Back from Vacation

So I’m back from Estonia! I don’t think I mentioned I was going on vacation. Sorry. I was so excited to visit Tallinn for the first time that I just kind of ran out the door.

I finished off another lovely Clariel sword. It arrived in Germany safe and sound and now has a loving home.

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I’d like to take a brief moment to talk about my packaging methods just in case anyone is curious. My blades are always packaged in materials that are bio-degradable, recyclable, or re-usable because I am committed to making my company as eco-friendly as possible.

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When you open your package, you will find unbleached brown paper used for filling voids in the box (so the contents don’t rattle around inside). The sword is wrapped snugly in a fleece baby blanket, all tied securely with a ribbon. The colours of the blanket and ribbon may vary but my wrapping method is always the same.

Even though I work with plastics and craft things with plastics, I don’t want any plastic waste products. The way I see it: you’ll want to keep the sword forever, but not the packaging. So why should the packaging last forever? It shouldn’t! It should go back into the earth and continue the natural cycle of the environment.

Okay, enough jabber about tree-hugging stuff LOL! What’s up for this week? Well, I made a new mould jacket for my Clariel mould annnd … it doesn’t quite fit snugly enough so I have to trim it down a bit. I have to go find out how badly it leaked. Not looking forward to it. Yuck. But at least I had it wrapped up in plastic just in case it failed so it didn’t go all over the floor. It shouldn’t take too long to fix. Hopefully. Wish me luck!

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!

Silicone Sandwich

Otherwise known as the two-part mould. It’s half finished guys! Actually, it might be all finished right now; I have to go to the workshop to check. But I wanted to share with you the progress shots from last week because playing with goo is exciting!

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There’s the mould design sculpted in clay.
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And placed in its box for silicone pouring!
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Some kind of strange Ikea cake …
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Now to clean of allllll that clay. It took hours.
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Then a quick re-sculpt of the spout and air vents.

And it was all ready to go back in the box for the second half! Then I hit a few snags. First, since it’s the other side, the bendy part around the blade had to be put on the other way and when I did that, it somehow ended up about one centimetre shorter. I have no idea how this happened. Oh well! I just added some more corrugated plastic on the end.

Then, I noticed that the straight pieces of foam board I had used for the upper parts of the sword had become badly warped overnight! I tried to patch the gaps with extra hot glue but it just wasn’t working. I had to cut some MDA board instead and use that. That sucked up some extra time.

Then, as I was degassing the silicone for the second pouring, I realised something: it was really hot in my workshop. I thought it couldn’t be more than 24C or so in there and I was really focused on my work, not my comfort. BUT, with this silicone you can accelerate the curing time by increasing the temperature. Handy right? Except when all the bubbles aren’t out of it yet and it’s starting to set! AHHHHH! By the time I noticed what was wrong it was already as thick as cookie dough. I had to stick my gloved hand INTO the bucket of silicone and pull it out glob by glob. It even started curing to my glove and I had a big hand-sized blob of blue slime dangling off my fingers as I desperately waggled it, trying to get it off. It eventually plopped into the mould box with the rest.

So … will it be okay? I don’t know! The top of it won’t be as smooth and glossy as the top of the “Ikea cake” picture there. I’m afraid the silicone had already thickened so much that the last blobs that fell in will probably stay as they are and make the surface bumpy and weird. What does that mean for me? Well, it just means that I’ll have to do a fibreglass jacket around the mould instead of a wooden clamping box. Oh well! I have the stuff to do either one and I was on the fence about which way I wanted to do it anyway.

The real question is: did it cure nicely against the SWORD? Because if there’s bubbles or spaces against the sword, I have to do this part of the mould again. I’m making a pretty new mother mould for every Clariel model sword that will come from my shop. If there’s a mistake in that mould, there will be a mistake in every sword it produces! And I’ll have to take time to fix each and every one. That would ruin the point of making a better mould in the first place! It’s gotta be just as perfect as I can possibly make it.

Wish me luck! I have a feeling I’m gonna need it today.

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.

Clary Seraph Blade

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!