Big Changes Ahead

Hi guys! I have to try to show and tell you lots of stuff while being really quick cause I have to go move my workshop. YES! I am moving. From the 3rd floor to the 4th floor. LOL

Why?

My previous space was too expensive for me. Almost 600 euros a month. That, coupled with the cost of materials to make my shinies (silicone is ridiculously expensive, I’m not even kidding), and my vacuum pump dying and needing replacement (I’m degassing things in a couple stages as it limps along with its last gasps of life) I could not afford to stay there.

So: we’re going from 37 square meters down to 15 square meters. This is okay because I had way too much space to begin with. But … the new room also doesn’t have access to water. So I have to schlep a water reservoir from the bathroom to my workroom when I run out. Booo. Well, I guess I’m about to become very strong? Yay.

My wife helped me move all the things that needed two people to move yesterday (Sunday). Bless her heart for sacrificing a day off lifting and lugging with me.

Now, on to the stuff I’ve been working on! Quick quick GO!

I made a witchlight! Yay!

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It didn’t work! Boo.

I shaved it down.

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It … kinda works! Yay? Not good enough. I’ll keep trying!

Next thing GO!

Doll head made by Lost Chronicles prepped for moulding!

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Covered in blue goo!

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Mmmphhhrrmmph!

How did the moulding go? Don’t know! Not finished yet. Not touching it until it’s safely settled in the new workshop!

Next thing GO!

More carving done on Sariel!

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Yes! In about a month you will be able to get your hands on a glorious longsword like the one that Isabelle Lightwood wielded in The Mortal Instruments movie! Woo! Send thoughts n’ prayers that everything goes smoothly.

Okaygottarun wishmeluck! Aaaaaah bye!

Wait! I forgot.

Don’t forget I have a Clariel for sale on my Etsy! It could be yours! Grab it!

Okay now bye for real gotta move stuff!

New Mother Mould

Hi everybody! Quick update to let you know what I’m up to. I’m setting up the moulding box to pour the first half of the new Clariel mould. Yay! It doesn’t look too jazzy right now but cool stuff is coming.

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Why the new mould? Well, after casting 4 swords from the first mould I made, I realised that each of them had a slight bend toward the right near the tip. This was easy enough to correct with a trip to Chewy (my belt sander), but I didn’t want to have to do that for every single sword. That makes a lot more work for me and takes too much time to produce each sword. I’m working on getting high quality swords made for you faster so that more people can have access to the pretty stuff. Anything that stands in the way of that goal is simply no good!

So I went back to the plaster model sword and shaped and measured it with more accurate tools. Then I carved a light slot into it so I don’t have to do that freehand with each sword I make. (That saves about an hour per sword.) Then I re-finished the whole thing with several layers of sealant and gloss and buffed it all up to 2000 grit. My aim? To get it as smooth as possible so I have the bare minimum of sanding and polishing to do to each sword that comes out of the mould.

Well, off I go to the workshop! Wish me luck.

Oh, Hi there Clariel!

Sorry this post is a little late. I got lots of pics for you. Forgive me?

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Last week was a flurry of painting, engraving, sculpting, sanding, gluing, sewing, and spraying. I think it was worth it.

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You might be able to see a slightly different “texture” to the surface of the blade than previous carved models. That’s because I’ve added a UV-resistant spray (several coats!) to protect the resin and leather from fading or yellowing in the sun, and also to protect the resin from scratches.

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Still just as see-through though! ^_^ So what’s next for this sword? I got my shipment of push-button switches yesterday evening and today I’ll be toting them to the workshop. I’ll be designing the interior circuitry for the lighting. I’m sticking with the concealed light switch design (that’s the plan anyway) to give the illusion of magic.

Well, writing about it isn’t going to get it done so off I go to the workshop! Wish me luck.

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.

Commissions Closed for the Year

Yes, it’s true! My last crafting slot for this year has been bought this morning. Thank you all so very much for your support and for cheering me on as I push myself to better my skills. I will continue updating the site weekly with my progress on the commissions in my queue.

I have to take some time off for medical reasons this December. I’ll probably be back in the workshop for February of 2017. I know it’s a long time to wait but I’m sure you’ll understand the need to put health first. 🙂

Changes for 2017 Commissions

The requests and orders that I’ve gotten this year have given me some data to work with. The most desired swords are always:

Gabriel

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Azrael

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Jahoel

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and Sariel

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Though, I think the new TV show replica, Clariel (that you can see in the featured image at the top there) will also be wanted in a decent quantity. Most people prefer to have them equipped with an LED.

I’ve also had many requests for witchlights.

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So, I will be making these styles to keep in stock. Hopefully, this will mean you won’t have to wait as long to get a sword in your hands. 🙂  In the beginning, I didn’t know what you fine Shadowhunters wanted, but now I have a good idea and I’m reorganising my methods to serve you better. I really do take your feedback seriously and I make changes that people suggest.

At the moment, I’m considering opening one commission slot per month so that people who want something special and different can still have their needs met.

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As I think I’ve mentioned before, I’m in the process of applying for a start-up grant. If I get one, it will allow me to get a larger workshop. That  means more storage space, room for more machines, the possibility of hiring people to help me out with the crafting, answering emails, and taking orders, and it also means the possibility of longer work hours. At present, my workshop is in my apartment so I have to be very courteous and not run my noisy machines at all hours.

A larger workplace would also allow me to have a fume hood for working with resin. It’s important not to breathe the fumes of resin while it’s curing. It’s really stinky and generally not good for you. Crafting swords from resin would allow me to skip the whole carving process and go straight to the polishing. Hopefully, it will allow me to bring you more swords more quickly, while still maintaining the quality you want and deserve. 🙂

The other reason I want to free up more of my time is research and experimentation. Some of you may know that I make more than just Seraph Blades.

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I’m a big fan of elves, vampires, dragons, and many other neat fantasy elements. I think that’s why we like Shadowhunters, isn’t it? This fandom really lends itself well to imagination and possibilities.

I love costuming and that love expands beyond props. I also make …

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custom prosthetics,

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and clothing items.

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All these things need time and practice. My goal is to bring you more cool stuff and I really appreciate your patience while I figure out how to cram more hours into a day. Ha!

Now I’ve got to stop blathering and get back in the Studio. I’ll do an update on what’s on my table later. Ciao for now guys!