Great to be back here. Let's begin. After spending the morning at an excellent antique store in Toowoomba, I choose to launch with this beautifully worn and patinated oyster shucking knife. The egg-shaped girth of the handle is great for the utility of the tool, but won't serve me in its new incarnation. What that diameter WILL give me, however, are options - options on what and how to carve and drill into all that wood.
A slice of handle is removed, to give me a 'frontal' area. I am also preparing to remove a large cylinder of wood from the middle. Here, the first small hole is drilled in the interior of my big circle, to give the jewelers saw a helping hand in sawing such a thick bit of timber.
Then a smaller area is carved out to make a rear view.
I have selected a balance point to run a tube-rivet horizontally through the handle. At this point I imagine leather going through that tubing, though I'm leaving it open to change as the piece develops.
Now a bold moment: I drill the steel blade after testing to make sure it's not too hard. Steel that is this old and has been exposed to salt water over many years is quite brittle, so this is a do-or-die point.
Now I can spend some time sawing through the blade to remove much of the steel. Due to the brass finger-guard shape, many saw blades are expended as I work my way carefully around.
The whole object becomes much lighter as so much metal is removed. I do have plans to bring the cut-out hunk of steel back into the piece, though.
De-blading the blade.
The interior piece is shaped and will hang suspended inside the form.
Now to the handle of the knife. I am given a small flared lens assembly from a microscope, which is what I sized the large hole in the handle to. This is provisionally friction-fit in place while I go about designing the title plate. 'The Story Without End.' is a title I've had in my files for over 20 years, and etching it onto the copper plate brings me back to early days in my studio; to the endless hours poring through old books finding interesting snippets of text.
Note here also - a profound change in the design of the piece. The tube-riveted area was no longer a proper balance point for the piece, which I had figured might become the case. Two beautiful knurled old equipment bolts work their way right through the copper tubing to become an anchor point for some decorative steel chain. The brass finger guard has been pierced on the left and right and will now become the attachment point for the pendant to be worn.
I've decided to have the title plate recessed into the front of the piece, so I go about carving out the space for it to occupy.
Next week we'll see the piece come together as the chain is finished and the detail in the body of the piece - front and back - is worked out.