Category Archives: making


Just about ready now to compile some completed angels with their respective packaging. Here are the stamps I got today from the good people at Capitol Rubber Stamps.

How I spent my summer vacation

I’ve long wanted to do more “how to” videos. It just so happens that many of the things I know “how to” do are really weird and likely useful to no one but me. Nonetheless, the video was almost as much fun to make as the brass wire rope.

Best of all, check out my super-sophisticated iPhone camera mount. A steady-cam it’s not.

At the angel spa

Hanging out by the cupric chloride jacuzzi after an indulgent 20 minute etch.

A lacquer thinner rub down for toner exfoliation.

Relaxing with friends.

A quick dip in phosphoric acid for a really dark tan.

One angel and a big mess

The Vigilante: Patina and wax applied. Lacking only suspension wire.

The state of my studio on July 25, 2012

Perfect toner transfer

Never in my years of working with Press-n-Peel Blue have I ever had such a perfect transfer (both front and back). And this was my first try using new methods and equipment. I’ll be posting my notes with additional images later on.

Now if you’ll excuse me I’m going to imbibe a rather large glass of my Father’s Day port.

Courage from Verdun’s lion

The last few days I have become rather obsessed on exactly how I plan to put the final finish on the Idle Angels. Which abrasive? On a wheel or by hand? How fine? Perhaps a buffing wheel?

Before this I have obsessed over getting the illustrations “perfect” and laying out the resists perfectly and organizing the studio. I know my self well enough to realize that all these little obsessions and productive procrastinations are really manifestations of fear. Some of this fear is justified in that the materials are expensive and my time is extremely limited. I also know that I’ve reached the limit of what I can plan for without taking some risks.

But returning to the question of finish, today I received courage from two master craftsmen.

The first is Tim McCreight’s simple advice from The Complete Metalsmith: An Illustrated Handbook:

“Keep in mind that there is no universal “right” finish. You can stop at any point that complements the piece.”

The second dose of courage came from Nicholas of Verdun and a close-up image from his famous altar. Seeing the directional scratches in this masterwork (there is no work of art that I regard more highly) gave me the fortitude to stop planning and start making.

A lion’s head. Close-up from the panel &Noah’s Ark of the Verdun Altar. The full plaque can be seen at the Lessing Photo Archive.

More heat and more pressure

Though originally I had planned to silk screen the acid resist for the angels, I think that in the long run reverting to the PnP Blue method of toner transfer that I’m already familiar will work out better. Like many users of PnP, I have been frustrated by the consistency of transfer. Sometimes I could get a really clean transfer and other times — total failure. The image below shows both.

Also, most of the tutorials that I have read focus on PCB etching. While the principles are the same there are many tricks that I have found to adapt the basic techniques to larger scale, art etchings on brass.

I’m taking notes and better quality photos. When I can catch my breath I’ll be writing a detailed tutorial for this method of resist toner transfer for artists.

Left: What’s left of the PnP Blue carrier. Right: Toner transferred to 20 gauge brass.