Introducing Heosphoros!

Hm, does that shape look familiar? I sure hope so!

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This blade is a re-imagining of what the Morgenstern short sword might look like if it had been crafted from adamas. The Shadowhunter who ordered it specified which runes she liked and we put our own spin on the piece. I think it came out rather well.

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So exactly how hard is it to engrave on a curved piece of acrylic with no router or CNC milling machine? Well, on a scale of 1-10 it’s somewhere between 12 and crying in the fetal position. See, the lovely thing about automatic machines is that they are very stable and they don’t get tired. Hand-engraving with the Dremel tool requires the craftsman to hold his body and arms perfectly rigid and force the tool to stay in one place when all it really wants to do is skitter off into Narnia.

The other challenge was cutting 90-degree angles and sharp corners. I have a Dremel tool, a Bosch multi-tool, and Chewie my faithful belt sander. So how do we get these kind of angles?

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30% creativity, 70% tenacity, and 112% profanity.

Needless to say, Heosphoros challenged me and pushed me to my limits.

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I think it came out pretty nice though. 😉

The pommel is actually made of pine but thanks to the wonders of paint and a really nice high-gloss sealer it not only looks like metal but also feels like it too. It’s pretty fun to watch people run their fingers over it and then, perplexed, ask “what’s it made out of?” I figure that if you can’t really tell even after touching it, I’m doing a decent job.

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The runes themselves are inlaid with liquid acrylic (yes the stuff that smells like Satan’s personal urinal when it’s curing) and then inlaid again with a semi-transparent lacquer. I had to do this for two reasons: #1 It’s impossible to smooth out the tool marks from the engraving without using the acrylic because I don’t have a CNC milling machine or laser cutter, and #2 the acrylic is so clear that they were too hard to see without adding some opacity.

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Without the inlay.
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With the inlay.

Hopefully you’ve enjoyed this post. Sorry it’s been a long while between updates. I’ve been pretty busy and now you can see what I was working on!

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Haha take that demons!

Hopefully, it won’t be so long between posts next time. I’d like to give you a wee presentation on some product testing I’ve been doing and some neat ideas I have for future creations.

That’s all from me for now. I’ve got to dash off to the workshop and get started on the next sword. Until next time, stay safe out there Shadowhunters.

 

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.)  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!

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!

What’s on Ethan’s Table This Week?

Hi everybody! Here’s a quick update before I run off to the workshop. Man it feels great to be crafting again! I finished the cutting on this downsized Gabriel. (The pic still has some excess acrylic on the back but that’s all cut off now.)

It took me a couple days to get it cut as I’m using Jitterbug, my multi-tool to do it. I miss Nibbles, my band saw, but it just can’t handle the 50mm (2 inch) thick acrylic. I might see about getting a stronger multi-tool to see if I can shave off some time. Jitterbug has a bad habit of overheating and spitting black sludge on the table. How rude! We’ll see what I can do about it.

I’m still working out the specifics of getting my CNC machine. The one I was initially planning to buy is out of stock until March. The other one I’m looking at is in stock right now but it would cost roughly $2000 more. I must find out when the more expensive one would arrive (it’s made in the USA). Depending on the answer, I can move forward with my decision.

Bleh. I hate all this money and technical crap. I just want to art dangit! 😄

That’s all from me for now. This sword isn’t going to carve itself! Stay safe out there Shadowhunters.

Small Update on the Workshop Hunt

Hi guys! What’s with all the posts without pictures? Ugh, boring, I know. Well hopefully, I’ll have something cool to show you soon!

I’ve been put in contact with someone who owns a building that used to be a big laboratory. That means that it has things like fume hoods and water hookups already in place. It may just be perfect for me! So cross your fingers and pray to the Angel and perhaps I can secure a new crafting spot for myself in the near future.

Love y’all ❤ Stay safe out there Shadowhunters.

Updated Gallery

Hi everybody! Just a quick note to let you know I updated my gallery with some new images. There are some sensational cosplays there and I’m so grateful to the Shadowhunters who sent me photos with the swords I sent to them. 🙂

Feel free to check it out here.

The Hunt Continues

Hi guys! Getting squirmy waiting for news? Me too. I’ve made many inquiries to potential places I could set up my workshop. I’ve learned some things that, while frustrating, will help me succeed.

They don’t like independent artists. Seriously. Building owners want to deal with “official businesses”, not individuals. For some reason “people” make them nervous but “companies” are quite alright.

But don’t get discouraged at this news. (I tell this to myself as much as you guys haaaaaah …) It just means I have to change my tactics. I have to push hard to get my business plan completed and submit it to NewCo Helsinki. That’s the place that helps new business owners get established. You can’t imagine how grateful I am that someone’s helping me out with this! I’d be lost. I’m an artist, not a businessman! … well I guess I’m kind of both now.

I never expected to become a full-time costume props maker. I just kind of … fell into it because, well, it’s the thing I love doing most of all. 🙂 You should see me at Halloween. I go bonkers. 😄

Whoops, I got distracted.

Anyway! The other thing I learned is that a lot of building owners really don’t want to deal with me because I speak English, not Finnish. I have some basic Finnish skills and I’m studying the language but it’s going to be a long time before I’m good enough to understand all the legalese that I need to use to negotiate and sign contracts.

I don’t have that kind of time on my hands. I have swords waiting to be finished and I need a space like … a month ago. So a few of my amazing Finnish friends are helping me out by translating my inquiries into Finnish to have a better chance of persuading building owners to talk to me.

I’ll admit it, this is really hard. I’m trying to stay positive about it. I usually do National Novel Writing Month at this time of year but … I just don’t have it in me this time. I feel pretty drained.

Iron Brother is sad. Boo. Oh well. Keep on keepin’ on. On the upside, I have some new photos to upload in the gallery if I can remember to do it! Haha. Okay that’s all from me for now. Keep your chin up guys. 😉