Tuesday, April 14, 2009
On the other hand, they are really good for using up odd bits of scrap metal which would be heading to the recycling bin other wise.
We are looking right here at about, oh....three hours per side to this point. Maybe a bit more when you figure I have to root out the pieces from the scrap pile and clean off any rust. The finish here is a hundred grit finish, with lacquer on it, rolled on a two inch diameter ball.
Monday, April 13, 2009
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
I made these yesterday for Daniel, and if he doesn't like them, thats okay, I certainly do! I will use them in my "black knight" armour and re-make them in shiny stuff. Above you can see how the rich colour goes in waves from the top to the bottom. There is even some jaguar spotting across the left cuisse. Nobody would confuse these for plastic! And the colour does not crack off like paint would...these will soak up hundreds of blows from swords in the coming years. The surface finish is "from the anvil" and there are two layers of clear, high gloss lacquer on them. Easy to fix a scratch on the surface....just wipe down with a rag made wet with lacquer thinner, and the scratches all melt together and five minutes later, it dries and looks like new.
The steel used here is a full fourteen gauge, hot rolled. I prefer hot rolled steel since it has a lot fewer stresses in the metal. It is not as "stiff" as cold rolled, and will dent a tiny bit easier, but then I have never had a crack start working its way from rivet hole to rivet hole in hot rolled like I have with the c.r. steel. (Like I said....those SCA guys really work out a helmet!) All welds are at least an inch long, both on the front and on the sides. The clean up of all that weld spelter takes a lot of time, and is hard to do right.
The little chin plate is designed to be drilled to hang a curtain of chain maille. Always a problem with grill face helms....how DO you hang chain maille in the front? Well, this is how. The above helmet as shown is not quite finished...I installed eyeletted holes for a chin strap and flared the bottom edge out a bit to make it more comfortable to put on. The top has been chemically blued to help match it to the rest of the hot rolled helm, and the grill has been torched, again, purely to help it all blend in.
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
The colour is easily visible on the picture above. No paint or anything has been added in any way, just a judicious application of heat.
The heat treatment didn't help the discoloured metal seam up the front. I was wondering if it would disguise it. No such luck. Oh well, it just means I will have to do a good job of sanding off any existing stuff before baking the metal. In the above pic, you can see the slight surface rust, on the right breast. The colour was the same, but the texture sort of gives it away...its not as shiny as the rest of the steel.
This above picture is just from a different angle...the colour really came up nicely. I will give it a coat of lacquer which should keep the colour nice for years. I think the light is reflecting a little more off the top centre ridge which makes it look a little brighter. This could be used to create an effect.
The traditional way this colouring method is used is to create a relief pattern in the metal with punches...and then heat treat it just as I did here. Then sand off the high spots, leaving shiny surface with a dark background.
Any paint left on it will discolour differently than the background, including any oil, wax, and especially finger prints. The usual flaw in these jobs is that there is often a very slight residue on the metal surface caused by a tiny bit of oil left on the rag when you clean it. Results in swirly patterns on the surface instead of a nice even colouring. Nothing to do when that happens except bring it back in and sand it again. I prefer electric sanders for this purpose since air powered equipment spits out a fog of oil which puts paid to any possibillity of keeping it clean. All varnishes and laquers must be cleaned off as well. You can't even use the old armour's standby cleaning fluid (lacquer thinner) because it frequently has some oil dissolved in it which deposits when the thinner flashes off.
To make this job even more nasty, you have to clean with super flammable fluids, then heat treat them in a very hot oven. The potential for a flare up moves from "possible" to "likely" when you have hot ovens in the same room. I like to do this job on rainy days just to limit the possibility for static electricity. And I still use long sleeved cotton shirts, long cuffed gloves and face shields when I do it. As long as you are ready for it, the panic factor goes way down.
I wonder if the clients will accept hazard pay billing?