Breaking New Ground

Yeah, I’m still healing. Yeah, it’s taking a frustratingly long time. But! I have enough stamina to do a little light work each day so I’ve been whittling away at the model I’m going to be casting.

Wooden Sword

Recognise the model? It’s Clariel! This is the sword type that most people request when they email me so I decided to make it the first mould I do for the resin casting.

It’s still looking quite chunky because I’ve only got the outline cut out so far. The next step is to shave down the sides into the right shape.

I’ll try to keep y’all updated as I go. Sorry I’ve been quiet. I’m trying to save most of my energy for actually making the thing. That’s the important bit after all!

I’m hoping to have this model completed and moulded before I leave for summer holidays at the end of this month. I haven’t seen my friends and family in Canada for a couple of years so I figure you’ll forgive me a little break eh? Heheh!

Wish me luck everybody! I can’t wait to be back to work full time.

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!

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.

 

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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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! XD

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