Still Healing …

Yep … I’m still recovering from surgery. I desperately want to be back in the workshop creating things and the boredom is driving me bonkers. I was able to visit the workshop on the weekend to bring some small crafting stuff home with me; paints and such.

The trip was really painful. I needed to stop partway there and take some painkillers. Thankfully my wife was there to help me. It made me happy to at least see the place just as I left it. All my tools waiting for me to come back. Right now, it’s pretty much all I can do to get there and get home. It’s progress.

There’s some good news in the mix though and I want to share it with you. 🙂 I’m just about ready to place my order for a big batch of silicone and liquid resin from a Swedish distributor. They’re quite close to Finland so the shipping won’t be ridiculous and they sell the kind of resin that I want to work with. They’ve been really helpful in assisting me to choose the right kind of resin for the job.

Casting things that are as large as a seraph blade can be tricky! There are so many things that can go wrong. Overheating during curing (which leads to cracks). Bubbles trapped in the resin (usually we would use a pressure pot to prevent this but there’s none big enough for a sword!). Resin in the thick parts not hardening all the way through. All these things can be overcome with the right ratio of hardener, careful mixing, patience, and practice. My Iron Sister (… Brother?) skills are about to be put to the test once again. Wish me luck!

In response to the many email inquiries I’ve gotten:

While I’m not taking orders right now, you absolutely CAN send me messages to tell me what kind of sword you want to buy! This is super helpful to me so I know which style of blade to make first when I get back in the shop and how many of them I need to make.

I will bookmark each and every email I get about swords, steles, and witchlights and do my absolute best to get back to all of you as soon as I have something for you. I will be sure to make lots of noise and fanfare here on my site when I’m back to producing Seraph Blades.

Until then, send me iratze’s guys. I need ’em! Heal faster dangit!

What Happens When You Cross a Shadowhunter with a Slytherin?

Something really cool apparently!

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I had so much fun making this. I had never worked with wood before so carving the snake head on the pommel was an exciting new challenge. After carving the nightmarishly hard acrylic, my tools sliced through the solid pine like a piece of bread! I actually had to be careful not to use too much force.

The blade style itself was based on the Jahoel model. I made it longer, wider, and curved the spike forward instead of at a 90 degree angle with the handle.

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The crystals in its eyes are faux emeralds made from acrylic and the crystal ball trapped in the mouth is made of glass.

I know, I know. You’re asking: “Yes but does it glow?”

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Yessssss it does.

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Quite nicely, I might add. 😉

This is also the first time I have added a sheath to the bundle.

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This sheath has a hard spine of stiffened canvas to make sure it keeps its shape and allow the wearer to draw and return the sword easily. It’s fully lined with a fine, soft felt to protect the blade from scratches.

The sheath was actually the most difficult part of the whole piece if you can believe it! I had never used this kind of fabric stiffener before and I was so glad it behaved like I thought it would. Getting the it fitted precisely to the curve and the width of the sword was really challenging. If the sheath is too loose, the sword might slip out and that just won’t do! All the same, it can’t be too snug or it will be too hard to get the sword in and out of it.

Please allow me to share a pic of the fitting process because I think you’ll find it just as funny as I did.

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Behold! The giant chocolate fondue banana! I’m not sure if that would make me the most popular Iron Sister or get me kicked out of the Citadel immediately…

I’ve been thinking of doing a short photo series illustrating how to wear a sword and how to draw and put it back in the sheath. Essentially “How to handle a cosplay sword and make it look like you know what you’re doing.” Would anybody be interested in such a thing? I’m not a master at any form of martial arts but I have studied a few years in Bujinkan ninjutsu so I can at least draw and return a sword without dropping the thing. (most of the time anyway …) Super duper basics but better than nothing for folks who haven’t had any training at all? Maybe? I dunno, what do you guys think?

Let me know. I love hearing from y’all. ^_^

I’ve already got a new project clamped to the cutting table and I’m eager to get carving. I’ll plop one more pic here and dash off to work. See ya later Shadowhunters!

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What’s New at Inkblade Studios

It’s a time for lots of firsts here! This lovely down-sized Gabriel is the first sword to be completed at my new workshop and it is also the first sword I’ve carved from the new stock of 50mm (2 inch) thick acrylic. It was an absolute joy to work on. It came together like it was just waiting to burst out of the slab and slay some demons!

Let’s have a look at what the new, thicker plastic allows me to do.

