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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Tue 10 Mar, 2015 6:12 pm    Post subject: 16th c. Notation Knife (pic intensive & worth it)         Reply with quote

Hello friends,
As some of you know, I'm a musician in real life. I've always enjoyed music history, specifically music of the Middle Ages and Renaissance, which fits nicely with my hobby passion, arms and armour. In a few books, I encountered a piece from the Victoria and Albert Museum that brings both areas of interest together.



This 16th century serving knife is decorated on the blade with music and words for giving thanks and blessing for a meal. Each side of the blade is a different piece; one is sung before the meal and one afterward. More info can be found here and here. A sister knife that might display a different choral part that can be sung along with the V&A piece's music is housed in a private collection:



The piece in the V&A museum has an ivory grip, with ebony, brass, and dyed ivory spacers; the ivory part is decorated in scrimshaw fashion with floral motifs. The blade is acid-etched and partly gilded with both the music/text and various floral motifs, masks, and trophy patterns.

Josh Davis and I were discussing various projects for him to do for me, and the V&A piece kept coming up. He gamely agreed to take on the challenge and I'll soon be in possession of an extraordinary replica of this piece.

Pics of the replica will be in the next post.

Happy

ChadA

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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Tue 10 Mar, 2015 6:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

On to the replica:



Like the original, the grip is ivory (legally sourced), with dyed green ivory, brass, and wood spacers. The wood is not a brown ebony like the original; it's Kingswood which is closer in color than many black modern ebonies. The grip is decorated in the same engraved and filled floral patterns. The end knob on the replica is steel instead of silver.

Grip before final assembly:


Grip (assembled):


Some more in-progress pics of the grip.

Finial (unpeened):


Grip decoration:



Happy

ChadA

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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Tue 10 Mar, 2015 6:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The steel blade is acid-etched like the original. Josh etched for at least 4 1/2 hours in 30 minute increments. This was to allow the oxides to be cleaned off in between, making for a cleaner etch. The blade was coated in wax and the design scraped into it. Old school. There was some bleed-through in spots, but it adds to the authentic look.

Both sides of the blade, after etching before gilding.




With the gold leaf applied, but prior to final assembly:




Etching detail:



Happy

ChadA

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J. Nicolaysen




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PostPosted: Tue 10 Mar, 2015 7:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Wow Chad, that's really great! Just an amazing find in the Collection and a wonderful replica by Josh Davis. Congratulations, I am sure you are overjoyed. As a former music major and a lifelong musicophile, I'm jealous at the great result. Really cool.
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Tim Lison




PostPosted: Tue 10 Mar, 2015 7:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Fantastic piece Chad! I always enjoy seeing some of the oddball stuff like this reproduced. Thanks for sharing and congratulations!!!
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Tue 10 Mar, 2015 7:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Some final shots in this post. Since a knife like this would have no scabbard, I asked Josh to create a display/storage box. It's simple in looks on the outside, but will work great for my purposes.

In storage:


Showing peg storage:


Display mode:


All closed up:


All in all, I'm pretty thrilled. This is a tour de force of old world techniques and details. Josh spent a ton of time experimenting to get things right. He found he had to finish the blade differently by hand after its initial grinding so it would etch properly. He experimented with different lengths of etch, different strengths of acids, etc. In short, he dove in and went way above and beyond to get it right. This piece is detailed well beyond what most makers are willing to attempt. Josh did a great job on it.

All these pics are Josh's and I'll post some more when I have it in-hand.

Anyone curious about in-progress pics can see a gallery here: http://s1374.photobucket.com/user/carnow6494/library/Progress

Happy

ChadA

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Eric W. Norenberg




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PostPosted: Wed 11 Mar, 2015 12:34 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Flat-out amazing. The etch looks so cool. Chad, you've got a great eye for these things, makes me long for a couple of days at the V&A, just me and my camera.
"Showers are for dorks." - Irish Mike
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Josh Davis




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PostPosted: Wed 11 Mar, 2015 6:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for posting this Chad!

