stamp by step...

oiseau metal arts

Elite Cafe Member
Jan 18, 2012
i remembered to take pics throughout the process this time.
so first i lay out the design on a grid. this makes it a bit easier to redraw under the microscope since a transfer is not an option.


im using a 2.5" piece of 3/8" O-1 for this one. sanding the work surface up to 1500 grit it is then coated with sharpie marker, to scribe my lines into, and then modeling clay to reduce the glare. i have a carbide needle set in a mechanical pencil that i have polished the tip just enough so it burnishes through the ink rather than scratch the steel. i layout my grid on the steel and start with te large key elements of the design and then gradually fill in the rest of the details. i dont always draw the line to be cut, but the line to be cut around.


then the cutting begins. when working ths tiny it helps to think about the negative space, and how the demensions of the graver change as you cut deeper. mostly i use a 60-75degree point graver with 45-50degree face, and 15 degree heel off set 45degrees using the presets on the QC sharpening fixture. for some of the other hard to reach places i use onglettes or a knife graver heeled the same as the point gravers. cutting the walls straight up and down can create a weak spot. keep in mind what metal you intend to stamp into, and how much force will be needed to leave a good impression. this one is fairly large and takes quite a wholop. (had to harden the whole thing to keep head from mushrooming)


ill cut the outline first to mark off what areas of bulk around the edges i can grind out with a dental bur or file. these edges then get dressed up using a flat graver. for some places i cant reach with the flat to dress up i have a needle size punch (made from old bur and textured on 1200grit diamond wheel) to smooth out any unwanted graver marks on the sides of the design. ill crank up the SPM on the gravermach to abour 5200 for this, and use very light touch and microtiny circles


now comes the fun part... FIRE! here im using propane bottle, but had to go back with a bigger torch to harden the whole thing... (after having mushroomed the head with the first striking)


when the steel reaches a nice red orange glow its ready to oil quench. (another way to test if its hot enough is that a magnet will no longer stick to it) i have a small jar of vegitable oil which has been working well enough to quench just the ends of these stamps, but use transmission fluid for my knives or if i need to harden the whole stamp


when the steel is hard the fire scale and oil will mostly wipe right off with a paper towel. a good cleaning with some acetone, then wire bristle wheel, and light pass with buffing wheel (its hardened steel not going to do much damage), and finally a toothbrush and dish soap to remove any polish that might clog up the fine details. now its off to a piece of scrap metal for proofing. 3lb mini sledge with a square and solid strike from 12"-14" did the trick.


if there is anything i missed, or anyone have a tip that could help make my work better please let me know.
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Staff member
::::Pledge Member::::
Feb 11, 2007
washington, pa
so great of you to take the needed time to do this for the members. i wish to thank you very much. this is so good, i added it to the tips section for all to reference later
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