise that nobody requested from me personally, but which a larger variety of people could use to complete their costume.

I’m talking about more “plain” styles that you could use for either a Seraph Blade or an elf mage in your LARP. Maybe a selection like this, for example. Things like custom runes or different shapes of blade would be more expensive, of course, because I would have to make the prototype for you individually instead of making a bunch of the same item over and over again. This way, more people will be able to have something cool and not have to pay the price of the sculpture work or the making of the mould. (Remember, silicone is ghastly expensive!)

This doesn’t mean that my work is about to get boring. I’m still going to make cool, stylish, unique stuff for you to buy. You can have a greater chance of me creating an item that looks like what you want if you engage with my blog, or <a href="http://<iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?height=314&href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FKamuiCos%2Fvideos%2F1157911764676146%2F&show_text=false&width=560&t=0&quot; width="560" height="314" style="border:none;overflow:hidden" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="true" allow="autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; picture-in-picture; web-share" allowFullScreen="true">my facebook page, or, yes, my Youtube Channel (which isn’t set up yet because my freaking tripod broke and I still have to unpack my microphone from the moving boxes haha! have patience!).

Why? Well if 20 people say “Hey Ethan you should make the Herondale blades next!” then I have a good idea of what people want. I might get five or ten of those 20 people buy those swords right away and that would allow me to get back the cost of the prototypes I made. That way I don’t get stuck with a bunch of swords nobody wants to buy and you don’t have to pay for the mould and the sculpting work. Everybody wins!

You might think that your voice has no importance but that isn’t true. If I put up a poll asking people which sword model to make next and you’re the only one who responds … guess who gets to pick my next project? You do! So don’t hesitate to tell me your suggestions, even if you’re shy. šŸ™‚

Alright, now I have to go unpack some more boxes. Wish me luck!

Whoa! What’s with the new look?

Hi guys! I’m trying to make my site a little easier to navigate let me know what you think, okay? Can you find your way around? Are the colours nice or ugly? I hate white backgrounds cause they’re rather harsh on the eyes so I try not to do that to you.

Other than monkeying around with the site design, I’ve got a wee update for you all about the current project I’m working on. I’ve taken some more time with the details of this piece and I think it’s really paid off.

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This is the first time I’ve ever carved anything out of wood. No, I’m not joking. I had a hypothesis though. I carve pretty shapes out of really, ridiculously hard material. (Acrylic.) Ā Couldn’t I apply that skill to something a bit softer like pine?

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That looks like a “yes”! I was gobsmacked at how easy it was to shape wood after having worked on acrylic all this time. In fact, I had to be really careful not to go at it too aggressively as I’m not used to a material that can fray and chip at the edges. The other new experience was encountering harder and softer areas in the wood where the bands run through it. (The dark lines.) I’m accustomed to a material that is 100% uniform in density so I had to learn when to press a bit harder and when to ease off so I didn’t end up gouging the wood.

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I’ve given the serpent head a base coat now though these pictures were taken before I painted it. Tomorrow will be a busy day painting, setting the eyes in the sockets, and other detail work. Stay tuned!

Frosted Blades

Some of my customers order “frosted” blades, but what does that mean?Ā And why is itĀ cheaper than the crystal clear blades? Today, I will share with you the Ā 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 sureĀ 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 theĀ wholeĀ 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 theĀ 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!

Almost done!

I can’t wait to show you the forging of Ouriel and Remiel, but until then, have a teaser.

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A gentle squeeze on the handle brings Ouriel to life and lights up the room. Not only is it clear enough to read through but you can read in the dark!

Stay tuned for more pretty things coming up next.