Elko Gallery Saddle-Part 2

Progress was made today regarding the Elko Gallery Saddle which goes to the Museum at the Western Folklife Center in Elko Nevada. The goal is to have it at the January Gathering, January 27th thru February 1st of 2020.

Maybe we will see some of you there, never know who you may meet in Elko at the Cowboy Poetry Gathering, its a high desert rodear of buckaroos, musicians and poets.

The lines from the transfer still visible, the running leaf border is fully cut here using a 105 degree VEE graver

Some of you may have seen a few Instagram posts regarding the raising of a copper gullet for this saddle....but. Yes, there was an issue outside of the fabrication of that item, the conflict happened to be all within the design and drawing that the WFC committee held. My initial concept drawing was for a leather fork cover, and a large silver rope draped across the gullet edge. Had I carried on with the first gullet concept there would have been too much silver on the front end and it would have been out of balance visually in my opinion.

You can see here that the artwork was layed out by way of imagination and a pencil. China White, a favorite medium of old, and some time drawing gives you a unique design each time.

On we go with plan B, which is a smaller and yes simpler piece of silver to build, which fits into the interior of the saddle gullet after we get the leather fork cover on permanent. I cut the piece of silver out today, using 18ga, Sterling fully annealed by myself. Still a fairly large chunk of silver, it would be similar to engraving 2.5 horncaps. This piece of silver will be secured to the tree gullet by nails. I will make my nail heads using a shot plate I made for this job. We will see more of the shot plate at a later date.

So the first order of cutting, at least when I am cutting is the backbone of the scrolls. Here, I have used a 105 degree Vee graver to outline those scrolls. I cut pretty deep because this item will be getting shrunk in the deepest part of the gullet and stretched on those outer edges, all of this takes place during the forming over my anticlastic stake.

Pretty much the whole day was spent at the engraving ball, I done a pattern transfer yesterday before I quit for the day. The transfer that I speak of was created within the computer, doing the transfer in this manner allows me to keep everything exact from a centerline, so both sides are uniform. The transfer gave me an exact outline, along with the locations of the nail placement and a precise border. Anything else in the way of engraving would be done using the old time china white and a pencil method for the floral areas which really are the bulk of the engraving.

Here we can see that the scrolls have been beveled very heavily after the initial VEE cut was made. I done this with a 45 Flat, and it is a backhand cut all the way around he scroll body. We do this to fool the eye as it makes the scroll body look thicker as if it is on top of the gullet layer.

The border was entirely cut with a 105 degree VEE graver as it is called in the trade. Its a classic running leaf style, most likely it evolved from Greek or Hellenistic architecture. Who really knows, I like it because it gives great color and contrast to antiqued silver. After the borders are done, and the intended floral art was drawn in place, we outlined our scrolls using the same Vee graver. Following that cut sequence, I went to my 45 Flat graver and backhand cut each scroll body.

When those steps are complete, I begin to add all my bright cut groups, which each brightcut consists of 3 basic cuts. But when cutting a pattern in this heavily, you sometimes have to cut 2 and 3 times to get to the depth that you desire. I done my brightcut groups using my Magnum handpiece if you are a GRS tool user.......and if yer know, then ya shood be. ( And remember, do those tennis elbow exercises I told you about in class, this type of cutting will bring it on;)

Maybe you have already asked, why not engrave the flowers first?? Well, for me, this process allows me the cleanest engraving when I am done. It works for me, while I have good friends who cut the same pattern in a different order altogether. I engrave the stuff that is behind first, and move forward within the scene. So the flowers, and specifically the flower center will be last. 

Well planned and executed western brightcut, the brainchild of  Fran Harry if my history serves me correct, there should be no background or empty un-engraved areas within the art field. So no gaps or empty spots along border edges, nor between flower petals etc.

Sparkling brightcuts are looking back at me, and each bare area between cut groups is now filled with the frosty pattern left by a liner cut. The LINER as we engravers like to call it, its more like a mistress than a wife. It does not tolerate being mis-used or lack of attention, if so it will quickly spoil your efforts. I like my liners CURVED, and for this pattern since it is rather large and bold, I used a 26/10 made by E.C.Muller. My flat graver for this piece was a Glen Steel size 45 Parallel Flat from GRS.

Just keep cutting as we say in class, or the shop for that matter. The goal is to cut everything, every bit of surface within each area or section of a design that requires engraving. Pretty simple really. 

















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