Saturday, October 30, 2010

Tales from the Mancave: Blackthorn Blade

Blackthorn Blade

The Blackthorn Blade is finally finished, complete with a show stand (made of ebony and holly), and a belt sheath (basswood liner, dyed 8oz cowhide back and loop, bison leather front). The concept and the blackthorn of the handle were provided by NRJJ.

Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa)is a tree with an interesting history, being used as the traditional Irish shillelagh, walking sticks, and sloe gin from the berries. I was intrigued by the idea, and had a blade that seemed appropriate, in a sgian dubh style, so, with some discussion we decided to go for it.

It’s been quite a process to get this knife to where it is today. I’ve posted a few pictures of the process, but thought it might be nice to put them all in one place.

The blade is hand forged of 1095 high carbon steel in my charcoal forge and quenched and heat treated by me as well.

I worked on the blade first and, keeping with the blackthorn concept, put some vine and thorns file-work on the spine of the blade. This was my first file-work of that type.

Next I added a stacked water buffalo horn and nickel-silver spacer, to blend from the blade to the handle.

NRJJ sent me a number of root and branch pieces of blackthorn to pick the right one for his knife. One of them stood out to me as the obvious choice, so I shaped the end knob on the sander.

The wood itself is pale for the most part, but this particular piece has some interesting coloration in the knob, which stands out pretty well, and contrasts nicely with the dark bark.

Unfortunately the wood was a little thin as soon as you got any distance from the knob. In order to match the spacer, and provide a sufficiently robust handle, I had to split the blackthorn horizontally, which left a big gap between the top and bottom. I put it together anyway, and smoothed out the transition between the spacer and the handle, exposing some of the pale wood.

We decided that a black material would be the best to fill that gap, and to contrast with the wood. It worked pretty well, but is a pretty messy process.

In cleaning off the excess, some more of the dark brown bark came off. So, I had a situation – how to blend the very pale wood, with the dark bark. I cut the bark near the knob so that it wouldn’t peel, and then started applying layer after layer of finish.

After putting it all together, I decided it needed something shiny to break up the black, so I filed a couple of stainless pins, and that worked out pretty well. After a few more layers of finish, it was about done.

I worked the blade to hair popping sharp, and had a finished knife – except for marking the blade, which fortunately I didn’t screw up either.

An idea popped into my head when I was looking at the knife and its contrasts in black and white. I thought – hey! Let’s turn a ball of ebony and holly. That would be fun. So I glued together some ebony and holly, and spun away. The leftovers became the sides of the stand, and the ball holds the blade. A little arty, but I like it.

Since that was a little odd, I decided to make a sheath as well. I think it turned out pretty well too, and is much more understated than the stand.

Final result: ~NRJJ~ II: 4" Blade, 11" Overall.

And that... is that.

Unusual, but fun.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Feature Friday: ♥ Happy Halloween ♥

I really love many of these items, and although this treasury is Halloween inspired I would definitely wear and use these items all year round. I am really in love with the bra up at the top. They are something I have been interested in making, but have been a little worried that they were too hard. I know that is silly, and almost everything that I think is too hard turns out to be easier than expected, but making bras is really intimidating. I also love the fabric that seller chose, it is really unique.The bat headband is also especially sweet and I think the painting is too cute.
This weekend is Halloween, and I have no costume, and this is one of the first years I really am not interested in dressing up. We got a pumpkin costume for autumn, so we will take her out trick or treating on sunday, and that will be fun... or cold... but probably both. I also decided to play in Duke City Derby's championship bout, which will be VERY fun.
ok Folks,
Have an awesome weekend!

Things I love: Halloween edition

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Adventures in T-shirt land:from the workbench

This was supposed to be a Wednseday post, but I am a day late and a dollar short, as usual.

This is the project that has been consuming most of this week. It is a wedding dress for a friend of mine, and I want to fit it this weekend . I usually like to fit things much earlier but I couldnt even attatch the skirt until the whole inside bodice was created... so... I hope it fits.
All of the leopard print was screenprinted by hand... and took FOREVER, but I think it looks pretty awesome.

The front has a hook and eye colosure, but it is a fake and is backed with black satin. After I fit the dress I still need to put big grommets in the back because it laces up, and the same big grommets in the front because it is supposed to be a halter. I have not done much with grommets so I am HOPING I do not have any problems with that.

Last week I mentioned an experiment. It worked. I can create my designs on shirts in burnout.

umm... awesome. Like I mentioned, I have seen lots of burnout shirts with random splotches burned out all over it, but nothing like this. I am REALLY excited about it. It has been suggested that I patent the application, but I do not know if it is different enough from other uses of these chemicals to make a patent feasible, although, I did think about the possibility before someone else mentioned it to me.

Whatever. I am REALLY excited to have discovered this awesome new technique.

and here is my shirt deisgn for the week, actually printed on a shirt. I think it is kinda cute. :)

I also mentioned on Friday that I liked that shirt from dark cycle clothing... and I bought it. I love it. I cant say it is my favorite type of tee shirt, it is a little thick and boxy for my taste, but the print is adorable and I am sure I will wear it all of the time.
And the pictures of autumn:

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

I got up a little earlier than usual this morning to get some packages ready for Adam to take to the post office since I dont have any cash on me right now, and we didn't want to run out and get some last night. Oh, they are going to Canada, or I would have just shipped them through paypal.

