Diamond Designs - Theme and Variations

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mark james

IAP Collection, Curator
Joined
Sep 6, 2012
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10,144
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Medina, Ohio
These have a story, so get a cup of coffee.

Last September I visited with Bruce Robbins and Herb Walke at Bruce's house. I believe it was a Wednesday, September 13, and I was running around the east coast dodging a storm trying to keep the IAP Collection dry.

That day I was with Bruce for 4-5 hours, and had no prearranged plans other than to visit. After getting reaquainted and settling into one of Bruce's "Laboratories," (Bruce is a chemist, as is my wife, so I was very comfortable) I was able to examine several buckets full of Bruce's extensive collection of his "pen experiments" - both successes and failures.

After about 45 minutes Bruce said: "So, what do you want to make?" Since I really had no agenda, I kind of stumbled and said something like: "Anything you want to make?" And Bruce replied: "I don't want to make what I can make, I want to make what you want to make..."

So, the first thought that came to me was a recent interest I had to incorporate diamond shapes into my segmenting, but was having difficulty. I basically wanted a line of diamonds as one of my inlays, from the finial to the nib. Bruce's eyes lit up; Herb shook his head because he knew the fun was about to begin. Bruce said: "We can do that, let's go!"

So out to the shed (aka, working "Laboratory"). I explained the technique I was using, explained my failures. Bruce said "OK, Let's try it." After cutting up the segments, gluing them and waiting a bit, we looked it over and determined... yup, that won't work.

So then Bruce said, "But I can easily get you 4 lines of diamonds using my CNC Rotary Cutter" (excuse my lack of terminology - Bruce can clarify). So Bruce started to write some computer code, played with the settings, set the alignment, waved a few wands and said some magical spells and set the machine on its mission in life.

I am not clear what the issue was, but after a while Bruce got kind of quiet (He REALLY, really wanted this to work!) We basically ran out of time before he had it tweaked - we needed to meet some other Richmond IAP members for dinner. Alas no diamond pen.

We had dinner, a great time was had by all. I even got over my gaffe when I asked: "Where is Cody Walker, I thought he was coming?" "Hi Mark, I'm right here;" Cody was across the table - facial memory sucks with pre-dementia.

So after dinner we were set to leave, and Bruce said I should swing by his house tomorrow for another go-around. Sure, why not.

So when I arrived the next morning, Bruce handed me a beautiful finished pen with Black diamond inlays in a maple body. He said he just needed to tweak a few things.

I told Bruce that I would not post this story until I figured out how to make one myself, through segmenting.

So here they are - Diamond Designs with two different skill sets; CNC Rotary Mill and segmenting. (Walnut ball courtesy of Charlie W)


View in Gallery


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MSpringer

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Apr 18, 2018
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40
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Alabama
Wow those are fantastic. With the cue joint protectors i want to make segmenting is something i am going to have to learn. From these photos i can tell i have a lot to learn.
 

BRobbins629

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Joined
Mar 8, 2006
Messages
4,019
Location
Richmond, VA, USA.
Great segmenting job. The visit was a lot of fun and once again thanks for bringing the collection and your segmenting demo to our club. Come back anytime with any challenge.
 

ajollydds

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Feb 27, 2017
Messages
265
Location
Colorado
Nice work! I can only imagine how difficult it was to put that inlay design together. I can’t even begin to visualize it.
 

mark james

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Messages
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Location
Medina, Ohio
Well done Mark. Now I've got to figure out how you did it.

I got some PM requests also, so the proof is in the pudding. I was hoping for a thinner inlay so that I could make a 4-sided design (which I prefer), but alas, for this initial attempt, it was just to thick. I now have some ideas for getting it thinner next time.

The difficulty for me was the triangle pieces. I made a "holder" for small pieces, and used my disk sander to get the triangles. I would love for suggestions on getting smaller triangles. Oh, and for all the pieces, I wanted side grain, not end grain, so I couldn't use stock strips, I needed to cut my own.

The actual segmented inlay was pretty thick, and not even end-to-end, but close enough for this attempt. I suspect after 2-3 more I'll get it closer to what I want.
 

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jttheclockman

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Joined
Feb 22, 2005
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14,492
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NJ, USA.
why do you need to use triangle pieces?? Why not just square pieces and then slice to fit like any other inlay?? It would look cool if you made the center pieces "Rhombus " shape and then you need to shape more. Being you are only doing 2 sides you can make one inlay and slice in half. Or you can do 4 sides and build like you do your other inlays. Suround the center diamond with some thin black veneer would make it jump out.

