Engraved Feather in shibuichi

Jim Kelso

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I have wanted for some years to revisit the netsuke world which I was immersed in some years ago. What is a netsuke? See http://www.netsuke.org/Default.aspx?pageId=1125375

and http://www.cc.rim.or.jp/~komada/e-netsuke.html

Having also dipped(so-to-speak) back into the Japanese water-casting(yuwake) earlier in the year I wanted to make something from a nice little shibuichi (copper/silver alloy) ingot produced then. This process involves pouring the molten alloy (70% copper, 30% silver and a bit of gold) into a cotton cradle submersed in water. This leaves the alloy quite oxide and gas free.

The obvious convergence of these impulses is a type of netsuke known as a kagamibuta(mirror-lid), which typically have a metal plate set into a bowl made most often of ivory or wood. It has been at least 20 years, I think, since I last made one of these so I was interested to see what I would bring to it with a bit more skill (let’s hope!) and some different aesthetics as well.

Here’s a first look. The photo doesn’t do justice to the nashiji(pear-skin) grain in the shibuichi and I’ll try to get a better photo of that. The smaller photo shows the piece roughly to scale (40mm diameter). The inlays are copper and gold. The wood is Ziricote.

IMGP5798PSE1webscale.jpg IMGP5798PSE1web.jpg
 

Dave London

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Thanks Jim
Very nice the feather looks real. Any more on the pouring of the ingot i.e. How deep the water boil, over etc.
 
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Arnaud Van Tilburgh

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Jim, yes this is another one you don't have to sign it with your name, I would recognise it as yours. There are probably more that use this style, but not here in the café.
About the alloy technique you explain, that is not totally clear to me.
I understand you use copper, silver and gold, melt it and than? ......casting it into water?

Ok Jim, did a little searching on this casting technique, I suppose it is like this.

[video=youtube;WUVUYH_vvZE]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WUVUYH_vvZE[/video]

arnaud
 
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Jim Kelso

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Thanks guys. Dave you don't want the metal cooling too much before it hits the fabric. A couple inches seems fine. Size of melt makes some difference.
Arnaud that's a nice view of a pour. Yes, you melt first and pour into water instead of an ingot mold. For more practical info on the set-up see here:
http://forums.dfoggknives.com/index.php?showtopic=22507&st=0

There is also a lot of info at ironbrush. It works with copper, silver, gold. Not possible with brass or ferrous.
 
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mrthe

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Hey Jim thank you for the link about the water casting! very interesting, i had watch Arnaud's linked video time ago but i haven`t understand very well what material was the mold in the water,now i have more reference.
One question,what is the benefit of casting in water exactly? less oxidations?
 

sam

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Wonderful work, Jim! Your creations are always rich with texture and patina, and your photos are dramatic and capture their beauty.
~Sam
 

Jim Kelso

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Thanks Tom. Much appreciated.
Thanks for your comments too Sam. Where would we be without our fearless leader!

Here is a shot of the back. The gold bit is a single plum blossom petal. It's functional too as the cord that holds the whole ensemble together passes underneath its middle.

IMGP5808PSE1web.jpg
 

Jim Kelso

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Hey Jim thank you for the link about the water casting! very interesting, i had watch Arnaud's linked video time ago but i haven`t understand very well what material was the mold in the water,now i have more reference.
One question,what is the benefit of casting in water exactly? less oxidations?
Mrthe, the advantage is a quite clean ingot which is not absorbing oxygen from the atmosphere during cooling. Perhaps also, as the water is just under boiling, it may help slow cooling which may enhance the growth of grain structure.
 

Jim Kelso

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Here is a shot of the grain, known as nashiji(pear-skin) in Japan. The surface is polished smooth so all the texture you see (even down in the engraving cuts) is within the metal. This shot is about 15mm wide.

IMGP5808closeweb.jpg
 

Paulie

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:tiphat:Very nice work, Jim:thumbsup: Your threads are always a pleasure to read & see and very interesting too! Wonderful technique, I never heard about water casting alloys before. Thank you for showing, greetings, Paulie:beerchug:
 

Jim Kelso

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Thanks very much Paulie.
Here is another shot that shows the highlights better in the feather and the beauty of the wood.

IMGP5847PSEweb2.jpg
 

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