Monday, June 15, 2015

An etched brass medallion

This is what my mom requested for her birthday this year.  It's a circle of 16-gauge brass.  I scaled down and printed this design, stuck it on with a gluestick, then incised the lines lightly through the paper into the metal with an art knife.  After washing the paper and glue off, I used the incisions as guides for a permanent marker mask, sealed off the edges and back with wax, and dropped it into a ferric chloride bath for about 45 minutes.

On the back, the loop (a simple 1/16-inch rod) is secured with what I thought were very small beads of silver solder but which turned out to be more than enough once it was well melted.

I intended to give it a dark patina and brush back the raised knotwork, but none of my experiments with household chemicals worked.  Liver of sulfur would've been ideal if I could get any.  As it was, Mom said she preferred it with a bright burnished finish.  Unfortunately, the texture of the spray lacquer reduced the glossiness; it would probably have been better-off with a painted lacquer instead.

The medallion is worn on a simple brass chain with a silver lobster claw closure.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Belt chain for my naval dirk

A more-or-less period method of wearing a two-ring scabbard.  The only original belt attachment I've seen on a dirk is on display over at Sailor in Saddle.  This is, obviously, a simplified and adapted version.

There don't appear to be any appropriate chains in hardware or craft stores around here, so I made this one from two feet of 3/32-inch brass rod.  Annealed and coiled around a 1/4-inch nail, it made just 20 links.  One of them, detached from the end and forming a side link to attach the tab (via its own ring) to the chain, is located nearer the top scabbard ring so as to allow the scabbard to hang at an angle.

The tab, of course, is just a scrap of veg-tan leather, molded, dyed, sealed and riveted in the back.

And there you have it.  I guess if I ever get zapped into a Horatio Hornblower novel and somehow land a commission instead of having to carry up buckets of bilge for a living, I'll at least have one thing taken care of.