After all my packages were either with Adam, or in out mailbox with a shipping label I seriously considered going back to sleep. Not only am I tired, but it finally started getting cold here in albuquerque after an unseasonably warm October thus far. When it is cold a few things happen, first, I take longer warmer showers, second, I stay inside more, and third but doubtably final, I have quite an urge to stay in bed much longer. It is like I have hibernation instincts that kick in or something. Anyway, I stayed up to write a blog post instead.

Above is the newest screen I have printed, this image is straight off the scanner, I had to clean it up a lot before burning the screen. I think it is pretty cute, but we will see how it does. I will post a picture of it on a shirt in my Wednesday post, along with the results from my little experiment last week and some other on going projects.

Not at all related to any surrounding pictures, I have also decided to skate in Duke City Derby's championship bout on Saturday... and I am REALLY excited :) I thought I was over roller derby, that I could retire just like that... but even if I dont have time for it anymore, I really love it. In addition to asking me to play Adam was asked to ref, but he stayed strong and said no. I expect the reffing to be questionable since they will be short staffed, but I am sure I have seen worse.

Since I am playing this upcoming weekend I decided to go to the rink formerly known as Roller King this past Sunday, and I had a blast. A few skaters came up and told me I was a great skater with really good endurance, which I suppose is true for the general public. Unfortunately, not true for me, or in relation to roller derby. My actual skating skill was fine, although some of the things I was just starting to get before my surprisingly brief hiatus (specifically crossing over while skating backwards) felt a little shaky. I don't have the endurance I would like to to play a championship bout, but I cant change that in a week, and I did do better than expected after pushing through the muscle aches. I decided I need to make sure to go skating, and JUST skate at least once a week, for myself. I miss it.

Other than that we really didn't do much this weekend. I remember doing some cleaning, but that is really boring. We also went to rocketpants' house Sunday evening, Adam dropped me off at the rink and went over and then picked me up and since he lives so close we went back there for a little while longer. It is always nice to see Jon, but I cant say it was eventful.

I have had a pretty insatiable craving for green chili lately, not chopped, it is very important that it is green chili SAUCE. Right now I would eat it with three meals a day until I couldn't stand the sight of it if it were up to me... fortunately I have other people to feed who get tired of eating the same thing every day, so I have NOT been eating it with three meals a day. It is also fortunate that I live in New Mexico, as it would be very hard to find green chili in abundance if I lived anywhere else. My only guesses are that I am pregnant again (with autumn I was craving spicy V8- which I usually hate, and for my recent failed pregnancy I wanted salsa) or that since I have cut back on fruit (and other sugars, but a lot of my sugar intake came from sweets) per a suggestion from my OBGYN, that I am craving the nutrients that I am missing from all the fruit I had been eating. Green chili has Lots of vitamin C, and some other nutrients.

Oh, the outfit autumn is wearing in these pictures is a silly little thing I whipped up for her on my surger in about 20 min. Cute.

Welp, Adam calls my posts schizophrenic , and this post is no exception. See you all tomorrow for my workbench post.

♥ Erica

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Adventures in Knifeland: On the Bench

So Erica tells me that my title is lame and that I am stealing her "thing". But if you look back at my blog you'll see "the workbench" there first. So I don't care :)

I know that you don't see a whole lot of my work on this blog, but I tend to think of it as more "guy" oriented. However, I've been thinking about general marketability lately, and think that I should probably be aiming more towards kitchen knives and folding knives than the hunting knives that I have been making. That doesn't meant that all of these are kitchen or folding knives mind you. Just that I think it would be a better idea in general.

I'll go in knifological order here:
I decided that I didn't like the hand on my knife AR36

Not that it doesn't look pretty good in this picture (handle is coccobolo and brass), but it didn't feel right and the balance was all wrong. Believe me, that makes more of a difference than you might think. Pick up your favorite and least favorite knives in the kitchen if you don't believe me.

Anyway, I decided to remake it. It's not done yet, and I think that I might do some wood burning on the handle, but haven't decided what to burn yet. This is what it looks like now:

The wood isn't quite so fancy, but I think it feels waaaaay better. The handle is now fruiting pear and brass.

Next is AR39, which was a big Machete last time, but didn't quench right, so the edge didn't hold.

It's a lot smaller now. But it holds its edge.
The handle is sycamore and purpleheart.

Then we jump forward to the current knives.
First, a new big machete-like thing....

The handle is curly maple, and it's a pretty big knife - that's my hand, not Erica's in the picture.

And lastly we have a couple of knives that just came out of their second forging session:

I'm not quite sure what they will look like in the end, but I am enjoying making them.
Any suggestions?

That's all for now,


Friday, October 22, 2010

Feature Friday

Things I like: lace

I really like lace, whether it is "in" or "out" ... no matter what season it is... I love pretty feminine lace. All of the above items are clickable, and the shirt from , who's work I really love and admire- even though I also make tee shirts- was in stilo lifestyle, the store I am doing consignment at, and it looks just as awesome, if not better in person. I actually would have bought one for myself if stilo had been stocking their womens shirts. I guess I can always get it directly from them, or ask Adam to buy it for me for Christmas.

So, I would like to clarify, I mentioned earlier that I have started running. I am not trying running because I need another type of exercize to do. I am very active and have no shortage of fun things to do that get my heart pounding or my muscles burning. Running has always been a hurdle of mine, and I want to overcome it. I know that running can cause damage to joints, especially if done incorrectly, and with the wrong footwear. I want to run. I mean, I dont WANT TO RUN, I hate running, but I want to overcome this sort of fear I have of running, and it is good for me.

The experiment I mentioned earlier this week turned out AWESOME. I will share picture soon.

Happy friday!