This was as you said a very intensive project!! It was a lot of fun and a lot of mistakes were made, but I hope I hid them well enough Happy

All in all I am also very pleased with this project. Thanks for presenting this project to me and I am very happy to have been able to make this for you. I will have some higher quality photos soon sent to you and on my website.


Josh

www.davisreproductions.com
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Wed 11 Mar, 2015 7:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I love to see one-of-a-kind projects based on good research and collaboration between client and maker. Great job, both of you!
-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Radovan Geist




PostPosted: Wed 11 Mar, 2015 8:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

thatīs really lovely. congratulations for a unique project: both to maker and an owner. I may have one question, if itīs not a makerīs secret: what has been used for dyeing ebony?
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Josh Davis




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PostPosted: Wed 11 Mar, 2015 8:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Radovan Geist wrote:
thatīs really lovely. congratulations for a unique project: both to maker and an owner. I may have one question, if itīs not a makerīs secret: what has been used for dyeing ebony?


Hey Radovan,

It is no makers secret...I actually found it here on a different forum for carvers.

http://www.thecarvingpath.net/forum/index.php...ing-ivory/

I had a bit of experimentation to do with this one to get the color right and actually wound up using a fabric dye used for tie dye t-shirts of all things!

It is a simple process, to sum up the post to the forum: submerge the ivory or antler piece in acetic acid (a.k.a. undiluted vinegar) for 15 seconds to expose the grain of the piece, then submerge the piece in a boiling solution of water and fabric dye of chosen color for 15 seconds. Repeat the second step until desired color. Also they noted that after this the color will go a little lighter after re-polishing.

I hope this helps!

Josh
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Mark Griffin




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PostPosted: Wed 11 Mar, 2015 12:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lovely work Josh. Can't wait to see another of your ongoing projects completed ;-)
Currently working on projects ranging from Stonehenge to a WW1 Tank, Magna Carta projects, Waterloo and several ongoing harness projects. Oh and we joust loads! We run over 200 events for English Heritage each year plus many others for Historic Royal Palaces, Historic Scotland, the National Trust and more. If you live in the UK and are interested in working for us just drop us a line with a cv.
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Julien M




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PostPosted: Wed 11 Mar, 2015 1:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Very unusual piece! It's great to see such items reproduced.

Great work Josh!
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Greg Ballantyne




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PostPosted: Wed 11 Mar, 2015 5:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Simply amazing that such a unique and unusual piece finds the right audience to not only reproduce it, but so very nicely. That is a real beautiful piece of work, at both ends of the timeline. Thanks for both reproducing this and sharing the results.
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Radovan Geist




PostPosted: Thu 12 Mar, 2015 12:03 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you, Josh! And again - a really beautiful work.
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Thu 12 Mar, 2015 8:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the kind words, folks. Happy If UPS is right, I should have this tomorrow.

Josh has posted a bunch of pics on his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/davisreproductions . Here are a few. Go there for more, better quality pics.








Happy

ChadA

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Boris Bedrosov




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PostPosted: Thu 12 Mar, 2015 10:03 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The beauty of the old school!

Josh Davis did an amazing work.
Chad - congratulations and thanks for sharing with us!

"Everyone who has the right to wear a long sword, has to remember that his sword is his soul,
and he has to separate from it when he separates from his life"

Tokugawa Ieyasu
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Sat 14 Mar, 2015 9:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I received this piece yesterday. I've been in this hobby a while, and I've owned and seen a lot of cool stuff. I'd like to think I'm not too easy to impress. Happy But this piece is impressive on many levels.

First, it's not as big as I imagined (see the in-hand photo below). Therefore, the amount of detail packed into the piece is even more impressive. High-res pics on big monitors make the blade look very wide, but it's not.

Second, it just has a look that's very period correct. It's hard to describe, but the shapes, proportions, decorations are just right. Peter Johnsson's work captures this, as does Leo Todeschini's. For amour, Jeffrey Hildebrandt hits that look. Josh nails it here, too. It just looks right. It's not perfect, but it's not sloppy. That's hard to pull off. I'm very glad to have gotten this done now, before Josh gets swarmed. Happy

Here are a few more pics. Expect a formal review in the future.



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Happy

ChadA

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