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!

The Mothermould!

Woohoo! This has been a crazy exciting week. I stubbornly went back for another try at the mother mould for Clariel. I was terrified that I’d fail once again and have wasted over 100 euros on silicone.

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Well … it’s smooth, but is it cured?

I was especially nervous because one spot was a bit of a different colour and firmness than the rest.

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Poke poke. Hello? 

But it wasn’t sticky and my finger didn’t sink into it soooo, let’s get it out of the moulding box.

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A fine looking silicone sandwich!

Well it looked like it was all okay. But I would only be able to know for sure by separating the two halves. This was the moment of greatest tension. The moment of truth! Would it be sticky inside? Would it have somehow cured to the other half, trapping the model sword inside?! I didn’t know. I’d have to open it and find out.

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Here goes nothing …
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SUCCESS!

It cured! It cured all the way through and didn’t do anything crazy! I can’t tell you the relief I felt. That was so much work to get it right and my mistakes were not cheap but it all paid off.

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All cleaned up and ready for a mould jacket!

Ahh, there it is. That’s exactly what I wanted. I really needed that win. it fits together just perfectly. No weird gaps. No bubbles. No cracks. Hurrah!

Now on to the mould jacket! This mould is too wobbly to support itself indepedently so it needs a “cast” around it to keep it from popping open or deforming when I pour the resin in. Imagine it like a body; right now, it needs bones so it can stand up. 🙂

I tried some really gross-smelling plastic stuff.

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Uhhh …

And it hardened before I was done working with it! well that’s useless.

So I gave my dear mould a nice, relaxing mud-mask.

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I thought it looked stressed out. This’ll help.

Really, though, that’s hobby concrete smooshed into layers of burlap cloth. I’m hoping it will be strong enough when dry to not crack or crumble. We’ll have to see! This is how I left it last Friday night so this morning I will check on it and see how my experiment went. Don’t worry! I’m not out of ideas yet!

I have determination! I have sisu! And if that doesn’t work, I have coffee.

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.

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.

Clary Blade Hilt copy

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!