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The easiest way to show you the three-dimensional details I can get now is to point Gabriel at the camera butt first. You can see that the pommel (back end of the sword) is flared out from the grip. It has an actual rounded shape in 3 dimensions. If you look on the other side of the grip, you’ll see that the acrylic flares out again to give some actual hand protection.

Before I bought the 50mm (2 inch) plastic, I was quite limited in how much contouring I could get.

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Here’s the pommel of Michael for comparison. It’s fanned out vertically, but pretty flat on the horizontal axis.

This doesn’t mean that the blade is any chubbier though! I grind everything down to be nice and slender except the parts I want to stand out. It just means more work for Chewie, my beloved belt sander.

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Even in my bright workshop lights, you can still see that the LED is activated. Acrylic transmits light so beautifully. The material is ridiculously hard to carve but by the Angel I think it’s worth every minute. 🙂

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I don’t know about you guys, but this is always my favourite part. Turning down the lights and seeing just how much illumination the sword gives is a real treat. It’s hard to believe only one tiny LED can put off that much glow.

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I turned off all the other light sources for this photo. The wall you can see in the top right corner is actually several feet away but the light has no trouble reaching it. Even though the LED is pointed at the tip of the blade and away from the pommel, the back end of the sword is still illuminated. This is because the light reflects off the contours of the sword and the frosted finish on the surface of the acrylic.

The frosted finish gives a consistent glow all over the sword whereas the crystal clear finish reflects off the curves and edges and not much else. This is a different but also very cool effect as a crystal clear sword has a ghostly quality, almost like it isn’t completely in this world.

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Lots of fun options to choose from! I know … I can’t even decide which I like better.

So what’s up for the near future? Well, I’ll be ordering my new CNC milling machine soon so hopefully I will be able to make more blades more quickly so there will be more availability for you awesome Shadowhunters out there! It will take some testing and learning and experimentation because I absolutely refuse to sacrifice quality for quantity. The Iron Sisters would be very disappointed if I gave you anything but my best work!

Also … aw maybe I shouldn’t share this yet … I should leave it for next time …

Ah dangit I can’t wait to show you! Okay, here’s a little sketch. Shhhh … 😉

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Heeeee! Okay I gotta run now. Back to work Iron Brother! Those swords won’t make themselves!

Hey! What’s the Hold-Up?

No, I’m not dead. Yet.

Once again, I’d like to thank the Shadowhunters who have ordered blades from me for their stellar patience. You guys are the best!

I’m currently doing my best to cut through the two-inch acrylic with Jitterbug and the newest member of Inkblade Studios: Hellscream.

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Hellscream is a circular table saw which, much like Nibbles before it, only cuts in straight lines. It is even more adamant about this policy than Nibbles was, in fact and will SHRIEK LIKE THE SOULS OF THE DAMNED at the slightest provocation. Hellscream’s favourite things include: lurking under the work table, screaming, biting anything that comes close enough, and flinging bits of hot melted plastic at me.

Jitterbug and Hellscream make for an awkward duo to accomplish the task of cutting the sword outlines. It’s rather like hunting demons with a box-cutter and a cannon. I either have to chip away at it with many small cuts or make big, not spectacularly accurate cuts while trying not to damage anything I want to keep intact.

It’s getting done it’s just … slow. And quite frustrating. Boo. Wish me luck guys! We’ll git ‘r done one way or another.

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!

Azrael gets SHINY

Awwwww yes look at what just came out of the studio today!

Azrael Shiny

This Azrael is equipped with a genuine leather grip done in silver and black, colours inspired by the TV show. Of course, it has my own little twist.

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Lookin’ super srs as I concentrate on taking a good photo. As you can see, the glow is noticeable even in a brightly lit room. But let’s take it in the dark shall we?

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All bathroom selfies should have a sword. As you can see, because I left the pommel uncovered by the leather, you get a nice little crescent of light there where it reflects off the fan-shaped crest.

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Unintentionally Silent Brother kind of shot going on here… Azrael provides its own dramatic lighting.

How about the mechanics behind the magic?

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Here we have my go-to illuminator: the Flatlight (TM). I’ve removed the keychain that comes with it and put in a small length of  elastic cord for easy retrieval. Without this aid, it’s a bit of a pain to extract the light since it fits so snugly. The flap shuts with a simple Velcro closure. Now you see it …

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… now you don’t!

As this beauty wings its way toward the USA, a new project gets shifted up to my worktable. I now have all crafting slots full and one project in the queue. Stay tuned for more crafting adventures! Coming up, we have rune engraving, the longest of longswords, two never-before-seen new designs, and a long awaited secret project…