Obsidian -

Discussion in 'Art In Stone' started by Redrummd, Aug 20, 2013.

  1. Redrummd

    Redrummd

    May 21, 2007
    I have a new love hate relation ship in my shop with Obsidian. I basically refused to work with it as it is very problematic. It is volcanic glass and tends to often have tiny internal complicating issues, basically tiny bits of Pumice scattered inside the glass. It also tend to want to chip and that tendency is why it was so desirable for use as arrowheads. Metal grinding wheels tend to bring out this in the most dramatic and devastating way. In 3 of my previous attempts I ended up with either cracked scales or tiny "chips" along the bolster or spine.

    Well I seem to have figured out the chipping issue by only using foam backed wheels and I use a strong light to try and find the pumice inclusion that are big enough to show up which allows me to avoid most of them.

    Most of the really interesting Obsidians to use have some internal features that make it interesting and these form in bands in the liquid obsidian.

    I try to find a wide band and use a felt marker to mark the band around the piece so that I can attempt to cut the piece in line with the bands as much as is practical. This is not an exact science as the bands are not completely straight. The dip and rise in ways not obvious inside and through the piece.

    Here is a photo of a piece with shimmering silver bands. I used a thick mostly silver one as the band I want to track around the stone and I will glue a block of wood as close to in line with this band. Hopefully when I then saw the piece I will get and interesting swirling pattern across the slabs that would look interesting as knife scales.
     

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  2. Redrummd

    Redrummd

    May 21, 2007
    Now I have been obsessed recently with this stone and I have a couple of test knives I have done. I should mention that this obsession came about as the owner of a claim on Davis Creek in California likes my work and is holding out pieces he believes have potential for me to purchase.

    So, here is my first test knife done with Rainbow Obsidian.
     

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  3. Redrummd

    Redrummd

    May 21, 2007
    This was certainly a success for the front scale. Now the back scale had a wide band that on the slab looked a deep violet and opaque enough to not show the liner. Of course at the time I was assessing it looked like sanded glass as well, that is what it was. Unfortunately it seems that once I had the slab glued and polished the glue and polish made the slab a lot more translucent. It does still have the violet color but under a bright you can see the pins and rocker pin.

    This Rainbow Obsidian looks like black Obsidian in a normally lit room as the Rainbow effect is only bvious under a bright light. I have two more slabs that have a very similar violet band that I am going to try a different approach with. First, I am going to use a Brass 110 as disappointing results on a Silver Nickel Buck 110 are a bit spendy! I am going to dye the Loctite 325 black and see if that will solve the translucency issue. I should know in a few weeks.

    I gave this knife a CS rating as if I had known the scale would gain so much translucency I would have at least hand filed the pins flat to the liner so only the center pivot would be seen.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2013
  4. Redrummd

    Redrummd

    May 21, 2007
    The next Obsidian is actually really rare and expensive. It is Velvet Obsidian from Mexico. I am getting a few slabs from one of my long time suppliers who got some bright and large enough pieces in a recent purchase he made. This stone creates a WOW result but has its own issue, specifically those pesky Pumice inclusions. This knife is just gorgeous but there is one pumice blemish on the rear scale along the spine. I was disappointed about the inclusion but at least it is very small and right on the spine instead of dead center on one of the scales!
     

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  5. Redrummd

    Redrummd

    May 21, 2007
    Here is the inclusion -
     

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  6. testdw

    testdw

    72
    Feb 3, 2011
    Mike,
    I so appreciate how you experiment with difficult stones to achieve such awesome final stone handled knives. You don't seem to give up with the challenging stones. Both of the Obsidians have a unique beauty that is very different from all the knives that I have seen you produce. Job well done. The Velvet Obsidian is especially outstanding looking.
    Dennis
     
  7. aguijonmagico

    aguijonmagico

    287
    Mar 24, 2013
    Loved the knives. Thanks for sharing.
    Some thing you may find of interest: obsidian is considered in superstition and magical tradition to open doors to the inconcious mind. It was used for sacrificial knives, and weapons. It is considered to be dangerous for a regular person even to have the the stone inside the house for long, specially the black versión.
    I wouldn't own an obsidian handled knife. jade, lapizlazuli, ónix, agathas, etc, are Ok, they are even healers. But obsidian, specially dark, It's considered dangerous to the mind of the Owner of the stone.

    Thought it may be worth telling you, because you may find this type of objection, and you may wasnt to have the issue acknowledged and with a prepared answer for a potencial customer. I imagine that such beatiful works of art as those knives most have several people interested in them, but who knows.
     
  8. Redrummd

    Redrummd

    May 21, 2007
    aguijonmagico - I do not attribute powers to stone or anything magical or superstitious. I was curious about your post though and did a GOOGLE search and found nothing you note ascribed to Obsidian.

