Introduction: Lord of the Rings Inspired Pizza Cutter - With Acid Etched Brassing
If you are anything like me you have often thought to yourself, "if the Elves in Lord of the Rings ate pizza what would they use to slice it?"
This idea has been kicking around in my head for quite some time partially due to the fact that lately the place we have been getting our pizza from has been slacking when it comes to cutting the pizza in to slices. Its a little annoying because you go to grab a slice of pizza and you end up almost pulling the whole pie out of the box because the slices aren't properly cut and are stuck together. So inevitably I have to recut the pizza in to slices. Instead of being annoyed by this I decided to make an awesome pizza cutter; so now instead of being annoyed I will look forward to slicing up my pizza.
I took the opportunity in this build to use a "brassing" technique to embellish the acid etch Elf scrolls and Elf writing. Brassing is when you heat up a piece of steel and scrub it with a brass wire brush to coat the steel in a thin layer of brass. I will go in to more detail on this in a later step.
1/16 stainless steel
1x2x10 inch Walnut Wood Block
Sandpaper Various Grits
Brass Wire Brush
1/8 Inch drill bit
Drill or Drill Press
Acrylic Lacquer Clear Spray Paint
I have a piece of 1/16 inch thick stainless steel floor transition molding which a friend of mine gave me a few years ago. I don't know the quality of it I just know its stainless steel which is ideal for using as a kitchen utensil because you can wash it and it won't rust.
I am a big Lord of the Rings fan and wanted to make something that was inspired by the Elf culture. Originally I wanted to make a smaller replica of one of the swords from the films but I didn't find anything that would work. So instead I started sketching out what I thought a pizza rocker might look like if the Elves made it. Eventually I came up with a design I liked and made a paper template to trace on to the steel.
I first cut the transition molding in to a smaller more manageable piece. Then I taped the paper template to the steel and traced it with a fine tipped marker. I prefer the fine tip because it makes a smaller line than the regular tipped Sharpies. I realized that when I use the wider tip my cuts are less accurate so the smaller line results in better more accurate cuts which means less clean up work afterwards.
Next I securely clamped the steel to my workbench then I used my angle grinder fitted with a cutoff disk to cut out the rough shape of the blade.
Using my different sanders I refined the shape. I mostly used my 4x36 inch belt sander with a 120 grit belt on it for this, the guide wheel was a nice feature to use when working on the curved areas. I decided to clean up the surface because it had a few scratches so I used my orbital sander to sand the entire thing. Unfortunately I only had 220 grit sanding disc so the rest of the sanding was done by hand.
I ended up sanding the entire thing to 2000 grit. This was probably not necessary at this stage but I got in to a sanding zone and just kept going up in grits.
It would have been really cool to add a nice saber grind for the bevels but I am not that skilled when it comes to knife making so I settled for a smaller bevel that would allow me to put a decent edge on the blade. The last pic shows the bevel I was able to make on my belt sander.
One of the things I was excited to try was to acid etch some Elf-like scrolls/filigree and some Elf writing on the blade. I did some googling and found some filigree that I thought would work. I also found a website that translates English writing to Elf writing from the actual folks who made the "one ring" for the films. Link for English to Elf Translation website. There is no way to export an image of the Elf writing from the website so I had to do a print screen and import that in to Photoshop in order to save it as a jpeg.
So I had my filigree and Elf phrase saved as jpegs. next I used my vinyl cutter to cut what will eventually become masking for the acid etch. I will not go in to detail on how to do this in this Instructable as I have written a separate Instructable for this process and there is no sense in repeating that here. Here is the link for that Instructable Acid Etching Instructables.
I applied the vinyl decals to the steel on both sides of the blade. I did have to change the phrase I had originally chosen as it was too long and the vinyl cutter couldn't cut it in the size I needed. So I made it shorter so that it could be a little larger and easier for the vinyl cutter to cut.
Next I sprayed 3 coats of black paint on the entire blade. Make sure everything is 100% covered as this will act as the resist for the acid etch and anything that is not coated will get acid etched.
