When bladesmiths sit around talking about their inspiration it’s only a matter of time before the conversation comes around to Master Bladesmith Jerry Fisk. He’s a great teacher, a mentor to many fantastic bladesmiths, an honorable man, and a good friend.
Every master craftsman needs a nice sign to hang in the shop, so we set out to create something worthy of a Master.
The Making of a Classic Sign
It only seemed appropriate that a Master Craftsman have a Signature sign, so of course we set out to put a signature, on a sign! Everything started with a custom design being crafted and perfected digitally.
Each of the components from the digital design was CNC cut on the plasma table and then the real work began!
After the oval background was cut, the first step was to grind and “weather” the steel to give it a unique look.
The individual letters comprising the words Master Bladesmith were hand finished to remove the dark mill-scale finish that coats steel straight from the smelting plant. This creates a beautiful and eye-catching contract between the cut out letters and the shiny exposed metal surrounding them.
After that, the open area of the material was treated using various techniques to give it an aged appearance.
Lettering and Welding
Although the robot cuts the parts out, they still require quite a bit of work by hand in order to finish them. For the proper effect, the two dimensional letters need to be polished and raised.
Each letter, and even the dot over the “i” needed holes precisely drilled to accommodate mounting stems. This was challenging because the letters were only slightly wider than the 1/8″ holes being drilled.
Once all of the holes were drilled they were countersunk and mounting stems cut were cut from 1/8″ welding rod. The rod has a copper coloring which can be removed with heat, or acid etching, but we thought it would look nice to add a little color behind the lettering so we left it!
The pins fit tightly into the holes in the lettering, however we want this sign to last for hundreds of years!
So each of the pins were then welded into the holes to ensure they would never accidentally fall out.
With the letters complete and pinned it was time to mock up the layout and mark the exact locations each pin needed to mount to the background.
Rather than welding the pins directly to the background we used a magnetic drill press to precisely locate holes for each of the pins.
This allowed pins to be perfectly inserted into holes in the background.
And each of the pins was finally welded from the rear so they would never come apart!
The sign was given a french cleat mounting method on the rear, and a crystal clear coat of paint to protect it for years to come.
We think the final product is worthy of the man it was made for. How about you?