Monday, April 13, 2009

April 13 work in progress

Much of the day was spent doing preliminary stuff for the pistol grips, which I received today. I was recently asked by engraver Mike Dubber to do scrim on the grips for the annual Colt Collector's Association auction gun. I'll be the first to admit my knowledge of the gun collecting world is pretty small, but I do know that this is a big dang deal and I don't quite have the words to explain what an incredible honor it is. It will receive some pretty serious publicity, be published on the cover of Rampant Colt magazine, etc. The subject of the gun is North Carolina. On one side I'll be scrimming the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, and on the other will be the 1903 Wright Flyer. It's a big deal. :-)

But I did get in lots of hours on the knife too. You wouldn't think this stuff would take so long. But it does. First up was doing the transfer. I showed you the paper printout taped on there yesterday. Well first thing today was to poke through that printout on the outlines with my etching needle (lightly, but with enough pressure to make a tiny dot in the ivory). Put some ink on it, buff it down, and voila, the very subtle outline:

Next is the border, which I'd have to say is my least favorite part to do, because it's tedious. I measure and mark it in teensy increments under the scope, and then connect the dots with a whole heck of a lot more dots to build up a border (photographed through microscope):

And then play connect the dots with the zebra outlines so that I can actually see what I'm doing (eww, green fluorescent light):

You'll note I did not transfer the stripes or the water ripples. I'll just freehand all that. If I tried to transfer that much image information it would just be a hopelessly confusing mass of dots. So I just do the outlines and important parts, usually.

I wasn't nervous about starting this. I thought I would be, since this is my first knife and the first scrim I'm doing that isn't just on some random little bit of ivory. But nope, I feel totally confident in what I'm doing. This piece will be in color, so I am using India and colored drawing inks (well, so far just India). Not my favorite, I do prefer etching ink, but for a multi-color piece I need the drawing inks. Plus, because of the color and because this piece will get a fair amount of handling, it needs to be waxed (no, not like "rrrrrip oww!" waxing, I mean coated with a zillion layers of microcrystalline Renaissance Wax to seal the image and protect the ink, and etching ink can't be waxed til it's dry, which takes months, and I have barely weeks for this).

That's all I got today.


Anonymous said...

My son and I are "Gun Nuts" and the Colt auction piece is a very big deal!!! I can see it more blog stories about the old car breaking down, as you will soon be driving that new (fill in the expensive car name of your choice!)
Good Luck
ps...doesn't NCarolina have wildlife? But,I'm sure you can do well with the other subject matter.

Katherine Plumer said...

Aaron, ha ha, I'm a long way from out of the woods, so to speak. This project is a donation to the CCA. Here's hoping the publicity leads to great things though!

Yes, I'm sure NC has lots of wildlife! And I tend to be "anything but mechanical or architectural" in terms of subject, so, I had to convince myself I could do this. Those two subjects, along with the Battleship North Carolina where chosen to be the themes of the gun. The battleship is engraved on the gun itself (well, part of it anyway).

Anyway, I've come up with some really cool designs for the lighthouse and Flyer so I'm excited!