Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Mezzotint Scraper Handle


I made a set of mezzotint burnishers and a scraper many years ago, about 2005 I think, out of some silver-steel rod.

Up until now I've been using them in a graphite-stick holder, but I thought I might as well get on to making some permanent handles for them.

The scraper is the first out of the gate. I turned the handle out of a bit of beech dowel; it was once a broom handle I think.

This one is a burnisher, for polishing the scraped copper. The smoother the metal, the less ink it holds, and the whiter the resulting tone in the print.

Another burnisher, with a curved blade (that needs a bit of polishing, by the look of it). This time the handle is ash.

Monday, March 21, 2022

Mortise Gauge


I ordered this mortise gauge maybe a month or so ago, and it just arrived. I got it via AliExpress from and it was pretty cheap; about thirty bucks including postage.

It's well made with no slop in the bars. The circular blades need a bit of sharpening, but that's easily done. The bars are graduated, though I think that's likely to be of limited use as the fence has a cut-out to house the blades, which means that the graduations will only ever be an estimate as there's no hard-cut-off to read them against.

The blades don't roll on their shafts, so the blades act just like a normal knife.

It's a decent enough piece of kit, but I don't like it as much as my traditional pointy beech mortise gauge. The lines left by the rollers aren't as definite or easy to see as those left by scratch-points or blades.

Thursday, March 10, 2022

Sword Stand


I made myself a sword stand for my iaito.

It is oak, coloured with a walnut spirit stain. It's had its first coat of oil, and it will need a couple more and then some wax to finish.

I could do with some better tape for the sageo (the binding around the scabbard). The stuff I've used is just flat lanyard tape, and it's okay, but it's a bit narrow. I could do with something about half an inch wide, and neither too flimsy (like ribbon) nor too stiff (like nylon webbing). The genuine silk article from Japan is fairly pricey, and I'm not keen enough to spend that much money.

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Iaito Tip Reshaping


I reshaped the tip of my el-cheapo iaito to give it a more curved profile, rather than the fairly angular pointy-stabby tip it had before, as can be seen in the shot of the sword on the bricks.

It could probably do with a bit more polishing, which I might get around to one of these days. But the blade is just stainless steel (440 I think) so there's not much point in getting too precious about it.