The Bengal tiger is a striking grand cat whose features and expressions are legendary and whose appearance have landed him the spot of national animal for both India and Bangladesh. Most of us have the black and tan markings of this splendid creature filed away in our memory banks for rapid recall. With this in mind, Martin Pierce tackled the task of creating a tiger handle with cautious enthusiasm. The technical challenge was in deciding where to create perforations in the panel for light to pass through but without compromising the strength of the panel. The other challenge was how to capture the tigers marking and here Martin used a lot of artistic license.
As the end product was to be a flat panel with cut out sections the piece had to be designed so that the cut-out areas, when removed, left behind one continuous interlocked shape. In nature the Bengal tigers black markings are separate and unconnected but in Martin’s design the markings all connect. The tiger design was created as a black and white drawing with the black areas representing areas that would be left as steel and the white areas being the cut-out sections where the light source would shine through.
For panel patterns Martin has found aluminum to be an ideal metal as it is strong enough not to warp or distort when cut, yet soft enough to be cut on a scroll saw. The saw operates very much like a sewing machine with the aluminum pattern being maneuvered and pushed into the path of the vertical blade very much as a garment is pushed toward a vertically moving needle.
In the next few weeks we will show how this new piece evolved to become an illuminated handle.