    For those interested here is what I did find.

    "Obsidian is not a gemstone. It is formed during fast cooling of laObsidianva products after a volcanic eruption - that’s why they call it “volcanic glass”. According to ancient superstition, Obsidian brings to its wearer the energy of Earth, thus strengthening his spirit and healing his body. Ancient people called Obsidian "Satan's claws' fragments". A legend says the stone was named after a Roman warrior Obsidian who brought this stone from Ethiopia. Astrologists consider Obsidian a stone of Pluto.

    Talismans & amulets

    All Obsidians are talismans which offer strong shield against any negativity. A Snowflake Obsidian is considered a particularly strong protector for women.

    Healing properties

    There is a science of arrangement of Obsidian pieces on the person's body to corect his body energy. For this purpose, it is recommended to use Obsidian together with Rock Crystal. Obsidian gives physical forces, boosts power of adrenal glands and kidneys, treats rheumatism and gout, female and male genitals diseases.

    Magical properties

    Obsidian embodies the energy of a volcano It was used by all religions for various religious attributes. It develops intuition, insight and ability to foresee future events. Obsidian protects from "evil eye", "bedevilling", sorcery, damnations and other magic, protects its wearer in long trips, restores composure of after unfortunate love, guards from infidelity. In the real life, Obsidian protects from any mischief, suppresses aggressive energy, sharpens mind, and removes stress. Obsidian is a stone of prudence. When worn constantly, Obsidian may force its wearer to reduce his activity, make him inert. It is a magic stone. Any magician has an Obsidian stone to concentrate astral forces, to grant victory over astral spirits."
     
  9. aguijonmagico

    aguijonmagico

    287
    Mar 24, 2013
    Ok, I have sources in spanish. Please, change your search to black obsidian, or dark obsidian. That may do the trick. You will find the references of opening the subconcious mind.
    I do believe in the influence of stones in humana body and psyche. Ok if you don't, but maybe some buyers would like to know the "according to lore" properties of the stones used in handle. As a marketing idea.

    I.E.: I would totally buy a knife with a jade handle, wich the maker has charged personally with reiki and good thoughts. I would pay more for it.

    And if you would engrave some power words like "I will protect you" or maybe a small angel, you get the idea, more so.

    If you have a costumer you know it's religious, you could make the handles of amethyst (if possible, dunno).
    Amethyst was used in catholic church as a sign of chastity and control.
    The legend says that Dionisios, the god of wine, chased a little nymph to rape her. Aphrodyte took pity on her, and to prevent the rape change the nymph into a stone. Remorsed, Dionisios poured his glass of wine on her, giving the stone its violet color.
    It is thought that any carrier of an amethyst won't get drunk. It was used in middle ages as a stone for rosaries, and bishops use to this day, signaling these qualities, an amethyst ring.

    Sooooooooooooooooooooooooo I would be all over an amethyst handled knife, and if you get it to be blessed by a priest, my head would actually explode.

    To asiatic cultures, the same happens with jade.

    I'm posting this because your work is beatiful, and I think you can add this "lense" or "point of view" not as a believer, again, but as a marketing point, wich many costumers would appreciate.

    Speaking of wich...do you take custom orders on a knife with amethyst handles?
     
  10. Redrummd

    Redrummd

    May 21, 2007
    Fairly frequently I use Amethyst in the Purple Chalcedony stones Amethyst Sage and Purple Chalcedony from Indonesia.
     

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  11. Daniel Fairly Knives

    Daniel Fairly Knives Full Time Knifemaker Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jan 9, 2011
    Incredible!

    I'm really liking the Obsidian, that is some of the best I have seen. Every time I see one of your knives I am amazed by the material you use... finding pieces that big and perfect is even more impressive! :cool:
     
  12. aguijonmagico

    aguijonmagico

    287
    Mar 24, 2013
    I've been to your website. Very nice. I didn't see those knive on display. Are they for sale?
     
  13. Redrummd

    Redrummd

    May 21, 2007
    I figured out the Rainbow Obsidian. Dying the adhesive black worked. The white “dot” is a spot of white glass in the stone, probably a bit of pumice that fully melted to become part of the rainbow. The colors in Rainbow Obsidian only show when the knife is moves in the correct direction and then it just “pops’ out. The knife is a Brass 110.

    The Velvet Obsidian is Opal like in that the colors are moving with light and they show in normal room light easily. This stone shows a different color depending on what side of the slab you are looking. I cut the slab to have the front scale show the front of the slab and the rear scale shows the back of the slab. One side shows blue and green and the other purple, blue and gold.
     

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