There are so many design patterns you can do with all the geometric designs there are. Doing them this way is alot tougher than those that use cnc and lasers. This is the mark of a true segmenter.

For cutting triangle pieces think of them as staves and make a jig to cut staves. Double sided tape is your friend when working with this small pieces.
 
Last edited:

mark james

IAP Collection, Curator
Joined
Sep 6, 2012
Messages
10,144
Location
Medina, Ohio
why do you need to use triangle pieces?? Why not just square pieces and then slice to fit like any other inlay?? It would look cool if you made the center pieces "Rhombus " shape and then you need to shape more. Being you are only doing 2 sides you can make one inlay and slice in half. Or you can do 4 sides and build like you do your other inlays. Suround the center diamond with some thin black veneer would make it jump out.

There are so many design patterns you can do with all the geometric designs there are. Doing them this way is alot tougher than those that use cnc and lasers. This is the mark of a true segmenter.

For cutting triangle pieces think of them as staves and make a jig to cut staves. Double sided tape is your friend when working with this small pieces.

My brain got stuck on trying triangles :rolleyes:. And they did start as squares. This 2-sided inlay was close to .335" thick, so I need to get this same pattern closer to .225" to get to my 4 sided inlay, or .20" to get to the 6 sided like the "arrows blank".

I had not thought of the tape; great suggestion, thanks. And I have never had much luck cutting staves, others I have seen are much more precise than I have gotten.
 

jttheclockman

Member
Joined
Feb 22, 2005
Messages
14,492
Location
NJ, USA.
why do you need to use triangle pieces?? Why not just square pieces and then slice to fit like any other inlay?? It would look cool if you made the center pieces "Rhombus " shape and then you need to shape more. Being you are only doing 2 sides you can make one inlay and slice in half. Or you can do 4 sides and build like you do your other inlays. Suround the center diamond with some thin black veneer would make it jump out.

There are so many design patterns you can do with all the geometric designs there are. Doing them this way is alot tougher than those that use cnc and lasers. This is the mark of a true segmenter.

For cutting triangle pieces think of them as staves and make a jig to cut staves. Double sided tape is your friend when working with this small pieces.

My brain got stuck on trying triangles :rolleyes:. And they did start as squares. This 2-sided inlay was close to .335" thick, so I need to get this same pattern closer to .225" to get to my 4 sided inlay, or .20" to get to the 6 sided like the "arrows blank".

I had not thought of the tape; great suggestion, thanks. And I have never had much luck cutting staves, others I have seen are much more precise than I have gotten.


Jigs man. It is all about jigs when doing segmenting and small work such as this. I use double sided tape all the time when working around my tablesaw. I use to go to Home Depot and buy sheets of broken and damaged paneling. ( now they do not sell them any more) Also most paneling today is not wood. So I buy 1/4" laun wood and use this to make jigs out of.

It is easy to go as small as you want. As I said double sided tape on a stable piece of wood such as what I use 1/4" laun. See when you try to cut strips of wood they will warp and curl on you as you run through the blade and then the dimension is not even. But if you tape to a stable piece such as plywood it will not warp and slices come out perfect and no sanding required. I do the same thing when I make cross cut pieces. I fix a jig to miter gauge and put tape on bottom platform and some times also on the fence portion and I can slice 1/32" sliver if I like. Now I use a full size 10" tablesaw so my waste material is more than yours but so you make a longer starting piece. Big deal.

The biggest problem cutting staves on the Brynes saw is you need to use that angled sled. (unless you make your own) I wish he would make a tilting arbor saw and be done with it and then It would be a worthwhile tool in my opinion.

I used this method drastically when I made my pen boxes, the billiard table box and the piano box. Those keys are some mighty small pieces. On the billiard table the bumper rails had 3 different angles cut in them in a piece as thick as 3/16" All the trim is about 3/32" wide.

Doing more than 4 rows of segments is going to require slicing in a blank such as I do with my router set up on a lathe or cutting your finished strips into staves.

Good luck.
 

ajollydds

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Joined
Feb 27, 2017
Messages
265
Location
Colorado
That’s great work mark, the amount of precision it takes to make this happen is beyond me.

When I was looking at this post initially I thought to myself “I hope this isn’t a bunch of square stock in between triangles”. I fully admit this post made me clench my teeth.
 
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