I dumped my container of Ferric Chloride and water mixture in to a glass vase that wasn't quite tall enough but would work, I would just have to etch one half the blade then flip it and etch the second half. I removed the vinyl stickers from half of the blade in order to reveal the steel that would be etched. I made sure to only remove the vinyl for the sections that would be submerged in the acid sense I was doing this in two steps.
There were a few areas where the paint peeled as I pulled up the vinyl so I used an acrylic paint marker to touch up those spots and make sure they wouldn't get etched. You can see those spots in the 3rd pic. Once the paint marker was dry I placed the blade in the acid and waited for 40 minutes.
After the 40 minutes I removed the blade and washed off the acid in a 5 gallon bucket of water to neutralize the acid. Then I flipped the blade over and repeated the process from Step 8 and waited another 40 minutes. Once the timer went off I again washed off the acid in the water bath to neutralize the acid.
Next I used some Acetone to remove the black spray paint to reveal the etch. There were a few spots that didn't get etched but for the most part it went fairly well. I think if were to do this again I wouldn't sand the piece to 2000 grit I would probably stop at 400 or 600, I have a gut feeling this would have resulted in a better etch. Also I would have made sure to degrease the blade before placing the vinyl stickers on it.
Now for the fun part brassing! I've used the brassing technique before in this Instructable Brassing Technique but recently I thought I would try to see if I could use the brassing technique to coat an acid etching then sand off the raised area so that it gives the appearance of an inlayed brass or gold look.
Brassing is really simple you just use a torch to heat the steel, to which you will be applying the brass, then scrub the steel with a brass wire brush. The brass melts on to the steel and deposits a thin layer of brass. It doesn't take a ton of heat either, I usually just heat the blade and scrub it with the brush if I don't see any brass sticking to the steel I heat it a little more and try again until I see the brass transferring to the steel.
Once I was happy with the amount of brass I let the steel cool down to room temperature.
Next you have to sand off the excess brass on the blade, for this I use a small brass block wrapped in sand paper. The brass block insures you don't sand in to the lower etched area. If you were to hand sand this your finger tips might contour to the etching resulting in you partially sanding the brass in the etched area which you do not want. So stick to the sanding block.
After sanding the blade I drilled three 1/8 inch holes in the handle area. I knew I didn't want to pin the handle on so I drilled the holes to give the epoxy somewhere to grab. I don't think this step is 100% necessary but I figured it would add a little better grip for the epoxy.
I used a scrap piece of Walnut that I trued up on my table for the handle material. Once the wood was pretty square I cut a slit in the bottom of it with my hand saw. This is where the blade will slide in to the wood handle.
Originally the handle was going to look a lot different but I decide I wanted to try and mimic some of the curves of the blade in the handle. I drew some rough lines of what I wanted the shape to look like then removed the large areas of wood with my bandsaw. Then I used my 1x30 belt sander and my 4x36 belt sander to shape the wood. And finally I hand sanded it to 600 grit.
I checked the fit of the handle and marked the center line so that I had a reference for the glue up. I used 5 minute epoxy to glue the handle to the blade and used Acetone to clean up any squeeze out before it cured. Once everything was clean I clamped it for 4 hours until the epoxy cured.
After the epoxy cured I clean off the handle and re-sanded to 600 grit just to make sure it was clean and applied two coats of Danish Oil. I let that cure over night then sprayed the handle with 3 coats of an Acrylic Clear Lacquer. Once that cured it was ready to use.
And now we know what an Elvish Pizza Cutter would look like if they ate pizza in Middle Earth.
I'm 95% happy with how this turned out. The one thing I would change in the future is to sand the steel to 600 grit instead of 2000 grit to get a better etch. And I would also let it etch longer maybe for one full hour to get a deeper etch so the brass transfer would look better. I would also probably tone down the shaping of the handle it and make it a little more subtle, which I think it more befitting of the Elvish aesthetic. But other than that I am happy to get this idea out of my head and in to the real world. I hope you liked this Instructable and maybe find a little inspiration in it to create your very own Middle Earth inspired kitchen utensil.
Also I forget to mention I sharpened this on the 4x36 belt sander and some diamond stones but I went a little over board and made it razor-ish sharp, it doesn't need to be that sharp I think as long as it has a decent bevel it will cut a pizza just fine.
Second Prize in the