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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2007
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    Default Yellow Jacket Hobo Nickel Tutorial

    Attachment 38419
    The gold inlaid wasp I added to a recent knife I engraved for William Henry Studios turned out so splendidly I had to do a Hobo Nickel with the same theme.

    Attachment 38430
    Above, Iíve taken a 1930 Buffalo nickel and transferred a scaled yellow jacket design to it.

    Attachment 38414
    I begin the engraving process by cutting all the major outlines with a V-graver. This design is now indelible, and I canít wipe it out with a misplaced fingerÖ

    Attachment 38421
    Now begins the background removal process. Here Iíve used the same V-graver to cut parallel lines in all the spaces where I need to waste away the background. These V-cuts are a convenient way to measure the depth of background removal and make a smooth background of consistent depth.

    Attachment 38428
    I could use a flat graver to remove the excess background, but I find a tiny carbide bur is faster and just more convenient, at least in the initial stages of wasting away the unwanted background.

    Attachment 38413
    Above, Iíve removed the excess, and also used the same carbide bur to make a ďscribbleĒ textured background. Of course, now the yellow jacket is looking pretty flat, so Iíve got to do something about thatÖ

    Attachment 38420
    Speaking of flat gravers, I begin to sculpt the yellow jacket abdomen, thorax and head by using a flat graver to cut away the top corners. I start with a 45 degree cut, then move up with the flat graver held at a shallower angle. I find twice around is a good start for most of my sculpted engravings.

    Attachment 38426Attachment 38412
    Above are two images taken at an oblique angle to try and illustrate the depth Iím working towards. You can see the two facets left at the top corners of the body shapes.

    Attachment 38418
    The flat graver leaves little facets when used at an angle. I could carve away those little facets with more work with the flat, but Iím going to exploit one the greatest aspects of engraving in metal - itsí ability to be moved. Above, Iíve used a tiny steel punch to hammer the body shapes smooth. You can see the attractive pebbled texture the tiny punch leaves behind. Iíve also used the punch the sculpt the wings. Additionally, Iíve carved the legs to provide a little vertical development. Perhaps you can see where they are lowest where they go under the body, climb up to the first joint, then descend back down to the ďfeet.Ē

    Attachment 38429
    The legs are still a little crude, too wide near the body, and some of the feet detail is missing. I used a tiny 90 degree V-graver and a tiny flat to trim around the lower edges of the body parts and legs - you can see the shiny spots in the background texture.

    Attachment 38416
    Getting down into tiny spaces is a problem, and Iíve solved that by manufacturing an even smaller carbide bur. You can see it in the image. I make these by grinding four tiny flats in a worn out ball bur - in this case, the tiniest round bur Iíve been able to purchase (about a half millimeter in diameter). I havenít measured one of my tiny manufactured burs, but itís a lot smaller, and comes to an even tinier point.

    Attachment 38427Attachment 38415
    Above, you can see two oblique images at this stage. Starting to look pretty good now.

    Attachment 38425
    The yellow jacket is sufficiently sculpted and trimmed so itís time to add the gold inlays. Using gravers and carbide burs, Iíve excavated the cavities where the tiny 24 karat yellow gold wires will go. Iíve undercut the edges of the front cavity (see the blue arrow) with a tiny flat graver, and also cut three rows of tiny uplifted teeth, at three different angles. This provides a forest of tiny teeth in the bottom of the inlay cavity, as well as a continuous undercut around the bottom edge, for the gold to flow into and become permanently trapped.

    Attachment 38431
    Above, Iíve used a tiny brass punch to partially hammer a single soft gold wire along the rear edge of the inlay cavity. Iíll add in more parallel wires, lightly tapping them into place until the cavity is completely filled.

    Attachment 38424
    Here, you can see three parallel rows of wire in place. Iíll use the tiny brass punch to vigorously punch the gold wires into place. If Iíve done my job well, the extremely soft gold will flow into all of the teeth and undercuts, as well as cold-weld together into a single solid mass.

    Attachment 38423
    Here you cans see two completed inlays, which have been roughly scraped to remove excess gold. Next, Iíll use a very smooth carbide burnisher to remove the few remaining rough spots. After everything is smooth, Iíll use a tiny abrasive stone to really smooth the gold surface.

    Attachment 38417
    Here are the completed 24 karat gold inlays in the abdomen. Notice that Iíve used a tiny V-graver to cut very fine lines in the cupro-nickel metal around the gold. This really provides a visual demarcation and makes the inlays really ďpop.Ē

    Attachment 38422
    Above, Iíve also used a small round graver to cut the wing details in.

    Attachment 38433
    Here's the Yellow Jacket Hobo Nickel finished! Six 24 karat gold inlays and a lot of carving. Thanks for looking!

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  3. #2
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    This is beautiful. And the tutorial is just as well done as the engraving. Thank you.

  4. #3
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    May 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by Houlihan View Post
    This is beautiful. And the tutorial is just as well done as the engraving. Thank you.
    Thanks for the kind words, Houlihan. Hope it's of use to you.

    Tom

  5. #4
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    Great demonstration and really helpful. What number did you use for V-Graver to remove background!

  6. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by TANGODOWN View Post
    Great demonstration and really helpful. What number did you use for V-Graver to remove background!
    Usually I use a Lindsay Universal (116 degree) to cut parallel lines in the background, then a 0.5 mm ball carbide bur on something this tiny.

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